UCWG 041: Can You Forge a Unique Path While Trapped in the Confines of a Conventional University? Exploring Purpose and Opportunity Beyond the Four-Year College Path with Sabah Ali.


The conventional four-year college path is one of the most outdated social structures of the modern world. This is not to say that it is completely without value for some people, only that its present application as a required entryway from childhood illusion to the cold, hard, ugly “real world” of adulthood. The typical college student in most part of the United States is defined by a lack of ambition and direction, filling their idle time with self-destructive substances and parties, not the passion for a specific pursuit that college will create a path to.

Our guest today is a college entrepreneur. Sabah Ali exists somewhere in the middle ground between the conventional college student who entered the path because it was what she was “supposed to” do, and a genuine, personal drive to succeed in business and life. As she prepares for her final year as a senior at Iowa State University, she reflects upon the choices that brought her to the college path and where things are going for her afterward. She ponders how different her life may already have turned out had she chosen something more unconventional, such as traveling the world, starting a business, or just a variety of types of professional experience.

College was once the only path to certain kinds of knowledge and professional options. In the age of the internet, this is rarely still the case. The world will urge you to conform to the actions that shaped their upbringing, the “common knowledge” that now dictates what is to be considered ordinary human behavior for your generation. Their arguments are bland and generic, never coming from a place of grounded personal experience or connecting to your specific desires. Real reasons to go to college or university cannot be extracted from a person who never discovered their values. Real reasons cannot be accepted by a young person who has never had the social opportunities to think about their actions. He cannot make a rational choice about how to best pursue his goals, least of all how to spend the crucial developmental years that kick off his acceptance into the social domain of adulthood. Colleges and universities today, more than anything else, give unprepared teenagers four additional years to avoid the responsibility of real choices, of learning to live their lives as their own masters.

The standard college experience gives young adults who have never had to make any meaningful decisions about their own lives an artificial structure through which to form their relationships, education, and overall lifestyle. If taken too seriously, it can permanently damage an exceptional individual’s ability to think on their terms. Modern schooling institutions rob individuals of their individual by cutting them off from the practical consequences of critical thinking, encompassing them in a womb of security where no chances are taken and no mistakes are ever felt. In the end, they emerge as a mostly homogenized blend of their social values, destroying their capacity to create new things for themselves or the remainder of the human world.

If you find yourself on a path of dissatisfaction with the conventional paths presented to you, do not give in to the pressure to give in to the easy options readily available. Instead, go off purposefully to find something strange, challenging, and unpredictable. Take time away from the motion of your ordinary world to gain clarity and perspective over what the ideal choice for you may be. You cannot choose what is right until you have a decent idea about the possible options the world holds for someone such as you. Yet, the educational model of the modern world demands that you set yourself on a life course that will affect your major economic and lifestyle possibilities until the time you die. Do not rush into social comfort and prepared molds for living. Allow yourself to burn in the fires of uncertainty for as long as you are able. Soon, you will have the strength of character to make the right decisions for the principle of what you seek.

Sabah Ali, Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory

Sabah Ali, Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory

Things mentioned:

Sabah Ali:



Sabah Ali’s podcast, From the Dorm Room to the Boardroom:



Sabah Ali’s book, Enrolling in Confidence:


UCWG 040: What if You Could Design Your Own Country? Starting a Sovereign Nation from Scratch with Vít Jedlička, President of Liberland.

Vít Jedlička is the president of the world’s youngest country. His new micronation, the Free Republic of Liberland, is only three square miles in size. It was established in April 2016 in an area between Croatia and Serbia which had been unclaimed by either country for many years. Unlike other emerging territories on Earth, there are no other claims to ownership on the land Liberland has been established on.

Founded primarily on libertarian values, the nation of Liberland is designed to cater to people who do not identify with the values of the place they were arbitrarily born into. Vít believes that people everywhere should be free to set up lives for themselves where they are free to live how they want, in line with their preferences and values. For most people in the world, their nationality and cultural values define their behavior and opportunities more than any other single factor in their lives. Without extraordinary effort to take these matters into their own hands by moving outside their culture and acquiring new nationalities, they remain slave to the social conditions of their birth.

