I. Distracted

The Following is an extract from my first book: “Compass: How to Stop Losing Yourself and Find your Way”, available on Amazon. I hope you enjoy it:)

 
I. Distracted 
 

Well … where do we start?

 I know there is no possible way you could know this, but this as monumental stepfoward as there can be. Somehow, I always saw myself writing a book, but  never did I think it would be this way and even less on this subject matter. I always wanted to be an author, writing the novels and stories that at some point would inspire someone else to do the same, repeating and thus contributing to a cycle of inspiration, that by nature would repeat itself for generations to come. But in itself, even with the intention of the writing never changing,my own thinking behind this action constantly evolved to a path that I never imagined. From what you’ve heard, I think you can see what changed path I am referring to. When at first, I came to imagine that my novels would be based on spectacular stories and out of this world which would serve to put to work the imagination of the limits and the creativity of oneself, now I realize that my path may be much less glamorous, but if it is the most appropriate for what I seek to fulfill with my life goal, and where I finally feel that I can leave a greater impact with the people around me. In a way, I like to define the teachings and stories that you will see throughout this writing as “uncomfortably identifiable.”

Our Hero’s Journey Something that no one is going to take the time to teach us as we grow up is the fact that we as individuals have absolutely no guarantees that must be met, and the idea that we have a “destiny” that we automatically deserve for being who we are is just a lie that we have acquired through the stories left to us. As I said, the style of novels that I imagined in the future to be developing normally consist of interpreting the limits of the imagination, and how these limits can be used to establish a narrative that ultimately serves to entertain, reflect, inspire, etc. This has led us to have incredible stories that based on magical land, dinosaurs or alien fights have completely changed the parameters of our stories and how we tell them to others … but perhaps not as much as you might imagine. If at any time you’ve taken any kind of class regarding script writing, novel or any narrative medium, you realize that regardless of the extravagant elements of the context of the story or the illusory scenarios that we navigate, many times the plot of these novels follows the same connotation within them, in a narrative structure known as “The Hero’s Journey”. “The Hero’s Journey” is a monomyth formally established by author Joseph Campbell, where he refers to a broad category of stories in which a character ventures out to get what he needs, faces conflict, and ultimately triumphs over adversity. Each author will discuss the various intermediate steps that enter the narrative, but at its base it is divided into 3 general narrative acts:

1.The act of departure: the hero leaves the ordinary world.
2. The act of initiation: the hero ventures into unknown territory (the “unknown” for our protagonist) and becomes a true champion through various tests and challenges.
3. The act of return: the hero returns triumphant and having learned from his mistakes along the way.

Even with this in mind, you may think that most of the time, this theory shouldn’t apply within a story, for the same reason that each author and each world is built in different ways, but in reality you would be surprised on how many of your favorite movies and novels implement this structure in their progress? Don’t believe me? here are just a few of the highlights including “The Hero’s Journey”: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Star Wars (1977), The Matrix (1999), Spider-Man (2002), The Lion King (1994) and The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003) and I think you get the point. 

What seems really shocking to me personally about this is that as I mentioned, all these stories are extremely different, covering a wide range of genres, teachings or corresponding decade, but finally they have the same plot that follows the same order. It reminds me a lot of what Anne Frank told us, that all our lives are different but at the same time the same. As I said previously, when you go into specific details of the theory, you will see that everyone can debate aspects such as the number of internal steps, the sequence itself, when the acts are divided or frankly any other particular distinctive, but the aspect that most debated among creatives who know and study it is the question of what percentage of the novels and stories that we see and read in our day to day follow this sequence scheme. At its base it is accepted that the general consensus establishes the fact that the vast majority of the stories follow the “Hero’s Journey”, with many putting it at 80-90%.

 Some even go so far as to say that every story, regardless of the order, follows some structure of the “Hero’s Journey”, since by nature the objective of a good story is to promote the role of the stranger and support the development of the same and of the people around him, so at a certain level, it would make sense for all history to follow this pattern. Unfortunately, not all stories take the latter approach. Not all stories are a hero’s journey, but all stories fit within the concepts of structure outlined in the theory of dramatic story … that is, if it has something meaningful to say. 

