I’ve really had the blessing lately to stumble upon some truly inspiring thinkers, who also happen to blog. TK Coleman is new to me, but his thinking really resonates with me. It’s kind of like the time in your life before you know that you need glasses, compared to after your first visit to the eye doctor. WOW! So many things that were blurry and out-of-focus become crystal clear and vibrant. I’ve mentioned a few other bloggers whose words bounce around in my grey matter long after I’ve read them, and kind of simmer there. I encourage you to visit and read their work.
The world is as filled with ideas as an amusement park is filled with rides, and you have no obligation to opt for one idea over another.
You’re free to look around.
You’re free to explore.
You’re free to ask questions.
You’re free to try something new.
You’re free to learn from your own personal experience.
You’re free to make mistakes.
You’re free to have your own preferences.
And most of all, you’re free to have a good time. At least that’s the way I see it.
via Concepts as rides at an amusement park.
The above as written by TK Coleman may be a given to most people. To me, it is a profoundly simple explanation for deviation from the norm as being acceptable. What is ‘normal’ any way? I find for myself, commonly used words begin to lose their impact and I force a return to the dictionary to ensure I’m using the word correctly or to refresh my mind with the word’s accepted meaning. Here is what dictionary.com lists as the definition of normal:
Is anyone truly typical? Is our behavior always what is expected? Are there standards for people? Surely this word can only be utilized in scientific methodology, for people vary so widely how could a single person ever be normal? I know that psychologists have created ‘norms’ in order to measure people as they deviate from the norm and then applied a series of labels to measure one’s departure from the norm. I don’t know if that is good or bad – simply that those things exist.
As an introvert (INFP or INFJ if anyone cares, it varies) who has been literally scolded for embracing the facts of her personality, I find that people are often trying to label me in a way that they see fit for their own purposes. My family is crammed with extroverts and they are always busy trying to shoulder their way in to the limelight, usually stepping on one another to do so. Having been the bookish, nerdy girl most of my life, stretching to be what they expected of me often wore me down and rendered me exhausted and wasted, good for nothing. Now that I understand my need for withdrawal from others as my valid recharge system, I am much more engaged when I do interact with people, and I have more to give to them. I still get overwhelmed when too many people need me at the same time and find that I am not present with them and their needs when I am like that. I suck into my inner workings and only barely hear them, so it isn’t good for them either I suspect. Extroverts however, don’t even seem to notice when I’m not present. As long as they have an audience, it may not really matter in the end, but it matters to me; because when I speak I want to be heard. Perhaps E’s don’t really need that like I’s do.
To tie this together with my previous thoughts on aspirations, I leave you with this. Standardized education sits on every child or adult as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Even within college there are required courses, prerequisites, minimums if you are pursuing the path to a degree. But we all learn differently and vary widely on what our end goals are for learning. If you aspire to learn simply for learning’s sake, do not feel abnormal. Sometimes the road to learning cannot be fitted to you in the accepted, standardized manner. What is important is that you continue to learn and expand your thinking. The Internet is one of the most awesome tools for that. Use it. Grow it. Pass on those thinkers that you find sharp and alive to others. It’s a beautiful thing!
“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”
Kindle your fires, and always tend them well.