Ante Again…

I spoke to Milton, a little while ago, and told him that we have to be great. No matter what. I have not relented on my proposition. If anything, I’ve doubled down on that very way of thinking. Everything that I do must be done with the intention of doing it in the greatest possible way. This can, undoubtedly, bring forth a certain level of pressure with regards to the endeavors that I pursue but I’m not worried about that. Pressure comes with any and everything that we attempt to master. So how is attempting to be great going to be any different? That pressure is a small price to pay, to get to the heights that I am convinced that I am fated to reach. Few are privy of the knowledge of the depths of hell, from which I have emerged. Granted, there are many different iterations of Hades but I can veritably say that I experienced one of them.  No need to elaborate. Suffice to say that I was able to crawl out of that hole and aspire for the things that believe that I deserve. The funny thing about life is that the heights that you, sometimes, covet end up being beyond what the universe may be willing to offer. Maybe the mark that you are meant to make has already been made. Maybe you are at the very end of your road. Maybe I am at the very end of mine….Or maybe the book has many chapters yet to be written. None of us are the wiser. For this reason we are continuously warned that we should prioritize the relationships that we hold dear, by people who have seen the things that we are still approaching, and not focus solely on the achievements that we strive for, daily. Our lives don’t belong to us. They were gifts, given by a higher power. So what exactly are you going to do with yours? If it all ended today, I would be okay because my mom is proud of me. That, to me, is the apex. There was a point in time when I couldn’t be so sure of what I just said. Communication issues. But, putting all of that aside, I still feel that I have more to do. Certain people enter and exit our lives, every day, and we can only hope to learn from the relationships that develop, through those encounters, in order to better navigate the terrain that we occupy. There are answers to everything that we need to know and, a lot of times, they are right in front of us. We’ve simply grown so accustomed to the complexities that most of those answers are cloaked in, that we expect everything to be elaborate. But I believe that there are simple solutions to most things. Exceptions to the rule will always occur but simplifying is what I pour my energies into. That, and not allowing the static to distort the message that was originally intended for me. Take that information as you will. I am only able to speak for myself. The universe has pulled certain individuals into my orbit and repelled others. The repelling was, at times, beyond my understanding. It may not have been what I wanted, in that very moment and, since I am not someone that quits on things, I may have unwittingly attempted to fight for something that, if left to grow in my presence, could have ultimately hurt me. I have learned to trust the universe’s magnetism and fusing those principles with instinct make me supremely confident in the directions that I choose. None of this is to say that I always make the right choices, when I make decisions, but I trust myself enough to not dwell on the mistake once it is made. These beliefs have led me to the precipice of a set of interesting propositions. I don’t feel any fear towards the unknown. The only thing that I truly feel, at the moment, is what my instinct is alerting me to. Greatness is my journey. Not my destination.

No rationale

Irrational confidence is a very dangerous thing to possess. It is also, in many cases of overachieving in the bubble, a necessity. It will always be something that I grapple with because I have been taught to be humble. My question to you is: Where does humility end and the refusal to recognize your own personal greatness begin? Just because I am proud of myself, for having accomplished something, that does not denote narcissism. Of course, if we’re talking about individuals that reflect on said greatness, with the sole purpose of reminding you that they have been exceedingly blessed…well…that’s just obnoxious, and I want no parts of that. But what are you supposed to do when someone acknowledges your greatness, poses that “confirmation-like” question, and you know in your heart that they are right? That question, oftentimes sounds like this: “Oh, so you’re really good at ____, aren’t you?”, and other variations of that observation. We’ve all heard it, and so I pose the following question: If you believe, in your heart, that they’re stating a fact, why can’t you confirm it? After all, we work very hard to obtain the knowledge that we, in turn, utilize to move our lives forward and on the off chance that someone feels the need to test our confidence, if we deem it an acceptable challenge, we should all be comfortable providing further proof of our claims. What says that we can’t be proud of the work that we have put in and, simply, recognize our efforts if we believe in them?

