What kind of fish are you? Do you swim where most of the fish in the world are, in the middle of the school? The very nature of the school dictates that the majority of fish will be walled in by other fish. Like people, they end up so buried within the ideas and movements of the other fish that they never actually see or comprehend anything they’re reacting to, nor do they have any influence over their own general direction. The fish simply go where the school goes without much understanding of why, much like a teenager’s fears of judgment will cause them to indirectly allow their classmates to dictate what they wear.
The fish on the perimeter are much closer to danger but they also have much more perspective on what’s going on around them. No fish can see in every direction because we’re all blinded by the school to some degree. But at least by being on the fringe of the school they may be more visible and have higher risk, but they also have more freedom to choose their own direction and, in turn, that will mean they have at least some degree of influence regarding where the entire school/society goes.
The question is, are you confident enough to live out your own life? Are you prepared to use your creativity to truly be an individual? Instead of doing what’s expected or right, are you prepared to do what feels genuinely appropriate for you in that moment?
Would you protect someone from an unjust law? Would you stand up to bullying even if it appears you’re outnumbered? Would you stop on the street to offer help to a crying stranger? Would you wear an outfit you like, even though other people might tease you about it? Will you enact your own creative life force and become what you feel is right for you, or will do what others suggest?
Remember: confident people don’t have some magic way of getting everyone behind them. They just ignore what others believe is right and they pursue what they believe instead.
The busy-ness of the middle of the school looks safe and familiar because all of the other fish are doing that too. But you can’t influence your own life or any others from there. You have to be out and away from the cloud of their judgment to be able to see where you truly want to go. But when you can see clearly and you do decide to go, don’t be surprised if you turn around to see that the entire school is right behind you.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.