What matters most to me, and why?
Many would find it difficult, even impossible, to determine what truly matters to me, what I really hold dear. If you were to ask the people who most often interact with me what makes me stand out the most, their answer would likely be the sheer scope of things I could be.
I have been to a thousand places and worn a thousand faces, motivated not by the profit I could turn, but the things that allows me to learn. This brings me to the first value this essay will look into- knowledge, specifically of the self. Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War“ states that if one knows neither the enemy nor themselves, they will succumb in every battle. A lithany of good deeds fail each day due to people overestimating, deceiving, or twisting themselves. Increasing your workload as you chase a promotion is commendable, but how much work is too much? Shouldering a friend or two’s burdens is praiseworthy, but how much can you take before their troubles fester within your own mind and stress piles up too high?
One would be right to notice that self-knowldege, as defined by this paper, goes hand-in-hand with honesty. I hold its application, both to the self and to all around them, in high regard. Honest with oneself, candid with those around you, even only sincere enough to tell a lie with more truth than falsity- it is a power the presence or abscence of which holds incredible sway in how we shape our lives. For as long as I have lived, I have witnessed those who exist as layered beings- ply after ply of dishonesty about their likes, dislikes, desires and opinions. It is my firm belief that to start achieving, one must embrace earnesty- at least somewhat.
But what would granting importance to honesty be if I paid no attention to the things one should be honest about? Thankfully, they coincide with what further matters greatly to me- fear and ambition. Neither are values of mine, yet they matter a lot to me due to how prominent they are in each person’s lives- they are the main reasons why insight into the self and integrity in everything one does are so important. What a person fears and what they covet, materially as well as spiritually, are the two greatest factors that determine whether they ascend or fall in their lifetime, to my mind. I do not consider myself as having achieved a lot so far, but what little I have would never have been achieved without me figuring out and confessing to what I want and what causes me dread.
Yet these are only half of this advanced set of things I hold in chief significance. Single-mindedly working to achieve my goals at any cost while swerving around my fears has often caused me and a wealth of others to crash and burn, remembered for bringing others pain, embitterment and disappointment. This is where mercy and compassion, possibly the concepts I prize most of all discussed here, come in. To me, a human, nay, a person is not complete without the desire to better himself in whatever field they choose, and without the realization that this desire must be occasionally curbed. In our pursuit to overcome a fear or achieve a dream, we often forget that some things are simply not worth doing or sacrificing for our satisfaction.
To practice what I preach, dear reader, I shall impart to you something that never changes, however I may adapt and shift personality-wise. If I have not helped or have harmed any number of souls in my pursuits, my eventual success tastes that much less sweet. Finally, I would like to broach the subject of doubt. The practice of it, termed skepticism, is neither the most nor least important concept I present to your attention, but is just as integral to this paper as any other. In this day and age, one of the easiest things to do is drown in information, in every aspect and on any subject imaginable. Doubt, like fear, is a natural defensive response of the brain- one protects from perceived dangers, the other-from possible falsehoods. As with ambition, compassion and mercy, I advocate for the use of doubt as much as for its restraint- after all, doubting everything leads to nothing short of psychological collapse.
I have discovered that being skeptic, albeit healthily so, is especially useful in our time, where the lauded modern treasure troves of knowledge (chiefly the Internet) are loaded with so much biased information we may as well be living in the second Dark Ages. Measured doubt as part of one’s general modus operandi also builds a more insightful, perceptive personality-ever a plus in present times.
Thus we arrive at the end, dear reader. Should I apologise for being long-winded (perhaps my teacher was not wrong to compare me to Marx in this regard)? Together, we have reviewed, in dreadful brevity I’m afraid, concepts which bring the darkest coal and brightest gold out of the near-infinite mine that is the human spirit.
Did you catch the underlying value, the one which tied all the ideas I wrote about today? Let me elaborate -prosperity. The last 940 words have been dedicated to describing the inner workings of what is most important to me- prosperity, with the end goal of tranquility, for the self and for the whole world. Self-knowledge and honesty (or lack thereof), to decide how far and how exactly to go in our lives, as no other creature can; Mercy and compassion, enabling us to create and preserve, for all those around and all to come after us; and doubt, to help us shape ourselves and our surroundings with precision. These concepts, to me, represent the ultimate combination that would lead me, and if I’m successful-the world, to such lofty heights as global peace, an end to worldwide hunger, and so forth.
Describe yourself in 5 words?
Caring, calculating, clandestine, curious, idealistic.
What are your top 5 values (principles or standards of behavior)?
Compassion, diligence, philantrophy, hope, curiosity.
What are you most proud of and why?
It depends on how my life has been going recently and on my level of energy for every specific days. Some days, I am proud of the amateur prose and poetry I write or edit, or of my (admittedly scant) roles in amateur theater, and other days, I’m most proud of myself for getting out of bed. Most consistently, though, I’m proud of being someone sensitive to how much hurt cna be inflicted at any time, and who prefers not to inflict it.