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?
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.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.