What is me, what is fiction: how to do 'you' and why
Since we were born, we've had all these narrative uploaded into our heads. The first job is wiping the slate clean. And trust me, that is no easy job. Although it's hard and time consuming, don't make the point of thinking it isn't worth it. Actually, it is the only thing worth doing. A true source of joy.
We have this idea that being rich, famous and successful is the only thing worth pursuing. This is not our fault. We are given this message from all directions since we are young. Of course its nice, and there is no harm in working for this... BUT this is secondary.
After your basic needs are met (obviously) finding our authentic life and nurturing our sparks is primary. If we don't do this, whatever we achieve, won't give us that lasting joy. It will begin to feel empty. Why? It isn't authentically ours. Its a story we've been given and taken on inadvertently.
Before we start, remember: everyone starts at zero! Whether you're Picasso or Steve Jobs. Don't scoff. Hear me out.
I think 'go find it', is terrible advice. Like its a single thing, we just stumble upon. Don't get me wrong, of course we have inherent sparks that are unique to people. But it can easily not be found or not nurtured. When you look behind the scenes of 'special people', their journeys will definitely surprise you. How they got there and the narratives they were given. In this way, our own narrative may also get in the way. 'What could I possible do?' Well, THAT is our job. Exploring, nurturing and living our truth.
Having our thoughts, actions and life match what we truly believe in. That is worth all the trouble. This journey is different for everyone. I hope this helps you get started:
Change the narrative: is this our idea of success or theirs?
Okay, be myself. Cool. I'm on board. But, now what? Where to start?
Well that leads to me to the first part: change our narrative
This change in attitude towards ourselves is the first step.
Again, I will have to use myself as an example. I think it drives the point forward more, as well as it being a common story that you may be able to relate to.
Growing up, succeeding in academics meant everything to me. It was completely attached to my self-worth. If that wasn't perfect, I felt completely less than. But that is just the narrative. But of course it was very real to me. It was my own reality and my only narrative.
When this is removed, our whole world comes crashing down. In this case, not getting the perfect grades. It sounds dramatic but it's true. That's the danger of making one thing our everything. It will completely shatter our self-worth and warp our own view of what we can do because that was our ONLY narrative. We have not explored all parts of ourselves and think we've reached the limit. This is why the pursuit of authenticity is needed.
Question: 'If it was your last day on Earth, what would you think would've been a worthwhile use of time?' What would make you satisfied and happy? What is your idea of success? Really sit down and have a think. Not the immediate choices. Be more discerning.
Of course, just experience and exposing ourselves to many things in life, can naturally give us this insight. However, if we clean out the narrative and really listen to ourselves, we can find it too. Whatever it is, the important thing is to keep it in the forefront of our mind when going through life.
Finding the sparks (consumption vs. creation - see Improvement Pill)
Compile a list of different activities/hobbies - seriously just google it if you need to!
Then narrow the ones that spark joy, the ones that intrigue. Don't think about can or can't, the ones that seem exciting. The ones you can envision yourself doing.
Be careful of dismissing everything because you're not feeling it (see How to Find Your Passion by Improvement Pill).
This probably means we're junkied out by activities that are solely focused on consumption. Motivation and sparks of joy can be masked by doing too many activities that are based on consumption (like junk food). This includes, bingeing shows, instant food, porn, surfing the internet etc.
They will not give us the long-lasting satisfaction and motivation of building, growing and creating something. When we reduce these consumption activities dramatically, after a while you can discern from the creating type activities (e.g. Photography, dance, animation, writing, drawing) that spark your joy. This will lead us to our unique passions.
Find the weird and wonderful success stories of others (it ain't so easy!)
We must read about the stories of people's whose lives and pursuits inspire us. We will then remove the ideas we have in our head about how people just naturally fall into things, and some people are just simply special. When we read about the stories of truly spectacular people, we'll of course see talent, but we will also see other things. The struggle, the challenges, the triumphs. Getting up again after falling down, again and again.
We see others and we think, I'm no good at anything. What do I have to offer? Let's stop right here.
It will not fall into our laps. It takes facing our imperfect selves, the messy in-progress mistakes and moving past them, to reach our best self. Without facing the uncomfortable, you can't see what you have to offer. And most importantly, you won't gain anything worth having.
Rage Against the Machine
When I say rage against the machine, I mean in two ways. One is our mind and narrative that is as old as we are. The second is society and people around us (boy, is it easy to get swept away). Both will try to stop us from changing our narrative and ways. But being constantly aware of this narrative that is constantly fed to us, will help us in act in spite of it. Don't run on autopilot.
The antidote to overcoming our own biases and other people's: being so sure of what feels right for us, there's no room for anything else. How we find that surety is by exploring and answering our own questions. Research, find mentors and try doing it, again and again.
Now to do this, all we need is grit, patience and a sprinkle of creativity. Easy, right?
Of course not! As I said, this sh*t is hard, but it'll be the best use of our time. Period.
Well that's all folks. Good luck! Here's the closing words:
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen” (Brené Brown).