I recently watched a documentary called 180 Degrees South. Now you might be thinking something along the lines of “What does this have to do with anything?” Well prepare to be amazed. Or not, but it definitely ties in to the theme of this post.
After going into some detail about the past life experiences of the men that ended up founding the companies Patagonia and The North Face, 180 Degrees South focuses on the journey of a young man following in their footsteps. The ultimate goal being to travel to a mountain and be able to say that not only did he have the courage to scale it, but also once he failed to reach the top be able to look back and say that he enjoyed every aspect of the journey along the way. At various points in during the tale stories are brought up about the island that they are on, Rapa Nui, otherwise known as Easter Island.
Now here’s where this post will all make sense. For those of you who don’t know the history of Rapa Nui you’ll have to read up. In short, the islanders began to build large stone statues to the point that they would compete to see who could build the biggest. This competition went on for a great deal of time until the construction had depleted the island of the majority of its natural resources. This led to war and a toppling of the giant statues to the point where the local islanders were almost completely wiped out of existence.
It got me thinking, is there anything from this past culture that isn’t the same as our own in the current day? We’re always competing with each other for a false sense of who is better, whether it be through how many friends you can get on Facebook, who has the cooler job, who gets paid more, etc. We’re leading ourselves down a path not different from the islanders of Rapa Nui.
It’s easy to look at the past and recognize the downfalls of others, but it’s a much different story to look yourself in the mirror and be able to say the same thing. If you had a chance to, even for a minute, tell yourself what you were doing wrong, would you do it? And how? How would you go about making changes so that you lived happily every day?
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We are the designers of our future.