What defines a nation today is nothing more than an arbitrary agreement among world powers of which boundaries matter and which do not. Throughout the world, there are over 100 areas which are considered disputed territories or demi-nations. Each is fighting for recognition among the leading world powers that are always in flux and generally taken for granted. The world does not have to look the way that it does, ruled by the groups that currently claim the power to make rules and raise armies to enforce their views. With changes in technology and philosophy, the layout of the world will evolve rapidly.

In its short lifespan, Liberland has acquired nearly half a million applicants for citizenship through its merit system, which will eventually award passports and citizenship to those who provide significant value for the development of the country. The team behind Liberland currently has the task of determining which of the many applicants adhere properly to the values they have declared for the nation, and which have earned the right to call themselves citizens by the time they are ready to start operating as an official part of the world political landscape.

Liberland is slowly being developed with physical structures and community activities, though it is still difficult to access the land. Currently, Croatia prevents entry into Liberland. In doing so, they are acknowledging that Liberland is a separate nation from itself. If Vít and his team go through the proper channels to establish their nationhood, Liberland will someday be respected by existing world powers as a real nation. Whether or not that ever happens, right now it still stands for an important principle of freedom and individual choice in how cultures evolve. Someday, nations will be far smaller and more personalized than the 196 monoliths we have now. Someday, they nations may be obsolete entirely.


Vít Jedlička, President of Liberland, Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory Diehl

Vít Jedlička, President of Liberland, Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory Diehl

Things mentioned:




Vít Jedlička




Montevideo Convention, rules for starting a country:



List of disputed territories in the world:



Artsakh, between Armenia and Azerbaijan:





Abkhazia, Georgia:








Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization:



UCWG 039: How Do You Take the First Step of the Exceptional Path? Overcoming the Burden of Lifestyle Choice and Arriving at Your Own Authentic Values.

A regular listener of Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory joins the show to have an emotionally vulnerable discussion about breaking away from the ordinary life she is trapped in. She learns that as much as she knows what she doesn’t want from her life, she has never seriously considered what she actually values. She has had no rational way to take the first step away from familiarity and embrace the unknown.

The nature of living in a complex society is such that it seems nearly impossible to extricate your life from the constantly moving pieces of the machinery you have grown to live as part of. Stay stuck in the motion too long, and it becomes impossible to envision what your life can look like beyond its boundaries. As a result, even the people who begin to realize that there is more to their identity than what they have been told can never figure out how to take the meaningful first step away from the life they already know. They only know that that do not want to repeat the defining values they already know.

This idle suffering, if it persists for too long, can bring an exceptional young person to madness. In one form or another, they must begin to make meaningful decisions in the pursuit of their personal values. Above all, these choices must move out of the realm of concepts and into actions that challenge them, physical, mentally, and emotionally all at once. That is the only way they see what remains true for them in the face of great challenge.

The point of having values is to segregate and evaluate what actions to take out of all possible choices. Your values define for you what is right and wrong, what will bring you the deepest sense of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. If you are never placed in a position to think with your own agency and arrive at a new choice with your values, you will always default to the values others have implanted within you. They have already made a million major and minor choices, so you don’t have to.

When you know the nature of your values, you will be able to reverse engineer the actions you can take, out of all possible actions, which will bring you closer to the embodiment of your values in your life. When you are thrust into the uncomfortable unknown, you will find that you have to make a choice. The nature of that choice will reveal who you fundamentally are.

In order to be able to make any sort of meaningful choice at all, you first need one vital thing as the foundation of your actions, and it is something notably missing in young people today (especially young women): self-worth. Without confidence in your wants and your abilities, you will never do anything new at all. This is the primordial step away from the life you already know: to believe in yourself so well that no matter what happens, you trust you will always thrive in the infinite uncertainty of the universe at large.

