The Advantages of Being Average

1332 Relax and Succeed - It may contain competitions within it

Have you seen the Alan Rickman film A Little Chaos? It’s about a peasant woman learning that she is freer than her King. Things can be imperfect. The sun can strike her skin, she can choose her own friends, she can relax. She can even fall in love.

Imagine being a King of yore. You couldn’t marry who you wanted to, you needed to marry for power. You can’t even wear what you like. You’re forced to always dress up in stockings, wear tons of ruffles and heavy buttons even when it’s hot. And who wants to wear scratchy wigs made of wire and hair from dead people and animals?

Tension and fear are the price for fashion in the King’s courts and so it is today. That white powder on the noble faces was lead-based, and it often killed them at far too young an age –all for appearances and a desire to somehow separate themselves from the peasants who worked in the sun.

If we look around us we can see today’s examples of the same dangerous desire to be special.

There’s the girl that gets third degree burns by leaving her tooth-whitening chemicals on for too long; the YouTube mountain biker that breaks their neck trying to get that great piece of footage; or during the running of the bulls in Spain, there was even a runner that favoured getting good footage of himself being gored over prioritizing his escape.

Seen another way, there are parents that end up with suicidal kids by pushing for strictly straight A’s. There are workers who destroy their families trying to get promotions that take them even further from their families. There are people who bankrupt themselves trying to keep up with the Jones’s.

These are all examples of us wanting. They all operate on the premise that we do not yet have enough value and must earn it in some way. It’s true that we can expand our value, but we should not live feeling as though our lives are a burden to the universe. Everyone is born worthwhile. Our value comes through the living of our lives.

If we’re motivated to stand out, then we can trust that. But we should not chastise ourselves for not wanting ‘bigger’ or ‘better’ lives for that is, in other words, a way of saying that we are content, satisfied and without want. According to many spiritual leaders, that’s the ultimate definition of ‘rich.’

Being the top dog has a price. No one should feel strange about being in the middle of the pack. It may not make us a household name, but it can offer us the wisest path to less ego, and more accessible fun. And the fact that it is the average is a demonstration that most people agree with our general choice.

peace. s

Status Addictions

763 Relax and Succeed - The bias of the mainstream mediaThere’s a new disease out there. You may not have really bothered to hone in on it, but you have an awareness that it exists. You’ve seen the symptoms. Some people have already unknowingly been affected and have toppled over the edge into a new kind of insanity. You can’t blame them. There’s so many transmission points in our culture it’s difficult for kids today not to be diseased by a very young age.

By “diseased” I mean the very root of the word: dis-eased. Our natural way of being has been impacted somehow. Life has a natural ease to it. How to win is clear: move your genes forward by ensuring you can feed and provide shelter for yourself and then self-actualize. Enjoy yourself. Maslow yourself. Become. But those fundamental priorities are disappearing fast.

Back in the day of newspapers you printed as many pages as there was news. But the formula got turned around backwards when the creation of cable TV created a much busier marketplace and as people looked to fill it, the 24 hour news cycle was born. That lead to journalism being reduced to speculation the majority of the time and increasingly celebrity culture began to really dominate in a way it never had before.

763 Relax and Succeed - If a man has an apartmentSo where you used to be known for singing or dancing or science or something you created, increasingly you can be a celebrity just for its own sake. In many cases you don’t need any skill whatsoever and–to the contrary–you can even be self-destructive and poorly mannered in terms of how you treat others. It no longer matters what the person stands for as a verb, all that matters is if you’re even superficially present in the media.

The other way to fall into a status addiction is through money. This is where you continue to earn money far past the point of it making any logical sense whatsoever. I was very close with an extremely extremely wealthy man and that was mostly what he talked about once he knew he was sick. He could not figure out why he had sacrificed his life for more money than he could ever use in several lifetimes. He wanted to know his children better. He wanted to be their hero and there was no time left. That’s a crazy trade.

These addictions lead to the same crazy kinds of behaviour as any other addiction. It will lead to things like billionaires suggesting they cannot afford to pay minimum wage, to billionaires like Ken Lay losing everything and dying in shame by lying and stealing to hide the fact that he had made some big mistakes in business. In the end trying that strategy lead to him being even more embarrassed and exposed than if he would have just met it head on with character, rather than reputation.

763 Relax and Succeed - People want you to be realYou don’t need to be a part of this mass addiction. Stop and ask yourself if your social media presence is relaxed and really you, or if you curate it for effect. Do you remove unflattering photos that tell the truth about you? Do you tailor your contributions for how they will impact others view of you, or your view of your own life? Do you feel that you are allowed to be your true self and still be successful?

