A short time ago, I expressed feelings of frustration to a friend of mine. All of my life, I was told that I was smart, had a clever mind, or had a bright future ahead of me. Although the first two were reasonably accurate (or at least what I’ve been led to believe), the last one didn’t seem to be true. In the academic world, I excelled – but in the real world, where the rubber met the road, I floundered. I was frustrated with the way my life was heading – more specifically, I was frustrated with what seemed to be the limits of my intellect.

I was angry that I couldn’t sound like a philosopher – that my thoughts didn’t sound polished enough. It wasn’t enough that I could write things that were genuinely insightful – I wanted to sound smarter than I really was. I wanted to be perfect.

My friend told me to relax –  just because my “philosophy” wasn’t polished, that didn’t mean that it didn’t have value.

But my stubborn nature heeds no man. I tested the limits of my mind, trying to get to know it better. I took personality tests (I tested as an INTJ if you must know), political compass tests, intelligence tests – anything to see where my strengths and weaknesses lay so that I could shore up the foundation of my cluttered mind.

 

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I was trying too hard. After months of searching, working, and trying to better understand how my brain works, I concluded that I need not continue. I decided that my friend was right – there is beauty in the rough diamond as in the rough mind, if not only for its potential, but also for its intrinsic value.

The thought makes me smile that maybe one day in the future, someone will have bookmarked this post, and returned to it, time and time again – like a smudged, stained recipe in a beloved, ratty old cookbook – gleaning tidbits of wisdom from my imperfect perfect musings. I should be so lucky. I highly doubt that I’ll ever be a Rothbard, a Rand, or a Rousseau – but I’ll do the best I can with what I’ve got.

If you’re as frustrated now as I was then, please allow me to offer you some sage advice:

Don’t be afraid to write, to post videos, or to express yourself artistically. Don’t be afraid to mess up and make mistakes. Don’t hold yourself back for fear of being imperfect. Value your rough edges – don’t polish them; allow them to polish you.

..and for your own sake, don’t stop thinking. It isn’t illegal – yet.

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