What’s Obtained Too Easily, Is Valued Just as Cheaply

Irrational 8. While I was in high school, I was given a very important laminated quote.  It was given to me by one of the most influential teachers I have ever had and it’s a quote that I’ve carried in my wallet ever since (going on six plus years). The quote is as follows:

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious that triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.”

— Thomas Paine, 1776.

It was and is a very inspirational sentiment that has helped during my years in high school, college, and to this very day. There’s a notion that’s expressed here though that serves as one of the major themes spanning, Irrational Health. What’s obtained easily doesn’t carry as much value as something that’s obtained through trial and tribulation. It’s the struggle that makes an accomplishment so worth while. It’s knowing that you had to offer yourself up in every respect to a cause that makes the moment the cause is realized so great.

A symptom of Irrational Health is without a doubt a focus on what’s obtained easily most times. While many people see it as worthwhile to struggle for their professional future, every other segment of their lives tends to fall more towards the easily obtained. Why isn’t it that this concept transfers into the other parts of our lives anymore? That’s the question to ask. We already know that people who can delay gratification in life are much more likely to be successful. These are the people who can substitute the higher pleasures for the lower ones, the satisfactions that are short and fleeting. This understanding that we have of human psychology and philosophy runs directly parallel the concept of the struggle being correlated with the value of a success.

We live in times in which people are more concerned with the present day, what they did over the weekend, what they’re doing today, and what the following weekend will look like. I think that when you put together the themes we’ve talked about, such as independence, convenience, and lies, you come to see that people in the modern day can be very successful and at the same time be ill-at-rest because the grand value they want to see in certain parts of their lives just doesn’t exist. They have this feeling that there should be this great value there and they will even act like there is… and yet its the equivalent setting up a plastic tarp outside with an inflatable pool and insisting it’s a water park. It’s very bizarre because at times you might be the one person in a room who just doesn’t get it, but no one is going to speak up to set you straight. Why? Well, they might not want the stigma as being the first person to say something questionable, but I think that further no one is saying anything because they wouldn’t want someone to set them straight. They prefer to keep pretending. The point is you can set up a make shift water, obstacle course outside, but it’s still not going to be a water park. You can accept an expensive gift from someone, but you won’t value it as much as if you had worked for it yourself. You can add certain components to your life to make it whole, but it won’t be whole if it all came together too easily. You can jump out of an endeavour when it gets too difficult and you just don’t want to deal with it… or you can stay and struggle to eventually find yourself at the top of that mountain… to look back at the distance you’ve come and value that achievement for the struggle and not just the view, which would be all that someone would have if they simply got dropped off by helicopter.

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Who You Are, Who People Think You Are, Who You Want to Be + Who You Think You Are

In the study of psychology, there’s this concept of cognitive dissonance which refers to when a person has one or more beliefs that are conflicting. The attempt to make the two or more differing beliefs compatible causes a person unease in the form of cognitive dissonance. Whether you are  consciously attempting to rectify that cognitive dissonance or not, your subconscious will attempt to do so and at times by any means necessary. If you’ve been following along with me here, then you’re probably already guessing that irrationalities are sometimes the ways  by which the mind attempts to fix this dissonance.

There’s further this concept that defines a person in three different ways. The first definition is your own person definition you give yourself. The second is the definition other people would attribute to you and the last is the definition regarding the person you want to be. According to this psychological concept, you’re a whole person so to speak, when all three of these definitions are one in the same. When you are the person you want to be and others identify you as such, then you are a complete person, which is to say that there aren’t parts of your identity that don’t coincide with one another. In order to adapt this model to my analysis of Irrational Health, I’d add a fourth overlap, that overlap being who you think you are as differentiated by who you actually are. I think that people suffering from Irrational Health can manage to get the who they want to be part, the who people think they are, and the who they think the are to match up, but are incapable of getting the who they really are to match up with the other three. Due to the irrationalities at play in their psyche, they’re overlooking what’s arguably the most important piece of the four. They’re still incomplete. This is just another of what will be many attempts to bring to light what it is that I’m really focused on. The key is to notice that there’s something off every time. There’s one thing that just doesn’t match or add up and that will typically be the Irrational Health.