You can live your life in ego or you can live your life in spirit. One is inspirational (it’s very root is in-spirit) and the other is mundane. One lives life, and one wonders about life. One makes inspired choices while the other worries about what might go wrong. One moves toward what excites them and one tries to avoid making mistakes. One is happy, and one is sad.
All of my life I have watched people surrender the tremendous, wonderful gift that life is. Because I knew you could be dead at five, I understood life not as a span of years, but as a chance, an opportunity—a stage on which you can perform any life you choose. So I never understood why people deigned to sit in the audience to watch and comment on the real lives that so few of us choose to enact.
As yesterdays blog pointed out, every life has hills and valleys. Every life is filled with challenge and defeat and struggle and failure. So why endure all of that only to pick a life that you know full well is filled with compromises? You can choose to struggle to climb Mount Everest or you can choose to struggle with the daily tedium of a rush-hour drive to work toward a job you hate and a life you find uninspiring. You struggle either way. Why leave yourself stuck in traffic when you could climb to such incredible heights? It’s the world’s most common form of crazy.
People often comment about the fact that I’ve lead an awesome life, and it’s true I have. I’ve got to make movies and advise billionaires and have super-cool jobs and travel the world. I’ve been an extremely lucky guy but I’ve also created a lot of that luck by living boldly. And your life can be your own bold version of you. Because my life may be fantastic, but it’s no better than anyone who’s gotten married to someone profoundly inspiring and who they feel thrilled to raise children with. There are all kinds of richness and excitement and reward. You can stop paying attention to your pay or your status or your investments of time and you can trade all of that for a job that feels fantastic.
I meet wealthy lawyers and bankers and business people who spend their days scrabbling around trying to keep all of the columns aligned. Their lives are primarily in problem-solving mode with flickers of genuine excitement and inspiration. Rather than accept that great lives have struggles too, they have accepted an uninspired life because they already have invested so much struggle in it. Their egos are frightened. They don’t want to leave the known path they are on for the excitement of the unknown. Better the devil they know. Booorrrriiiinnnnggggg.
I’ve worked in jails with underpaid counselors who help broken people find their own spirits. They achieve tremendously profound satisfaction from watching their clients learn to see their own strengths. I know a guy who starred in four Superbowls and yet he considers his biggest moment was when a man approached him in a grocery store with his family. The man explained that he was alive because of Jim’s work with underprivileged kids, and that his beloved family wouldn’t even exist without Jim. Jim told me he considers that his real superbowl win. He lists it as the most inspiring thing in his life. So you don’t need a prominent, big or “important” life. You just need one that puts inspiration first.
Stop with all of your settling. Stop with all of the incessant self-conversations about which way you should go. You do not find which way to go in life by talking to yourself about the best choices. You don’t pick best choices intellectually. You have to be willing to relax, be open and feel your way to the most meaningful kind of success. You build fences with your limited thinking and trap yourself with choices that other people will approve of. You lack courage. You know which way to go, but you won’t make the leap.
The fact is, the vast majority of you will read this and know it’s the truth. You’ll be able to feel that. You’ll know you’re in that group that’s surrendered your spirit. And you’ll come here and read this and other things, and you’ll look longingly at truly inspired lives. But precious few of you will have the courage to ask if this truth is truly alive within you as well. You’ll think I’m lucky, or different or that my big bash to the head gave me something you can’t have. But you’re wrong. You’re just scared. Scared of your own life. And so you’ll give it up, and you’ll cash it all in for something uninspired. Rather than feeling bigger every day, you will shrink until you’re almost invisible to the world around you. You will feel inconsequential and even tragic—and you’re right, it’s a shame. Because the only thing that’s holding you back is fear.
The good news is that it’s never too late to enact your true self. You may have surrendered certain inspired paths through life, but there are many more so that’s okay. But absolutely none of those are available to you if you’re constantly trying to calculate the right decision. The best decisions aren’t calculated. They are known. And I know you know that feeling. The only question is, will you act on it?
You’ll know which one you chose by how your day feels. Because I can tell you, if you’re making choices for the right reasons, life feels fantastic on a routine basis. So don’t surrender. Don’t settle. Don’t talk yourself out of your own life and into someone else’s. Because you have nothing to gain by doing that, and you have so much to lose. The choice is always yours.
peace and love, s
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.