Is Your House In Order?
Do you shy away from rules when dreaming of your ideal future? It's about freedom, man. Rules ruin the fun factor. Read that again in the Matthew McConaughey Dazed and Confused voice and you get what I'm putting down. I'm going to argue it has the opposite effect. Rules to live by liberate you. The foremost rule is that you must take responsibility for your own life.
What do you stand for? Why is this change important right now? Why have you been waiting?
If you want to live life on your own terms, your house needs to be in order. The stretch will be uncomfortable to start, you're venturing into unexplored opportunity. Taking responsibility for your own life is ownership over past and future decisions. That carries with it some serious weight. It's not to be taken lightly. If you're in over your head, seek some guidance. Explore what's in your best interest. Could be therapy, a coach or some combination thereof. Tony Robbins put together a useful piece, Life Coach vs Therapist.
It's time to admit that you only have yourself to blame for donning super skinny jeans. As an adult male, it's uncomfortable for everyone. A likeness to squeezing the last morsel of toothpaste from the tube.
We grow accustomed to blaming others for our misfortune. The traffic made me late, my coworker put me in a bad mood so I'm half-assing it today, I ate McDonald's because I had no time.
How many of these stories do you tell yourself everyday? If you're playing in the same ballpark as me, they're pumped out at an alarming rate.
For the purpose of this piece, it's not the amount I'm concerned with. It's how often you bite – hook, line and sinker – for the story.
How does the story serve you? If you're teetering on the fence, try this rule I picked up from a tech CEO on Tim Ferriss's podcast. Make it a scaling question, 1-10, but the caveat being you can't choose 7.
I was clueless how often I defaulted to choosing 7. It wasn't until I consciously applied this rule to my decisions that a spotlight shone where I needed it. Talk about a blind spot! I left countless opportunities for growth on the table because I said "good enough." That's all 7 is, a signifier for good enough. You're not knocking it out of the park but you're showing up. You're perfect in the eyes of most employers. Keep churning out the status quo.
What do you want from life? It sure as hell isn't status quo. You'd be too busy laying a beating to your Auntie Sue in Candy Crush to spare a few minutes reading my blog.
You're already enrolled in the journey by venturing into the unknown. The traffic didn't make you late, you did. Having a half-assed day at work is on you. Had no time to grab something healthy? That's on you too. The truth is an ice bucket challenge to your ego.
Paul Jarvis is one of my favourite writers for telling it how it is. He said, “We all speak our own truth. But truth, on an intellectual level, is malleable and in the eye of the beholder. Truth is completely shaped by how we perceive our world. It’s different for everyone, which makes the world much more interesting.”
It's hard to swallow we had a part in the moments we'd rather forget. We're good at taking responsibility when we're riding high. Not so much when life falls flat. We'd rather play the blame game. But standing up and saying you own the whole kit and caboodle? That's ownership. You don't get to claim ownership of all the good things if you pass the buck on all the things that didn’t go as planned.
Some of our decisions run a mile deep but when you only question what floats to the surface, you miss the iceberg that sinks your ship.
Ownership over all decisions. That's what it means to take responsibility for your own life. A house without an owner falls to shambles. You can't expect the benefits of ownership without the upkeep. Status quo leads to decline.
But if nothing is guaranteed, why bother reaching for it? Because if you don't leap, it is certain you will never feel that your life has meaning. Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, as well as a Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, suggested, “Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that he is who is being asked.”