UCWG 038: Why Do Men Today Fail to Develop Mature Masculinity? Reclaiming the Masculine Essence with Nate Lind of Legendary-Man.com

Today, more than ever, there seems to be a growing culture war between masculinity and femininity in society. Men are starting to feel threatened by the growing presence and empowerment of women, just as women are losing touch with their feminine nature as they are pushed to take on masculine roles coercively. Nothing is in its right place anymore, and society suffers because we have lost the natural balance between us.

Masculinity does not have to look like any one stereotypical role in society. It is an agreement which changes over time and across cultures. Every society on Earth has a somewhat different idea of how a family unit ought to function, how men must bond and work with each other, how courting and marriage works, and so on.

Beyond the cultural rules of how men ought to act, there is an evolutionary generalization of traits that men tend to hold in greater quantity than women, for better or worse. The same traits applied in different ways or managed incorrectly can shift from being massive assets to horrible detriments for men. A man’s sex drive can be a powerful, productive force in his life or a horrible and immature distraction. His great, innate aggressive instincts can help him accomplish goals and destroy obstacles, or it can turn self-destructive and anti-social.

The primal role of man is to be proactive: a doer who initiates progress in his own life and for society. He grows through resistance and testing his limits. Yet, many men fail to own this property as they advice from boyhood to manhood, predominantly because they lack father figures and other relevant examples of mature masculinity to guide them. They never learn to manage the great disorder within them as they grow.

The growing backlash against the traditional masculine and female roles is Western society is dividing men and women from their natural state of attraction and support for each other. Men must retake their primal masculinity if they are to contribute to a restored balance in the dynamic between the two archetypes.

Nate Lind is the founder of Legendary Man. Legendary Man offers men the opportunity to bond with one another and collect the maturing influence they might have been lacking, to participate in traditional activities like hunting and fishing which imbue them with the ability to act bravely and virtuously as they develop deep friendships and get to know themselves more deeply. Nate believes that it is essential for developing men to spend some time isolated from women so that they can learn from others who understand the unique trials of their disposition in life.

In addition to learning to work tribally with other mindful men, the mature man must also learn to face the nature of his path in isolation with zero social supports to guide him. He must learn to be the master of his own destiny again.

The masculine destiny is to become the durable standard bearer of a new way of acting in the world: the embodiment of a specific ideal which matters most to him. The commitment to this principle crafts all the actions in his life that follow.

In his own journey of masculinity, Nate spent 15 years struggling to lose weight until he learned to look at the problem in a different perspective beyond just struggling physically against a problem he could not control. He realized that true masculinity was not ceaseless struggling, but being dedicated and resourceful enough to do whatever is necessary to accomplish what he knows must be done. After undergoing bariatric surgery, he was able to lose 200 pounds and keep it off for the first time in his life as soon as he did what he realized was necessary.

This is the gift that a man learns as he lives in isolation and battles his own personal dragons. He learns to look at life beyond the filter of how other people tell him things are supposed to be done. He finds his own path against seemingly impossible barriers.

Nate Lind, Legendary Man, Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory Diehl

Nate Lind, Legendary Man, Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory Diehl

Legendary Man:


Doctor Who will now be played by a woman, Jodie Whittaker:


UCWG 033: Are Disruptive Events Essential to an Exceptional Life? Young People Escaping Conventional Career Paths with JC Preston of New Inceptions.

There are two kinds of people in the world: those with the qualities of leaders and those with the qualities of followers. Many who are naturally leaders do not have the bravery required to act on their leadership qualities. They need an inspirational influence. They need a catalyst to awaken them to the powerful actions of which they are capable.

JC Preston runs New Inceptions and the Angles of Lattitude podcast, where he shows young people how to acquire the qualities of leadership and self-direction in life. Most people have their leadership qualities suppressed by the traditional Prussion educational model almost everyone goes through in children. Society breeds followers and conformity, making those who do not naturally follow suffer immensely throughout life.

