Although it may sound flippant to say it, “Que sera, sera!” This seemingly bland and axiomatic idiom is to my mind of far more substance than the silly song of which it is famously a part. First it is a transgression of interpretation to suggest it simply means “…whatever will be will be…”, a reading which becomes even more contaminated by adding “…the future is not ours to see…”. More to the point, it should be strictly interpreted as “…what will be will be…”, the difference being the absence of whimsy and the presence of prediction. I contend that by understanding our own machinery – the matters which appeal to us, the things which we enjoy doing, the tasks which fulfill us – we effectively nurture what talent is already inherent, much the way the oak springs from the acorn. Why we should assume that human nature is any different from any other natural occurrence I shall never know. Everything about us, whether determined by nurture or by nature, inescapably calculates to manufacture what we are and what we do. The secret, however, is to appreciate that components we have and then to act upon them.
Regrettably our little heads get jammed full of both irrelevant and misleading instruction. In an effort to promote universality and equality, our well-intentioned instructors (including beneficent parents) spend more time cultivating some kind of Utopian Nirvana than focusing upon the obvious strengths and weaknesses of the candidate. Let’s face it, in the real world it is only a matter of time before the cream rises to the top, which isn’t to say that only the best will succeed, but rather that it is transparently foolish to pretend that all will succeed at the same thing.
In any event, talking in those abstract terms only heightens the pointless differences between people. The object of the game isn’t to come out on top; it’s to come out meaningfully. A good gardener doesn’t try to make a gross vegetable out of a pea; it’s a question of fostering, not over-cultivation. A properly cultivated person isn’t some bizarre freak, but instead a creature of refinement and elegance, the product of judgement and sophistication.
Granted it may take some time to reach this ideal state. It would be frivolous to suggest that such enlightenment is not preceded by a good deal of naiveté, mere lack of experience. However, this does not preclude the possibility of ultimately fathoming our personal essence which is the key to opening doors. This thesis is present in many adages with which most of us are already familiar; viz., “Write what you know”, “Do what you do best”, “Bend with the wind” and so on. The mandate isn’t to capitulate but rather to profit by the engineering that is already in place. One must, however, recognize that steering one’s own course demands not only personal decisions but also public decisions; that is, you must learn to impose your conduct on others to prevent them from derailing you. Fulfilling your goals isn’t a spiritual matter, it’s a business. It is a matter of understanding the tools you have, then implementing them. There is nothing abstract about it; it’s entirely practical.
There is much advantage and delight in understanding our capabilities and employing them. It is never a hardship. There may on occasion be moments when one feels pusillanimous for declining some activity which doesn’t fully mesh with one’s inner goals, but most often the subsequent result is favourable. If one is merely pushing a strained engine, it will not be long before it comes apart.