Monday, July 28, 2008 8:41 PM
This post is part of a series called Ignite Your Life. For background info on the series, please refer to previous posts on introducing the series and The 5 R's.
Albert Einstein called reality a very persistent illusion. That’s a pretty deep statement to make, and one that I won’t dive into in this blog post. But when we consider it relationally, who we are and what we present to people is definitely an illusion. Nobody knows our inner thoughts, nobody knows what the drivers are of our life. What we offer to people is an illusion: We determine what they see and how they perceive us (or at least we try to alter that to our favor as much as possible).
We also subconsciously (or consciously) present ourselves with an illusion of who we are and what we can become. The limits we put on ourselves are entirely based on the illusion we allow ourselves to own.
I play Dungeons and Dragons with a couple of different groups. Playing a role-playing game is interesting because it allows people a chance to create a character different from themselves. We’re going to pretend for a second that you are part of a D&D game that I’m running. You are going to be one of the heroes of the adventure, and I want you to write down some things:
Some background (be creative)
Physical Appearance (hair, eyes, build, skin tone)
Abilities and Talents
Got your character done? Good. In D&D your character is your illusion. It’s the way that you see yourself if you were in this fantastic adventure in some far away land. Look at the things you wrote down about physical appearance, abilities, talents, and (if you added it) your background information. Why did you pick those things? What made you envision your “hero” to hold those traits? Do you think that you could ever achieve those things for yourself in real life?
“Well of COURSE not D’Arcy, magic isn’t real!”
Ok, point taken. Remember what Einstein said, that reality is an illusion. If reality is an illusion, that means that we have the power to mold ourselves…our character…into anything we want to. We hold that power. So let’s use the D&D example, but change it. Consider my character below:
D’Arcy is a world renowned expert in Silverlight and BizTalk and travels the world helping companies with their SOA implementations. In addition he is an accomplished speaker and has done talks at Tech Ed and various code camps.
Physical Appearance: Size 38 pants, muscular physique.
Abilities and Talents: TS: Biz Talk, TS: Silverlight, MCPD-Web
None of that is true (I’m a 42” at the waist). But let me tell you something, it sure does sound good doesn’t it! Here’s the thing: the difference between our fantasy D&D characters and the one I just explained is that the latter IS POSSIBLE. I’m free to select an illusion for my life…to declare it…to intend it…to CHOOSE it! Then once I’ve nailed it down, I just need to do what it takes to succeed in making that illusion a reality.
If you want to ignite your life, you don’t need to roll dice and hang out with friends in a basement somewhere playing “what if”. That’s fine for slaughtering goblins and warlocks, but if you want to live out a heroic life in the real world…friend, know that you can CHOOSE IT!. Select an illusion that’s empowering and focus on it until you become it.
In closing, a word of warning: If you don’t select an illusion of your own, rest assured someone will choose one for you. Someone will tell you what you are and aren’t good at, what you can and can’t do, and what your limitations are…and many of us already have believed what we’ve been told.
I used to work at a restaurant in the kitchen, but I really wanted to be a server…I knew I could be a great server. The manager heard about this and pulled me into his office. He told me that he thought I’d be a great busser, but didn’t see me as server material. I applied at a restaurant across the street for a waiter position. I met with a manager and was turned down (not enough experience). Through a brother of a friend of my wife’s, I got a second interview with a different manager. That manager was sick that day, so I ended up interviewing with the manager from my first interview. “Didn’t I interview you already?” He said I got an A for effort.
I got a call back for a second interview for the waiter job. I got the call a few days later saying I had landed it. A few months later, I was promoted to certified trainer.
If I had listened to that first manager, I’d have just bussed tables or stayed in the kitchen. Instead, I focused on what it was I wanted to become and I went out and took it! You can do that in your life as well. Choose your own illusion, don’t let others dictate it.
Next up: Discover Your Inner Power.