One day, I went downstairs to eat, and I met two neighbors in the elevator, leading a big golden retriever. I was happy and casually touched the dog's head. The neighbor asked me if I liked it, and I nodded with a smile. Then, when I went downstairs, the neighbor asked me to take two photos of them with the dog. Everyone was happy, but I didn't know about the dog.
People who have raised cats and dogs often take photos and post them on social media, showing the happiness of their pets and themselves. From a human perspective, it is often believed that the lives of cats and dogs are happier than humans. They have food provided, and their owners personally take care of them. I used to think this way too, and even said that I would be willing to be a cat or a dog in my next life. But now, I don't think so, hence the use of the word "said".
In fact, if you think about it more deeply, the situation starts to reverse. The lives of cats and dogs are actually very unfortunate. Whether life is happy or not depends on how many options you can reject, that is, the level of freedom. The lives of cats and dogs may seem free, but they actually depend on the freedom of their owners. As pets, their entire value of life is to please humans or be used by them. The only option for cats and dogs to refuse is to starve themselves. The freedom of cats and dogs is completely restricted by the freedom of their owners. In other words, this kind of life is essentially a life that is played with and controlled. The palm is the hand, and the thigh is the leg. When you pat your leg, the dog lies on it, and when you touch it with your hand, it is the intention to play with it on your thigh. More importantly, humans have the choice to give up their freedom, but cats and dogs still don't have that option. If they are happy and brought over to play for a while, it is only because the owner didn't force them, but once it is enforced, they have no choice but to comply.
Going deeper, modern people need cats and dogs more for their companionship, while ancient people needed them for their guarding and tracking skills. And the thing that affects freedom the most is precisely this "guarding and tracking skill".
The guarding and tracking skills of cats and dogs are innate. Cats are born to catch mice, and they can choose what to catch, but they cannot choose not to catch at all. This is a program written in their genes. Cats and dogs also find it difficult to learn new guarding and tracking skills. Of course, there are trained guide dogs, but as long as humans need them to be guide dogs, they cannot choose to refuse. Humans are not born with guarding and tracking skills. They have to learn to walk and talk after they are born. The reason why human life is freer than that of cats and dogs is because humans can choose what skills they want to learn. Besides cats, there are professionals responsible for catching mice. Painters are not born to paint, and programmers are not born to code, but painters can choose to code and programmers can choose to paint. Humans have many different ways to use their lives, and the greater the possibilities, the higher the degree of freedom. A farmer in the mountains may learn to fly a plane and become a director. He almost has no possibility of learning to fly a plane, but his child will have a greater possibility of learning to fly a plane than his father.
Going deeper, another factor that affects freedom after choosing a guarding and tracking skill is how well you master this skill. Truly mastering a skill requires a lot of effort, and it is not enough to just work hard personally. It also depends on the environment and opportunities. The environment will not deprive you of possibilities as long as you meet the conditions. The freedom of humans is reflected in the opportunity to work hard and the power to choose a direction. The ultimate achievement of a person is the result of their actions. The greater the impact of actions on fate, the greater the freedom.
However, having a guarding and tracking skill does not necessarily bring income. For example, someone who raises dogs well does not necessarily rely on opening a pet store to make a living. He cannot survive by just raising dogs, and the dogs may even eat his food. Because he raises his own dogs, opening a store requires learning to take care of other people's dogs, all kinds of dogs, which is already another skill. In other words, your guarding and tracking skill may not have social demand. However, whether there is demand or not, there will be a side effect, which is that once a person has a skill, they will no longer feel useless.
Nowadays, the unemployment rate cannot be reduced, and the overall environment is not good. Many people feel worthless and think that they are not good at anything. The root cause is actually not being able to find a skill. If you have one, even if you don't rely on it for a living, even if you starve to death, you will still have confidence in yourself. This kind of confidence is different from the confidence gained from praise or achievements in work and career. It cannot be said to be invincible, but it is definitely unbreakable. Because you have something unique, even unique, that has slowly formed within you. People without this kind of confidence will constantly seek validation from others. If someone says you should learn English well, you will learn English. If someone says you should quickly take a certain certification, you will go take that certification. These are just skills to make a living. These skills can help you find a job and have income, but they cannot give you the confidence that comes from a high level of recognition for your craft.
Designing a house and building a house as a worker feel different. You can't expect a worker to build a house and still think that they are contributing to the country's development, but if you are a designer, you will have deep satisfaction and recognition for your work. Because when a worker leaves, there will be someone to replace them immediately, but if a designer stops working, the worker can no longer do the job, or at least not in the same way. If Steve Jobs didn't return to Apple, the history of industrial design in the past few decades would have been rewritten. Even if he couldn't return to Apple and eventually went bankrupt and starved to death, he was still very confident.
Confidence is also relative. People who appear very confident on the surface, those who others think are very confident, may not necessarily have a deep sense of self-affirmation and value at the bottom. But when you slowly understand and master something that is not easy to understand, pure confidence will continue to grow and solidify. At this time, you no longer need to care about external evaluations, you focus on how deeply you understand the essence of things. Understanding complex things in itself is objectively difficult.
When a child can't solve a problem, the mother says that they are already very good. Although the intention is good, it can only temporarily relieve their emotions, but it creates illusions in reality. If the child still can't solve the problem, their anxiety will only increase, and over time, it may cause major psychological problems. It's like what is said in the comedy sketches of Guo Degang: being praised at home but slapped outside. Only when a child puts in effort and works hard to solve the problem can their anxiety be relieved and their confidence increased. Unbreakable confidence is not built on the praise and flattery of others, but only through facing reality and gradually understanding and mastering things that are originally difficult to understand. This is a process that involves encountering pain and overcoming various obstacles. Because you know how difficult this process is. Similarly, you will also be able to easily recognize who has a skill, and you will understand that anyone who has reached this point will definitely recognize you, and they also know the difficulty of this process.