Do not get caught up in what others think of you. It’s an endless messy loop of differing opinions and it totally misses the fact that you are the only person who can be perfectly you, so we can’t have you wasting time being things for other people. Yes, we all have to meld and cooperate to succeed and form a beneficial society, but you don’t have to surrender your true self to do that. You just have to respect all the other true selves.

We create celebrity culture with what we do. We show children through our actions who will get the attention. Einstein and a lot of other scientists used to be in the mainstream news and it made kids want to be smart. When the space race happened kids wanted to understand technology and how it worked. Now it’s primarily appearance for the mainstream.

763 Relax and Succeed - Seek to be worth knowingLet’s not teach kids their value is in how they look. Let’s show them they are so much more than that. But we can’t if all of our attention is on ultimately meaningless and mindless activities. Life is waiting for us to live it, we don’t have to watch others live theirs. So let’s all set a great example for kids and let’s make sure our attention is on enriching and rewarding things. It’s like having a healthy diet for your mind. From there your love and basic good judgment will take care of the rest.

Have an awesome day today. And all the best to you and all those you love.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, mindfulness instructor, coach and communications facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

Values for Living

People often wonder, am I doing the right thing? Is there something better or more important I should be doing? We’re always asking the world who it wants us to be and it’s sitting there looking impassively at us, waiting for us to be the only thing we ever could be—ourselves.

668 Relax and Succeed - They say love is the best investmentIf you want to calculate the value of anything you’re doing you have to put it into terms of time. That’s your limited resource. It’s how much of that you’ll pay that determines how valuable you actually believe something is. So if you’re a $1,000 dollar an hour lawyer and you buy your wife a $350 dollar dress then you’ve invested about 20 minutes in her, whereas if you hand made her a birthday card that might take you two hours plus the time buying the craft supplies at the store plus the time to earn the money for that, so in that case the card would be worth more than the dress.

This not only applies to relationships with our lovers, but also the relationships we have with our children, or even our employees or co-workers. You can work to get a promotion that results in more hours but higher pay so that your kid can ride in a nicer car, or those hours can be spent at a less stressful job and more of that time can be invested in spending nows with the actual kid. Using this scale I think you can easily see that most of the Western world is wasting their lives on things that ultimately have no value. No one lays on their death bed wishing for more time in a mall or on social media. They want more time with their brother, or their wife or their son.

Every day you make choices regarding where you invest the time of your life. Like a vein of gold running through rock you have no idea when your lifetime will come to an end. And so starting to spend it more wisely is something that should be done as soon as possible. Do not always assume there will be more time. The vein will eventually be emptied. The answer that defines your life is, what did you invest your time in?

668 Relax and Succeed - It is no bad thingStart calculating your life based on how much time you’re giving to the different aspects of your life. Is enough going towards sleep? And how about food? Is enough going toward buying, preparing and paying for quality food? And is your time spent repetitively, or on debts for things that no longer assist us you in being happy? Because you need far less than you realize. If you slow down the rate of your desires you’ll be able to shift into the speed of life. This is where the most valuable thing is: connection. Maybe it’s you connecting to nature. Maybe it’s you connecting to your lover, or your family or to your friends. Or maybe it’s you connecting to yourself. That’s what life is. The time spent in those states of interplay with other aspects of the universe—that is when you are alive. Owning things has absolutely nothing to do with that. Those are the decorations around life but they are not life itself.

Spend less time adorning your life and talking about your past or future choices and start making choices in the moment you are in. Stop commentating on your life and others and start living as a verb instead. Don’t have a lifetime of items and opinions at the end of your time here on Earth. Have a lifetime of experiences. Have a lifetime of living.

668 Relax and Succeed - I was dyingSo many are bound up by thoughts about the paths that they believe were theirs to happiness. But there is no path to happiness. Happiness is how we walk any path. It is a choice to accept everything that comes and not argue with it because it steals our attention away from the experience we would otherwise be having. Talking about life is not living life. Decorating life is not living life. Being in the moment you are in is the only way we can actually live our lives consciously. The sooner we realize that the sooner we do it and the sooner our decisions start to more closely reflect who we truly are.

What are you currently investing your time in? What does that say about your values? Because we can make all the excuses we want, but where our time is is where our heart is and possessions don’t have a heart. Even the people in our life must be freely choosing to spend their time with us before a connection is truly achieved. Love cannot be possessed. It can only be lived and experienced as a collection of decisions about how we chose to invest the value of our lifetime.

peace. s