The main point that I am trying to show you here is that regardless of the theme you try or the narrative you want to tell, if you want to write any type of story, it has to be done based on a sequence, which will lead to natural progress. of your writing, and whether inadvertently or perhaps deliberately, most likely you will follow the scheme of “The Hero’s Journey”. It is here where they began to notice the failures of the structures and finally what they did that they will not end up following that path (or at least not for the specific theme of this book). Under the logic that is established by the principles of “Hero’s Journey”, where at a certain point all the stories follow the same scheme which leads to the progress of the protagonist and the context that surrounds them, this would lead us to believe that in our progress of life (let’s see it as our individual novels) we begin to see it as an eternal “Hero’s Journey”, where we constantly see ourselves as the brave protagonist facing the unknown world that awaits him with anxiety to prove it and finally return to one as the best version of himself, and in theory there is nothing that contradicts the implementation of this scheme to solve our problems, but in the implementation of it, there is a huge flaw that we do not see … A good story has to end.

At the end of the day, a story remains as pure fiction by an author for whom it is receive, and it is this same author who maintains all control from beginning to end. What we often forget is that these narratives are elaborated in this way not only to get the most out of the narrative elements of a story, but also to be very clear about the internal progress of our protagonist, and thus give a complete closure to his work. It is obvious that the story of Frodo and the Ring would not make much sense to listen if from the beginning they called the Eagles to take them to Mordor and simply throw the Ring into the fire, because although the general problem of the story would be solved without any problem , the internal process of our characters and the context of the world that surrounds them would not be the same, and therefore the story would not be as satisfactory as what it ended up being. Everything is structured so that you have a clear detail of the sequence in which a story progresses and the steps that had to be reached, something that is simply unrealistic to apply to the life you currently lead. So if I were to make this novel under the concepts of “Hero’s Journey”, it would imply that there is a clear sequence to solve the problems that we will see during our time together, and that I as an author have defined the “end” of this story, two aspects that I do not have in mind and that frankly I do not seek to have. 
 
I wanted to make clear from the beginning; If you are looking for within this book to find that magic formula to finally know where your life is headed and what you want to do with it, you will not find it here, and I will not wait until the end of the book to reveal this information. If that is your goal, there are many other books or sects that promise to give you the answer, but for my part I can tell you that this magical answer that you seek for does not exist. That is the main reason why I decided rather to move forward in this way: For me, it would be very suprisingly easy to tell the story of the little soul who decided to enter the unknown world of mental health, and based it on my own ideals and experiences, and ultimately comes out not only having learned a great personal lesson that he applies in his life, but with a message that we can all identify and feel satisfied with, but I would be selling a misleading product or in most cases, completely fake. I would be selling you the idea that fighting mental health  is just a one-time thing; that with facing it and defeating it only once, our “Hero’s Journey” closes for us, and we will always live as our best version. Completely contrary to what is dictated by the scheme, in life we do not have an author who has completely defined our path and the steps to take, because no matter how much we plan, how much we work, how much we aspire … there is no guarantee that the story we want to fulfill will be fulfilled. In the same way that nothing could guarantee that this book reaches the hearts of all the lost in the world and is an essential tool in understanding and decriminalizing mental health, I could use the same logic that nobody reads what I’m writing, and that I stay constantly talking to air. 
 

Logic attacks both sides of the spectrum, and there is no way to guarantee a happy ending for everyone. If you constantly face your problems as if it were a hero’s journey, you will find that the cycle never ends, you will only repeat it. So instead of settling with stories that entertain you and give you a lesson to take home, I’m looking for that with these chapters we change that order: Instead of writing you a book to entertain you and from there get to learn, I want to write you something that give you a lesson and from there maybe get to entertain you. This is where the “uncomfortably identifiable” factor comes in. These scenarios and ideas that I will be sharing with you are not intended to be entertaining; It is very likely that in the course of this reading, you will come to identify with some of the topics discussed, and by their very nature, they will cause you discomfort to confront at first, but I want that discomfort to serve as what takes you to improve in that particular aspect of your life, that is the style that I want to implement, but how am I going to be able to see it?

