You Can’t Control Anything Outside of Yourself

If I had a dollar for every time I heard a communist claim that real communism hasn’t been tried, I’d be sitting on a mega yacht in the middle of the ocean drinking scotch that is older than I am instead of sitting in front of my computer. But there is a lesson to be learned from communist countries and, really, everybody successful movement in history. Those who advocate for something generally have an idealistic view of it. Communists, for example, probably see a future where nobody is hungry, everybody has a home, and inequality is a thing of the past. It’s actually a pretty wonderful fantasy. Unfortunately, nobody can control things outside of themselves.

If you read the writings of many of the United States’ founders, you’ll realize that there was significant disagreement on many points. One faction, the smarter faction in my opinion, wanted a federal government that couldn’t even collect taxes whereas the other faction wanted a powerful federal government. While each founder had their view of an ideal country, none of them got everything they wanted.

The problem with movements of any kind is that your vision will never match the result. This is because you’re a cog in a great machine and as a cog you will have limited control. Even if you manage to attain a position of power within a movement, you can’t control how others execute your orders. You may be the Dear Leader of a great communist utopia and have the best intentions in mind but your underlings may be secretly building gulags and offing everybody who looked at them wrong in high school. You could be the founder of a new country with the intention of keeping the newly formed government as small as possible but your fellow revolutionaries may be putting together the foundation for a massive, tyrannical government behind your back.

I gave up on movements quite some time ago after realizing that the result will never match my vision. Instead I’m focusing on myself. I’m working to make myself freer, stronger, smarter, wealthier, and otherwise better. Unlike my time working in movements, I’ve actually had a great deal of success in pursuing my personal goals because I am in full control of all the actors that matter: me, myself, and I.

You can’t control the actions of others but you can control your own actions. Needless to say, if you want to actually accomplish something you have to do it yourself so you might as well do something that directly benefits you instead of something that you believe will benefit others (others, I might add, who you have no right to decide what is beneficial for).