Predictable People

I like to think that one of my more refined (and useful) skills is the ability to figure people out rather quickly.  For the most part people are very simple creatures, largely predictable.  Once you figure out how they respond to certain inputs, it’s safe to say they’ll usually respond similarly in similar situations.  If you’re able to pick up on those tendencies, you can go as far as to emphasize certain inputs to… erm… manipulate the outcome.  For the most part people are inputs and outputs.

I’m not saying I’m manipulative… I usually choose to just observe.

Honestly I find it disappointing that most people are so simple and 2-dimensional.  Feed them something they love, and they’ll re-regurgitate it right back to you.  Ask them why they love it and they say “I don’t know, I just always have.”  Feed them something they hate, and they’ll parrot every opposing argument they’ve ever seen, heard or read on the internet.  Ask them about something neutral, and they just don’t care.

All of the most interesting people I’ve come across in my life (which probably total less than 8) share two things in common.  First and foremost, they have deep convictions and feelings about the things they consider relevant.  And second, those convictions are rarely unsolicited, because those convictions aren’t reliant upon the acceptance of others.  They are wholly their own. Both of those traits are probably my most respected qualities in a person.  The ability to form your own thoughts, be passionate about them, and not require validation.

Because your thoughts are your own should be validation enough.  Should someone disagree with you, what does it matter? If you think something is “stupid” or “awesome” because someone else did (or didn’t), that’s not conviction, that’s influence.  I don’t mean to say you should be unique for unique’s sake; it’s absolutely fine to share similar feelings as others.  It is how you arrive to those feelings that matters.

Don’t confuse a strong conviction with ignorance though.  One of the most powerful conversations I remember having with someone was talking with a friend about salvation.  You may or may not be religious, but the conversation below is a great example of what I’m talking about.

She said, “Do you know you are going to heaven when you die?”

“Absolutely,” I said.

“How do you know for sure?”

“Because I believe 100% that Jesus lived and died on the cross for my sins.  That as the Son of God, His sacrifice is enough to cover the sins of all humanity, including my own,” I said with great confidence.

“You think believing is all it takes to be saved?” she asked.

“I do.  When I stand before the Lord I can say I believe with all my soul that Jesus saved me.”

Then she caught me off guard when she said, “I would rather stand before the Lord and tell him that I did everything I could to know for sure that Jesus saved me.”

I felt a bit ignorant in that moment.  I believed I was saved, because that’s what I was told I had to do.  Just believe.  She made me realize that just because I choose to believe something doesn’t make it real in and of itself.  That what is truth is truth regardless of what one chooses to believe.  That that conviction needed to come from personal revelation through action.  (James 2:14-17)  Those are the kinds of thoughts that I find alluring.

So, honestly I’m rarely that “interesting” person I’ve been talking about.  I’m pretty predictable and unsolicited myself a lot of the times.  But I try to keep an awareness of it about me. I try to be my own person and do what’s best for my family and me, but also realize that my way isn’t necessarily the best way for anyone else.

We are all unique individuals.  Being different isn’t something we should feel awkward about.  You should celebrate it!  Don’t let conformism take away one of the greatest personal freedoms you’ll ever possess, and that is the freedom of individual thought.

Posted on August 30, 2013, in Faith, Moments of Clarity, Philosification. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. By faith is salvation. In salvation is also a transformation in us that makes us strive to produce good works.

    • I agree with that. I think the thing I drew from that particular conversation though wasn’t so much about whether or not the good works can save you, but rather the verification of your faith. Actively seeking God in daily life an re-affirming and re-enforcing that belief on a continual basis, rather than just because somebody at a church said so.

      Deeds alone won’t save you, but doing God’s work draws you closer to Him, and that’s one way we are able to verify how real that relationship really is.

      !- Warning! Geeky science coming up!

      There exists today in the year 2013 an organization called the “Flat Earth Society”. Their official stance is they are seeking to further the idea that earth is indeed flat and not a globe.

      In all likelihood though, the organization actually exists to raise awareness to the fact that so many of us take for granted the “truths” we are told to believe.

      Other than a dozen or so astronauts that we’ve never met, most of us on this earth have never seen with our own eyes our planet from a distance where it’s shape can be directly observed. So do we believe the earth is round because we read it in a text book and that text book said so? “The earth is round.” That’s what everyone else says, and that’s what they believe so we believe it too.

      Or do we believe it’s round because of our own personal observations? The way the stars move in the sky, the seasons change, the tide goes in and out, you can pick up the phone and call China and ask what time it is… These are all observations you can examine yourself and arrive at the conclusion that the earth is indeed a globe.

      I’m not implying that all of our knowledge needs to be original research. Just that what you believe (no matter what it is) should be validated on a personal level, and not by anyone else.

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