“Compass”: what does the idea consist of and its origins. 
 
I introduced myself very briefly in the prologue, but I would just like to give myself a few seconds for the basics in case someone missed them: Juan Carlos Tame writes here, and I am the founder of an initiative called “Compass”, which is where not only the name of the book comes from, but the general idea of it. This initiative was launched with the purpose of helping others to find their way and avoid the lack of direction, mainly in the aspect of Mental Health. That is the way I have always explained it with my friends, family or frankly, with anyone who has come to ask me what the idea consists of, and most of the time, all this culminates with the same reaction; confusion.
 
¿But how does it work? ¿Why are you doing this?  ¿How are you going to try to convince others?
 
These and many others are the questions that arise after I try to explain “Compass” to you, and I don’t want to lie to you; With each time I tried to answer these questions, most of the time I had no idea what to answer them, and that as you can imagine, does not give you confidence with what you are finally trying to promote. So that’s how I found a way that more than ever lets me give myself the time to [1355] explain to you in depth and in the most concise way possible what “Compass” is, and along the way, see everything I like to call “The Mechanisms of the Compass”
 
Before anything, if I had to choose a thought or ideal that motivates and serves as the fundamental idea of everything we would like to accomplish in “Compass”, it is this: There is no worse feeling than feeling lack of direction in your life. It is a constant that all of us share during the course of our lives, regardless of whether it was only during a brief panic attack, where you percieve that your whole world was going to collapse or perhaps it was not just in a situation, but a extended period of time where he constantly felt this way, but inevitably everyone suffers from “Lack of Direction.” Explaining what I mean by “Lack of Direction” can be extremely difficult, since with each person having their own set of goals and objectives that they seek to achieve, I cannot give you a clear definition, because it ends up being a Amorphous; Your own level of happiness and satisfaction with yourself is not the same as that of your neighbor, and therefore, I cannot give them the same definition … But what I can do is describe them in the best way from my own experience.
 
I feel that people connect very well with specific scenarios that show what the author is trying to explain, so I would like to do that, to try to communicate these same feelings and ideals:  
 
You want a story? Here you go. 
 
For this scenario, your name is Raúl Gonzalez, you are 20 years old and you live in San Diego, California. It’s your 21st birthday next week, and in order to celebrate your legality and maturity as a person, you decide to embark on a trip which you have dreaming of since you could remember and decide to take a countrywide road trip, where we travel from San Diego to New York during your summer vacation; You’ve seen it in movies and television series and now more than ever, you decided that this was the ideal time to enjoy your youth and venture into the unknown. So that’s why you gathered 10 of your closest friends and you didn’t limit yourself with your expenses; renting only the best RV to be as comfortable as possible during your trip, buying only the finest delicacies to be well satisfied and clearly, all the alcohol that before the law did not allow you to buy. You even decide to bring your XBOX and your television to entertain you and your friends during the long roads, you may think that all this seems a bit excessive but hey, it’s your 21st birthday, and you want it to be an unforgettable trip for everyone.
 
