Adolescence. Becoming an adult. It’s the part, where we try to figure out what the hell we want to do with this life. We go out, try new things, get disappointed, break down, get back up and try again the next day. We gather different experiences. Experiences can mean different things to different people. They view a certain situation differently because of their belief system and the different ways of constructing meaning from experience. But, where do these belief systems come from??
Our most hardwired, infectious and natural belief is our self-centeredness. Our belief that the world evolves around us. And us only. That we are the most important person. That our problems and day-to-day struggles are the most frustrating ones. That people are always in our way. That some things are only there to annoy us and keep us from flying higher.
This – let’s be honest here – arrogance is our most natural instinct. Growing up, we all receive some sort of education, whether that’s through homeschooling, high school, college or university. We learn how to form and express our opinions. We learn how to interpret the different arts of life, so that someday, we will eventually master them ourselves. We learn „how to think“. But that’s actually a crucial mislead.
Education doesn’t provide guidance towards ethical stability and human morality. Education inhabits the simple truth that we have a choice. We can chose how we react in certain situations. We can chose what we think. We can chose our mindset. And that in itself is our greatest pleasure and pain point. It’s the ultimate freedom to our finite existence.
We can chose how to think of the dreading, frustrating and endlessly boring routines of being an adult. We can hate going to the grocery store after work, getting stuck in traffic, entering an overfilled store with distorting neon lights and loud music, having to wait in an endless line at the check-out, while we are exhausted and tired and hungry and the only thing we want is to get some groceries, go home and go to bed. We can be angry at the lady that cut in line in front of us at the check out or we can be angry at the black SUV that almost crashed into our car and was driving way too fast. Thinking in this mindset is our natural, built-in belief system.
But here is another option. We could think that the lady is in way more of a hurry than we are because her husband has cancer and she needs to get back to the hospital and that the driver of the black SUV is a father whose sick child is sitting right next to him and he is trying to get to a doctor. In that case, you would be in their way. Of course these situations might differ from reality. They are very unlikely, but they are possible. And even though, it takes self control and hard work because it’s against our most natural instinct, it’s our choice what to make of the situation, how to think, how to act. That to me is the truth of the real value of education and the challenge of becoming an adult. To learn to pay attention to the important things right in front of us.