~ At coffee yesterday an acquaintance of mine stopped by my table to lament his recent money troubles. He had just recently quit yet another job in a long string of vocations he has jumped around from in search of the perfect position.
“It’s just not fair Kenneth. All I want to be is an artist. I should be able to make enough money doing commercial art to get by, but I can’t get any jobs in that area” he said
Apparently my acquaintance had never heard of the term, “starving artist”, probably because he has grown up in a culture that told him over and over, “You are special”. Like so many other twenty and thirty year olds, he lives in the delusion that he is special. As though he “knows” certain things about life that nobody else knows, and that he deserves to live whatever life he wants to live.
However, the reality of life is that it is tough. After graduating high school or college, there is not a yellow brick road to follow that leads us to the wonderful Emerald City where all our dreams come true. No, life can and is difficult. Obtaining what we want takes days of hard work and toil, of getting up in the morning to a job you may not like, but working hard to move forward in life.
Too many people have been told that they are special; that they are so special that things will come easy for them. Perhaps it is the artificial facade that Hollywood has erected via the television; a phony world where everyone is golden tan, receives millions of dollars for producing music or making movies. Unfortunately, you are not special, and the likelihood of getting that “big break” is a zillion to one; there is a greater chance you will get hit by lightning a few times before you ever win the lottery or become a famous writer or painter.
The problem also has to do with parents. Too many parents in Western Society have coddled and spoiled their children. They tolerate their adult children living at home well into their thirties smoking dope every day and working dead-end jobs. Suburbia is littered with a staggering number of young adults who believe they are special and deserving of things they have not earned. I am all for helping your children, and I think its a shame when parents kick their children to the curb at age 18 for no good reason. But coddling and spoiling your children is every bit as bad as kicking them out too soon.
To quote the Proverb, “Things gained quickly lead to ruin”. Too many young adults have been sold a false bill of goods, believing that they are special, it has taught them to think that everything should come easy and that anything worth doing is only worth doing if it works the first time.
With role models like Mark Zuckerberg who became the youngest billionaire by being nothing more than a bully and a thief, or Kim Kardashian who is only famous because she had sex on camera and leaked it to the press, it is no wonder that young adults believe they could be the next big thing.
Thomas Edison would likely look down at the current crop of young adults. Edison, who viewed failure as one of the most rewarding elements in life was not afraid to spend thousands of hours hard at work, day after day, often receiving no reward but learning that he had failed once again.
You are not special.
The words sting. They hurt our ears. To have someone say to us, “You are not special” is a difficult pill to swallow. Western imperialism has taught everyone born in the West to believe they are more special then the rest of the world. It has led governments to bad foreign policies that harm indigenous tribes around the world, and has led countries such as the United States, to wage proxy wars all around the globe.
You are not special.
You do not deserve to be the next famous rock star. You do not deserve to be the next great author or painter or fill-in-the-blank. You do not know the secrets of the universe any more than your next door neighbor. Regardless of how good a writer or artist you think you are, there are millions of other men and women who are even better than you.
You are not special.
Oddly enough, embracing the truth of your rather ordinary essence is a good thing. Embracing the reality that you are no more special then your next door neighbor is a humbling experience that can free your mind of the yoke that has kept you blind. Embracing the idea that you are not special should compel you to make even more art; write more, make more music, use all of you creativity and live a life of meaning. But don’t do it to become famous. If fame and money is in the back of your mind when you write a blog or post your newest photo or painting, then you will only become a cheap plastic person.
When I used to spend more time reading random blogs, I used to see so many people who think they are the shit. They write what they believe are witty articles about their sexual experiences or past relationships that went bad. They write articles thinking that they are on their way to being a famous writer or author. Yet the stale emptiness of their motivations courses through their every sentence. They think they are more special than all the other writers.
Humility goes a long way in life. It helps ground us to reality, and it helps build positive bridges between us and others. Humility reminds us to love our neighbor as our self, and to do good unto the poor and hurting. Humility reminds us that we are no more deserving of good things than the next person, and helps to open our eyes to the truth of our existence. And although it is a strange pill to swallow; realizing that we are not special will be the first positive step toward a greater and more fulfilling life.
Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning,
Categories: Culture & Society