I turned 21 today, so I suppose I am one year closer to literally dying. But I'd like to think I have many more years of literally living to get done before that. Many more years of constructing a better version of myself. Fingers crossed.
While Tumblr has bred a generation of people who can't, some classic Wuchang Confucianism should offer a notable cure.
Confucius, whose name does not predate the English word "confusion"--fear not verbophobes--was a Chinese philosopher who taught an ethical system that holds prominence in the modern Eastern world. Coined Confucianism, this complex train of thought can be seen as a form of religion that revolves around continual personal improvement. The premise of these teachings is that humans, while innately flawed, are impressionable and improvable creatures. This concept--the possibility that humans can eliminate their flaws--is unlike the common-held assumption that humans are eternally imperfect beings. Through individual and communal endeavors, Confucian thought firmly believes that human beings can transcend their imperfections. To believe that man is eternally flawed and can never achieve perfection is extremely pessimistic, no matter the perspective. To enact hope in the potential of self-creation is arousing.
So, rather than conform to the learned helplessness of the "I can't" philosophy, consider investing effort into classical Wuchang Confucianism. This practice involves five simple elements:
仁 - Ren - Humanity
義 - Yi - Righteousness
禮 - Li - Ritual
智 - Zhi - Knowledge
信 - Xin - Integrity
Since much of Cantism (the "I can't" philosophy) revolves around feelz (emotions), which are a part of humanity, Confucianism is a simple means to a paradigm shift. When there are too many feelz to cope with, many contemporaries drift into the unfortunate hopelessness of Cantism, as they feel that they are too flawed to ever can. While this admittance of defeat resonates with the honest base of Confucianism, the negative attitude is wholesomely nonconstructive.
You never heard Bob the Builder say "I can't." His can-do Confucian attitude led him to complete innumerable construction projects.
By using the logic of humanity, one can learn to not only accept the flaws of mankind, but embrace the potential to improve them. Ren and Yi are the cornerstones to a productive attitude, as these elements focus on doing the right thing for the greater good. The tools to enact these values lie in disciplined ritual, Li, and an understanding of the world, Zhi. When the core of these elements is directed with wholesome intentions, Xin, one can began to cultivate himself into a better individual and overcome the obstacles that once hindered his growth.
Living a constructive life is skillful art, but it can be done.