This is a guest post I wrote for http://unpluggedrecreated.com/
There is one truth, an undeniable fact that you can not refute – You only have this one life to live. You do not know what will come after or what has been before, and neither does anyone else. Are you willing to be a bystander as life passes you by? Since you are reading this, I am guessing you are the kind that is tired of all the BS that the world keeps throwing at you, and are ready to dive in headfirst.
Do you remember when you were asked what you wanted to become as a kid? The younger you were, more adventurous your answer would have been. As you grew older the the question changed, didn’t it? What are you studying? What are majoring in? What sort of a job are you looking for? Can you imagine a 30 year old bank manager walking up to his family and saying he now wants to become a fireman. Let alone telling others, you yourself would baulk at such an idea. So, what changed from when you were a kid? If you are thinking of reality, economy, financial viability as answers, I think you haven’t understood the question. Not your fault though, because at some point, you unconsciously switched controls of your life to autopilot; you took the path of least resistance.
Take back control
Start questioning the status quo; not just about the world and society, but, about yourself too. Why do you do what you do? Why does the person cutting in front of you in traffic cause you to be angry? Why do you get up in the morning and go to office even when you don’t feel like it? Why are you happy when the football team you support wins? To take control of your life again you have to figure out what all in your life is on autopilot.
Get clear on your values
The autopilot program was written by society – people like you and me. They couldn’t have got it all wrong. There must be some things in your life that have meaning and make you happy. Go through your past experiences to see what they are. Understand what made that experience so special. Maybe you connected with your family, maybe you felt relaxed, maybe you were in a flow while working on something. The common factors that connect them are your values. By the same coin, your worst experiences will be the one that would have violated the values that guide you. Learn from both the good and the bad experiences in your life.
Focus on your strengths
When you switch back to manual control, you don’t have to keep doing the same things. Our society is obsessed with being perfect and the way it goes about doing it is to push every person to fortify their weakness. If you are not good at something, I’m sure you don’t enjoy doing it. Whatever you enjoy doing though, you are most likely extremely good at it and vice versa. Paulo Coelho is known as an author because he writes, not because he’s a good editor or a marketing genius. Steve Jobs is known as an innovator because he challenged the status quo in the technology industry, not because he wrote excellent code or built a profitable company. There are other people to do what you aren’t good at. You have to put your effort into leveling up what you do well, and aim at excellence.
Have the courage to be passionate
Line up your experiences, values, and strengths and you will understand what things in life you were meant to do. Your passion is something that you will follow no matter the consequences. You have to be prepared to walk through enormous difficulties because society will not like the career or lifestyle you choose. It opposes change, it opposes any movement against the flow. You have to believe so strongly in what you are doing that every fall along the way motivates you to strive harder. Make determination and persistence your defining character. That is the only way to keep moving forward despite the setbacks.
Share of yourself
The journey is shorter when you have company. Performance increases in a team. Seek out other people who are like you because they are not competition, they are your brethren – Not to ask for help, but to give it. Taking control means to take mindful action and giving help willingly is exactly that. It is different from the expecting the world to change to suit you. It goes against the grain of the society where criticizing failures and diminishing achievements is the norm. Support others because no one man can change the world. You have taken control now; understand that this is the only way to bring about lasting, positive change.
It is time to wake up and do something about it because change stems from action. Only you can decide where your life is headed, or what your life story will read. Rules, laws, and code for social conduct will always be there because they make common sense. But, that shouldn’t stop you from being uncommon. Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Bill Gates, Richard Branson – all these people, and many more, decided to take a stand against the prevailing common sense. What they shared was the desire to contribute to society, to bring about positive change. All of them were human beings, like you and me. What sets them apart is the way they chose to live and what they chose to do. And that is a choice that is open to every person in this world. I implore you to wake up, grab the reins, and regain control of your life.
I was honored to have written this guest post for Justin (owner of UnpluggedRecreated.com), who is helping people break free from the status quo and start living a life of personal freedom, fulfillment, and purpose. Creating the dream life they deserve and start living life on their own terms.