Here I am again, sitting in front of my beloved MacBook with my favorite cup of coffee, trying to turn my thoughts into structured and understandable writings. It’s tough, I tell you. I’ve been sitting here for quite a while now without being able to articulate my ideas. But I once again feel compelled to express my reaction to Joanne's newest post. Fuck it, let’s just write and see where the journey takes us.
Ever since high school, I too have been dragged around from table to table because I just wouldn’t shut up. Add to that a serious problem with authority and you’ve got a teachers worst nightmare. I even had a teacher specifically telling me I was “great at pissing people off”. But I didn’t at all intend to piss people off, just teachers. I don’t like being told what to do and especially not how to do it. My mind rejects any attempt at giving me orders and simply refuses to comply.
But I’m not here to talk about my messed up mind. Today we’re talking about books. Now, books have a habit of changing who I am. A lot of people finish their books with new or improved knowledge; I finish a book with new experience and often a whole new mindset. While other people read books, I try as hard as I can to EXPERIENCE them.
That’s why I love biographies. They let me enter the worlds of the greatest men of all times and experience life from their perspective. Some strange empathy-like ability lets me feel what they felt and really learn from their emotional experiences. A single page or even a sentence can be truly touching and really life changing, something I recently experienced when reading iCon, the biography of Steve jobs.
The introduction very vividly describes one of the greatest moments in Steve’s life; his return to Apple. As he enters the stage at MacWorld Expo 1997, after being cast away and having redefined himself for many years, every single person in the audience stands up applauding him, shouting “Steve! Steve! Steve!”. It’s a moment that really captures his legacy, proving that he truly is the greatest icon the world of technology has ever seen. The author describes it as the first time we have ever seen Steve Jobs genuinely touched. Reading about it, and in a way experiencing it, brought tears to my eyes.
And it’s so very true what Joanne says. While books don’t change, readers do. The reason why we should re-read books from time to time is that we gain experience and knowledge that makes us interpret and see the stories in different ways, learning even more from them. Quoting dear Steve:"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards."
Books have changed my life in a lot of ways. Starting at an early age, books gave me vast skills about a certain subject. So much that my teacher didn’t want me to answer questions because he already knew I’d be right and wanted someone else to get a chance. Books have, to a surprisingly large extent, shaped my personality and made me who I am today. But is it really the books that have changed me, or is it my own minds interpretations that made me grow? Of course, you can’t have one without the other. No books, no interpretation. No interpretation, no change. It’s a symbiosis that leads to personal development.
Dan asks in his comment; "But, deep down, isn't the person we could have been still within our inner self?"
Sure he is. We change, but we never REALLY change, if you know what I mean. I think there are certain things we just are, by nature. I went from the short and funny daddy’s boy, to somewhat of a guru a certain subject, to a healthy fitness guy and now I’m trying to find my true self and create balance throughout all aspects of life. We can quite easily rebuild and reshape our lives, but it takes a lot more effort to shake our entire foundation.
And with foundation, I mean deep rooted personality traits. Perfectionism, honesty, analytical abilities and so on. No matter what paths we choose in life, they are qualities that always follow us. They define our personalities and core character. And they are what matters most because, as I said, everything else is liquid and adaptable."But, do our choices and opportunities really limit us, or do we allow ourselves to be limited by them? I mean, our parents (or most parents) tell us as children that we can be anything we want to be, but do we really listen and understand what that means?Or, do we listen to our 'friends' who tell us, 'Oh, you'll never be able to do that!'"
Do people seriously say to their kids that they can become whoever they want? Wow, I guess some people get more support than others. My impression is that the majority of parents tell their kids to “go to school”, “get a job” and “work hard to get a promotion”. That’s not what kids want, they want to have fun and become their heroes; firemen, doctors, astronauts. But then they grow up with the constant bullshit about getting a high-paying job and sadly end up in a rat-race, spending their days doing something they don’t really enjoy, wishing for things they don’t need.
In my case, it’s my friends who believe in me, but perhaps I just make really compelling arguments. It’s my friends who have believed in me when my family has doubted me. Maybe it’s because we push our ideas harder to our friends than to our parents, because we consider our parents to be authorities. I can’t help listening too much to the often negative opinions of my family, simply because they’re “above me”. After all, they took part in creating the strong foundation upon which my ideas as based.
Even though we’ll never figure these things out, it’s still the journey that’s interesting. And in a world everything is subjectively controlled by different point of views and state of minds, in which there may not even exist such a thing as sense, the only things that matter are the interesting things.???????To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
Ralph Waldo Emerson </span>