05 Modern Mindset principle: Context
Museum, New York
City, USA, 2020
We are all living in a society. It’s a structure we have built for ourselves and an intricate setup that manages all of us simultaneously. It is also a system that maintains order among us while we all move forward as one. Our society and its framework progress as long as it’s based on two key components — an encouragement to adopt time-tested principles (such as hierarchy, law and conventions) and a motivation to combine them with novelty. It is this innate urge of society to constantly seek something better from which new definitions emerge of what success, fulfillment and happiness should be. And then it’s in humanity’s nature to pursue them. This way, as a society, we learn what works and what doesn’t, and then we discard the nonessential.
A downside of this process is that society is not-yet-capable of serving all of us equally — only because it’s still based on what’s already been proven to work best for the majority. And it’s this way not because it’s easier, but because it’s more straightforward. It’s due to society’s inner drive to create sameness, which consequently makes it much easier to manage.
This direction of rather-generalized societal supervision significantly impacts our beliefs, behaviors, emotions, opinions and habits, which undoubtedly shape our identity, character, context and ultimately our reality. A reality where sameness is rewarded and a difference is disciplined. A reality that makes us conscious of what others may think or say, as we — obviously — do not completely fit the norm. A reality that can even make some of us too afraid to be proud of who we are, and then somewhat forget to be different, unique and truly ourselves.
We can also become somewhat oblivious to the fact that our contexts can turn into contradictions. A contradiction of wanting to fit in and belong while also searching for acceptance of our uniqueness. A contradiction of living one life while also desperately longing for a different one. Perhaps even a contradiction of feeling pressure to suppress our character while accepting a perceived necessity to conform to societal sameness.
Most of the time, these internal frictions are not that obvious to us. They don’t necessarily manifest themselves in a straightforward way because they are often an outcome of our subconscious decision-making. Even those who seem to be making all of the “right” life choices consciously (such as having a family, succeeding at a chosen career, or owning everything they wished for) are not necessarily always fulfilled in life.
Only when we start to recognize how much these contradictions, frictions, and unfulfilling contexts can contribute to an individual’s misaligned reality only then can we begin to understand how much anxiety, depression, pressure, negativity, pessimism, and perhaps even hostility they bring into our society. And then we, as individuals and a society, can begin to question why some of us still feel incapable of reaching our wildest dreams, feeling happy, or getting what we truly want out of life. Could we be trying to please our parents by choosing a particular career? Are we be following a convention by aiming to get married by a certain age? Should we be seeking validation from spending time or money on certain things or activities we might not even enjoy? And is our identity an imitation of everyone and everything else or a realistic projection of our authentic self? And so, could there be a way to prevent going through life feeling lost or stuck?
When we become comfortable answering these often uncomfortable questions, a whole new level of clarity unveils itself. Once we begin to understand contexts — our own as well as the one of society — we can see how incredibly intertwined and interdependent they are. Then we can also see that society’s structure with its many principles, definitions, and rules isn’t without fault.
Society’s current approach and ever-present pressure to conform to sameness lead to displacing a lot of potential, character and ambition. This displacement only emphasizes one simple fact: society lacks general awareness of the available methods and knowledge to empower individuals. An awareness of how to truly self-realize and develop the ability to direct our contexts independently. An awareness of how to reassess our views on individuation and its influence on the individual mind. An awareness of how to free our minds by taking control of our thoughts through accountability. An awareness of how to learn to navigate information better by understanding perspective. Also, the awareness of how to develop powerful mindsets centered around plasticity that then allows us to be fully in control of our context, identity, potential and self-realization.
So isn’t it about time — considering that no one ever wants to misspend their time, energy and potential — that we demand this awareness-lacking narrative to shift a little? Perhaps now is the time we once again come up with those new definitions of what success, fulfillment and happiness should be. Just imagine a society where more awareness is present in everyday lives and where it brings out even more good in all of us. Imagine a society where everyone lives up to their potential. Imagine a society where motivation, resilience, accountability, resourcefulness, and optimism are commonplace, so is the sense of self-awareness, fulfillment and happiness. Imagine a society where individuality, diversity, and multipotentiality inspire more positive activity, thinking, imagination, and discovery, accelerating positive change and innovation. Imagine a society where everyone realizes that this isn’t utopia, that this kind of society is possible.
While we all know that society isn’t going to improve overnight, demanding these improvements is what we can start working towards right now. We can now be living examples of how incredible and rewarding it is to develop and possess a powerful mindset. We can now be living examples of how effortless it becomes to stand proud, let our character shine, reach our goals, fulfill our potential, and find inner peace. We can now be the living examples of positive change and the advocates for innovation, and we can also spread awareness now and for generations to come. We can now inspire a society where happiness isn’t just optional but attainable by all.