Evolution on a sociological level happens much slower than it can on the level of the individual, so there will always be resistance when the two do not align in their acceleration or trajectory. Without hope, individuals are almost certain to succumb to social pressures and sacrifice their individual motion.

Hope can come in the form of a mentor, a person who shows the struggling hero that it is possible to succeed in the path he is on.

Leaders stuck on a followers path need a disruptive event to jostle them, violently, from the suboptimal paths they are on. The pain from seeing everything they know shaken from its ordinary structure calls them to adventure outward physically, and bring their thinking to superior levels.

Someone has to first inspire you with the successful choices they have made before you can know that exceptional choices are possible. If someone

The ordinary path today is embodied best by the 9-to-5 work week. Entrepreneurs work to push themselves out of this stifling pattern of living.

To walk away from the path of the follower requires sacrifice personally and socially. The world will not automatically know that what you offer is valuable. The way you built your life before is no longer compatible with the new pursuits you chase. The pain of familiarity must be beaten by the longing for something new.

When you make a fundamental shift in your identity, you are never just changing one aspect of your life. The entire structure by which you designed your lifestyle before can come crashing around you. The older you get, the stronger your motivation for change needs to be.

Rebellious people, not matter how crude and immature their actions, are being leaders to some degree in their lives. They only know they don’t want what the rest of the world would choose for them. With proper mentorship, they could hone their outgoing instincts and apply them to something with longevity and impact. However, they have a loner mentality to their actions. They are obsessed with seeing themselves as alone, pitted against the entire world. They aren’t willing to consider that there are valuable influences out there who could share their experiences and light the way, if only in a specific domain of life.

JC Preston, New Inceptions - Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory Diehl

JC Preston, New Inceptions – Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory Diehl


Things mentioned:

New Inceptions:


Angles of Lattitude Podcast:


Transformational Learning through Travel: Why Your Next Trip Might Change Your Life and Business for the Better with Gregory V. Diehl (AoL 095):


Become what you are.

Existential development requires you to move beyond physical needs and mental concepts. In that space, you begin to identify yourself as what you are before motion and value judgment. Holding onto this state, even as the world turns on its own axis all around you, is how you mature from your childish beginnings to the potential adult that was always within you. Maturity makes you a master of your awareness and responses. You cease to be a slave to your conditioning.

Underneath everything you ever experience lies the subtle layer of internalized processes. It supports every thought and emotion, but it is easy to overlook and miss its importance. An immature mind remains distracted from itself in an endless cycle of externally driven motion. Learn to stay grounded in the unchanging part of what you are, regardless of what problems you encounter. Build your armor against interference, or you will never know yourself.

The journey of heroic maturity climaxes in the confrontation of one’s deepest fears, even literal death, and emerging as a truer version of oneself. You must, sooner or later, face the pieces of yourself you have buried. It will hurt when you face them. It will hurt when you separate from that to which you are most attached. Emotional release relieves you when the separation is complete. Then you have the space to rebuild yourself better than you were before.

Operating as your mature self, you will recognize the difference between the reality of a thing and the common story told about it. You will see the limits of the immature person you spent your life believing you were, and you will be ready to abandon the limits the world forced on you. You will invest yourself in uncertain futures. You will survive the emotional aftermath of deep failure. You will learn to create a world for you as what you are when you fully express yourself.

This is the hero’s journey that is repeated over and over throughout your life with each unfamiliar challenge. When you can recognize challenges for what they are, merely your unconscious inability to adapt to the new conditions, you are then mature enough to focus on changing yourself before changing the world. That maturity is the apex where your pride meets your humility, and you maintain a confident, yet grounded, awareness of yourself. Once obtained, maturity will never leave you.

The hero of the story is the one who can push the limits of the conceptual world he inhabited when we began his journey. His physical exploits are inconsequential compared with how he changes within the domain of his own mind. External changes come and go, but inside he can accumulate unlimited progress. His journey is complete when he arrives at a new version of himself. Then, he spreads his influence onto the conceptual limits of everyone he knows.

