For much of my life I’ve been screaming at the wind that the tenacity of an idea doesn’t necessarily instill it with value. Simply because we’ve always done it a certain way doesn’t mean we shouldn’t re-evaluate to see if there is a path that is more efficient, more effective. Too often it seems that people find themselves immobile in their complacency toward tradition and repetition.
This concept is something I’ve constantly tried to employ in my own life as a parent, as a professional, and as a student. It’s not remotely easy. In fact, there is beautiful simplistic innocence that comes with doing something the way it’s always been done. How can it be wrong? It’s always been done that way. What’s more is that it’s often not wrong.
As a parent, this couldn’t be more relevant. I’m constantly questioning “conventional” wisdom with my children and forging my own path with them. There are lots of good things in conventional thinking – but also lots of stifling things that don’t make sense to me. It’s true for me in religion, in marriage, in sports, in work, and in life. The thing I seem to always have at my disposal is skepticism.
With progress comes good and bad. The beauty of evaluation is that it’s constant. It’s fluid. It’s an ideal that must constantly be applied. Whether it be religion, or belief, or politics, or social issues – having the gravitas to step back and ask the simple question of whether there is a better way for you, the individual, to accomplish that task; and then broadening the question – do we, as a family… or a community… or a city… or a state… or a nation, have audacity to ask the question of not just what are we trying to accomplish, but how are we going to accomplish it.
The tenacity, or staying power, or immortality of an idea doesn’t instill it with value. It may still be valuable – but just because we’ve seemingly always done it that way doesn’t mean it’s still the right way.
Writing for me is oxygen. It’s the only form of artistic expression I feel I can adequately do. There is often a screaming chaos inside of me, and as I can’t paint, play an instrument, or sing to save my life, the written word is my sword; the period and semi-colon the arrows in my sling. For me, having the opportunity to share my most beloved expression with strangers and professors is an honor and a privilege. I do so knowing that it will be judged and evaluated, but I also do so knowing that it’s judged and evaluated so that it can be better. It can be sharper, tighter, and ultimately more refined. That’s the beauty of writing – it’s ever evolving. On a whim I may change a word in a paragraph that has remained static for months. I may add an adjective, or change gears and delete a sentence entirely. Neither is wrong, but both aren’t right either. Outside of grammar and structure, and even withing sometimes, there is no right or wrong in writing. There is beauty, there is art, and there is effort. Ultimately, it’s the ultimate form of breaking away from complacency. What happens on the page is different moment to moment, day to day, month to month.