Become Autonomous in 2011
In one word: autonomy.
I’ve spent several days pondering, but I now know what 2011 will mean for this site. This will be the year of gaining autonomy and freedom. Let me teach you about the concept that will, unlike Red Bull, actually “give you wings” to be your dream self.
Let’s start with a warm-up definition of autonomy.
Autonomy can be defined as personal independence.
It is also…
- Liberating yourself from society’s notions of “expected” behaviors.
- Seeing the possibilities that lie in front of you, and knowing that you can grasp them at any moment, if you try.
- Having options.
- Being open to change.
Sound interesting to you? It’s absolutely attainable, but it starts with a mindset that you have to kindle within yourself, and grows from there.
Why You Need It: The Teen Magazine Story
Being able to make your choices without outside influence is outrageously difficult. For motivation’s sake, I’ve got an example of how your life could be extremely unsatisfying if you were to live without an autonomous mindset.
I used to be subscribed to Teen Vogue. Each issue would roll out and I would be itching to devour the latest articles, room tours, and fashion spreads. I compared my own style endlessly to the girls in the magazines. Every now and then I would get discouraged that my room wasn’t as cool, or my nail polish wasn’t the color of the season. I was bothered by the fact that I didn’t know how to apply makeup. A feeling of insufficiency loomed over me during middle school, an impressionable time for young people.
Feeling insufficient is heartbreaking. It can deter people from chasing after what they want for fear of failure or embarrassment. Since I was young and didn’t have an autonomous model with which to frame my life, I fell into the trap of comparing and acceptance. The whole point of being autonomous is not to accept a “destined fate” unless it’s a damn good one. It’s your job to question unfairness and mediocrity in exchange for pursuing your constitutional right: happiness.
To be autonomous is be able to pick and choose what information you take to heart, and what to leave on the table. In other words, you can override external pressures and accomplish what you really want to.
Autonomy is something that my peers and I are struggling to secure at our age. It is also a process that can be sped up if you’re exposed to the right ideas and are able to let them soak into your subconscious to positively affect the way you operate.
The Hamster Wheel and Freedom
We are born as a tabula rasa, or blank slate. Our minds do not hold preformed opinions as soon as we emerge from the womb. We can accept anything as truths. However, we are raised in a society that tells us that autonomy is not something to desire. Our schooling system and the media feed this idea to us all the time.
Too Cool for School
Students who’ve been funneled through the schooling system for most of their lives (me included) are stuck in the mindset of following orders. The standard curriculum in school does not provide us with sufficient street knowledge or skills to reap the rewards of being set loose on our own terms. How could we possibly follow our guts if our schooling has taught us to conform?
The Media Villain
The typical media experience constructs a sense of normalcy for us. We see people on television, movies, and magazines, and expect ourselves to fit their image. The media teaches us what to want, and how to be afraid. We see clichéd situations all the time, which creates the illusion that humans are only able to think in circular fashions, always repeating the past.
But the crazy thing is, we’re also taught to want money. We’re taught that we must be creative, innovative, and independent to be able to acquire these things.
Our situation is much like jumping off of a hamster wheel and into a wrestling ring: it doesn’t make any logical sense.
I’m here to say that even though we may have been given the mentality of “adhering to the rules” by systems like school and the media, we can overcome it. We can take back our ability to do for ourselves.
I want to help you do this in 2011. We’ll gain our autonomy together, and achieve great things with it.
Let’s move the world.