As you delve further and deeper into the struggles of your existence, you are going to rely less on the events that happen to you to determine your actions. You will live less responsively and more proactively. The motivation behind your actions will originate from core values and principled axioms, not the immediate satiation of discomfort. You will know deeper suffering and deeper reward in the pursuit of your priorities.

You will know yourself completely when you embrace the middle ground between abundance and scarcity. You will explore how indulgence and abstinence play into your pursuit of reward. You will see yourself under each the extremes of each set of conditions. Your lows and your highs will be directly connected. Knowing what you are capable of, you will maturely navigate the middle ground of your limits to become the master of yourself.

You are more internally grounded through the breadth of your experiences. You appreciate every win and tolerate delays to your gratification. A well-tested individual peers into the future of his wants and his actions. He can wait, patiently, for the time to make a desired reality happen. The immature and underdeveloped individual has no tolerance the trials of time. Discomfort easily overtakes them. The immature individual, therefore, lacks any ability to accomplish great things.

You have survived the trials of meeting yourself. Now you will begin to acquire the tools and the relationships that empower you to be that person in every regard.

UCWG 031: Do You Dare To Follow Your Hero’s Journey to Find Self-Actualization? Life Purpose As The Highest Priority With Leo Gura of Actualized.org

Leo Gura is the founder of www.actualized.org, and the host of a popular Youtube channel on finding your life’s purposes and deep spirituality beyond stories. Leo and Gregory discuss the mythological principles of the Hero’s Journey, and what on earth all of that has to do with the path to finding one’s true self in life.

Most people attempt to solve existential level problems with superficial ego-serving solutions that, at best, temporarily alleviate the symptoms of being non-actualized. They ignore the existential cause of deep suffering. Spirituality is reduced to emotionally jarring clickbait titles because real analysis challenges the ego instead of feeding it. Most marketing is design to appeal to the ego, therefore distracting from raw truth.

Self-help authors prey on the weaknesses and fears of their audience. They don’t promote true growth and self-actualization. People stay stuck at one level of development and are never able to go after what they really want in life. Without solving the surface level needs of ordinary human desires, they will not ascend to the profound truth of their existence.

People frequently get stuck in lifestyle loops resolving the same problems and addressing the same needs time and again. They chase the wrong things in the wrong ways. Even if they are aware enough to know they want more sex or more money, they don’t know how to get these things. If no one ever introduces the idea of higher level goals, we do not move on. Popular media, more often than not, keeps us chasing our tails for the duration of our lives.

A human mind can only contain a certain quantity of problems to solve. A problem is simply any time your mind desires something to be different than it is. If it does not succeed it its desired change or accept the way things are, it cannot move on to higher level problems to change. You are always being manipulated by your brain to achieve what it sees as its survival needs.

Without outside influences to guide you to higher truths, you must have a deeply inquiring nature that forces you to move beyond what you already know. No experiences is inherently good or bad. It matters what meaning your mind adds to it: what you get from it. It can distract or serve as progression, such as watching a powerful movie or having sex.

Existential personal development is about moving beyond the realm of physical needs and mental beliefs. It’s about identifying yourself as what you are before any stimulation or value judgment. It is present in every single moment, always unchanging. Most religions and forms of spirituality think of this as a Godly presence, but it is only the authentic you.

Underneath the world of our gross physical experiences lies the subtle realm of what happens within us. It is underneath our thoughts and emotions even. Most people consider their spirituality a series of thoughts and beliefs, and therefore it only serves to distract them from the subtle truth of what they really are. They are setting themselves up for an unending trap of distraction from the truth. They must learn to stay grounded in the subtle unchanging part of reality, regardless of what problems they encounter.

The Hero’s Journey is about facing your deepest fears, even your physical death, and emerging on the other side in a higher state of existence. The Dark Night of the Soul is the lowest point on the Hero’s Journey where one must face the parts of themselves they have been avoiding their entire lives. They experience painful separation from the experiences they are most psychologically attached to. It is the only way to move into the subtle realm of their identity. Emotional release only comes when the loss is complete.

