Sunday 19 October 2014

The Only Piece of Advice You Will Ever Need

Herein lies the greatest piece of advice I have ever received, I could ever give, and I am firm in the belief I will ever need in life.

And boy oh boy is it kinda messed up.

The birth of this great wisdom came, of all places, from the labyrinthine depths of stumbleupon on a day like any other. This idea dwelled within an article discussing 10 Philosophical theories that were supposedly meant to blow your mind. 

I'd say I found my brain gently jostled at best, but one of the ideas truly stood out to me among the others has stayed with me since that moment, lurking in the back of my mind and over time has formulated to become what I like to believe is the greatest piece of reassurance in the universe.

This is going sound beyond ridiculous, but hear me out okay. 

Just for one moment, imagine:

You never knew it, but the universe is your playground.

No-one else actually exists.

Reality is completely an illusion.

You are, in fact, the only person in the entire world.

Think of it like a movie. 

A video game.

You are the protagonist, the main character, and everything that happens, happens to you, around you, because of you, for you, despite of you.

Indeed there are others, people you grow close to, you may love - one or two may even become the most important in your life, to which you'd even put them before yourself. But you will never be them, you will never ever be able to experience existence from their perspective. Every single other person and creature in the world are just extras, evaporating into non-existence once they leave the point in which they happen to intersect with your timeline.

Everything that happens in the world, happens with you in mind. Happens so you will see it. Everything happens for a reason and we no longer have to wonder what that is - because the reason is you.

From something as big as getting accepted into University or deciding which house to buy, or something as little as a kid running out in front of you at the train station so the rest of your day is 0.4 of a second delayed, all of these things happen because they are somehow connected to the bigger picture in your story.

Now I know this is starting to sound borderline prophetic, but I have never found solace or affinity in religion - Christianity or otherwise. The way I think of it isn't about some big guy in the sky having your life mapped out before you're even born, leaving little clues about it etched in the lines on your palm.

I guess in some ways, I see it almost like science fiction.

Perhaps the plot of some Matrix-style dystopian franchise where there is only one single member of the human race left after an invasion, and some aliens have constructed this flawless illusion of reality to study how the human brain reacts to certain circumstances.

Or a giant social experiment in a backward Truman-esque reality show, where we're the only one not in on the joke, and companies make multi-million dollar bids for their ideas to be featured and injected into the life of the unsuspecting 'citizen', and audience members cast public votes for what they want to happen next.

Maybe as you're stood at the magazine stand in Tescos, hand hovering between Cosmo, Company and Elle, there's fifty thousand people silently watching with baited breath to see which one you'll go for, a third of which having placed bets on you going for each one, knowing the content of the one you choose would go on to influence the trajectory of your life by even a fraction.

When I muse about these ideas, the possibilities are infinite.

But how does this help? How is this seemingly terrifying concept reassuring?

I'm not crazy enough to believe this is what my life actually is, I know it's not. Hell I'm just a girl with an overactive imagination and a penchant for a dramatic analogy. 

But when you take away the elaborations and consider the basic principles of this idea... It's actually one of the most comforting, reassuring and beautiful ways of looking at the world.

Because now, for example, when I take a chance or build myself up to something I'm so sure is going to work out and it completely screws up and I get shot down into tatters, I no longer wile away forlorn hours beating myself up, wondering if I'd done that little thing different then I'd have the outcome I wanted, or laying layer upon layer of blame upon myself for not being good enough.

I sit there and I say:

....If I am actually a character in a book that someone's writing, where would the author be going with this? What would be the purpose of this happening this way?

Ah! Maybe because I needed to get shot down the first time to test my resolve and dedication to see if I'll come back and try again next time, and then maybe I'll really deserve to get it! 

And you know, it actually bloody well goddamn works.

Now when I meet a stunningly beautiful, talented wonderful girl who also happens to be incorrigibly lovely too, I no longer cower in a self-pitying, self-conscious hole in the knowledge that I'll never be as beautiful as her, never possess the talent she does. That voice goes:

'Okay then, so why did she cross your path? If her presence wasn't meant to do something, to change something, then you never would've met her, 'cause that's the way it works. So.... come on.... why?'

As if everything that happens to me, good or bad, is set to be a learning experience. A code I've got to crack to get to the next level, an achievement to unlock. 

And suddenly I just don't feel bad any more. I don't feel jealous (despite most likely still being so) I don't feel shitty about myself in comparison or let things get to me.

It's actually laughably arrogant and arguably blasphemous, but if you really do just turn around to the shit times in life and shout OKAY SOOOO, HOW IS THIS ABOUT ME? You really can find some reassuring positivity in the darkness.

Because really there are no aliens or omnipotent gods controlling the variables in your life like one big game of The Sims, but the way I look it at, you can let things challenge you in life and cheer for your wins and weep at your losses, or you can treat everything that challenges you as a test of character.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

The purpose of every single thing that happens, is to have an outcome. 

Part of the outcome is the impact it has on you, and the type of impact is your choice.

So don't let anything happen without good reason.

Your life might be the book, and you might be the protagonist, but you are also the author too. 

So take the bad in the same breath as the good and understand every opportunity either way, is a chance for change, discovery, and enlightenment.

Choose to find the better.