Finding My Inner Philosopher – Part 1

To avoid complete mental overload, I’m going to pick up where I left off from yesterday’s post by answering questions 1-3 tonight. I’ve been thinking about my answers all day… it feels [quite literally] like somebody put my brain in the washing machine on spin cycle. Fingers crossed it comes out like brand new  😉

Oh, before I start… one thing I forgot to mention yesterday is that my mum bought me a hair cut / colour / style for my (eek, 31st) birthday. In her words, my hair was ratty and feral. Cheers for that, Mum… *eye-roll* … it seriously wasn’t that bad, it’s just that it stays up in a bun or a ponytail during Semester because I’m a poor student now… I can’t afford to have it tended to every 6-8 weeks at a cost of around $180-$230 each time!!!!

The point behind this apparent deviation from the thread is that I felt confident enough yesterday to post a photo of myself (with the new hairstyle) on Facebook… that’s the first time in 18 months. All the changes with my body while I’ve been unwell have made me feel awkward, uncomfortable and very unattractive in my own skin. Not self-pitying here, just stating the facts. So the FB posting was a HUGE step and I’m really proud of it. OK, got that out of my system… moving on…

Question #1: Should your passion pay your bills?   

My passion has always paid my bills. I live, eat and breathe design. Anyone who knows me would say the same, I think. I graduated from my first degree (Bach. of Built Environment – Interior Design) in 2002 and have either been full-time employed, running my own business or sub-contracting to other businesses since that time. I was lucky enough to live in a place where the work never really ran out, even in times of financial crisis. That was the only good thing about the place – all the other experiences I could cheerfully have done without. My passion hasn’t always paid my bills well but it has paid them.

There were times when I was stressed about where the next paycheck was coming from, or spent nights awake worrying about whether or not the work would run dry. But if you asked me if I would have it any other way, the answer is no. There is no humanly possible way that I could operate within standard hours, doing the same thing day in, day out. Creativity strikes when it strikes and having the flexibility to work the more mundane elements of the job around those moments is unsurpassed.

I do understand that this wouldn’t work for everyone. There are people out there who need the structure of a workplace – set working times and job descriptions… and (sadly) there are people out there who don’t actually have a driving passion. I can’t actually imagine what that would be like. To take away my love for design would be like taking away the sun for me – it would rob me of the driving force that makes me who I am.

Then there are others who like their jobs but want to save their passions for their ‘down’ time, or who use their jobs to afford their passions (eg. Carrie Bradshaw wrote a sex & dating column to support her designer shoe habit – dodgy example but you get the picture). I’m quite sure there are people whose passions couldn’t actually pay their bills… someone whose passion was, say, collecting garden gnomes… or (on a more serious note) looking after their children/family or investing their time in helping others (volunteer work)… it may not pay the bills financially but I can guarantee it would fill that person up spiritually and emotionally.

So I guess the conclusion that I’m coming to is that even though [in a perfect world] people would love to be paid for their passions, it’s not always an option. But for those of us that can be; if it fulfils you emotionally – and you can cope with the somewhat unstable nature of the cash flow – then my advice is do it. Don’t hesitate. It’s incredibly worthwhile.

Question #2: How does trust work?  

Oh boy. This is a biggie. Joe points out in his blog entry that trust comes about in a business / personal environment when one acts consistently and this then becomes a yard stick for integrity. I agree. But his next sentence is a lot more poignant… trust is a mysterious concept. Hell yes it is. The major question underpinning this topic is whether or not trust can be defined in a positive way?

The optimist in me says yes, it can but only when referring to trusting ourselves, trusting that you have the right tools and systems in place to deal with all the things life throws at us… knowing that our inner selves always have the right answer. The pessimist in me says that’s not always the case and I think I can only say that because there have been times when I’ve not 100% trusted or backed myself and things have gone slightly (read: grossly) pear-shaped.

In a perfect world, everyone would trust one another to always do the right thing and behave in ways that were good, honourable and pure. The reality is that trust relies on predictability and human beings are definitely not predictable. There are those of us who go to great lengths to always be there for others and make ourselves into someone who others can have faith in (unerringly).

