“According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.” ― Plato, The Symposium
Although Plato here refers to the physical division of man and woman, I view it more as a metaphor more for how many of us feel as if we are forever soul searching.
I’ve always grown up in search of what I wanted to do with my life and what I wanted to become.
I have a younger brother who always knew from day one he wanted to become a veterinarian. After countless years of school and time investment, he is now a doctor and works as a veterinarian in upstate New York. Never once did he falter or change his mind. Amazing, but I am forever baffled at the level of dedication and conviction he had since day one.
I am the farthest thing from my brother. I tried the blame game. I blamed those around me for being different. I blamed my father for not being around as much as I thought he should have been. Worst of all I blamed and punished myself because I truly thought there was something wrong with the way I was.
I couldn’t understand why on a very fundamental and functional level I just couldn’t behave and participate in life like others around me. Was I spoiled? Was I lazy? I knew I wasn’t depressed—in fact quite the opposite. I was a happy person with a positive outlook on life. So why then was I so internally tormented?
In my article about struggling with singularity, I mention the most dreaded question that is asked of us.
The other day I was at a barbecue and had a conversation that went like this:
“Dave, what is it you want to do with your life?” – interested BBQ guest
“I want to be able to do whatever I want to on any given day.” – me
“What do you mean whatever you want? That doesn’t pay bills.” – condescending BBQ guest
I explained to them I had what I referred to as a split mentality. They asked about my blog SplitMentality.com and did not seem to agree with my mentality nor my principles (get used to this if you are not already). For the rest of the night one of these people continued to criticize and say such things like “sorry, I guess my brain is too simple because I don’t have a split mentality”. I laughed and continued to shrug it off, but this is the reality I live in. I am ostracized by people that follow the mold that I cannot. What’s worse is that these people seem to take offense by my lifestyle.
I always knew my inner wiring was different, yet still I felt the need to mold myself into what I thought was required of me by society. I was to go to school, college, job(s), house, white picket fence, marriage, kids and then finally death. It’s exhausting just thinking about how linear and boring that sounds. In my opinion, our life is not about those linear objectives, but the moments we share in between them with people we care about. Nevertheless, I still tried to conform and squeeze my mind into the patterns that were designed for me, because I knew of no other way. As you can probably guess, forcing myself to be something I’m not brought only pain and anguish. If this sounds like you then fear not—you are not alone.
There is one thing and one thing only you should know.
You are not meant to be great at one thing and one thing only. You have a creative, diverse and exploratory mind that simply cannot be satiated by one singular passion. The sooner you embrace this, the sooner you will set your mind free.
STOP trying to fit in and be like everyone else. Instead, embrace your inner wiring and explore all your interests. It is the only true way to free your mind.\
I don’t know what I want to do with my life because there is no answer.
The only thing for you to do is embrace your mind and learn more.
Do YOU have a split mentality?