You Know Best

A boat-load of bravery

The decision to put your trust in yourself above all others is without a doubt the bravest one you will ever make. It requires a Julius-Caesar-crossing-the-Rubicon level of bravery.

Not bravery in the sense that you are braving physical danger, or indeed risking anything of importance, but bravery in the sense that there are so many forces within and without you conspiring and compelling you to do just the opposite. These forces feed themselves on your lack of self-trust and self-reliance, and so they will do anything they can to convince you it’s a risky and foolhardy endeavour. You need cajones of steel.

But the fact remains: your whole life, you have been lied to. Not by any particular individual, nor with clear, plain-spoken words. But you were lied to all the same, for embedded in the attitudes and dispositions of almost every living human is an untruth responsible for more evil and destruction than the most blood-thirsty dictator ever dreamt of.

That lie is this: “Other people know better than I do.”

You may keep reading, but if this is all the time you have, allow me to clear this up before you leave:

“No, they do not.”

You were born knowing what’s best

In one sense, relying on yourself is a skill like any other skill – when you practice it, you get better; it feels easier. When you don’t, you get worse; it feels harder. But there’s another gaping difference between this skill and others like, say, playing the piano.

If you take a young man who has never played the piano once, dress him up in a nice tuxedo, plant him in front of a grand piano on the stage at the Royal Albert Hall, and say “Go on, PLAY”… it’s unlikely that what comes out will be music to anyone’s ears.

That’s because he was born the capacity to play the piano – factoring in time, natural talent, and/or instruction – but not the ability to play the piano.

The next dy, suppose you take that some young man – who, incidentally, has never made love to a woman before – strip him of his clothes, and lay him in a bed next to the perky love of his life… I’d put good money on him figuring out what to do next.

Why is this different? Because there are certain things – like the physical act of love – that we are born knowing how to do. Self-reliance is one of these.

It’s not difficult, just unfamiliar. You don’t need more information, just more practice. You must realise that you were born containing all the wisdom you would ever need. And the only thing holding you back from accessing this wisdom is that instead of ever calloing upon it, you have a naughty habit of deferring to others. You presume that they know better than you what is better for you.

Think of it like a muscle. When you neglect a muscle, it shrinks. When you exercise it, it grows. But even when it shrinks, it is still there, though it may be temporarily weak. At any moment you could pick up a dumbell and strengthen it again.

There is no special formula to using this superpower. You need only to use it.

If you don’t claim it, someone else will

I have told you how brave it is to trust in yourself. And I have told you that you do not need to learn how to, but to remember how to. And I was going to leave it there, but then I thought of a final important piece to the puzzle.

I didn’t tell you why it matters – why you should care.

The human mind always seeks something to worship – a deity, a person, an idea… And your trust is always seeking to take up residence somewhere. If you do not actively house it in yourself, you will find that it has housed itself somewhere else. And every location that is not You is the wrong location.

You have heard it said a million times that nature abhors a vacuum, and nowhere else is this truer. Perhaps in the absence of self-trust and self-reliance, you will look to friends and family, or to your critics, or even to some kind of faceless mob. Wherever it goes, for good or ill, rest assured your trust will not stay on the market for long. Unless you claim it for yourself, it will go to a buyer who at best puts their own interests above yours, and at worst doesn’t give a solitary shit about you.

The good news though is that right now, at this very second, you can take back ownership of your Self. You can decide that there is no higher authority on all matters ‘You’ than… You. And in doing so, you will not only become a valuable asset to this world – as all who are truly unique can boast of being – you will find that life is really quite a trip when you allow it be.

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