In the remote jungles of Southeast Asia on the Malay Peninsula, aboriginal tribes were studied in the 1930s and ‘40s. Two of the tribes — the Negritos and the Temiar — were very similar. They both paid a lot of attention to their dreams.
The Negritos’ attitude was passive. They felt they were the victims of evil forces. If they had a bad dream about a tree, for example, from that point on they would be afraid of the tree and its evil spirit.
But the Temiar taught their children that aggression in dreams was good. The child should not turn away from dream monsters, but attack them. They were taught that if they run away, the monsters or evil spirits will plague them until they turn and fight.
The two tribes were similar in many ways, but this one difference made the Temiar psychologically healthy, according to Kilton Stewart and Pat Noone, a psychologist and an anthropologist who studied them, and it made the Negritos psychologically unhealthy.
In any situation, you can have the attitude of reaching, of trying to accomplish what you want, or by default you will become a victim, the effect of circumstances and other people’s goals. If you aren’t actively trying to cause an effect you want, you will be forced by the aggression of others to respond, to react, to be the effect of their initiations. It isn’t the perfect design by my standards, but that is the way it works out, whether we like it or not.
So make it a practice to think about what you want, what you think would be good, and then try to make that happen. You’ll run into resistance sometimes. That’s okay. No need to resist the resistance. It’s just someone else trying to make something happen too (or trying to prevent themselves from being a victim). Don’t get caught up in it. Keep in mind what you want and continue taking steps toward it.
In other words, become less passive and more aggressive in your attitude. Aggression can be a good thing. If it’s aggression without anger or judgement, it can create a lot of good in the world. In fact, it has already.
Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.