Your Inner High School

posted Oct 15, 2007

Perhaps I need new friends, or must ignore their judgments, either way, as we age there’s the assumption we should know better than to do things we’re bad at. If you’re 15 and dance like a hapless idiot, that’s one thing, but when you’re 35, it’s a different story. In my thirties now I find people my age take life so much more seriously than a decade ago and I don’t fit in so well. I’m still crazy. And struggle as I might, my peers have more influence on me that I care to admit. - Why You Should Be Bad At Something

I largely agree with this article, excepting step three of his final heuristic, which I consider optional.

I've noticed a lot of people carrying around what I call their "inner high school" with them, long after they've graduated. Everything they do, everything they say, in the worst cases everything they think, is first run past their inner high school for peer approval.

Humans are inherently social, and active and passive peer pressure is utterly inevitable. But in the real world, you get to pretty freely pick your "peers". In high school, you're stuck with them. Too few people seem to notice this critical difference.

Perhaps the worst aspect of the inner high school is how ignorant of the world it is. There are so many new things coming out all of the time, so many new cultures that are now readily available, so many new ideas and hobbies and skills, that constraining yourself to what your inner high school approves us is a serious limitation indeed. Heck, I can hardly think of a hobby or interest I currently have that my would-be inner high school would even be aware of, let alone approve of. In a world where times change so fast, and so often in the direction of increasing richness being readily available, it's needlessly-limiting to predicate your interests, actions, or even thoughts on the opinions of teenagers from decades past.


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