Originally Posted On November 27, 2015
As children, we're praised for our curiosity and desire to understand. Asking, "why?" is both enriching, as well as amusing. But by our teenage years, our charm has already worn off. Our desire to establish ourselves as individuals often comes with an ongoing debate towards authority figures to win our own personal battles and establish ourselves as "equals". At this time in my life, the answer to the question, "why?" changed to, "Because I said so," or, "Just because."
To me, it was an unacceptable response, though at the time I didn't fully understand why. A response of "Just because" always led the speaker to denounce my ideas and refuse to listen to them, despite my perceived logic and rationale. Later, I came to associate "just because" with an unbudging stubbornness caused by stagnation and an unwillingness to think outside of one's comfort zone. And ever since coming to this realization, I've realized this issue is prevalent in the majority of the adult world!
Breaking Down "Just Because" Mentality
As I see it, the rationale behind "just because" mentality can be broken into two halves - "because this is how I do it" and "because my way is right (and every other way is wrong!)" But we, as humans, have such impressive mental capabilities crammed into such short lifespans that it's impossible to learn it all! However, "just because" mentality is the ultimate indication that the speaker believes they are already 'good enough' and have no room left to grow. Going through each of our days with the opportunity to advance our minds and improve our lives at no cost to us, one must ask - why willingly stop growing? Why is it acceptable to turn that brilliant mental capability off and believe that you have nothing more to learn, that you are the best you can be? It frustrates and baffles me!
After rationalizing my hatred of this phrase, I almost immediately gained a sense of my own ignorance, realizing how much I had held myself back over the course of my life due to my ego and the belief that I was 'good enough'. My subconscious told me that "bah, these things don't matter", "that's not so impressive, if I wanted to I could do it", "I'm special", etc., etc. The results of thinking this way held me back unnecessarily. They got me lower grades in school, stopped me from experiencing new opportunities, and continued to reinforce myself as better than I was because I was already 'good enough'.
And after coming to that realization, I vowed that I would force myself to grow and do my best to throw away this "just because" mentality! And then I began to grow again. Mentally and as an individual, I began eliminating my notable weaknesses and branching out to become better than I ever was before - becoming someone who could better see the daily opportunities that life gives us. Opportunities I would have previously encountered and passed by, completely oblivious that they were ever there! And after finding myself, I realize that I still have so much to grow. So much to experience. So much to conquer! I don't want it to end!
But then I encountered my first roadblock. I graduated college, gaining a safe job with good pay, great coworkers, and even a 3 day weekend. However, my job comes with a huge time commitment and no sense of accomplishment. And I've come to realize that my ideal of perpetual growth is inhibited and contradicted by the daily drone that I commit so much of my time to.
"Well, what did you expect? This is work!" my dad would exclaim. But I look to co-workers who have been experiencing these conditions for far longer than I and have to question, "How much they have grown in the past 5... 10... 30 years?"
Are we doomed to live our lives like puppets on strings, following the command of society and hoping it will sustain and reward us for our loyal servitude - never taking control of our fates or paving our own paths because the tiny voices inside tells us it's 'too hard'? Are we destined to merely watch life pass us by as we lose sense of ourselves and lose sight of what was once so dear to us, our only comfort knowing that tomorrow will be exactly the same as every other day has been and will be? Do we stand still, bear with the regrets of what could have been, yet never attempt to change what is to come? All for the reasoning of "Just Because"?
Of course not! I can't accept it! I need a purpose and can't stomach the thought of mine being to earn a paycheck month after month until I'm shriveled and reliant on the world around me remaining the same to sustain my inactive life!
Realizing the lack of progress in myself after leaving college to work, I started this blog as a means to process and reflect on the events in my life. In doing so, it will serve to document the journey of someone who, until recently, accepted what life gave him and show the honest struggles and (hopeful) victories of one trying to attain financial freedom and continue his own personal growth. This my "stairway", all beginning from my first step of breaking free of "Just Because" mentality.