The Hero must learn to break away from the stories of his culture to follow his own path. He cannot act in resistance to what other people choose. He must place his own development as his highest priority above all other forms of ego gratification. Our education system, our politicians, and our popular culture are misleading almost everyone to pursue fruitless ends instead of knowing the truth about themselves.

Parents pass along the emotional loop they get stuck in to their children, getting them to value the same thing they arbitrarily picked up during their own lives. Almost no one teaches their offspring the fundamental values of the pursuit of self-knowledge from an early age. They remain forever unfulfilled, even if they acquire what they thought they wanted.

Every experience you ever have is biased by constantly changing chemical imbalances in your brain. Psychedelics and other substances can instantly show a person a radically different manner of experiencing reality, but there is no neutral control group even when a person is totally sober. The perspective of vast new experiences shows us the filter through which we see things, and a gateway to the subtle ongoing experience underneath everything.

In most Hero’s Journey stories, a mentor who has already completed their own journey guides the hero with the lessons they have already learned by overcoming their trials. Young people today lack adequate mentors because education and parenting are generalized for the masses. It is difficult to find someone uniquely suited to guide you on your quest. You need someone to show you what is possible if you stay on the path before you. Knowing that something can be done is what makes it viable to the uninitiated.

Negative emotions by themselves can be the starting point for major changing actions, but they cannot exist alone. They must be complemented by inspiration and a positive desire for greatness. Everyone needs a vision for their life to become everything they are capable of being.


Leo Gura, Actualized.org - Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory Diehl

Leo Gura, Actualized.org – Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory Diehl

Websites mentioned:

Actualized.org by Leo Gura:


Highest Hero’s Journey video:


Leo Gura’s YouTube channel:


Leo Gura’s Life Purpose Course:


Shatter the flow of your unfulfilled life.

You cannot solve the problems of your existence with superficial pursuits that perpetuate the life you already know. The existential cause of deep suffering is a profound life spent without examination or challenge. The world thrives on keeping where you are, as that is where it knows how to reach you and act on your needs. The world has a proprietary interest in stunting your growth. Because of them, you are never able to go after what they want in life. You will never ascend to the profound truth of your identity.

It is impossible to know what you are capable of when the most important aspects of your life have been derived from people who came long before you or happen to hold greater influence. Under such tightly controlled conditions of self-expression such as the exceptional individual faces today, many who would otherwise find themselves on the path to leadership and original thought cannot develop the bravery needed for an expanded perspective. Only disruption can rock them now from the life to which they’ve grown attached. Only inspiration can show them what they did not know they were missing.

A single catalyst can create a domino effect of changes that will last with them for life. The strangeness of having all that one knows shaken from its ordinary structure creates a call to adventure outward, physically, into the world outside present perceptions. In journeying with the body, an exceptional mind is brought, necessarily, into higher levels of thinking about itself and everything else. All levels of progress originate in change. The prime mover may be forceful, or it may be painful. One way or another, it will be something powerful enough to make you move from where you have settled.

The path of your conventional life is likely so familiar now that you no longer even notice its presence. It blends into the walls, molding to the substructure of you operational mind. You know how, when, and why to go to school or work, but they are the reasons the conventional identities around you allowed. It never had to be this way. It can be any other way you can imagine. The 9-to-5 workweek is an illusion. Your studies are mostly arbitrary and irrelevant. They do not display the principles of productivity or learning. Exceptional actors push themselves out of these and many other stifling patterns for living.

To walk away from the path of the follower brings a personal and social sacrifice. The world will not automatically support you. They won’t even know how to categorize you. The previous way you built your life is no longer compatible with what you are quickly becoming. The longing for more will continue to carry you past familiarity, no matter what you lose along the way. A fundamental identity shift never changes just one aspect of your life. The entire structure by which you live can crash and burn. The older you get, the more you have invested in a lifestyle structure, and the stronger your disruption needs to be.

