It's strange to realize how certain places can seem so ordinary to some, while be so extraordinary to others, all at once. For some people the 'Pont des Arts' can seem like a regular bridge in Paris, while to other people it can feel like they are being teleported back to other times. That's how I felt when I was walking passed this bridge, and realizing that my favorite philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre must have done the same thing, yet centuries ago. The fact that I was standing at the same spot where he would've talked, walked and thought, while reading his Nausea, was mind-blowing to me. It made me reflect on the past years of my life too. A long time ago, I discovered his existentialistic philosophy, which made me change my life completely. And even now that I am way older, I still have some difficulties implementing his philosophy into my life. I know this may not seem a topic that's for everybody, but trust me; you need to continue reading this, because I feel like it will help you with your life too.
"Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does." - Jean-Paul Sartre
I remember it so clearly: the first time I came in contact with Jean-Paul Sartre's existentialism during a philosophy class in high school. I remember the feeling I had after finishing the text we had to read for class. That feeling overwhelmed me completely and made me question my whole existence (or rather, essence) as a person. Since that moment, I've realized so many things about myself, my way of living and my thoughts. To sum up his existentialistic philosophy in short: Sartre believed that we as people are completely and utterly free. This means we can do whatever we want or please, but, it also means that we are responsible for everything we do. Maybe this sounds like an open door, but it's not. If you truly accept this philosophy, it means that you also accept that excuses like 'but I can't help it, that's just me' or 'I am not a morning person, that's just my character' are illegitimate. We don't have any 'hard' essence to our existence. Our existence is prior to our essence, and our essence is based upon our acts and deeds. There's nothing that defines us except for the things we do. It may seem that this philosophy has only unwanted consequences, but that's not the case: Sartre's view is actually very liberating. Let me explain this further with an example.
People often ask me how they can become as motivated and successful at reaching their goals as me (not saying this in an arrogant way, I just truly work hard and achieve the goals that I want). They wonder if there is a secret, even a 'hack' to it. It makes me smile honestly, because I wish I could just give them this book and say 'start reading Sartre and then you will know.' People don't understand that they can be as succesful as hella Beyoncé if they would please, the only thing is that they are actively choosing not to. If you are not successful in reaching your goals, if you are not happy with your life or if you are feeling miserable in your own skin - that's a choice. And yes, that's pretty unpleasant and hard to accept. Sometimes it's easier to blame your character, your 'lack' in certain abilities or your situations, instead of accepting the fact that you actually choose to not go for your dreams. The reason why you are not achieving your goals is not to blame on the fact that you are not able to do it, but because you don't want to work as hard as you need to achieve it. You're probably scared of trying, or failing. It's understandable, of course; working hard is hard. Achieving things is hard. It will always remain your choice and there's no hack or easy way out when it comes to chasing after your goals. However, this does mean, that anybody is able to do anything. No one is holding you back except for you. You can be anything or anyone you want, because your essence is constantly in flux and motion. You are ever changing and you will never be the same person as you are right this moment. You can be everything. Accept this and you will feel the endless possibilities that are opening up to you. And this realization, has changed my whole life.
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