I recently read this quote by Osho from an article a friend shared with me.
“Drop the idea of becoming someone, because you are already a masterpiece. You cannot be improved. You have only to come to it, to know it, to realize it.”
That sounds so good. Now my wife might argue there is plenty of room for improvement, but she’s not my worst critic. Like most people, I’m 50:50 my biggest advocate and detractor, often in the same moment. My personal criticism steeps in fear of failure, anxiety about the relentless tick of time, and bitter jealousy of others.
Here’s a list of 5 things I could do without in my life if I really want to drop the idea of becoming someone. Not exhaustive. They’re just examples of personal triggers. And reflecting on them – and my reactions – is like flipping over the rocks in the dirty mud to see what types of creepies and crawlies emerge, but in this case the creepies and crawlies are gaps in my belief in my own personal masterpiece.
- X under X Lists – I hate CNN Money and Forbes and Business Insider and Inc. and anyone else for these lists. “40 Top Paid Execs Under 40”. Suck it. “30 CEOs Under 30”. Fuck you. “25 Intelligent, Beautiful and Accomplished Wunderkind You Want to Curb Stomp and then Murder.” My eyes are drawn to these lists like a car accident, but in this case the corpse with the hand dangling off the stretcher is me. I can’t help but look at the names, faces and stories on these lists and feel like I’ve somehow failed in a material way, and will always come up short, by not achieving something similar in a similar timeline. Even worse, I desperately and terribly want bad things to rain down upon these folks, many of whom I’m sure are lovely people who busted their asses to get where they are (Elizabeth Holmes being an obvious outlier). In the end, I’m disgusted with myself for being a failure, and equally disgusted with myself for being petty and envious. If they had a loathsome list, I’d make it.
- Tall People – I’m 5’8’. On a good day. With shoes. On a tall mountain where the pull of gravity on my belly is a bit less. I have always been jealous of tall people. Tall people become presidents and CEOs. Tall people get served easier in bars (which is why I send my wife up to order. That and because I’m lazy). Tall people can take your things and hold them above your head and taunt you and make you try and jump for them even though you’re a grown man and you’re on the subway heading to a business meeting.
- The Oscars and Emmys – I’ve never watched one of these shows and emerged feeling good about myself. There is just something about an industry that is so deeply engaged in blowing itself that grates on me. I should be able to easily dismiss the entire spectacle. I even went to the Emmys last year, so I’ve seen it first hand and can certainly say there is nothing unique about a bunch of d-bags in tuxedos getting plastered. And yet…..and yet…..the jealousy emerges and the fear that I am somehow less fills my soul…..less important, less good, less valuable, less beautiful.
- Retirement Planners – I’ve railed on this topic before. In this list, these folks are the true fearmongers. You will die poor. You will die cold. You will be sexually assaulted in a state-run home. But….don’t worry….just give us a huge chunk of your money for your entire life and we can protect you. Forego experiences and joy while you’re young and healthy. I hate everything about the system and yet you better believe I fill my 401K every year. So I hate it and believe it to be a rigged system, and yet I fall prey to it and then dislike myself a bit more for getting caught in the net.
- Bums – Whenever I see a bum (is bum PC these days? Hobo?), I feel an instant twinge of guilt for everything I have. My stomach sours with the perceived risk of seeing my personal charade come to a crashing end as I move into a fridge box under a bridge. And not a good fridge box. A Kenmore. Of course I have a ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ reaction, but that’s a figure of speech only, because believing an activist God would choose me for a roof over my head over Captain Schizophrenia is ludicrous. The darker secret is a suspicion that maybe even the bums have got a card up on me. They’ve figured it out. Opt out. Check out. Freedom.
So here’s all we need to do to help me ‘realize it’. Eliminate other successful people, or at least articles highlighting their success. Actually just eliminate the media while we’re at it. Deny future tall people nutrition during their developmental phase. Bomb LA and Wall Street. And finally let me know if the bums are all actually laughing at me behind my back.