Anyone who rebels, not matter how crude the manner, is leading in their own way. They already know they don’t want what the rest of the world would choose for them. With proper mentorship though, they could hone their potent instincts and apply them to something important, something with impact and longevity. They must get over their loner mentality, always seeing themselves as alone against the world. There are experienced warriors and wanderers out there who could light the way if only the would-be hero would open his mind to the possibility of their leadership.

The world keeps turning on the axis it is on because people become stuck in lifestyle loops that require them to address the same needs time and again without improvement. If the idea of higher level goals never enters their minds, they do not move on from what they know. Do not continue chasing your tail another day of your life. Anytime your mind desires something to be different than it is, there is a window to greatness available.

Heroes learn to break away from the narratives of their cultures to follow what genuinely interests them. The hero must place his development as his highest priority above all other glory. The world will work against him in this regard. Parents do not teach their offspring the values of self-knowledge. Schools have their curriculum decided by machine-minded bureaucrats. Advertisers profit by appealing to gluttonous and lustful demands. We all remain unfulfilled, even when we get what we thought we wanted.

When you see that you are stuck on a track in your life that you never chose to ride on, look for the disrupting events that can enter your world at any time. They beautiful chaos of the universe ensures that there is always something unexpectable happening somewhere near you. The disruption may be positive or negative. It will be the starting point for a new narrative pathway.

Every exceptional person needs to break out of their ordinary life before they can even begin to become all of which they are capable. Look for the disruptions to the normal flow of your life and welcome them eagerly.

Challenge how others categorize you.

An ordinary person is so afraid to define himself that he stumbles accidentally into whatever social function resists him the least. Never going too far in any direction provides safe barriers for him to avoid injury, but they also nullify all forms of heroic action. He spends his entire life chasing a dream that a collection of voices planted in his head many years ago, only to die never having lived at all.

You cannot help but conceive of the world through the lens of internal categorization. Categories are useful filters for the intellect. Your mind filters reality into fine details, which overlap, sharing qualities that can be applied for specific functions. Categorization is what makes information useful, including information about what you are supposed to be. You develop your categories through observations, but more often the influence of people who came before you.

If you allow other people to set your categories for you, you will never be fully yourself. If you embrace tradition, you will never look for exceptional alternatives. If you accept that your life must proceed according to one of the plans society offers, you will never express the parts of you that exist outside these boundaries. Your conception of what you think you are supposed to be will always rely on clues given by other people as to what is acceptable.

An idealized version of you is created the moment other people project their preferences onto your mind. When they identify something they like about you, it creates a positive feedback loop. You desire their approval, so you emphasize the quality they picked out as more important than all the rest. With enough positive feedback, you start to forfeit anything contradictory, amputating large swaths of your potential.

Pretty girls grow up believing they cannot also be intelligent or daring, so their beauty becomes the sticking point of their entire identity. Boys learn that their natural toughness violates the ability to be soft and caring. We all ascertain that there is only enough room in the psyche for a few culturally relevant traits to dominate and define our place in the surrounding social machine. False dichotomies rule us, fragmenting everyone into shattered, compartmentalized identities. Abandon the old world’s way of seeing and instantly expand your possible self-expression.

When you awaken from the illusion of your idealized self, your struggle will have only just begun. The people in your life will continue to pressure you to conform to what they know. They need you to be easy to accept. The people closest to you already have a space carved out for you in their sense of identity. Even strangers will resist if you stray too far from the prevailing social narrative around you. They don’t even know they are doing this. They simply don’t know any other way to exist.

You cannot explore yourself completely so long as you remain a character within their stories. You yearn to be something more, but you don’t yet know what that is. You cannot escape the ideal they prefer over the authentic you. You fear to lose what you have built over the course of your life so far, as everything you have ever been is contained in the contextual filter of the person others know you to be. You don’t know what to do. You only know it cannot go on. The fear of rejection keeps you enslaved.

As things presently are, no matter how stifling, you know there is at least one comfortable position for you to exist in the world. Anything too new, any emerging trait which contradicts the image you are already living out, threatens the social standing you have been building over the course of your entire life. Within the confines of your familiar social context, you feel no pressure to change your life to what you want it to be. You remain an amalgam of collective allowances from dominant personalities. You must step outside what you know to become something more.