The first time I had ever heard of irrational confidence was while I watched a basketball game. I forget who was playing but I remember someone speaking about a specific player, and saying that “The irrational confidence that once made him a star is the same thing that will torpedo his career.”. I had never taken the time to grasp the concept of that possibility, before having heard what that individual said, but it immediately opened doors in my mind that would never again be closed. Ever since that moment, I have circled the idea of irrational confidence very carefully. I know that it can help me reach heights that I may never reach without it but I am, and will forever be, leery of it’s presence in my life. The scrutiny that I employ while maneuvering through life forces me to manifest a belief in myself that I possess against all of the odds that were placed in opposition of my path but, I often wonder, is it “irrational”? At this point, in my life, I understand exactly what I need to do. The only thing that I wonder is if I will be able to make it to the mountain top, before it’s all said and done. If you’ve never really thought that you would live a long life, it’s sort of difficult to envision a day when you might achieve everything that you now believe to be possible.

The confidence is there but the daily reminder, to accept the fact that I have a small window to do what needs to be done, is always at the forefront of my mind. No complacency, for me. The last thing I want is to be oblivious to the fact that I may possibly be weighing myself down with the very hubris that allowed me to excel. I grew up needing to make sure that I was able to identify any and all modifications that were necessary to my progression. That has not changed. In truth, I have gotten better at identifying the things that need to change around me, and inside of me. This clarity doesn’t imply that I have been successful in doing so, simply that I have become more aware . Adjustments are just a part of the progression and I am not shy about adaptation. Getting carried away, and believing that this ride will last forever is, simply put, a fallacy. The difficulty, I believe, in the subject that I am speaking of, is in ceding your position because your time is up. Who truly ever believes that they have, plainly, run out of time? Yes, we are taught that “Nothing lasts forever” ; however, when are we taught to cede power? Gracefully step aside? I feel that those lessons are just as valuable as learning how to  grasp control. I also believe that our lack of understanding, for the latter, creates the illusion of being able to retain the former.

I rang in 2019 by meditating. I ran through each and every single moment that I could remember and gave respect to each of them. I spent about an hour doing that and I have to admit that I could have, probably, spent more time in deep contemplation. In doing what I did, I sometimes feel as though I’m still meditating. It’s like I set my clock to a certain time and now I’m living my life, following that time. Nevertheless, life feels different now. The confidence that I feel can only be described as “sunlight”. I have more control of myself, in the deepest of senses, and I am increasing my self-comprehension with the more that I learn about the person that I am becoming. I know what I need to do, in order to be the person that I am needed to become. Do I really need to be irrationally confident, to become that person? Who knows? Will it help me achieve my goals? Or will it tear me down because I’ve taken it too far?

Foreigner Exchange – Episode 2 (Ben Williams)

Ben4Ben…man…what can I say about Ben? He is quite a character. We struck up a very quick friendship, upon the basis of his efforts to engineer a culture of sharing, within the community. I have a lot of respect for that because, this is a man that is using his valuable time to spark an idea in the minds of others. An idea that shouldn’t be so foreign to us. I know that we all share things with people that we love. You might make dinner for your significant other, or buy your kid a cookie, but what about the people that you have no emotional connection to? Do you have to feel something for someone in order to do a selfless deed? In that case, is it truly selfless? Whatever you believe to be true, Ben is challenging that notion with a picnic blanket and some vegetables, harvested on the farm that he works on. The shit, ain’t elaborate. Nor does it have to be.

 

I make sure to see him every week, on my way back home, and I have seen the growth in his project. Drivers, stuck in traffic, can’t help but watch as cyclists, joggers, and various passers-by stop under the tree, where the vegetables have been set, and start to learn of the idea that Ben is attempting to project to the masses. I see other folks wanting to know what is going on but they are nervous, apprehensive maybe. He understands, and greets everyone with the same warm-hearted smile, regardless of whatever face they make, in his direction. Please take the time to listen to the conversation that we had, in our time together. The idea to share with others definitely isn’t new but, every now and then, we need a bit of a recharge. As Ben shares with us, I share this with you.