In the realm of social media, a plethora of gurus (and yes, I see the irony in this statement) perpetuate a narrative rooted in the mantra, ‘I don’t care what people think of me, I’m going to speak my truth.’ This approach, deeply ingrained in self-focus and self-actualization, has become a modern philosophy.
However, when pushed to extremes, this philosophy breeds division, isolation, and a zero-sum mentality. It overlooks the immense value found in connections and the rich insights gained from embracing diverse perspectives.
This rampant individualism often finds justification in Maslow’s pyramid, with 'Self-Actualization' heralded as the ultimate goal. Yet, this interpretation misses a critical piece of Maslow's vision: Transcendence. Contrary to the notion of self-focus, Transcendence is about surpassing the ego and contributing to the broader societal good.
Recognizing and overcoming our ego-centric tendencies allows us to identify and mitigate self-centred behaviours that hinder our ability to connect, grow, and realize our fullest potential.
As humans, we are wired for connection, thriving on the positive hormones released through acts of generosity and support for others – a throwback to our survival instincts. True enlightenment and fulfillment, therefore, stem not from self-centred achievements but from our contributions to the well-being of others and our communities. It's about helping without expecting anything in return, lending an ear to the lonely, and volunteering to give others a fighting chance in life.
Perhaps, then, life’s harmony doesn’t spring from blindly chasing personal goals or shutting out different viewpoints. Instead, it might lie in recognizing our perspectives as just that –perspectives, not absolute truths. Life, seen this way, transcends the confines of a zero-sum game.
This perspective doesn’t undermine our desire for personal growth or suggest guilt for our ambitions. Rather, it invites us to quiet our ego and appreciate the beauty of our individuality without asserting its superiority. In doing so, we open ourselves to sharing our lives with the world.
In a world where we support each other, the distracting noise fades away, revealing new depths of fulfillment.
And when in doubt… Pause. Breathe. And, Quiet the Noise.