Sunday, August 17, 2008 11:50 AM
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 (where you can find links to the other posts in this series).
There is a huge difference between living and surviving. Many of us are in the latter group: we accept the things dealt to us in our lives and try to make the best of the situation we're given. All of us, especially in the comfortable developed world of 2008, have the option of accepting what we're given and simply moving on.
But is that the life you really want? Is that really the extent that you want your time on this Earth to be known for: A nice person who paid their taxes and didn't cause trouble and eventually died without really achieving any of their "Wouldn't it be nice if..." dreams?
Igniting your life means just that: Igniting it! Too many people have bought into the lie that they can't achieve the heights and accomplishments of others. They believe that one needs to be bestowed with talent, wealth, and/or fortune to make a difference in our world. Even worse, others think that you need permission or acceptance from others before achieving a level of personal achievement. It's bullshit. All of us, regardless of race, location, physical attributes, or intellectual ability, are capable of living a life full of purpose, meaning, excitement, value, and privilege.
So what are some things you need to be aware of when choosing a life less ordinary.
You will piss someone off.
Maybe that person is someone who sees you as a threat. Maybe that person is someone who is envious that you're taking control of your life while they sit on the sidelines wishing they had the courage to do the same. Regardless, those that actively make a change in their lives will upset someone along the way. So be aware and stand tall.
Your energy is your most precious commodity.
For a week, track what you do. Everything. Now, once you do that, assess those activities. Which one's were truly beneficial? Which ones were simply a drain? Were there too many? Too few? Some say that time is your most precious commodity, but I'd argue that your energy and where you spend it is even more important. The reality is that there are some in our lives that drain us emotionally, physically, mentally. These people are like energy vampires: they do nothing to try and better themselves, but look to others to leach energy and support from. I'm not saying that you shouldn't be there to help a friend in need, or strike off all charity from your schedule. What I am saying is be smart about where you spend your energy and recognize where you're helping instead of just enabling.
Shit happens...accept it and find a way to get over it.
Life is about overcoming challenges. It's as simple as that. And unfortunately, those challenges don't always come to us in fun game-like ways. Sometimes they come in the form of sickness, loss, tragedy, betrayal, etc. Choosing a life less ordinary means that you approach these things in a non-ordinary way. You need to not ask the question "why me" but instead approach agony in your life with a "what now" attitude.
You are the star of your life, don't let someone else write your script.
Throughout your life you will receive praise and critique, embrace friends and confront adversaries, be courted by some and reviled by others, loved and hated. No matter what happens, stick to your game plan. Nothing should change what you hold as your values and principles, NOTHING. The second you let someone else dictate what you believe, what you think of yourself, what your illusion is, you've given up power to an external player who may not have your best interest in mind. This is your life, this is your time: live it the way you want to, not dictated by what others think your life is/should be.
You may be looking at these items and thinking "Well...those don't seem like anything truly mind blowing." You're right, they aren't. And yet so many willingly choose to survive through their ordinary lives instead of embracing what could be a life that they only envision in their dreams. Which will you choose?