I broke bones because I can’t do it. I went to the hospital because I can’t do it. I got fired because I can’t do it. I jump bridges because I can’t do it.
It sounds like it’s awful but I will argue the contrary. It is inhibition. If you open up a dictionary, you will find the following definitions of inhibition:
“a nervous feeling that prevents you from expressing your thoughts, emotions, or desires”
“the act of preventing or slowing the activity or occurrence of something”
Inhibition is in the way when you’re going out, it’s in the way when you want to say what you think and it’s in between you and your dreams. Inhibition is what keeps your from achieving what you really want and thus what keeps you from being truly happy. Inhibiting less will make your life (and the lives around you) better. When you’re among your friends you usually inhibit less, you speak your mind and do things you wouldn’t have done alone (like swimming at -2 degrees with your Danish friends or ending up alone in a dark Brazilian favela at 5 in the morning having spent all your money and no way to get home (spoiler: begging a cab driver to take you)). As you might already imagine, my level of inhibition is below 99% of the normal population. That leaves me in the 1% that does things on the fly, I don’t stop to think. I believe it’s a valuable one percent to be in, just like the other one percent you should be in. Just do the following yourself; recollect the 10 best stories of your life and if you’re like me, at least 9 of them are because you or someone else didn’t inhibit. Like that time you were hanging upside down from a chandelier chugging a beer (it’s called a “hangende aap adt” or in English: “hanging monkey chug”) or when your friend took a shit out of your apartment on the fourth floor. Those are the great stories, but there are two sides of it. I remember and regret that one time I woke up without a shoe, a broken toe and no recollection of what happened last night. And that’s just one of my many embarrassing stories. The great thing about these not so great experiences is that they are the real school called life, this is where you learn. Sure, you break some bones and hurt some feelings along the way. You’ll feel guilty because of it and you’ll regret some of it. You will fail and fall hard more than once, but these experiences teach you valuable life lessons that would leave you normal inhibitors untouched yet unsatisfied. If you do decide to battle through some short-term regrets, you will reap the rewards. The downsides are necessary investments that will pay large dividends in the future, if you’re willing to take that risk.
We think people that inhibit are boring; I’ll call them inhibitors from now on. We think they’re normal, and we rightfully associate normal with boring. I wouldn’t want to be insulted with “normal”. Politicians are notorious inhibitors, that’s why we think they are fake and boring. Inhibitors stand against the wall with their drink whilst the exhibitors are on the middle of the floor doing dance battles. The greatest companies of the past and the future aren’t built on inhibition, they are founded on exhibition and courage. The following, cheesy yet accurate, quote is a great example of the power of exhibition.
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Exhibitions are called that for a reason, they are places that show inspiring, unconventional and talented work. Sometimes I wish I was more like this illustrious group of people described above. I wish I could just leave things behind, saying “fuck you” to the status quo and doing what I think is best, expressing zero inhibition to what I want for myself in life. Truth to told, often times I can’t. Fear for the future, inability to learn from the past and the difficulty to break with conventions are the most prominent reasons for my inhibition. With that being said, I strive to think, act and reflect differently. Being aware that you can venture from the beaten path is the first step in changing your life for the better. Acting on your inner desires is what comes next. Exhibit your thoughts and feelings and you’ll never look back with remorse about the things you didn’t do. Go work on that great idea you have, book that flight and do that one thing you always dreamed about but never dared to execute. You should see life as an exhibition, filled with your best stories. See what you can do to make your next exhibition even better. Be abnormal, regret nothing and showcase your talent. You’ll end up with an exhibition that you can be proud of, that others envy and that, if you’re crazy enough, changes the world.