By: Pavel Konoplenko
Picture a stylish, fashionable man dressed to impress.
What’s he wearing?
A suit, nice belt, shiny shoes – and a tie.
Why a tie? Ties are pointless – absurd really. If your argument is that ties help cover the buttons then you’re missing the point. (And why cover the buttons? Buttons are nice.)
Ties just dangle from your neck, and dangling isn’t classy. Just look how sad the POTUS is:
We have to call a tie for what it is: a superficial status symbol ingrained by popular culture over many decades.
Now so we’re clear, I don’t hate ties. I use the popular example of ties to demonstrate how mired our beliefs, ideas, and perceptions of society are in arbitrary symbols and connections. We associate jewelry and ties with success, sandals and socks with bad fashion, and ice cream with happiness (ok that’s just me). By themselves, these arbitrarily defined symbols are not a problem.
The problem starts occurring when we fail to realize that these connections are meaningless and that they’re based on a myriad of separate societal and cultural phenomena. For example, society has done a good job at conditioning itself to associate money with happiness. This monetary connection to happiness leaves little room for more important pursuits like passion and fulfillment.
To maintain our focus on the things that are truly important to us, we must learn to stop perceiving our role and value using societal standards which are oftentimes skewed away from personal fulfillment and growth. To achieve this, we must learn to view the world using our own vision. Not only will it help you grow, it will allow you to transcend the everyday complacency of society.
When we worry about ties and how it reflects our place in society, we begin to lose a sense of personal value and identity. We begin to cloud our own personal view – a view imbued with the humanity of self that would allow us to connect with the world around us and make it interesting again. Ideally, we are driven to create a mark on our world and fill it with novelty. However, before we create novelty within our world, we must create novelty within ourselves.
Steve Jobs said think different, but let’s take it further and be different and be novel. You have to embrace your own novelty before the world can take notice of your contributions.
When you embrace your novelty, you’ll finally be able to see the world as it appears and appeals to you. Everything should be ultimately centered on you, because you are in control. Embrace your novelty, embrace your you-ness, and embrace your person-ness. Everything in society is ultimately people-centric. From technology to institutions, major functions of our society ultimately derive their power from people. Why should you willingly give that up?
To understand where you are and where you want to be in life, you must understand the complex dynamic between people that make up society. A lack of a clear understanding can undermine you. Without a vision, you’re just chasing empty symbols and dead connections. To see the world for what it is and navigate it, you must see it a novel way. First, you must see yourself in a novel way.
(Famous example: Neo saw the world in a novel way — just don’t try to dodge bullets)
I’m not selling you the idea that you are a unique snowflake in a winter wonderland of society. No. I’m selling you the idea that you have the ability to create your own connections between yourself, ideas, and other people. From there, you become more free to choose your own path following self-defined success. Once you understand your path and your place on it, you’ll be able to position yourself in the most favorable situations. You’ll be able to more clearly understand your strengths and weaknesses, and spot opportunities and threats on your self-determined path.
This blog is dedicated to understanding and rediscovering your power by invoking passion, novelty, and curiosity in our world and in ourselves. Writing is a great form of self-discovery, and I wish that this blog will inspire you as much as it inspires me.