So we start our 2 week journey to explore all that the country has to offer, and everything seems to be going just as you planned; everyone is having fun, listening to music, seeing the beautiful scenery that the highway offers state by state. Since there is no one to control you, you decide to stop where you want and this leads you to stop in Las Vegas, Denver, Salt Lake and many other places that you were interested in visiting someday, in the end there’s no rush. By day 4, everything seems to be going just as planned, but here where it all starts to collapse. Normally everyone took turns at the wheel, to prevent someone in particular from becoming over-tired and avoid an accident. It begins to feel that something is wrong. The caravan begins to notice much more snow than usual on the road, something that they find extremely unusual, since by their estimates, they should be near Kansas. It doesn’t make sense, but they brush it off Time passes, and one of the group members notices a sign that read “Washington – 970 miles” and by then, they already knew that the worst scenario had arrived. What was happening was that when it was your friend Antonio’s turn to drive, he placed the GPS wrong and instead of heading for New York, they’ve deviated from their path, and were currently in the middle of nowhere, and just when you thought that things could not get any worse, they no longer had signal, so the GPS was useless and no longer had  electricity in the RV to charge their phones, and when you least expected it, the trip went from being a triumph to seeing a future tragedy. The group of youngsters who before had not a care in the world now found themselves in anxiety attacks, fanning themselves, and overthinking of all the worst alternatives, even the road itself seemed to be making fun of them, seeing how it was an abyss without any sign of life and a never ending path that seemed to go on, on and on without seeing the end.
 
 Finally Raúl decided to pull over to calm the whole group and see how the hell they were going to solve this. Although Raúl  slid into the leadership role, he’s possibly the most scared of all, since it was his trip, and it was his responsibility that everything went well; Little by little the confidence and maturity that Raúl had longed for all his life was deteriorating, and from literal and metaphorical, he didn’t see a way to find the right direction for his problem.
 
I would just like to put a brief pause to establish the importance of this story and its characters.  As many may have noticed, this story is replete with symbolism, which represents all the factors that we have come to associate with lack of direction.
 
The Road from San Diego to New York
The Road from San Diego to New York symbolizes the final goal that you as a person set yourself to achieve within your life; Every goal and dream in our life has to be obtained through a path,  and this path is formed from the various actions you take to reach your final goal. If you want to become an NBA player, your first stop is learning to shoot and if you want to write the next Best Seller, you start by writing the first page. Like our metaphorical journey, if it can be extremely time consuming, many say 10,000 hours to master anything, but if you follow the path properly, you will eventually reach your destination.
 
The RV
The RV symbolizes the essential tools that life gives you to reach your final goal, and sadly in most cases, these tools are not distributed fairly. Many people instead of having a late-model RV, their best available tool is a bicycle or in most cases, even their own feet, but that may show the danger of missing our opportunities. Even with the best tools, you have the same chance that a misstep can divert you from your goals, and inevitably leave you lost on your way. At the end of the day, it’s not the quality of the tools, but how you use them.
 
Alcohol and The XBOX
While the RV represents the essentials to meet your goals, these two aspects of the story represent the inessential, which instead of helping you, distract you from what really matters. Although at the time these elements did feel like an essential part of the trip, the trip could have easily been achieved in the same way without these two objects and we can even say that they helped distract our group from the essentials. If Raúl hadn’t focused so much on bringing the XBOX from him, he could have thought about what to do if they were to go astray, and in the best of scenarios, he could have avoided the situation entirely. If you focus so much on the non-essential, life will give you less time to apply the essentials of your goals. 
 
Antonio
Normally in Raúl’s shoes, the first instinct of many is to blame and direct all your anger to Antonio for the situation they are in, since he was the one who made the wrong destination and caused the truck to deviate, and although that is be true, you like Raúl have no right to turn all the blame onto Antonio. In this story, Antonio represents all the actions that we cannot control, but that inevitably affect our goals. “Antonio” can be a co-worker who makes a mistake in the delivery and causes you to be fired, “Antonio” can be a decision that you never made and that causes you to lose a better opportunity, and any other scenario that did not fall into our hands . Basically “Antonio” are the mistakes of other people that harm us, or many times, inevitable things that we cannot prevent from happening. Yes, what “Antonio” did hurt the whole group, but the error is human, and it is definitely not a reason to justify your actions. If we always focus on “Antonio’s” actions before our own, we will never have opportunities to advance as individuals and resolve our own imperfections.
 
Raúl
It goes without saying, but Raúl symbolizes you, reader, and all your way to the fulfillment of your goals. Everything from your route that you will take to the tools that will accompany you enter as a factor for your final result. Seeing Raúl’s problem, it may be that the metaphor of lack of direction is literal, since they are truly lost without knowing where to go. At this moment, Raúl realizes that he has a bigger problem than he can control, and everything that he considered important before now seems useless. This feeling is represented in the identical way of how we handle our ideas and thoughts in a stressful situation; Nothing in the outside world matters to us at the time, and all we want is to remove those troublesome weights from our body and free ourselves of our emotional burdens.
 
