What Are Your Ideals?

Vancouver, 2015 #cindyproject
Vancouver, 2015 #cindyproject

“What’s the difference between really believing your ideals, and sticking to them?” – Elon Musk

There are no ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ideals out there.

However, you have certain ideals in life.

What is the difference between really believing in your ideals, and sticking to them — as Elon Musk says?

Elon Musks tells us to really evaluate our ideas and ideals — and think: “Which our ideas truly have merit?”

The way I see it— stay true to your ideals, stick to them, because they are personally-meaningful to you.

What are your ideals in life?

You have a unique set of life circumstances. You were born into a certain family, into a certain society, and your life has had a certain trajectory.

Along the way, you probably picked up some ideals about the world. You built your own world-view. What is right to you, and what is wrong to you.

When you were younger, you probably had some lofty ideals about life and the world. Yet the older you got, the more the system and education tried to pound out your ideals. Society wanted you to become generic, to the point of castration (as Nassim Taleb says).

Ideals keep us alive

We all need a big ideal in life to strive towards. For Elon Musk, what drives him to working 100+ weeks is because he wants to save humanity from self-extinction. He invests his time in building Space X, Tesla, and investing in clean energy — in order to help humanity. He doesn’t do it for the billions of dollars. His life purpose is to help humanity.

For me, I am not as epic. My life’s purpose is to empower others. Through photography, through teaching, through writing, and by giving advice and sharing my life experiences.

Of course you are different. What are your ideals? What drives you to hustle hard, and to make a positive difference in the world?

More importantly, how can you stay true to your ideals without compromising them?

What is a ‘real’ ideal?

For example, my ideal is to create ‘open source’ information that is open, free, without copyright, and free to propagate and duplicate. I want the information I create to help other people, and not be locked behind some copyright cage.

However there are a lot of times in my life where I have compromised my ideals. And that is the difference between having ‘real’ ideals and ‘false’ ideals.

I feel for ‘real’ ideals — we should never compromise on our ideals, no matter the situation. No matter how much money we could earn, no matter how much influence we can gain, or no matter how much we convince ourselves: “Oh this is the last time.”

We all have a short life, and will die soon. What is the 1 ideal you want to be remembered for? Is it unconditional love? Is it empowering others? Is it helping those less fortunate than you? Is it creating beautiful art, on your own terms?

How do you know what your ideals are?

A lot of us don’t know what our personal code of ethics are, and what our ideals are.

For this, you need to dig deep. Ask yourself the question, “What is the one thing I believe deeply about, that others think I am crazy?” What is one belief you have that always confuses people? What is one belief that you believe so deeply in, that you are ready to dedicate your life to it?

I think it also means looking into the mirror, and asking yourself, “Do I feel comfortable looking at this person in the mirror?” It also means reminding yourself that you will die (memento mori), and asking what is the one thing you want to be remembered for after you die.

Don’t betray your own ideals

There are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ ideals to have. But whatever your ideal is; stay true to it. Make sure that it is something honorable, bigger than yourself, and something that will build value and last throughout generations.

Our lives are short, but the ideals you create and stick to, will survive far longer than you will.

Whenever the world tries to pressure you into betraying your ideals, take a step back, pause, and really evaluate yourself. Nobody can force you to betray your ideals; only yourself.


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