Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Confidence vs. Ego

Confucious describes a superior man as "modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions." Ego is often mistaken as confidence because it is so vocal. Ego has a loud mouth and uses words as a big shield for all of the insercurites that a person possesses. It is easy to hide behind words and to use them to create an image for yourself. Vocalizing what you want to be percieved as forces approval from others, which is necessary for the ego to keep functioning. Without the words as a foundation, the structure of the person crumbles. Confidence, on the other hand, is a silent, free standing structure. It doesn't need words to hold it up. It is the energy a person gives off. Confident people live their lives how they want and don't need the approval of others. They do things because those activities make them happy, not because they have a reputation to uphold. They don't need to tell people how awesome they think they are because they are just happy being. When I think about confidence, the first person that comes to mind is one of my friends from Colorado. He is one of the studliest people I have ever met... Longs Peak trail crew stud, hardcore climber, and crazy thrill seeking extreme sports man, but he doesn't go on and on about how great he is. He's nice to be around because he doesn't make you feel like you're a wimp. Most of the time you would never even know how crazy athletic he is unless you asked him what he did that day. He wouldn't even brag his responce. It would be a no big deal "I decided I would hike 4 peaks today, but then it ended up being a run up 4 peaks because a storm was moving in." He didn't need my approval or look of awe to make the experience worth while. That's a person who's comfortable with themself. It's not the person wandering around pronouncing how attractive they think they are and all the things that they've accomplished. They need their ego to hide behind and because they aren't comfortable with themself and they need the approval of others to make what they did mean anything significant. So now I conclude with this question... If you really think you are attractive or good at something do you really need other people to reassure that fact?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Finding Our True Selves

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.  -e.e. cummings

One of the biggest challenges in life is discovering the people we are rather than creating the people that are acceptable to others. People need to be accepted or perceived as a certain type of person, so instead of just being who we are, we rely possessions and words to define us. We use a label, like "climber," "metal-head," or "artist," to define us. Our lives then revolve around that label. We buy certain things, shop certain places, wear a certain brand of clothing, dye our hair a certain color, and we only partake in activities that are suiting to the image we want to give off. We can basically create a person that we want to be. When I was in Alaska on a NOLS trip, I saw what happens when people are stripped of their labels and material possessions. We were a group of people from different backgrounds sent out to brave the Alaskan wilderness as a team. When we were in the backcountry, you couldn't tell who was the hippie or who was the frat boy. We all looked the same; dirty and wearing rain jackets, hats, hiking pants, and boots. Our looks and our possessions didn't matter. Our true selves were exposed because we didn't have anything to hide behind. We had what we needed to survive and that was it. We didn't talk about who had the most high tech phone or what brand of jeans was our favorite. Those things weren't important anymore, so it opened up the conversation to deep and meaningful subjects. Real friendships were developed based on who we were as people, not by our possessions or our image. After we got back into society after a month, it was weird seeing everyone dressed in their everyday clothes and talking about the car they owned or the job they had to go back to. It was like that wasn't them. It was then I learned that people who live off of the bare minimum are their true selves. Possessions and labels don't define them, they are just living and being. Living in nature with the bare minimum is key in overcoming the challenge of discovering our true selves. When you have nothing to hide behind, all that is left is you.