I think it’s time for me to tell you how Raúl’s story ends …
 
After parking, Raúl asks everyone to calm down and breathe, and before anything else, he tells them that everything will be fine. After a brief pause, the whole group begins frantically searching the RV’s drawers to see what they can find to help the situation, hoping to find that miracle that will change everything. Fortunately, their wishes were commands, and inside the drawers they found a map and more importantly, a compass left by the last owners of the rental. This felt like a breath of fresh air, and using the compass and the map, they managed to return to their original route to New York and saved the trip.
 
Fortunately for Raúl and our group, they were able to find their return address quickly, but unfortunately many more people get stuck in this state, where you have no idea where you are going, and most of sometimes, we fall on a trip where we have no idea where we want to go, and although at one point it was tremendously difficult for me to admit, I suffered from this lack of direction for years.
 
In my case, I did not get lost on the roads of the United States, but that same feeling of intense despair that Raúl had when looking at the endless highway is the same that I carried in my day to day; For a good period of 3 years, I felt extremely lost: I woke up day after day doing the same actions, avoiding conflicts and not knowing what were my strengths, my weaknesses and frankly, my purpose to fulfill. This caused a lot of confusion in my person, which later led to a series of feelings which I could not understand or control, the most pertinent being anger and sadness; He constantly yelled at me and questioned ways to leave these feelings behind, and after a series of very traumatic events in my life, I realized that like Raúl, I was driving aimlessly down a highway that seemed to have no end. , and I finally decided to find a way to change my actions for the better, and find the direction that corresponds to me. I realized
that I myself needed that compass that pointed me where I had to go, or as I like to call it, my “Compass”. For me, Lack of Direction is simply not knowing who you are and what is driving you into your future; many may confuse it with concepts such as “Identity Crisis”, “Low Self Esteem”, “Procrastination” and many other terms which you normally associate as contributors to Lack of Direction, but here we do not feel that this is the case.
 
At that moment I realized me that as in the story, often have everything we need to accomplish our goals, but for some reason or another, we started to deflect or never found the right way, and no matter how smart and you are capable, if you do not have a clear direction of where you are going, you will lose yourself and you will not be able to get where you propose. That’s what “Compass” is all about, trying to be that last tool you need to find where you are going. The name “Compass” literally comes from the English word of the same name because, like the object itself, our ultimate purpose as an organization is to be one more way to help others find their paths, and therefore, end with what we now know as “Lack of Direction”.
 
We know that as was my case and that of Raúl, there are millions of people who are currently in this lost state, and many times it is enormously difficult to understand what that you are feeling and it costs even more to explain the situation to the people you love the most. As we said previously, this is not something that can be defined exactly for everyone, since everyone has different ideals which we cannot compare, but regardless of the magnitude of their problems, we want no one to feel that it is an alternative. which they cannot change, and live the rest of their lives in constant limbo. My main goal in doing this is that this space is not only an existing aura, but a safe space where everyone can approach it with their own dilemmas and situations and in some way like “Compass” himself, tries to point them in the best possible direction.
 
he Pleasure of Distracting Yourself
 
Returning one last time to who I am, I also commented that since I was a child I have had an attention deficit problem, and what I said in the prologue still holds: There is a very particular pleasure in being able to distract you so easily from your problems , but under that pleasure then there is a consequence which we do not always take into account. There are many ideas within what Raúl’s story consists of, but among all that I have mentioned, I feel that it would not be fair to you but to close with the following:
 
“The” Compass “points you to where you have to go, but does not take you there” 
 
