I'm in the biz of encouragement, the practise of purpose driven lives, and yet, I'm noticing a trend toward overwhelm and an emphasis on perfection, that's leading people to discouragement and self-loathing. Not cool.
I happen to be partnered with a beautiful human who is, honestly, thrilled with where his life is, right now. Sure, it might be fun to have limitless cash and double long weekends, but in truth, he tells me he's made it, he's hit his stride. He has love, a job that helps others, a comfortable home, connection with family, delicious, nutritious food, his health, and a small social circle of friends. That's his happy. Curious that others want to push him to want more. For a while, I was one of them. Then, I began to re-examine the why.
For about 15 or so years, now, I've had increasing numbers of individuals come to hire me, so that they can figure out what it is they really want out of life. Unfortunately, by the time they make that call, they are, already, exhausted, demoralized and second guessing themselves, to confusion and back. Why? A combination of too many options, too many unrealistic expectations AND a belief that whatever choice they make, it'll be wrong.
In western culture, there is a constant undercurrent of dissatisfaction, the not good enough, it can always be better. There's a desperate fear of settling, of mediocrity, of not reaching one's potential. But I've got to ask why. What's it all about, Alfie?
Aside from commercialism and our acquisitional mindset (yes, it is ingrained in our culture to have more than before), what else is driving us to achieve? Well, one look on-line and the answer begins to reveal itself: comparison and the fear of judgment, even from within.
But it's making us miserable. We need the right love life, the right health regime, the right career path, the right amount of sleep, food, time for self, partying, outfits for work and play, pairs of shoes, spa days, meditation and yoga practises, number of children, number of partners, balance of ecology and ownership, the right politics, the right friends, the right car, vacations, and perfect make up and hair. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, it goes on. Also, we're trying to please our parents, our friends, our business associates, our followers, our partners and, maybe, ourselves, somewhere in the mix.
When, oh when, do we stop and take stock of what we, truly, value? What ideas bring us joy and peace and connection? What will get us where we want to, actually, be?
It is only when we slow down and take stock of what we value, choosing to let go of the external forces for change, that we can begin to make strategic decisions for our futures, which will, actually, create a life that fits and a life that fulfills. We get to decide what matters. For some, it will be a defining career. For others, it may be relationships. For yet others, it may be travelling the world, on a sailboat, doing acts of service, at every port, whilst collecting stamps, from each nation, as they pass by, learning to play accordion and dance the mamba, accompanied by an old sage and a ferret.
You see, there is not just one way to do success, BUT there is only one way to do it for you: authenticity. What is it that you, truly, want? Forget the neighbours. Forget Instagram and Facebook followers. Forget the constant barrage of ads, clamouring for your attention. Dig in. Dig deep. Take your time; it's worth it. What does your gut say? Then, let the rest go and focus on the future that you want.