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Zephyr's Compass

A blog about writing, photography, and everything in between.

Launch Week + The Power of Knowing Yourself: An Editorial

May 29th, 2012

With every endeavor comes a beginning, an origin. Results come not from idleness, ideas merely ideas when not acted upon, views useless if not expressed. Today is that beginning for Zephyr’s Compass: a blog culminating from years of thinking and experience, a yearning to reach out to the world, and a desire to make a difference in my own way.

And thus, from Zephyr (Commie Fansubs, leetNEET, Random Curiosity) comes a blog about writing, photography, life, and everything in between.

This is Launch Week, where I will attempt to post 7 articles in 7 days.

And this is the start—I hope—of something special.

And without further ado, I bring to you a quick editorial about the “Power of Knowing Yourself“.

““If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” - Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Maybe you’ve heard this before, maybe not. The point is this: the quote might come from a book about military strategy, but it’s also readily applicable to life in general.

How so? Think about it this way. As people go through life, there are bound to be some obstacles in the way. The magnitude of the obstacle differs from situation to situation, but the end result remains the same. One must either overcome the obstacle or be able to sidestep it in order to obtain what they want. As such, one can thus relate this struggle to a battle. It’s nothing as flashy as guns and bombs, but the impact is the same. And like all battles, knowledge is key. Knowledge about the enemy will let you anticipate their movements and prepare a counter, knowledge about the terrain will let you utilize it to your advantage, knowledge about your own soldiers will let you deploy them in a way that maximizes their potential. It’s a pretty straight forward concept, but sadly, few people realize just how this concept and knowledge can help them succeed in life.

See, I’m a person who believes that effort will lead to results, no matter where you come from or how you grew up. I will admit natural talent and genetic factors play a role. I will also admit that certain circumstances are based on pure chance. But even so, I believe that one can overcome adversity and “people with more talent”, as long as you put the effort in. And to me, putting effort into attaining knowledge is the key to victory. Specifically, knowledge about yourself.

And by that, I mean making sure you know as much about yourself as you possibly can. Know your limits. Know what you like. Know what you hate. Know what you’re good at. Know what you’re bad at. Know your views regarding life, as well as its many aspects. Know what you want. Know what you need.

People talk about how they have no time to do things, how they struggle to fit in everything they want to do. People ask me often how I’m able to have so much time, how I’m able to juggle being a science major in college, multiple writing gigs, etc. And I tell a lot of them: “I make my own time”. It’s a bit nonsensical and some people get pissed at me for saying it, but it’s true. When I need to get things done, I get them done because I make my own time. I make it so that I can fit in more things into my schedule when I need to. And I do all of this because I’ve spent years thinking about myself as a person and testing my limits. I know approximately how long it’ll take me to complete a certain thing. And from there, I know approximately how long I’ll need to spend on stuff like school work and jobs on a weekly/monthly basis. This knowledge then lets me plan my schedule accordingly so that I’ll always have time to do everything I need to and then some. Furthermore, it opens up quite a bit of free time too, because I don’t spend time panicking or need that much time to plan out everything I need to do or how to do it. And all of this comes from the fact I know myself well.

Sure, I don’t really know what I want to do in the future. But that’s because I’ve realized I want to do everything.

Sure, it requires a bit of discipline.

Sure, I’m not exactly successful yet.

No, I’m not trying to say I’m better than anyone else.

No, I’m not saying I’m some awesome guy who can do anything.

What I am trying to say is how important it is to know yourself. It lets you structure your obligations and needs in such a way that makes life easier. And when life is easier, you’re more likely to succeed. There’s less stress, less pressure from life and you’re also less likely to worry about an impending event as well. Everyone’s different, but knowing things such as your limits, the things you love/hate, the unique style you have… they’re things that’ll probably let you avoid pitfalls like ending up in a job you hate, having too little time to do the things you want, etc.

And in the end… really, Sun Tzu’s quote really rings true (at least in my ears). I can go on and on, but at this point I reckon it’s time to open up the forum a bit to the viewers out there. Maybe some of you will agree a bit with what I’m saying. Maybe some of you think I’m spouting a bunch of malarchy. Either way, don’t stay quiet. Post a comment. What do you think?

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