Seven Lessons I’d Give My Younger Self

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Every action provides information. Even lies and failure tell you more than you ever thought you’d know. The collection of life lessons learned through living is wisdom, and sometimes we are able to avoid the mistakes and replicate the successes of others without having to go through the same experiences. Below are seven of the biggest life lessons I now know that I wish I had known years earlier.

Almost everyone is wrong You’re taught to respect your elders, revere clergy, and listen to gurus. Well, guess what: almost everyone is wrong. Even most experts are wrong about their own field much of the time. The beginning of adult wisdom is when you stop looking up to others with childlike wonder and start to see other human beings as equals. A child thinks that everyone but himself is right. A teen thinks that everyone but himself is wrong. An adult knows that everyone, including himself, can be wrong.

No one cares about you It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of a caring world with a defined purpose, filled with compassionate people waiting to help you along your way. Wrong. The world, and its inhabitants, don’t give a crap about you. Even family and lovers are doing their own thing, and only interact with you as it suits their own personal goals. This isn’t meant to be depressing, but to relieve frustration when the world doesn’t go as you had expected.

Everything is your fault Believe it or not, this is inspirational. No, not everything is your fault; however, you have sole responsibility and control over your own life. Viewing everything as your fault empowers you to take ownership and change whatever is wrong. If you make things other people’s fault, you become helpless to change your condition. [Read more…]

Who Makes Grown Men Cry?

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Grown men don’t cry. That’s the prevailing wisdom. Whatever great tragedy or deep sadness they deal with, men are supposed to keep their feelings bottled up inside and present a calm, stoic public demeanor. If a man cries publicly, you can be sure that he has been profoundly moved.

You can become someone who will move grown men to tears. The question is, will you be an inspiration? Or a source of pain? Two famous comedians, Bill Burr and Louis C.K., have spoken about individuals who had that level of impact in their lives, one positive and one negative.

Bill Burr is one of the most successful comedians in the world. He has sold out Madison Square Garden, has acted in shows like Breaking Bad and F Is for Family, and runs a successful weekly podcast, to name just a few accomplishments. He is known for his style of always pushing uncomfortable topics with glee, having stated that he’s having the most fun when 20% of the audience is alienated. All of the above made his story of his father all the more remarkable when Burr recounted a tale of Christmas from when he was six years old. His strict, borderline abusive dad chided him growing up for joking around (his comedic talent apparently started young), comparing him to a giggling little girl. One Christmas, Burr received a doll from his father to mock his budding love of comedy. When recounting the story, Burr, a seasoned veteran of performance, had great difficulty struggling through the story of that Christmas, choking up several times. Many decades later, the mere memory of a minor prank by his father could still bring a very successful man to tears. [Read more…]

Weakness Is Not a Virtue

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Be kind, be gentle, be humble. Let others go first. Put others’ needs ahead of your own. Don’t worry about claiming credit for anything, you’ll get your due in time. Nice guys come out ahead in the end. That’s what I was taught.

Total nonsense.

This is an issue I’ve struggled with for a long time. By nature, and nurture, I’ve lived by the code described above, and it’s burned me. Over time, I’ve come to recognize that much of what I thought was goodness was actually weakness. And weakness isn’t just unfortunate, it’s morally wrong. Yes, avoiding violence and confrontation is generally a good thing. But if an innocent is being threatened, doing nothing isn’t morally neutral, but morally negative.

The same applies if you yourself are the innocent in the equation. Of course self-defense and protection from theft are right, but that also extends to sticking up for yourself in general. If someone slanders you, it’s your duty to establish the truth. If someone steals credit for something you did, you should absolutely make sure that the record is set straight. Humility is a virtue, but it involves lifting others up, not over-emphasizing yourself and your deeds, and giving others the benefit of the doubt regarding credit. Allowing clear untruths to persist isn’t humility. It’s dishonesty and cowardice. [Read more…]

Backwards Adulthood

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People are free, children are not. The entire point of adulthood was to achieve a level of competence and maturity to be able to make one’s own choices. Instead, it’s turned out to be the opposite.

The narrative we’re sold: you’re a kid without agency. You can’t feed, clothe, or take care of yourself, and are dependent on your parents for all your needs. As such, you have to do everything they say. Your life is at their mercy. But that changes as you grow up. You mature, gain skills, take on more responsibility, and in time are able to take care of yourself, free to live your life as you see fit. Congratulations,  you’re an adult.

Back to reality: you have more choices as a kid. Your minimum competency requirement is to continue to breathe. Your parents are under a legal obligation to ensure you make it to adulthood, and are under a moral and social one to provide you with as many opportunities for learning and fulfillment as possible. If you were born to a middle class or higher family in a First World country, odds are they do their best to finance and indulge as many of your passing interests and hobbies as is feasible. All you have to do is get decent grades in school and not rock the boat too much, and the world is your oyster. Even if you’re a problem child who never listens to anything your parents say, you still get fed, clothed, and educated no matter what you do.
[Read more…]

Back to the Frontlines

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I took a break from my life of tireless activism in the Free State to visit my former home of Arizona. I was soon reminded of why I left, why I went Galt.

People the world over remain preoccupied with survival. With finances. With hobbies and fulfillment. And, most importantly, with the eternal quest for meaning. An unlucky few of us see the world as it is, in a state of slavery and oppression. Yet, we are powerless to change that unfortunate human condition. And so we are forced to live out our constant quest for fulfillment, only with the added weight of knowing the world to be fallen.

That was me most of my young professional life, only I lacked the realism to give up on the world. When all my aspirations for success in love and labor fell away, all I had left were dreams of a better tomorrow. Instead of attempting one last futile grasp at what I had lost, I made a desperate search for the frontlines of liberty, to spend what was left of my life in service to a mad dream. [Read more…]

What I could’ve done with a little faith…

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Some people need guidance. Others desperately need a dose of reality. Still others just need a swift kick in a rear.

I just needed someone to believe in me.

It’s hard to wander off the beaten path, to build something of one’s own. But it’s even harder without support. When it came time to start The Desert Lynx back in 2011, no one believed in me. I didn’t even believe in myself. I just knew I had to do it, so I plunged into the deep, dark, unfamiliar world of online writing and punditry all by my little old self.

But I kept it on the back burner, never believing in it enough to make it a centerpiece project. For years I wasted my time on other pursuits, all because I dismissed my goals and dreams as unrealistic. Had someone believed in me and in my ability to strike out on my own, there’s no telling what might have been.

Now, after quiet perseverence, The Desert Lynx has grown. It has several contributors, and its work has been published in numerous outlets, reaching thousands. And we’re just getting started. Now, the truth has become apparent that I wish I had known all along: I can do this.

So as I finally push onward with my destiny, I can’t help but think of how much self-doubt, how much wasted time, how many missed opportunities could have been avoided if only I had heard four little life-changing words: “I believe in you.” [Read more…]