Between our parents, the media, friends, and more, we’ve had the knowledge beaten into our brain. We’ve been told to be who we are and to be proud of what makes us different. Yet despite receiving this lesson time and time again, it appears as though many people would rather fit in than stand out.
Personally, I find great fault with this. But instead of repeating the lesson we know by heart, I’m going to tell you one ironic fact: everybody
Screw being liked. Seriously.
Now before you get mad at me, understand where I’m coming from.
This past weekend, something happened on American soil that (rightfully) caused an uproar throughout the nation: hundreds of white supremacists descended on the University of Virginia, hoisting torches and yelling slogans such as “white lives matter.”
Because of this, many Americans – from celebrities to young kids – took to social media to condemn the act. Now, I’m not here to tell you who said what, or even give you more details as to what happened in Charlottesville. If you watched any of the news, or scrolled through any social media in the last few days (which is essentially all of us), you should already know more or less of what happened. Instead, I’m here to challenge you. In this national crisis as well as smaller, and even your personal crises, I’m challenging you to do the following:
What’s the difference between living and being alive? In my opinion, it’s actually quite simple. But to do that, you need to memorize my definition of alive.
Alive (adj.) – not being dead…or a zombie.
According to this undisputed (and actually pretty good) definition, you, me, the neighbor’s dog, and even your cousin’s pet fish are all alive. That’s pretty obvious. So let me take it to another level.
If you follow the NBA even casually, you’ve probably heard of Kyrie Irving’s request to be traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers. And, perhaps more importantly, you’ve also probably heard the vastly different responses of various commentators, players, and coaches. Some say that Kyrie is out of his mind for wanting to leave a team that’s gone to the NBA Finals the past three seasons (and are highly favored to do so again this year), others say that he’s making a smart move due to his fervent ambition to be the face of a franchise, and still others say that if he’s not satisfied with his vital role on the Cavaliers then he’ll never be satisfied. All of these are valid points, but it begs a question that I believe many people wrestle with: what’s the right balance between ambition and contentment?
Zebras. Are they black with white stripes, or white with black stripes? That’s the timeless question. But why do we want to know this? Sure, there’s a certain level of mystique surrounding the stripes, but, more than that, we want to know the answer because we want to know how to label and describe them.
Our American society is the same way.