Sunday, December 15, 2013

Are You Goku or Vegeta?

Found on Wikipedia, created by Bird Studio/Shueisha and Toei Animation.Strange what cross-identifications the mind can make when contemplating something during a particular mood.

While irritated with something, I got to thinking about a show I really enjoyed called *Dragon Ball Z*. Concisely, it's about people using martial arts to save the world, with unique metaphysics involving flying, shooting disembodied (or pure) energy, and so on. My irritation at the time happen to be about my abilities and my visibility to others, and suddenly it struck me that two characters have differing mentalities related to this issue.

Two important characters in the show are Goku and Vegeta, the former the main character. Throughout the series they're primarily rivals to each other, the leftover survivors of an alien race who compete -- in a way -- to see who can come out on top. Goku, from the start, always stays on top, and perhaps its this pair's particular approach to self-improvement -- their particular mindset -- that determines definitely whether or not they actually succeed.

Vegeta, on one hand, is irrationally competitive and simply wants to beat Goku so that he can claim superiority for superiority's sake, and nothing more.

Goku, on the other hand, sincerely enjoys martial arts and wants to become his best at it, and nothing more. In the end it's he that ends up always succeeding, so perhaps this is essential.

My own irritation stemmed from people not recognizing my abilities in some private scenarios, and I began imagining myself developing certain abilities to heights with an explicit side-intention to make them feel guilty and hurt for overlooking me before, but then I realized this is the kind of thinking Vegeta would do. Vegeta may have been great at martial arts, but set himself back with this kind of thinking.

His desire to be superior rose from anger, and that anger could have clouded his mind and sabotaged the total potential he could have brought out of himself. At a minor point in the series, he's even too stubborn to adopt a practical technique Goku devised in order to avoid drawing parallels with him, depriving himself of a great shortcut. That anger, stubbornness, and irrational thinking combined probably kept him from being able to put 100% into anything.

Goku, on the other hand, is totally serene with people being better than he is, and uses them as a competitive benchmark to better himself. When he's on top he doesn't care, for all he cares about is achievement for its own sake and surpassing his previous successes. This serenity and calmness allows him to put his whole mind and efforts into his practices. That he ends up fighting champion of the world makes the psychological remark poignant.

In concrete terms relevant to real-life, I realize that my own self-improvement measures would be sabotaged too if I had any "otherism" in mind. Anger prevents total focus on the tasks at hand, and makes one's whole purpose in the endeavor sullied from the beginning, so true satisfaction probably wouldn't be possible even if one did succeed at the endeavor. If I hold onto the anger and otherism, I'll fall behind like Vegeta regardless of what heights I do obtain. I'll fall behind serene superiors.

What I need -- what we all need -- is to become serene with other people's perceptions of us -- whether they think us inferior, lackluster, or don't pay attention at all. We need to become serene to the point that these perceptions don't even mentally register. One's best and proper focus is on being satisfied with oneself, of knowing that one is living in the best way for the right purposes. In self-improvement, this means satisfying yourself with your tasks to improve yourself, and hardly caring whether people even know you're taking the efforts; just that you're doing it to please yourself.
Found on Wikipedia, created by Bird Studio/Shueisha and Toei Animation.
To catch myself early on -- while both characters are extremely likable on different merits -- I must remember that it's Goku's mentality I want, not Vegeta's.

Still, this puzzles me in a different matter as to how I should approach my self-improvement from here. On my Facebook page, for instance, I track multitudes of self-improvement ventures publicly in my "Weekly Cycles" style of articles. Except for those ventures related to the conquering of vices, should I work on making more of my self-improvement ventures private, so as to nurture the sense that these habits are not for other people's perception, but for me and my self-esteem? I don't know, but I'll think on it.

Regardless, it's interesting how such as show all about fighting can provide a tidbit like this useful for everyday life.

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