Let’s go back one last time to the story of Raúl; It is true that the compass helped our group get back on their way, but at the end of the day, they had to drive back on their way. This is directly related to the concept of “The Hero’s Journey”; While in this scheme, it is the author’s own narrative which leads Raull and his friends to return to their original direction, it is more than clear that in real life, this impulse can only be carried out by oneself, and that we like the compass we are simply to support that. Many times, especially with this type of online content that we get used to so much, we will be waiting for a single video or idea to solve all our problems and if that is what you are looking for, I regret to tell you that as I mentioned, Here you will not find that Holy Grail that solves your life, and frankly I do not think you will find it anywhere else. In no time, the compass takes you to your final destination, it is only a tool that teaches you where your destination is going, and that same ideal is transferred to what we do. Compass does not seek to give you the solutions to your problems, but it does seek to help you find those solutions.
 
This is where the disadvantage comes, since I would love to invite you at all times, to try to use these same ideas for your daily lives, that like the compass, do not get lost with others, and fight for their Ambitions and desires, because at the end of the day, they are nobody’s but yours. It is extremely easy for  that for the pleasure that gives you the feeling of being distracted, we live what remains of our lives with incomplete ideas and false aspirations. In a world where every corner is urgent and delights with the constant attention of others, it seems that you reward yourself with being able to distract yourself, and although it is always true that in distractions you can see the delights of details, it is even more It is true that getting caught up in your distractions can affect you much more than you are realizing. Returning one last time with the scheme of the “Hero’s Journey”, under the same logic of this, the erroneous conclusion is reached that if someone imparts on his adventure to the unknown, that no matter what happens or the factors that are , everything will end up being fine, because if not … Why would I be counting it? If this is your story, why should it end badly? Does “every story have a happy ending” is it said, no?
 
But I invite you to see it from this logic; We know that in a story we have our protagonist which moves the narrative, but if we are all destined to end with a happy ending, it would mean that we are all the protagonists of the story, and to quote one of my favorite movies …
If everyone is special, no one is. 
 
This is where distractions come in, since the way you deal with them is where your personal progress is defined, and what moves your narrative. 
 
I mentioned in Raúl’s story, by “distractions” I mean every aspect of 
your life which deviates you from your main objective to fulfill, and we can all have something in mind that enters this field. As I was saying, distraction works enormously with personal aspects such as creativity and self-healing; Many of our best ideas arise during these moments of distraction, and this is where we get the pleasure of it, but with this already the question arises: When does a distraction stop helping me and we end up hurting? The goal that needs to be clear is that our distractions are brief and momentary, and never let them become permanent and harmful.
 
The worst thing about this scenario is that you never know the true toll that distraction can have on our progress until it shows up in front of us. They do not believe me? On page 28 of this chapter, there was a number in black letters and highlighted with a parenthesis,  Could you tell me what number it was?
… 
Yeah,  I thought so 
 
t might seem like an insignificant detail, but it turned out to be much more necessary than you imagined, so it is with the essential details. Many times, the details they need to solve your problems will pass in front of you, but since you find yourself distracted by something else, you didn’t even realize that it passed through your hands. You will never hear a ringing alarm that reminds you of essential details, the only thing we can do is limit self-distraction to avoid situations like that. Although it is true that there is no author who is writing your life, it is just as true the fact that you enter the role of the author, taking your hero in front of the unknown and hope that at some point, you are the best version of you same.
 
Believe me that more than in any other subject, I know how it feels to be distracted by the minute and insignificant details, but if we are going to continue on this path together, I need you to commit yourself not to be distracted by the irrelevant and focus on you, because it is there where your own prominence is presented
 
Ready? Here we go, thank you very much for joining me on this trip.
 
 
If you enjoyed this chapter, and want to learn more about “Compass”, make sure to check out the following links
 
 
This is Juan CT, signing off. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Author: Juan CT

My name is Juan Carlos Tame, and I have been given the honor of being one of the main writers for EDIT for the next semester. I am 22 years old and I am from where it used to be known as the Distrito Federal in Mexico, the nation’s capital. I landed in Jönköping as part of an exchange program with the university, focusing on a dual-degree masters program in Law and International Relations.

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