“People say I’m crazy…” – John Lennon, Watching the Wheels

An opinion piece wishing for less opinion pieces.

People say I’m crazy doing what I’m doing
Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin
When I say that I’m OK they look at me kind of strange
Surely you’re not happy now you no longer play the game – John Lennon.

In this song, John is referring to his time acting as house-husband in the late 70s, being a family man. He’s receiving criticism and judgement from people who think they know how he best should live. “You’re doing what!?” “You’re insane.” “You should be doing X, Y, Z or even K and F.”
Two men currently under the spotlight remind me of this song, and I’m on their side.

KANYE WEST IS AT IT AGAIN. What a lunatic. Another epic rant on TV. More reasons to laugh at him.

His May 18th chat on Ellen was a major turning point in my feelings toward Kanye West. My judgement of him matters absolutely none and neither does that of any other commentator. We can watch from afar, but he’s living his life and is fully entitled to do that in any way he wants, sans crime, of course.

My thoughts here written are directed at those think negatively of Kanye and particularly those who have expressed that with abuse and hatred.
Yes, he acts differently to the way most of society does. Yes, he has demonstrated arrogance that turns people away. Listen to the message in this video though.

What I saw here, more so than any negative feeling, was a man trying to live the best life he possibly can. He is using his gifts, his talent and his time here on Earth, to make and give the most he can. To provide the positive influences of art, creativity and entrepreneurship to better the greater community. That, to me, is what every single one of us should be doing.

“Don’t tell me about being likeable. We got 100 years here. We’re one race, the human race, one civilization. We’re a blip in the existence of the universe, and we constantly try to pull each other down. Not doing things to help each other. That’s my point. It’s like I’m shaking talking about it. I know it’s daytime TV, but I feel I can make a difference while I’m here.
I feel that I can make things better through my skill set…”

He’s abrasive. He’s bold. His music isn’t for every one of us. But I see a man trying to do the right thing, frustrated both by roadblocks and the negative attitudes of others. Your opinion of him is irrelevant in the pursuit of his dream and he’ll chase it whether you approve or not. I wish Kanye and every other human the success they desire and chase with their hearts and minds, as long as others don’t suffer as a result.

A story with parallels which frustrates me a little more is the commentary on Jarryd Hayne.

For the most part, our newspapers and TVs are not reacting like a proud or supportive friend towards an athlete that’s grown up and excelled in this country. The tall poppy syndrome is rampant.
“Jarryd won’t achieve his dream!” “He’s crazy!” “Why’s he doing this?!”

Ask all the questions you like, it’s Jarryd’s life and his decisions! To publicly trash him for setting a goal and trying to achieve it is not the optimum way of living. You have nothing better to do than throw stones at someone who is achieving more than you and tell him he’s bound for failure? How about wishing him all the best, praising his courage and ambition?

People say I’m crazy doing what I’m doing
Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin
When I say that I’m OK they look at me kind of strange
Surely you’re not happy now you no longer play the game

He is, like Kanye and John Lennon, acting differently than we’re expected to. That’s all. There’s the polite, systematic way we go about our lives aiming to satisfy some “norm”, and those who take a little bit of ownership and understand their personal power.

Where is it doctrinated that Jarryd must have one dream? That’s to play NRL, where you stay for 15 years until your body gets old? Even in that case, once he turns 30, there’ll be commentators forcefully pushing the idea that he should retire, let a young kid take his place so the club can rebuild, he’s not as great as he was that year he won the Dally M, he’s on the decline, he should give it up etc. etc.

This morning it’s about his “underwhelming 7s debut”. Give me strength.

Jarryd had a crack at playing NFL. He trained, he travelled across the world, he trained some more, he was selected to an elite squad, he trained, he played pre-season matches, he trained, he played regular season matches of NFL. He should be absolutely nothing but applauded, praised, congratulated for his incredible efforts. Jarryd wasn’t perfect every time, but bugger me, didn’t he have a red hot crack? Well done.

If, going ahead in to the next NFL season, he logically decided to take a different course of action and that aiming for the Fiji Olympic Rugby 7s team was more worthwhile, then well done again. That’s his decision to make. We are entitled to think that it’s odd, but the choice is his. There is more commentary and “expert” opinion declaring loudly that he won’t achieve this dream either. I’m sure Jarryd’s really listening to them.

There are jokes asking “how many dreams can one guy have?” Humans are all allowed to be interested in many things! I’d love to be a radio announcer on a Melbourne commercial radio station. I’d also love to sing on stage at a legendary music festival and open the batting for the Australian Test team. So would many of you reading this, or similar. If Jarryd has worked himself in a position to tick multiple goals off in the limited time his physical body will allow him to do so, good bloody luck to him.

To his detractors: You’re here not achieving any of these things. Perhaps you’re jealous. Perhaps you wish you had his strength. You wish you could go out and do whatever it is a quiet voice tells you each week, but you shut it down. Perhaps you’re scared. You think it’s impossible. You’re unhappy. You’re not using your talents to their upmost potential. You wish you could.

I hope pushing out negative energy works well for you and I hope, after spewing out negative criticism to people you don’t know, you feel good about yourself when you close your eyes to sleep at night.

I’m not suggesting sincere, informed advice is never welcome, however, the line in this example has been monumentally crossed and the hounding is ridiculous. Jarryd hasn’t made these decisions whimsically or impulsively and he’s aware of the risks. He’s a world-class elite professional athlete. Don’t forget that.
You won’t get anything done if you listen to doubts the whole time. “People won’t like it!” “People will think you’re weird!” Kanye and Jarryd do not care what you think and that’s one major step on the path to fulfilling your passions.

All power to those who live life by their own rules, not the way they’re expected to by the populace. All power to friends of mine who don’t own a TV. All power to those who shun a salary job and work on their own terms. All power to those chasing dreams despite negative noise from envious others. If you’re not abusing others, and following your heart, you’ll get there; or at least learn some amazing lessons on the way. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not possible and, like Kanye and Jarryd, keep fighting your fight.

Leave him at peace or pass on encouragement. That’s the human society I want to be a part of.

Kanye West, Jarryd Hayne, John Lennon
Kanye West, Jarryd Hayne, John Lennon

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