To Be Joyful Is To Be Contrarian

We should seek out that which genuinely excites us, not that which simply gets us by.

There is more to life than calculated practicality. In fact, it could be argued that a life lived based on practicality alone is a life not lived at all. Sometimes it is necessary to run away from that which is practical and toward that which, beyond all reason and rationality, brings us joy and excitement.

There is a danger in seeking out the things that joyfully excite us. Others may not understand and they may actually criticize and even condemn us for our choices, especially if our choices do not seem practical. Conformity may bring us external acceptance from our peers, our families, and our culture, but this external acceptance comes at the cost of an incremental internal death each day we deny the truths of our hearts and minds.

True joy, true love, and true passion are always nonconforming. They are always contrarian and revolutionary. They expose us, make us stand out from the crowd, and bring attention to ourselves in the way that makes the ordinary, the fearful, and the passive uncomfortable, but the alternative is to shrink down into the shadows and deny the essence of our very existence.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as well as a founding member of the Severna Park and Baltimore Holistic Chamber of Commerce.

Street art photo taken by Robert Van Valkenburgh, artist unknown unless otherwise noted.

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