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Own Your Life

One of the great sacrifices of subjecting kids to school is that it trains them to ask for permission for everything, from turning in work late, to changing to a different class, to more mundane things like going to the bathroom. It's a tradeoff, of course: condition kids to seek permission for everything, and by doing so enable a system to exist where they receive an education.

Maybe that's a worthwhile tradeoff, and maybe it's not. But the real harm in it, in my opinion anyway, is that when we leave school, we're still in the habit of asking permission for everything. That's dangerous.

A manifestation of this that I come across with frequently is the questions that people send me by email. Here's a paraphrased template, which covers a good 60%+ of the emails I get from strangers:

Deal with your Emotions. Don't Control them.

On Slack

This is probably obvious for most of you, but it wasn't for me. Maybe there's some other poor, like-minded person like me out there who hasn't figured it out yet.

Some people are very good at seeing 'the big picture'. Not me. I've always been a very detail oriented person. Every concept I process and every idea I visualize is almost automatically, unthinkingly organized in my brain. One idea suddenly becomes a bulletined list of each individual variable, the traits of each variable and the pros and cons of each variable trait. I think it's for this reason that I have a very controlling aspect to my personality.

To me, self control always meant forcefully suppressing negative or irrational emotions and willing positive ones to the surface. It's always been all about what I should/shouldn't feel. Or what I want/don't want to feel. What I actually currently felt seemed irrelevant. I always expected this complete emotional control of myself, as well as others around me.

Not only is this an extremely stressful and emotionally damaging way to live, but it's downright impossible. Every time I tried to forcefully control an emotion, only to end up exacerbating it instead, It felt like a personal failure. I thought this was how everyone did it. The fact that I couldn't do it must have meant that I'm an irrational person who can't control themselves. Or that I don't have a strong enough willpower. Thoughts like these only helped to further this counter-productive cycle.

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