Lunch time. We don't do that much together in my family, but it's lunch time and I'm seated around a single rectangular table with my parents.
My dad goes off about what was on the news and raises arguments backed by what he saw on TV that very morning. Very pleasing to argue with a person who can always back down to the axiomatic argument of "I saw it on this program, it's true!", while gradually raising his voice. It's a sigh inducing practice in frustration, that's why I don't dine much with my family and prefer to listen to a podcast on my computer while munching on some veggie goodness of some sort. Living with them isn't easy, but since I'm paying them some rent, they leave me alone most of the time to practice my art, do homework and freelance from home.
I still wish to leave and move elsewhere, but that's not the point of this journal. Nor is ranting about my parents the point, this is only a story and a means of delivering a point for those who are seeking a point.
During the confused conversation, I attempt to raise the idea of success as a topic. My parents really love to complain and complain mostly about the state of cleanliness of things. As though it matters that much that it must be raised in almost every conversation. I wanted to raise a counterpoint, risking a ferocious and obviously dead end argument about the weight of cleanliness versus the weight of success in our lives. Why talk so much of cleanliness and mopping the floor and not talk at least half as much about accomplishing something with your life? I'm serious, they actually speak about cleaning floors or dusting furniture so much that it seems like it's the most important thing in the whole universe.
To me, the answer is clear as to why success isn't being talked about. If it was talked about with fervent passion, my parents would find themselves in a completely different situation. Again, besides the point.
As we talk about success without any success on my part to talk about success, I raise the idea of successful people becoming millionaires and how hard work gets them there. How those people are the pinnacle of our society, at least for me. There are of course many other people who are great and don't have millions in their bank accounts, but those are my heroes, the millionaires. Money is one indication of accomplishment, especially when no heirlooms and heritages are involved and especially when the underdog raises himself from the ashes of his history to become wealthy and rich.
Mentioning millionaires as an example for success, my mother promptly says that all millionaires are thieves. Let me repeat that again. All millionaires are thieves. They stole everything or at least a huge part of what they now own from other people.
You could probably imagine how angry I got when I heard this, how ridiculous that sounded! My heroes, are thieves? How can a man like Bill Gates who earned so much money by himself and gave so much money back to the world in order to make it better be considered a thief?
I knew that the verdict was all including and completely stupid. I didn't try to argue much with what was said, it's no good and there is a high probability chance of a cascading trip towards a bad mood for the rest of the next couple of hours. Nothing worth indulging in, I daresay. But I did inquire as to why she thought so. Apparently, no reason. I sensed a huge sense of envy from my mother, but the reasons for why she thought all millionaires were thieves were not given. Because there is none. It's a statement based on nothing, on an attempt to explain away why some are rich and why some are poor. It's easy to see the world in terms of rich thieves and poor honest people because then there is a reason not to improve your current situation and strive for better.
Insanity sometimes comes without the padded walls, without the straitjackets, without nurses who pump you up with dangerous mind altering drugs, without deep TMS or shock theraphy. Insanity comes as a disconnect from reality or an incorrect interpretation of reality in terms that have nothing to do with what's actually going on in the real world. Sometimes mistakes are made, unlike mistakes, insanity is persistent. Mistakes are by definition something that you are aware of after a deed, or something that you did wrongly and later it was explained to you by others that it was a mistake and you agree with that. It's something you strive to correct and never repeat consciously again. Insanity on the other hand is like a never ceasing, never yielding mistake (thus, not so much a mistake by definition). Unyielding and unhealthy, damaging and depressing. It's not an incorrect one time doing but a completely false world view.
Being sane and practical doesn't mean that I'm now thinking only in terms of what's possible now, it only means that I try to work with reality when I plan my goals and missions.
The statement that millionaires are all thieves is a kind of an insane statement, that's not a mistake although it's incorrect. Insanity helps justify your own downsides, see the world with your insanity and say "Ah, I know that my personal failures are always external". The statement that all millionaires are thieves is addressing the world in a deterministic way. If you are dishonest, you may become a millionaire unless you're caught by the police for your thieving (justice done, honest people rejoice and mock the thief). Honest people however can never become rich and wealthy and thus doomed to forever suffer from immense poverty. You can do exactly nothing about your life with this philosophy as you certainly don't want to be viewed as a dishonest person who steals from others and thus can never become a millionaire.
This mental state of everyday insanity and blaming external factors for your own failures is the reason why success doesn't happen to those people. It will never happen, even if they win the lottery. They'll just lose all the money won one way or another.
When my mother uttered that statement, I was shocked by what she said but I was also aware of how poisonous those words are to my ears and the ears of whoever was present in the vicinity of hearing what was said. It was even more harmful than simply understanding how wrong the statement was logically, there was a philosophy of failure behind those words. Words affect you. Doesn't mean it brainwashes you, but it lingers in your mind like a character in a movie that is hanging from a cliff, unwilling to let go and die for days! Waiting for you to outstretch your hand and help them and embrace them. It's very dangerous indeed to be exposed to such nonsense, especially when repeated daily or other good thoughts suppressed forcefully. Be careful. You become what you practice daily.
So what is this journal about? My idea is that you have to think of success everyday in realistic terms, in terms of how other people did it and that it's possible for you as well. Work on whatever it is that you want to accomplish daily and rest once a week to regenerate (that's my recipe). You'll encounter many insidious obstacles and more seldom the more extravagantly displayed obstacles. Working at your success daily will help you overcome things that are thrown your way, it won't be easy. It's never easy for me. But you grow more determined when you overcome the next obstacle, you become more sure of your own abilities when you come an another step closer to your goal, when you see progress made in what you do.
Don't just ignore the people with bad philosophies, make a philosophy that eradicates they harmful ideas of bad philosophies. Do that proactively.
You won't see progress right away, sometimes for months there will be nothing. Frustration is always nearby, depression not that far away. Success is hiding from you, it's an another obstacle to overcome. The obstacle of the easy way of quitting because of no evident results. If you're working smart, that is challenging yourself in a productive way, results are sure to come. You will grow. With the first growth, you'll know for sure that what you are doing is right and will anticipate the next growth session despite the again no evident immediate results. Results have their own inner clock, it has something to do with your own working habits and some random number it generates for itself. Success comes knocking on your door, not the other way around.
It's weird sometimes. I sent a year ago an email to a studio about work as a concept artist. Heck, I was sure they won't take me at all. At first it seemed like they didn't, nothing happened. I didn't fret about it, kept on polishing my skills and creating more art. Half a year later they called me out of the blue and invited me to work on a short project with them in their studio as a freelancer. Boy, I was excited. I did a great work for them. However, I never thought it'd happen, and who could have predicted that in a half year of time they would contact me for work?
That's how success works I think, you work your butt off and it decides when it's the right time to congratulate you with rewards.
Keep making yourselves great, and thanks for reading this!
I'm myself not where I want to be yet, I keep working on those skills and developing my project - Wolfgang's Quest.
As always, Cheers!
Sir Towel the Salty (Vlad D.)
Listening to: Podcasts
Reading: Eating Animals
Playing: Art Videos