I recently watched a movie where one of the characters that were merely chugging along in life met another character who turned his life upside down.
In the beginning, he was quite resentful of how this person was not willing to go with the flow and was prepared to stand out from the pack. However, as time progressed, he began to appreciate how in fact this person showed him that he was living his life ‘half asleep’.
This movie got me thinking about how as we become part of this world, from an early age already, we learn the rules of our society and accept the expectations thrust upon us by society of what our lives are meant to be. Looking around us, we observe many content to stick to the norms, and in turn who use these norms to deride those who dare to be different.
At a personal level, the consequences of living our lives as part of what I call the ‘matrix’, is that we stop believing in ourselves. It becomes easier to forget about following our passions or doing what we love due to circumstances or a bunch of excuses, which we then call reasons. In the matrix, we care too much about what others think and override our inner authority. As we do so, we justify it and seek minor comfort from our surroundings since it’s very very normal, and then stop caring to embrace who we truly are.
This is the road of comfort, or what I like to call “Life by Default” as opposed to “Life by Design”. Can you relate? It means accepting patterns of defeat, doubting your abilities and having internal conversations that sabotage your greater desires. To be completely honest, it may seem much easier to choose the comfortable road, the road that has been paved already. In reality, the comfortable road itself does not come without challenges as life itself will choose your challenges when you don’t do so yourself.
I remember years ago, I dated someone who made me very uncomfortable. He was constantly challenging me, and holding me accountable to my dreams and aspirations. I kept hankering after what at that time I thought was ‘peace’, but looking back now, was really just a desire to be stay in my box and a fear of dealing with this unknown and unpredictable path. Having someone around that called me out, made me question years and years of programming and conditioning and made me see my limiting, was deeply uncomfortable. However, upon deeper reflection, I am grateful because after that experience (and relationship), I realised I cannot go back to an existence where I am not seeking out new experiences, challenges or growth.
I guess my greater learning from all of this is that anyone seeking change or transformation, should surrender to this notion of being uncomfortable. Unfortunately, there is no magic pill or injection that will get you there. Here are some tips to help you with being uncomfortable:
Start believing in yourself
Firstly, it is very important to follow your heart and recognise what you are to yourself, and not just to this world. Only you know your unique essence. Then, start believing that who you truly are is what the world really needs, not some watered down version that is a replica of everyone else. Remember, you are enormously significant and you alone in your own individual way can create your own path. Just because others are caught up in their own thinking and way of life doesn’t mean you need to listen to them.
Find your thing in life
What is it that you are here for? This is a question I always ask. Once you know that, you need passion to live up to that. Passion is that very special feeling that pretty much takes over everything in your very body. When you feel passion, it’s not a mild interest or something for you to dabble with from time to time. Passion is something that grows on you and you just know it’s going to stick to you for the rest of your life. Take your time to find it. Don’t give up. It will be worth it. Then you need to follow your passion. Don’t abandon it. Don’t ever give it up for anyone or anything in the world. Just try to work towards going for what you love in life. Because when you do follow your passion and start being true to yourself, it will help you weather all the storms that may come as you weather the chorus of disapproval for following your own unique path.
Find your supporting cast
Probably the most important quality to develop is to NOT care about what others think or say about you. Because everyone else is caught in the Matrix, they will be all too keen to discourage you from doing what you are doing. When they see that something or someone is different, it would be considered abnormal, and bad. People are generally afraid of others’ success. My antidote to the chorus of naysayers is to build up a cast of supporters that will help pick you up, will cheer you on and generally help you out when needed.
Do the things that you are afraid of
Get yourself to do something epic for yourself and for your life. Indeed, it’s not meant to be easy, but the more you are able to gather up the courage and go for it, good things can happen to you.
In conclusion, as with anything in life, start off small, and slow, and recognize that you have a choice. At the end of the day, wherever you are, whoever you are, you can always ask yourself this, “Is there more to life as it is?”