What if we spent more of our time 'happening' to our lives rather than responding to what happens to us in our lives?
I contemplate this often. I love a quote attributed to Steve Jobs where he says;
"....everything around you that you call 'Life' was made up by people that were no smarter than you. You can change it...Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again."
The desire to conform is strong because we call it all the wrong things. We call it "fitting in" "being a team player" or even "successful". But if it's not a path of our own true construct, what value does it have? It is easier to follow a path that is already made and well travelled. If everyone has taken it then it must be the right path - right? Or, at the very least, we can feel confident that we can't go too far wrong as so many others are following the same path. This is perilous rationale that has led many into the wrong careers, the wrong relationships and more.
I believe that the journey is the destination in life. We follow many different paths throughout this journey. There is no wrong path or mistake on that journey that is unforgivable or that we cannot come back from. Our greatest ally on our journey is a consciousness, a mindfulness, as to why we are on that path. We can change direction at any time. We construct our own lives through our choices. Our duty to ourselves is to choose well for ourselves, regardless of what the crowd it doing. There is no one controlling or in charge of us.
One exercise which is interesting to undertake in this area is to contemplate death. No, it's not being morose but rather accepting the reality of our lives as transient and impermanent. Everything that is born must die and it is just a question of when and how. Many spiritual traditions and ancient philosophies include some form of this contemplation and it serves to focus the mind on the present.
Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor and Philosopher, wrote in his book "Meditations"
Stop whatever you're doing for a moment and ask yourself: Am I afraid of death because I won't be able to do this anymore?
Contemplating your death makes you focus on and appreciate your life. Why not go further and write your own obituary. That will definitely focus your mind. We all die but not all of us truly live. We hold ourselves back and live small lives because we wait to be chosen. No one will choose you but you. This is your life, your show. You, and only you are the author. Why would you not give yourself the best most attractive and fulfilling role?
Steve Jobs had to stare down cancer and confront his mortality and it changed him. He described death as
"very likely the best invention in life"
Here's a little more from one of his final commencement speeches before his death;
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."
You are here today alive, and hopefully healthy. What are you going to do today to make your future self proud? What work will you begin today that will be written about in your obituary and spoken about by your friends after you're gone. Everything we need is within us already.
We are the power.
Our potential? Limitless.
About the Author
Eimear Zone is an entrepreneur and co-founder of feminist brand and social enterprise, PEBBLE + ROSE. She writes on feminism, entrepreneurship, and mindset management. She can be contacted at email@example.com and IG @emtczone