Then there are the others. I think I’ve dated most of male versions of those. haha. But in all seriousness, in an increasingly ‘self’ centred society, the desire for other people to have trust in us isn’t what it should be. I actually know of people who have uttered the words “You trust me?!? You shouldn’t” … and yes, I was disgusted that they were OK with that. I certainly wasn’t.

So in terms of defining trust in a positive light, for me it comes down to this; If one was prepared to invest time and effort into developing a rich inner life and an established set of ethical guidelines, then I believe the natural off-shoot of that would be the creation of a trusting relationship with oneself. And that’s an incredibly positive thing.

Question 3: Why do some people apologise too much and others not at all?

I should title this section “Confessions of a Chronic Apologiser”… because that’s who I am through and through. I have to consciously catch myself for apologising for things that are completely not my fault. Often situations where an apology isn’t even warranted. And ever since I’ve been unwell, I have this incredibly irritating habit of apologising for not being who I used to be. I assume that is probably directly tied to my somewhat battered self-esteem and guilt at not being able to do all the things I used to.

But I’m wholeheartedly in Joe’s corner on this one… yes, chronic apologies can seem a little odd and possibly a sign of weakness but WTF is with people who openly abuse others for things completely out of that person’s control?? Or because of a simple, unintentional and more than likely easily rectified mistake?? I think it again comes back to the fact that society is becoming far more self-centred in a negative way.

The generation of young kids coming through have a sense of entitlement and authority that I find quite revolting, frankly. Recently at our local shopping centre, I overhead a boy (who was maybe 13 or so) ask his mother if she’d bought something particular (and non-consequential) from the grocery store. When she replied that she’d forgotten, he launched a string of expletives and utterances about how hopeless she was and his mother looked properly chastised. What happened next was absolutely unbelievable… she apologised to him. And went back into the store to get it. I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to tell her to give him a clip over the ear and ban him from going anywhere or doing anything until he was 18. To each her own on parenting styles but I certainly hope that child never ends up in one of my parent’s classrooms. They’d get a swift dose of reality there.

Bottom line: I believe that people who apologise too much are largely nice people who were raised with good morals and standards and who possibly carry around a little or a lot of guilt (real or perceived). It may not be guilt relating to the situation they find themselves apologising for but chronic apologising is one of the ways that the guilt / perceived weakness manifests itself. I believe those who don’t apologise at all have been raised in the complete opposite situation and have been handed that sense of entitlement by a parent or authority figure who didn’t realise the monster they were creating. I have no time for those types of people.

I don’t think they experience a lot of guilt and I think even if they did, they’d find it pretty easy to quash. I know this seems harsh but I’m thinking back to events just in my own life over the last 5-6 weeks and I can see it all a lot clearer now. I have a fabulous example but it wouldn’t be fair to that person to share it. For these types, to apologise is beneath them … they don’t actually believe the person they’ve wronged deserves an apology. Or it’s something that’s hard for them to do so it gets swept under the rug or manifests itself as anger / irritation. Or it’s because they’re so used to be pandered too that they don’t even realise that they should.

I was about to write “I’m sorry for being so cut & dried about these opinions…” until I realised that I don’t have to apologise for my thoughts! They’re opinions, they’re subjective and I won’t always say something you all agree with. We only have our personal experience to go on and that’s what working through these questions are all about… working out where I sit on the big (and not so big issues)…

Til tomorrow…  🙂

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7 thoughts on “Finding My Inner Philosopher – Part 1

  1. For starters…I missed the link of the Ted Talk you’re referring to, so it’ll be nice if you can get that out to me; I’d like to watch it. I decided to add you to my Google Reader and am not disappointed :). The questions in your last post and your answers in this one are interesting and have intrigued me to different degrees. Heh…maybe I’ll write on them some day who knows. Here’s my thoughts (brief) on the 3 questions:

    a) Follow your passion? – Oh by all means. Don’t think too much about money and bills and all that. I mean…obviously those ARE there…but if you can’t do it say today..follow your passion, I mean…surely you can work towards it. You’re right when you say it isn’t always an option…but too many people site “a difficult life” as an excuse to not doing anything. All I’m saying is…if today you want to be a carpenter..but cant. Don’t. Do what earns you the cash. But keep the dream alive..and learn the skill ..slowly..bit by bit if you can. Maybe some say…if you’re still alive mentally..you could live it.

