The Importance of Being Earnest: Aside from the Witticisms of Oscar Wilde

“To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up.”

I often over-think interactions with others. I read into not only what’s said but also what goes unsaid. It’s something that acting has taught me to do –scratch beneath the surface. Usually, people aren’t going to come right out and tell you exactly what they’re thinking, and sometimes they’re not going to admit it to themselves. I guess that’s one of the beautiful things about being alive – the complexity of the human existence.

Especially in this day and age, with the bombardment and overt presence of social media, we’re even more careful with what we share with each other. There’s a veneer of happiness, without delving into what’s underneath the surface. We want information quickly, and we don’t want a lot of detail. This prevalence of insincerity is what makes genuine enthusiasm, or earnestness, important.

When you see it or hear it, it’s almost like striking gold. There’s this purity about someone who is earnestly wanting to do something or be something.  

It can also be a very tender thing for one to have earnest goals and intentions. There is a gentleness there that needs to be cultivated. I’d like to think that genuine intentions and interactions are rewarded — maybe not immediately or in the way that you initially expected. I think the majority of people want to help, and when you voice what your heart wants, or what your soul wants, people will do whatever they can to help you achieve that. I’m not saying that they’re going to just hand over the keys to the castle, but they may know someone who knows someone. No matter what industry or business you find yourself in, connections and networks are the keys to opening new doors. You still have to work hard and make the effort, but one of the things that links highly successful people is that they aren’t afraid to stop and ask someone else questions or have conversations. It is through those conversations, that the next steps start to form.

“Well I won’t argue about the matter. You always want to argue about things.

That is exactly what things were originally made for.”

That being said, nay-sayers and ne’er-do-wells, will still try to stand in your way. There will be those that offer you opportunities that would be in your best interest not to take. You may have conversations where you don’t agree with the person you’re conversing with.

There are those who will tell you never burn a bridge, and always be polite in those situations. I think some bridges are meant to be burnt because they aren’t going to lead you anywhere. I would argue it’s more important to be kind or respectful than polite.

You can respectfully disagree with someone. You can argue with them in a kind way. You don’t have to politely agree or acquiesce in a conversation or situation. I think that a conversational argument can be a good thing. I find that when you disagree with a point made by someone, it’s important to get to the root of their idea. Why do they think that? What has led them to that conclusion?

You’re never going to change someone’s mind by forcing your opinion on them. You might be able to change their mind if you can change the way they arrived at that conclusion.

That being said, conversations like that take time, and it’s imperative to know if a conversation like that is worth the energy it takes to have it. Does it change the greater good? Will it have an effect on the world, or your community or relationships? Is it important to you? Is this need to connect and challenge an earnest one or is it for a selfish or superficial reason?

Some arguments need to be had. Some arguments are worth the effort. Some minds need to be changed, and some you have to move on and forget about. Burn the bridge or don’t build one to begin with.

Conversations are also not a singular activity. The decision to have an important conversation isn’t yours alone. The other person or persons have to be open to it as well. Even if initially you decide it’s worthwhile, they may decide that it’s not, which means in the end, it won’t be a productive conversation or even an enjoyable conversation. It’s best to just move on and connect with someone who energizes you instead of drains you. Someone who inspires you to move forward instead of holding you back.

 

“One must be serious about something, if one wants to have any amusement in life.”

 

At the end of the day, I find that a lot of issues and aggressions come from the fact that people do not feel fulfilled. They feel repressed. They aren’t actively pursuing something that they are passionate about. It’s a hard thing to do — to earnestly run toward what you want when you are weighed down by pressures of family or faith (spiritual or belief in yourself). There will always be a million reasons to not do something. You can always justify why you can’t or shouldn’t or won’t. It’s a rabbit hole of excuses, so don’t focus on the negative. Think about the positive. Think about what if. One pure intention is worth more than a million insignificant issues (even though they may feel significant at the time.) Things that are important take time. Life is about the long game and not the short-sighted distractions.

With any goal or choice, whether it be personal or professional, there will be stories of success and failure. Even if you reach your original idea, there’s going to be a next step. Fairytales have a happily ever after. Life has another chapter.

There’s always something that comes next that will bring its own challenges. No matter what you choose to do, there will be struggle. Everything exhausts or energizes in different ways. The only thing that you have control over is if you’re ambitions align with what the essence of yourself.

The only thing that you have control over is if you earnestly believe what you’re doing is worthwhile. Everything else is insignificant. Everything else is just a variable — something that can be manipulated with changing situations and interactions. What’s important at the end of the day, or the end of your life, is what you are proud of accomplishing. The moments in your life where you can say: I’m so glad that I did that. Everything else was worth it because it led me to there. All of the pain. All of the doubt. All of the tribulations. It was all worth the fight. It was worth the sleepless nights.

You’ll be happy because you gave yourself permission to take the path that you wanted to take. It’s not any easier than any other choice. It’s not necessarily harder than a path another has taken, but it was the path that spoke to you. You stood at the trailhead and made your decision. This is what you wanted to do — so do it.

If you decide this one isn’t for you, try another one. Whatever you do in this life, make sure you earnestly believe in it. Everything else fades away. The importance lies in being earnest.

 

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