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"Getting My Shit Together"

My educational year ended last week and I had a nice week of relaxation during the beginning of summer. Now I am done with playing -- back to work, something I haven't neglected, but could improve on certainly.

I'm nineteen now and I've accomplished quite a bit, individually. Few of the things I've done so far would really interest or impress anyone else, but I feel I've come a long way since the days of taking spelling tests that are less challenging to take than it is to get Kathie Lee Gifford to cry on national television. What I've done so far has been limited mainly to the mental level, what with learning in school, in work, and in living. I haven't had a chance to apply what I've learned in the real world yet, and I probably won't be able to until I've unattached from school. It's frustrating.

I mean, I love UT Austin and what it has offered me already, but I feel like I need to get ready for the future. I feel like I need to preserve my lead over the others. I feel that there has to be a way to start cashing in on my opportunities before I have to.

How many times can Ben use "I" in one Soapbox?

I pride myself in being better and more in tune to the world than others my age. I guess the argument can be said that the other teens are just enjoying their naive lives, but I disagree. I've grown up in the public school system. I've seen the students who wallow under the shield of ignorance, shunning any sort of nutrition for their minds and souls. There is a big difference between doing something because you find it worthwhile and doing something because other people are doing it. I most always only do things that are worth the time spent, and that's what makes me successful at this point. I don't squander my opportunities and I don't waste my time on things I think are hollow and deceitful (like National Honor Society, but you already knew that, if you are a regular reader).

It's important to note what I just said, because I think I am writing this because I don't want to lose my focus. I have the chance over the summer to just waste my time idly, to sit around and watch TV and kick ass in Quake (anyone want to deathmatch?). But that really isn't me. That's not who I want to be. That's not who I'm going to be.

Instead, with a new driving force to support me, which is unknown to most all except those who take the time to keep in touch with me (I see my friendship as privileged, but not necessary important or meaningful to anyone else -- it at least is selective, and those who are selected are rewarded, or at least are meant to be), I strive to expand my knowledge in all areas (for I seem to be best at being well-rounded, not specialized) and to become stronger and more confident both physically and mentally.

I seek to inspire competitive fear without being competitive myself. I seek to be comfortable. I seek to be driven and ambitious. And dammit, I seek to come up with an idea or two that really shock the world and cause a technological or economic revolution. I know I can do it. Who can stop me except myself?

Screw Vivarin. Forget all those companies who do not use the ideal criteria to choose which person to recognize. I'd be so much better off already if this were a fair world, but it indeed is not. In this world, you see, no one cares about anyone else. People are not intrinsically good or evil. They are only interested in themselves. It is that philosophy which is so intimately twisted into the minds of Aristotle and J.B.S. Haldane. Sociobiology and social science. Humans are not divine by any means -- they are, at the moment, the farthest reaching species in the evolutionary history. One day they will be as insignificant as lizards are to us. It's time for people to get past their egotistical selves and realize that they are mere animals, wearing masks of humanity. Human instinct is to act primitively.

And it is this world I have to live with. I have to succeed in a world that judges success and worth on a different scale than I do. I have to figure out how to excel, how to deal with it.

What I plan to do is create, to initiate, to be the visionary. And I must place myself in a framework that still allows me to be successful, to reap the rewards. I have not been allowed to create yet, because I am still the tutored student. I am the apprentice. But my age is young still, and I will emerge. I pity those in my way.

I am not arrogant enough to believe that I will accomplish all of that which I want and what I have expressed interest in in this essay, but I do know that I will succeed in some way. Something is looking after me and is being extremely subtle about it. I don't know what it is, but it has always been there. Damn me for not noticing it when I was younger.

Nicholas Negroponte says I am going to be one of the pioneers of a world where most everyone is self-employed. I agree. I will be in a position to make influential positions, not because I lust for power, but because I'm ready to make those decisions and not dawdle around settling on something.

But for right now, I must make the best of what I have to work with. And that involves reading as much as possible, gaining connections in my future industry, and using this Soapbox as a chalkboard for the thoughts and artifices lurking in my mind.

As a final note, I think it's appropriate to say that you're much better off if you continue to read the Soapbox. You might miss something very important otherwise.

You still have a chance to be on the inside. Before I become distant, holding close only those few friends, family, and lover, and refer to everyone else as the generalized Narcissuses I'll be competing against.

You don't want to face someone who has his shit together, do you?

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