One way or another, everyone alive today navigates in a world that grows denser with competing ideologies. The level of devotion solidifies to match the breadth of possible alignments. There are now more people who are more sure of the rightness of their increasingly opposing values. Conflict is inevitable. Clarity is essential.
Part of the maturing process is coming to the realization that there are aspects to reality you care about more than others. If no one had ever told you what to spend your time on, you would have had to arrive at such a grand conclusion through your own meticulous investigation of the options. You would have to have become sensitive to your own nature so that you could observe how concepts and experiences affected you emotionally.
With enough self-knowledge, you can begin to prioritize your life rationally. You can discriminate, on your terms, what matters from what does not. Discrimination carries an incredible level of responsibility that most the adults running the planet today do not respect or understand. They had their occupations handed down to them. You will be different. You will decide your actions carefully.
Ideas, once implanted in a mind, seek to spread themselves to fertile new territory. Everyone you ever meet will believe something strongly, and in some way attempt to align your values with the ones they hold. Only when you are sure in your principles do you grow immune to interference from things unrelated to your goals. Take responsibility for what you are certain you care about. Focus on those things that affect your psyche. This is how you find your mission.
In ancient and modern cultures alike, we have looked up to avatars that represent something extraordinary in human nature. Whether as myths or real people, heroes take the best parts of humanity and exemplify them, giving the rest of us something magnificent to look up to. They show us what we can become, at least within one specific domain. What defines each of them, much more than their incredible abilities, are the values they dedicate their lives to upholding against any resistance. The principles of their operation define them.
The endgame for every person identified with specific values is to become the superhuman embodiment of the principle of those values. When you are ready, you begin to bring the ideas out of your head and manifest them in all of your actions. You change your environment to be closer to your conception of order, with the details you care about tended to. You become a guardian for those things, watching over them to protect against anything invading force that would dismantle their structure.
When you only inherit your values from your culture, you cannot rely on your evaluation of life’s most important concepts. Ordinary people distance themselves from matters of great importance. They don’t want to be the one to make the determination for how things will go in a sensitive situation where much is at stake. They absolve themselves of responsibility, not wanting to have to go through life carrying the emotional consequences of their actions.
Do not abdicate liability by acting as though a personal value were a natural law. Society is constantly at odds with itself over the natural order of things. These conflicts go forever unresolved because opinion owners do not take accountability for the values they have allowed into their minds. If they could own their preferences, they would see that it was their burden alone to manifest these principles. Reality cares neither way.
When you see something deeply unsettling in your environment, will you take action to rectify those feelings? Will you act upon the injustice you perceive, even at great risk and personal injury? A person with extraordinary character looks beyond base level gratifications to see what is quintessential to their happiness. They are willing to stand by the consequences of their choices, as nothing is more important to them than being authentic.
In time, you will become recognized for the things you stand for and the principles which you will never betray. That’s what builds trust and makes meaningful relationships possible. Because the people will know what you will always strive toward, no matter the conditions, they can rely on you. A man with no principles has no character, as there is no way to predict what actions he will take when environmental motivators are stripped away.
As everything is working against you, that’s when you see who you really are.