We are all inundated with information. Distraction is central to every day and having a single minded direction has to be a mental commitment rather than something needed for survival. Unless you live in a third world country, getting food and water is pretty straightforward. What that means is we could be striving for expansion and growth because most of our basic needs are met. This is not what actually occurs, is it?
If there is time to grow, opportunity to grow and the resources to grow, why are so many willing to just be average?
This is the fundamental reason for being static. Most people live with the fear of being shunned by their community if they do anything that’s different, or even a tad radical. On a personal level, this has been extremely accurate for me. My fear of being ‘found out’ informed my entire life until I was in my late 40’s! And you know what – all the care that was taken to be mostly acceptable, added up to a hill of beans. All my careful behavior and activity brought me to losing just about everything I’d created.
Being accountable for my life at that time gave me something far more remarkable than anything I could have conjured up. It gave me power. If I got myself into such a mess, I could probably dig myself out of it as well… I did, but not without a lot of humility.
There are critical moments in life where we must surrender and let something greater than our own mind define us. We have to allow for the sense of wonder to infect our choices, rather than striving to stay inside the lines and ‘think’ our way through a problem. In the vernacular most common in my life, we must allow our souls to lead us, rather than our personality. In completely letting go of the mental constructs – and if it’s a total and true surrender – magic really starts to happen. But you will have to walk through a good deal of social weirdness for this to occur.
Social media gives us all a distorted view into each others lives, which is compelling. We look at someone’s life through the lens of what it is they want us to know about them, even down to what food or drink was consumed last night. We get to know each others politics, clothing choices, social activities and deepest pain. We also get to reconnect with long gone friends, stay in touch with our families, share our businesses and celebrate all manner of successes… and for this I personally appreciate it, yet I often wonder if there’s more for us as a global community to share?
The idea of stretching past our previous successes and continuing to grow is not often present in our social circles, whether they are online or up close and personal. How many times have you been excited about something and the minute you told someone close to you about it, they rejected it – Completely? Probably lots of times… so what is the impetus for growth or moving past your current limits if that means your community shuns you?
It would have to be your personal desire to continue to grow … No. Matter. What!
The reason most of won’t do this is instinctual. Before we had corner stores and packaged food in abundance, water piped directly into our homes and climate control in our homes, we lived with no promise of survival unless we lived in community. People thrived because they cooperated and worked together to provide the fundamentals for survival. The downside to tribal life was being an individual was not acceptable. Being unique was believed to threaten the survival of the group and people were rejected for it. Being shunned by your community was akin to a death sentence, so our reptilian brain tells us it’s essential to fit in. Even now.
One of my teachers says, “your natural human instincts will not support your success, but inhibit it.” and this is absolutely true. My human instincts would not have me spend 2 hours writing and then posting this article because it will open me up to rejection. My desire to grow forces these early morning writing spells. It’s not easy at all. My natural human instincts would not encourage me to start a new business in my ’50’s because it’s ludicrous, but my desire to grow & add value does.
My challenge to you is this – pick one thing today that’s a new idea and learn about it. Just one new thing. Don’t go change anything major, just open up to something that you have a feeling about or are curious about and honestly check it out.
Ask yourself if you’ve been approached about something that you rejected – automatically. You didn’t even listen to one thing said and immediately decided it wasn’t worth your time. Maybe you even stopped responding to your friend who offered it up, out of fear that they would bring it up. If you’ve experienced something like that, go back to your friend and tell them you’re open to learning about it. Then really take it in.
What happens next will surprise you. You most likely won’t change your position on the subject, but you may. What is more amazing in this kind of behavior is the bond you have with your friend will be stronger. Likely, you will be more supportive of them, even if whatever they shared wasn’t your thing. You’ll feel true understanding and be a support person, rather than a friend who is not involved in their growth.
Everything isn’t for everyone, but we all respond positively to acceptance. What would your life be like if you just stayed with the truth (i.e. responding to new things from an informed position, rather than a knee jerk reaction), learned more about options and exercised your right to choose. You’ve lost nothing other than your compulsion to reject something.
Gifts come to us in all kinds of ways, but sometimes because we live in so much fear we leave a true gift on our porch. Bring everything inside, open it up and see what’s inside. You not only learn something new, you will be richer for the exercise of being open.
There’s that saying that goes, “a parachute never works when it’s closed”. Neither do our minds.