The Cult Of Opinion

Another paradox of modern society:

  1. We live in a society of commentators
  2. Humility is exalted as a virtue

Every day there are one or several topics to discuss. And the “respectable citizen,” he is expected to add his voice to this social arena, to give his judgment on topics presented to him with all the nuance of a pneumatic hammer.

“Humility” has become a social mask, something that one pretends to be, a hug or kiss given due to social obligation and not out of affection.

Where is the humility of saying “I know nothing this topic”?

I understand:

  1. Medicine (with emphasis on the head and neck)
  2. Video Games
  3. Writing
  4. Scientific Research (IE, inquiry, statistics, and the scientific method)
  5. Philosophy

These are the things that I have studied, to the exclusion of almost everything else, for most of my life. Other than that, in recent years, I have made an effort to learn:

  1. Marketing
  2. Management
  3. Audio recording and editing
  4. Interviewing
  5. Cooking

I would not talk about one of these topics to a panel of experts. I can contribute to elucidate a lay audience somewhat, but still have a lot to learn.

And that’s all. There are five things I feel comfortable talking about, and five things where I display some confidence. Everything else? I don’t know. I didn’t study it. I don’t talk about it. I have no opinion.

What are your ten?

Photo Credit: Julian Meehan Flickr via Compfight cc

Sex, Drugs, Rock n ‘Roll and “Following Your Passion”

Because I worked for a few years in the Personal Development industry, I like keep up with what’s new, and try out the new “tools.” A favorite topic in the community is the discovery of your passion, that is to say, that sacred activity that one can perform over the course of their life, the practice of which will result in endless reserves of energy and personal fulfillment.

The problem is that whenever I do one of these tests – written, contemplative, meditational, I’ve been through them all – my result is always a variant of “Sex, Drugs and Rock n ‘Roll,” if not literally, at least in figurative form.

It would be very fun to pursue this life purpose, but it would not do much for my longevity. It does not seem ecological or timeless – that is, it would not benefit either Luis or those surrounding Luis in the long run. And even Luis would only benefit in the short term. Future Luis was screwed.

Here is a viable alternative: Instead of seeking a passion, seek an interest. Do not choose just any interest. Choose an interest that feels like it can be sustainable for you and others over time. And then, try to make yourself the best you can at executing on this interest – knowing, however, that this will often be hard work; it will be difficult; you will wonder if it is worth the effort.

Invariably, repetition will make you better at whatever you have chosen. And when you can say “I’m better at this than most people I know” – only then, only at that higher level, will you finally be able to start feeling a “passion” germinate. If not? Move on to something else.

The problem is not that you can’t find a passion. The problem is that people waste more time on the “tools” to find it than on trying things out.