“No one ever said it would be easy.” That saying is so wrong. A lot of people have said it would be easy (consider the quick weight loss and anti-aging industries) and for the most part, they are wrong.
People are wrong all the time. Drink grapefruit and you’ll lose inches in days. Wrong. Vote for this guy and all our problems are solved. Wrong. Avoid cholesterol and you won’t have heart disease. Mostly, wrong.
In fact, people are wrong so much, I’m wondering why we give People a voice in the first place. People. Huh. I’m a people, and I’ve lived long enough to know a thing or two and I’m wrong a lot. Yet for some reason I subconsciously believe that People somehow has a leg-up on me and knows better.
Okay, okay, so if a People is an expert in astrophysics, that People is more likely to be right about something astrophysics-y. But life? Nope. And even in astrophysics, other people may disagree and try to prove the People wrong. And they may be successful. They may not.
We can’t even count on someone who has lived a long time to be right. That People’s words are based on a unique set of perspectives, life journey, brain chemistry and childhood traumas that haunted them for decades. Age may bring an accumulated wisdom that is worth considering, but not always. People can be wrong at any age, social strata, level of education or place on the beauty spectrum.
And yet, People get stirred up in the pot and their words and perspectives get churned into They. As in, “They say you should walk 10,000 steps a day,” or “They say that if you make your bed every day you’ll live longer,” or “They say he is a socialist.” They has a pretty significant voice.
Back to the topic (I didn’t have a topic when I started this little jaunt, but maybe I found it …): Life is not easy. People are often wrong. Consider carefully whose words you value and why.
We give a whole lot of credence to what famous people say. Famous people, who have managed to make some really bad, and really public, choices and we still think that what they have to say should guide our daily thoughts. That they are somehow able to discern life better than we do. Weird.
Charlie Sheen springs to mind. I don’t know why him, as there are so many famous people we could point to as a little whacked and still have a say out there in the world. Anyway, Charlie has managed to do a lot of really dumb things: drugs, demanding outrageous money to continue appearing on a mediocre TV show, “Winning,” tiger blood, having unprotected sex with women after being diagnosed with HIV. And yet, he gets a spot on the Dr. Oz show this week. (Let’s not get into how nuts Dr. Oz is.) And I’m sure he’ll talk about HIV, or any other aspect of modern life, like he’s an expert and people will listen to him. Charlie Sheen is a part of They. Scary, isn’t it?
The thing is that we (lower case) people are fundamentally lazy. We seek a quick way to understand our world and love to be told by People what They think so that we can be like Them. And now, more than any time in human history, we have the ability to decide which People They are. We choose our news sources on TV and the Internet to be the ones that espouse views consistent with what we think are the right ones. We follow on Facebook and Twitter the voices of the People we decide are the best at knowing what is true. So, in reality, They are Us (in the limited microcosm of our chosen reality). It becomes a tornado of insular thoughts and ideas, throwing off any others.
I’m trying to evaluate where my They voice comes from and why. I live in a small place, made smaller by the group of people my family most associates with. I no longer go to work each day with people who force me to consider their unique life views. Selling lift tickets a couple of days a week does expose me to people from varied lives to be sure (and the germs they bring from all over the world), but we don’t tend to engage in deep conversations while I swipe their credit card for outrageously priced tickets. My views could become pretty entrenched. And so, I’m working at expanding my influencing sources. It’s really hard, but hey, They say Rome wasn’t built in a day ….
My kid turned 18 on Friday. As I look at my <ahem> adult child, who will be voting in the next election, I wonder who his They will be. If I have any influence at all, I hope to help him challenge Them, whoever They may be. Teachers, hip hop singers, Snap Chatters, the producers of Ridiculousness, me. I hope to help him realize that People are often wrong. Take it in, breathe it out. As hard as it may be, think for yourself, young man.