I'm writing this piece today because I have felt a certain way lately, and I don't like it. It doesn't seem that I can climb out of the feeling, and it made me think of a couple people (real or not) that I resonated with. Figured that writing it all out would be a good cathartic way to get it all out.
People see me as the lively, energetic, happy man, but just like anyone else I am not always that way.
Growing up I always felt alone because I didn't fit into any category. The polymathic traits showed up pretty early in my life, and that made things really hard for me. I couldn't sit down with just one skill and hone my craft, or find a club that made me happy, or even a lunch table to sit with. I would always float between various tables, reaching out to different groups of people. It made me excited to float, more than to make deeper connections.
Someone told me when I got older out of school that they percieved me as popular, and that I didn't give a F*** as they put it. However I recall that being further from the truth. I couldn't ever get my mind off of what others might think, even turning down the volume of my music so that no one would hear it. To prevent judgement from occuring.
An overthinker with a high EQ, combined with teenage hormones, is not a great combo.
"I want this post to be here to show that there is hope for people like us, and that we can learn from the mistakes of people's past to grow further than they might have been able to. Or in Po's case strive to achieve that inner peace." - Dustin PolyInnovator
“I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy.Because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anybody else to feel like that.” - Robin Williams
The Smiling Robin Williams
We all know him as the comedian or actor, but he was more than that. He was a human being with such boundless ability to spread joy to people all over the world.
Even in his youth he was known for being funny and personable. His energy and magnetic radiance is nothing short of legendary. In this tribute it shows how much he impacted the lives around him:
“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”
Fights with Depression
His troubling life was hidden from most, and his trials with depression lead him down dark paths internally. Now I don't want to sit here and write as if I knew the man, as I didn't. Even though I would obviously extremely like to have had the chance.
I'm purely sharing what I come to have learned about a man I have admired for all of my life.
Giving All his Happiness Away
With hate and anger those are seeds of corruption that permeate any individual, but happiness, laughter, and joy those spread just the same. Robin was the kind of person to strive in everything he did to share the happiest of human emotions to anyone.
I empathize with his mindset of sharing the happiness, as it is what I strive to do. It makes me think of being a lifeguard though, where if someone was drowning I have the ability to stay underwater for a long time. Due to my sheer amounts of practice, and I am not panicking like they are as I am not currently drowning.
Point being what I would do is hold them up out of the water, while I stayed under for much longer. If under for long enough I would start drowning too, but I do that risk in order to give them that better chance. Simply because I have the capacity to.
I think that Robin did that with his joy and sadness. He was the lifeguard of our happiness, and he wanted nothing more than to keep us above the waters of sadness.
Po - The Dragon Warrior (KFP)
Pixar's amazing trilogy, The Kung Fu Panda series, is one of the best movies ever made. Not just because of the amazing animation that still holds up today, but of the deeply integrated philosophical lessons. The character arcs, and hero's journey of Po throughout the series. Let alone each film.
Some say the 3rd is less powerful than the first two, and maybe it is. However all three have their place, and even embody the Four Pillars Philosophy as well.
I had a rough childhood growing up from my perspective, and I know that the character Po did as well. Given what we know from the 2nd film, and his spiritual growth is an inspiration.
Being Okay with One's Self
In the first movie he struggles with accepting himself as a panda, let alone the Dragon Warrior, or something greater than what he is now.
"Yeah, I stayed. I stayed because every time you threw a brick at my head or said I smelled, it hurt, but it could never hurt more than it did every day of my life just being me. - I stayed because I thought, if anyone could change me, could make me not me, it was you."
- Po to Shifu
In the sequel the story revolves around finding the truth about his parents, and when he does it was terrible. The tragedy befallen the Panda tribe was ruthless, and so Po being the "lone survivor", at least to his knowledge left a deep burden.
He overcame that past, and even achieved inner peace. As he knew nothing he could do could change that.
“Yesterday is history,
tomorrow is a mystery,
and today is a gift...
that's why they call it present”
― Master Oogway
Your past does not define you, and your future isn't written yet. Determinism is not real, we are the authors of our journey.
Understanding that when we go with the flow of universe we can create the events that make up our life.
Whether or not we come from happiness, our journey can lead to happiness.
“Your story may not have such a happy beginning but that does not make you who you are, it is the rest of it- who you choose to be”
― Soothsayer from Kung Fu Panda 2
Being an Amalgamation
Asking yourself who are you? Are you your parents child, or your children's parent? Are you a teacher? A student? A leader or a follower? Whatever it may be, just be willing to understand what that definition means to you. How do you see yourself in the light/life of that role?
This is why I personally am so fond of polymaths, and living a polymathic life myself. I cannot stand the thought of being known for only one thing.
An early guest on the PolyCast even said something to me that stuck with me, and until now made me a little annoyed at it's truth. Not annoyed with him, but rather how truthful it is!
"Even if you are a master at many things. You have to be willing to be known for only one thing. History will only remember you for that one thing." - Ranjit Marathay https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekVE-C2bZwk
Now I did paraphrase a little there, but that was the summary of what he had said. It is true though, for think of Leonardo Da Vinci, arguably the most prolific polymath of all time, literally mastering many disparate skill areas.
He is most commonly known as a painter, despite that being only one of many of his active life roles. Even sculpting which is part of that artist life, is something that many people don't realize he did. Let alone his discovery of many actual sciences like optics, light physics, and anatomy.
Although just like Po in KFP says, "I am all of those things", when referencing his many roles throughout the movies. Same with Da Vinci he was all of those things, and one thing I have experienced in life is that people know you for how they have come across you. People from the pool know me as the swim coach, people from the online world know me as PolyInnovator, and so forth.
A Cold Black Abyss
Something I joke with my fitness class about, is that since I am tough on them they will believe it to a degree, that I don't have a heart. It is just a cold black abyss in my chest where my heart is supposed to be. Now I don't truly think that, and I know my class doesn't either. However sometimes it does really feel like that, as if the spot in my chest is sinking.
After a decade of looking inward to my Four Pillars I have become quite in tune with myself in all Four of them. However I still can't decipher as to why I feel this way.
I have a feeling, or inclination of who I am, and who I am meant to be. I hope that my sadness in this post is conveyed. Although I tend to write more motivationally than I originally anticipate. Ironically I write this post on my birthday of all days.
Perhaps this feeling of emptiness will fill over time, and that you all may be the reason for that to happen.