Do not forsake who you are to conform to what others have chosen for you. Do not depend on bland generalities to find meaning, or fear the pursuit of whatever excites you most. Ask yourself how every label truly applies to what you know yourself to be, and if in necessarily prevents you from living up to other labels you know you desire. That kind of dedication is how you break out of the mold created by from where you came.

Only nature knows its absolute limits. You will not know everything you can become until you challenge every limit the world taught you because it feared what you might one day become.

UCWG 30: How Do Heroes Test Their Resolve On The Mantle Of Reality? Internalizing Your Motivation and Finding the Will to Act in Any Situation.

There comes a narrative turning point in the life of the person who makes their development their highest priority. When you find your internal motivation, your actions become immune to circumstance. But you can only reach this point through painful self-discovery.

Veronica Kirin is an entrepreneurial success coach for women, an anthropologist, and the creator of an upcoming book featuring the life lessons of the “greatest generation” who grew up before our present technological abundance. Veronica and Gregory embark on a journey of understanding why we act the way we do, and how we use the tools of our world to get what we want.

The new Wonder Woman movie tells the story of an idealistic hero whose motivations are faulty because she has no real world experience to test them against. By the end of the movie, after suffering great misery and having her motivations tested through trials, she realizes she now acts for a different reason. She isn’t acting to save other people for their sake or because they deserve it. She is acting because she has confidence in her beliefs that her standards for action are better, and she will uphold those standards no matter what changes around her. Nothing can destroy her now. She is internally invincible. She is a hero.

Emergency situations test us because they suddenly remove the external conditions we have grown dependent on for maintaining the illusion of our comfortable motivations. When we are uncomfortable, only our internal conditions remain. Your internal motivation must be rock solid to operate under any possible circumstances.

Self-doubt and humility keep you human. People have to know their weaknesses just as much as they know their strengths.

Boredom is the opposite of fear and curiosity. It is the indifference to the stimuli in your environment. Fear is the rejection, and curiosity is the desire for more.

Your weaknesses only matter if they stand in the way of your goals. They create struggle on the journey toward what you care about. Abilities only matter when you decide they do. When you are lacking a natural faculty, you can compensate with analysis and adaptation.

We all rely on mental strategies and physical tools to accomplish what we want and make up for our weaknesses. You must adapt to the toolset that makes you category of actions comfortable. We are spoiled by our physical tools because we grow with it, so we take it for granted. Are you always using the best possible tool in any situation.

People would rather never try something new than risk the discomfort of being bad at it for a time, and that shame is there greatest weakness of all. Shame can only exist when we compare ourselves to a standard someone else has given us. This is why children have so much less shame and so much more enthusiasm for trying new things. They have no other standards. Curiosity is gradually replaced by habit and routine as we age.

You need passion to break out of the normality of your routines. Passion can look like many things besides curiosity and enthusiasm. Passion can be deeply negative, a righteous kind of anger. When conditions are comfortable, rely on your curiosity and enthusiasm to drive your actions. When conditions are uncomfortable, when things have started to go wrong, rely on anger and other negative emotions to drive you forward.

The purpose of acting on a negative emotion is to reconcile the emotion as quickly as possible. You want to change the conditions which urgently created these bad feelings. The goal of positive emotions is to prolong them as long as possible by continually feeding them with new experiences.

Every work of art, regardless of the medium, exists to foster a new emotion in the viewer. It is to make people think or feel differently than they did before.

If you lack the emotional capacity to use your entire toolkit of emotions, you will also be unable to perceive of the world in a specific way when certain emotions are necessary to be accurate. Practice your ability to act in emergency settings to develop your emotions and hone your tools.

Veronica Kirin, Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory

Veronica Kirin, Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory


Things mentioned:

Veronica Kirin: https://veronicakirin.com/

Untold Stories book by Veronica Kirin: http://untoldstories.life