Your natural attractions are your guidance system for being you. You are not being indulgent if you pursue them—you are just being yourself. You have confused thoughts about that because your culture told you to be someone else.
Through advertising they established some invented ideals to help them sell products. Ideals about how you should look, how you should smell, what you should weigh, or what clothes or music you should like. Now you feel uncomfortable because you’ve been taught you have shortcomings that you don’t really have.
Not everyone should look the same. Not everyone should dress the same. Not everyone should have the same interests. Everyone should just be who they naturally are. Everyone’s so unhappy because they’re trying to be people they’re not. They’re trying to be who they’re being told to be.
Can you see the craziness of having a stranger tell us how we should look, smell, act, and be? That some guy on a TV or radio should not be telling you what to wear? How would he know what you like? Why is some kid buying booze or athletic shoes just because some rap singer was paid to put them in a song? Why does our culture spend such an insane about of money on convincing people that they should go get things they already have?! Because you know what happens even if you do get that stuff? You die.
One day, you either get hit by a bus, or some doctor tells you have six months. And then you look at all of your stuff—all of your fashionable clothes, and your latest gadgets and the new hardwood floors you took that second job to pay for—and none of it makes any sense. You suddenly realise that you surrendered time with your dog (who loves you like crazy), or time at the gym, or time with your children, to go work an extra job to get a new coffee table.
This is a coffee table you’ll then worry about so much that you’ll yell at your beloved kids for putting a glass of water on it. Great. You feel crappy about yourself, your spouse has to take a second job and has more time away from the family, and the kids get yelled at for being thirsty; all because some ad convinced you to go get something you didn’t really want or need until they sold it to you via some form of media.
You have limited time on this planet. You think you understand that but you don’t. Because if you did, you would live with more freedom. You like to think you’re free but you’re not. If you live in western culture then you’re being impacted by advertising. You’re being told who to be. And you’re stressing if you’re anything shy of the ideal the strangers in advertising construct for you.
There are cars you should be driving/buying. There are clothes you should be wearing/buying. There is music you should be listening to/buying. There is food you should be eating/buying. There are movies you should be seeing/buying. And don’t forget, now you have to buy some insurance packages to protect you from some manufactured fears. And if you don’t buy any of that, you’re rebelling against them which means you’re still letting advertisers dictate what you do.
Be free. Take a job that jazzes you. There are tons of people making tons of money and they’re miserable. So go do what you enjoy. And do it until you don’t enjoy it any more and then do the next thing. Maybe what you do isn’t as important as who you do it with, or where you do it.
There’s no right or wrong answers. There is only what you choose. And there are no wrong choices, because you can still continue to choose. Every moment contains the opportunity to enjoy life. Our only responsibility is to remember our role. We have tremendous power over our daily experience, but we must exercise that power before it can create a discernible effect in our lives.
Go be you. Stop thinking that it’s crazy. That’s what geniuses do. They ignore what other people think and they do what they feel is their thing to do. And, in doing so, they find things that are uniquely theirs. Whether they succeed with that thing or not is irrelevant. By simply pursuing it they have enacted themselves, and that is what success ultimately is. It’s not getting the right stuff. It’s not being popular or good looking or rich. It’s to enjoy your own life. It’s to have had fun being you. Because you are the only person in the universe who will get that chance. So go for it.
Your life is just a stage. It’s an opportunity. A chance. It’s a dash between the two little dates on your tombstone. It’s a blip in history. So don’t take it too seriously. Just enjoy it. Because there really is no way to do it wrong.
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.