Know Yourself to Know Your Neighbor

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All things happen for a reason. Nothing is set into motion without a force, of some kind, propelling it. These are the laws of physics but they are also the laws of behavior and personalities. Humans are not excluded from the laws that govern the rest of the universe.

I think 99% of us are born capable of the same intelligence, creativity, and productivity. Then we grow up and some of us have inspiring figures in our lives that we aspire to be like. Some of us have parents we’re close to and don’t want to disappoint, so we act responsibly. Others don’t, so the powerful incentives for good choices aren’t there. We began similar but the positive and negatives forces of the world take it from there. We diverge but not randomly. Every characteristic, good or bad, is a scar the world left on us.

Depending on where we grow up, what our family was like, what the friends in our school were like, and other variables, we become us. What the world throws at us changes us but whatever attributes we develop as a result of our environment, others would have likely done the same had they been born in our place. In order to be truly different, your instinctive motivations, aspirations, anxieties, insecurities would have to be inhuman. Pause and ask yourself, does advertising get through to you or do funny commercials, sales, and sex appeal not affect your attention? Do you feel happier when you’re around people? Do you remember embarrassing moments long after they’ve passed? I think the odds are, you’re a lot like the rest of us.

I am before all other things, a person. I am defined as a person more than as an individual.

I love to surf, it’s an almost spiritual experience for me. Thats unique because only a small % of the US population are avid surfers. But surfing is not in my blood. I happened to grow up near the ocean and people I knew volunteered to teach me. Paddling out into big surf is amazing but most people fit enough to paddle out would feel similarly. The cold water shocks you awake, the roar of crashing waves excites, the waves passing beneath you are lulling. Surfing is like a beautiful woman, it is so intoxicating that it’s easy to fall in love.

I love music but I grew up around it. Had blues not been playing every time I went somewhere with my dad, then I might not love soulful music like I do today. Had I grown up listening to country I might like it instead of finding it annoying. These are examples of how I did not make myself.

Take it a step further and you’ll see I’m even less unique. I consider surfing and music to be important parts of me but if I had to move to Arizona for five years, I might fall in love with rock climbing over time. If I moved to Texas and lived on a ranch for five tears, country music might grow on me. So the things that make me an individual are fluid.

The things that truly define me are my human characteristics. They are persistent characteristics that I will have no matter what. Things like the enjoyment of adrenaline. The natural high of a sport, whether it be surfing a wave or climbing a rock face, is always going to appeal to me. The emotion of a song in the right setting, too, will always hit me. Whether it be the nostalgia of blues, country blasting in a pickup truck with the windows down, or Christmas music in a cozy cabin on a winter night, music will always be a stimulant to my emotions.

I am social. Many of my life’s greatest moments were moments of shared laughter and adventure. My dreams and ambitions never leave me, not for a day. Sexuality is in my bones, large breasts will usually catch my attention. I want to feel attractive. I prefer to be liked. These are my most important and persistent characteristics, and they are basic human traits.

I’m in your head and, if you choose to think clearly, you’re in mine. My thoughts are not so unique that they can’t be guessed at. Neither are yours. That’s why we can be marketed to. We respond to similar stimuli. We notice sex appeal and like commercials that make us laugh. We like stores that convey a feeling of individuality. We’ll pay extra for a warm, social atmosphere. We are social beings, our happiness directly tied to connecting with others. We have ambition, dreams, we worry about money, aren’t making enough, we wish we did fun things more, and love YouTube. Our similarities are too numerous to list.

Trying to define yourself? Start with the things that define us all.

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