Uncovering truths can be painful if we think there’s a chance that our beliefs may be proven false. On some level, we see this with people who never admit they’re wrong regardless of evidence to the contrary. This is essentially the type of thinking that Nietzsche advocated against; though the man was certainly guilty of closed-mindedness in his own life.
“People don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
The point here is that a tendency to deflect simple truths in favor of our preconceived notions is counterproductive. When we consistently deny truths, we’re consciously affirming that living in denial is our reality. Notice the sad irony in that last statement?
As logical beings blessed with an immense capacity for thought, we possess the unique ability to embrace the truth as its revealed and live accordingly. To be clear, this is not pertaining to spiritual beliefs (despite what Nietzsche may say on the subject).
Instead, the truths that follow pertain to the world as it is now. As we know, living in a fallible world can be an uncertain, difficult journey. Let’s dissect some of these simple truths and make ourselves better people in the process!
Here are five tough truths that will make you a better person:
1. There are forces against us that fight self-improvement
We’re not talking about transcendent forces that religious dogma subscribes to. This relates specifically to the inner and outer resistance encountered when trying to become a better person.
Inner resistance to change is perhaps our biggest obstacle. The human mind is an absolutely incredible, powerful force – but it’s not without flaws. Perhaps the mind’s most conspicuous fault is its ability to manipulate our thoughts and actions. People experience this resistance all the time with failed resolutions to get in better shape, quit smoking, eat healthier, spend less, etc. The human brain is equipped with defense mechanisms that vehemently oppose any effort to tame it.
Then there are those around us that inexplicably don’t want us to succeed. Strangely, these individuals feel threatened when they see someone else trying to become a better person – often out of envy and insecurity. When these folks see someone else’s improvement, feelings of inadequacy and guilt often surface since they haven’t taken the same initiative for themselves. Ideally, we would celebrate each other’s victories and empathize with their setbacks. Unfortunately, this is often not the case.
2. Most people don’t care about us on the inside
A fact about most people: they don’t care about our “inner person.” The majority only cares about what we produce. Thank heavens for friends and family, right? Without them, the world would be a much more difficult place to tolerate, much less thrive in.
While we would all love for people to accept us for our inner selves, this is simply (and unfortunately) not the case. At work, we’re measured by what we’ve done lately. Society judges us based on what we possess. Physical appearance often takes precedence over innate qualities. We’re critiqued on our clothing, houses, cars and balance in our bank accounts. People make assumptions about our intelligence, motives and personalities.
Here’s the question we need to ask ourselves: do we give others a reason to judge? In other words, are we behaving in a way that is conducive to our inner self or not? Whether someone is aware of our character is irrelevant – we’re aware. Our inner conscious – our better selves – should manifest itself in our deeds.
If others are judging us without reason that’s their problem; if our inner selves and our actions contradict each other, it’s up to us to change that. We deserve nothing less than striving to become a better person.
3. We’re prone to defeatism
In going back to that resistance theme earlier: it can defeat us if we’re not diligent. The truth is that there are millions and millions of people around the world who are – in their own minds – defeated. They may not label what they’re experiencing as defeatism; in some cases, they’re not even conscious of it. They’re just passively resigned to their current predicament.
So, how do we defeat defeatism? We overcome a defeatist attitude through diligence and action. We must first become aware of its presence, and then take the necessary action to effectively counteract its negative influence. In short, we can’t rationalize or will a defeatist mentality out of our lives. We have to take the initiative in order to become a better person.
Whether it’s our finances, relationships, health or something else, we can change our mentality simply by coming up with a plan and then taking one step at a time. Action will take care of resistance.
4. We’re not entitled to everything
For reasons unknown, some people still continue to think that they’re entitled to something they haven’t earned. The topic of entitlement is discussed in multiple arenas – business, government, and personal life included. The question of entitlement has been debated repeatedly and has even led to political uprisings, wars, famines, rebellions and other societal upheavals.
There are many different ways people feel and act entitled – far too many to be listed here. This sense of entitlement can be physical, psychological and behavioral in nature. It can be monetary or non-monetary. It can be in public or in private. There is one common denominator in nearly every circumstance: the misguided belief that one deserves preferential treatment over another.
Here’s what the world has repeatedly said: nobody should believe they’re entitled to anything…at all, ever. If a person has the capability to produce something, they should produce something. When we’re a member of society, we should expect to play by the rules. When we’re in public, we’re expected to be respectful and treat others as equals.
Naturally, a sense of entitlement feeds our susceptibility to self-sabotage and daily resistance that we’re all faced with. Just remember: there are millions of people that have overcome tremendous odds and left the world a better place. We owe it to ourselves, our fellow human beings and our planet to do no less.
5. Shortcuts are a myth
When the Powerball jackpot reached $1.5 billion recently, local grocers and gas stations had to contend with hordes of people waiting to get their “lucky ticket.” Some spent hundreds of dollars on multiple tickets, only to be hundreds of dollars poorer the next day. The odds of winning the Powerball: 1 in 292,201,338 – roughly the same odds of being killed by an asteroid. No kidding.
On many levels, it’s understandable. A lot of folks are enticed by the prospect – no matter how small – of winning an exorbitant amount of money and living worry free for the rest of our lives.
Aside from a very select few, one of life’s main rules has always remained constant: if we want to achieve success in anything, we have to work at it and we must be persistent. The vast majority of the world’s most successful authors, actors, businesspeople and so forth achieved their goals only after years of diligent work, rejection and failure.
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If we’re to achieve our own version of success, there must be mindset of “do whatever it takes.”