    b) Trust? – You said it. You cannot expect trust from ANYONE if you do not trust yourself. And you can IMHO trust yourself, only if you know:
    —– What you’re doing in what situation
    —– Why you’re doing it

    If you trust your gut and do it coz it “feels right”…you might have some success but you’ll more often than not put it down to luck or good fortune and not realize you did something right. So…I try and have a reason for why I do anything. From choosing a shirt..to a hotel…to a friend…for what I say, do …everything. Of course I slip up and fall flat many times. But I keep going. Force myself to find a reason. For everything. The inner voice is harsh sometimes, and you’d long to silence it…but it can help you get to the bottom of..many things…many mysteries. IF..IF…you want to 🙂

    Trusting others is far trickier. The biggest problems here are our own expectations. My best friend and me (thats 20+ years now or more I dunno) have zero expectations of each other. Sometimes we dont talk for months…and that’s fine. I realize he has more important things..and viceversa. The moment you start expecting…you open yourself up to disappointment. Sure that sounds..kind of negative…but that’s the truth. So does that mean we just shut off? No…but never be surprised by what anyone does at any time. In other words as someone in some sport I was watching said… ‘Expect the worst…but hope for the best’ :). Relationships get trickier…but I won’t start writing about that…coz it’ll just go on and on.

    c) Apologies? – I love what you’ve written on this. And its the best of the 3. It’s a very personal thing though..apologies. I’d say…if you’ve reneged on any commitment…stated or assumed…verbal or non verbal…you must apologize. It’s not a common thing though…many a time. And it goes back to trusting yourself…if you know what you did and why you did it…you’ll automatically know when to apologize. If it gets too bad with people you like/care for/love/ and you feel they should say sorry or thank you but aren’t?… and it’s affecting you? …go on and talk to them. It might help. If they still don’t want to listen…walk on.

    Heh..as usual..I talked a lot. Won’t apologize though…that’s who I am 🙂

    • I’m so sorry re: the TED talk, I must not have embedded it properly. I’m not brilliant with technology, which makes the decision i made this morning to try and build a website and develop an app for my architectural studies so much funnier – and harder. Lol

      Here is the link:

      And thank you for adding me to google reader! There will be a great deal of philosophical / personal stuff over the next little while (not sure how long that will be – I guess until I figure it out!! Haha)

      I was really interested in your answer on the ‘trust’ issue. I always say, to myself and others… “I don’t care WHAT you do, just make sure you know your motivation. Be honest about your motivation” … I fall on my face more often than anyone I know unless I say that to myself as a mantra. Lol. And FYI, when it comes to love relationships and trust, that would be a big long post all on its own!!

      Always a pleasure to hear your responses, Armind 🙂 I’ve only just woken up from an afternoon nap – the heat is disgusting so I decided to sleep through it – so more than likely i’ll have more to write later when my brain fog clears!!

  2. This is brilliant and probably one of my favorite sentences I’ve read in the last couple of months —-> “If one was prepared to invest time and effort into developing a rich inner life and an established set of ethical guidelines, then I believe the natural off-shoot of that would be the creation of a trusting relationship with oneself.”

    Also on apologies, definitely with you there. Actually, I think it relates to humility / being humbled too….personally, I am always appreciative when I am humbled by something or someone. This is not to say that I don’t get embarrassed or feel awkward, but I still like the feeling that I’m learning and that I can be wrong. It seems to help keep me working hard to be a better person.

    • I’m so glad you were able to take something from it! That brought a smile to a very tired face 🙂

      Humility – that’s the perfect word to describe what I was trying to say… being humbled is one of those things that I associate a real physical response with. There really is nothing quite like it, is there?

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