James tells us in the scriptures:
If you’re not even around when people discuss your legacy, then what’s all the fuss about?
Rubin’s book about being happier at home clarifies a crucial distinction between two personalities. Both have different answers to the following question.
Kidman, in her stellar performance in the award winning racing movie, makes the following speech to her driver and then husband.
Our feelings are not right or wrong, good or evil, positive or negative, legal or illegal.
They simply are.
There is need to rank and judge them, or even beat ourselves up for having them. Just because a rush of furious anger, unexpected morbidity or unexplainable joy runs through our veins, doesn’t mean the feelings police are going to bang down the door drag us to the station.
And let’s not pretend those feelings aren’t there, either. When we deny that we feel something, it blocks our ability to deal with and move through that something.
On the other hand, when we notice and name our feelings, try to see them more clearly, and if possible, understand why they might be part of our current reality, then we can develop a very real sense of emotional efficacy.
Besides, it’s not like there has ever been a feeling that didn’t eventually go away. Emotions are weather patterns. Why not improve our meteorology skills in the meantime?
The important word here is reality. Let’s go back to that for a moment.
Somov writes in his inspiring book about perfectionism:
Reality is ever renewing, progressing from one state of completion to another, with or without us. Like a wheel, keeps turning, renewing itself in its entirety with every spin. And the best part is, we are not responsible for reality, reality is responsible for itself.
Isn’t that liberating? How wonderfully comforting to know that whatever feeling we are feeling, that particular slice of reality is beyond improvement. Thank god.
Reminds ME of a super helpful question to ask ourselves whenever that emotional rush comes in. What does this feeling want from me?
Let’s start living that question today, we might live our way into the answer tomorrow.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are your feelings being judged and condemned, or experienced and expressed?
Every television network has a department of standards and practices.
They’re responsible for the moral, ethical and legal implications of any program that the network airs. They’re the people who send out tens of thousands of hilarious puritanical memos like this.
Presenters please avoid exposing bare fleshy under curves of the buttocks and buttock crack. Bare sides or under curvature of the breasts is also problematic.
This makes total sense from an advertising standpoint. The museum of broadcast communications writes that since the thirties, networks have needed to protect their public image as responsible institutions that offer sources of reliable information and satisfying entertainment for the entire family.
They are the guardians of taste and decency. No buttock cracks allowed.
But human beings are not corporations. We have no choice but to be our own department of standards and practices. It can’t be outsourced or automated. The onus is on us to maintain our own sense of efficacy.
Especially during our most stressful times.
We certainly ask for help and solicit feedback from those we trust most, but at the end of the day, only we can make that call.
Weiss writes in his enlightening book about thriving that true resilience doesn’t require the validation of others. It means you are capable when necessary of working independently and listening only to your own judgment, without needing to validate against anyone else’s expectations, and without needing the support or input of others to sustain themselves.
In short, you are your own departments of standards and practices.
It’s a much freer and more satisfying way to live. Making decisions by committee might work for billion dollar institutions, but for actual people, there’s only one signature we need to keep moving our story forward.
Remember, there is always plenty of time to listen to your own voice.
If you want to show your butt crack on camera, then you go ahead and do it.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What action could you take that would be a signal to your own spirit that your life is being lived well?
All of us have obsolete things in our lives.
Maybe a dream that once brought us joy, but now has fulfilled its purpose.
Maybe an item that we made a special effort to acquire, but we no longer use.
Maybe a career we wanted when we were different people with different needs, but no longer applies.
Or maybe a relationship that was meaningful at a previous life stage, but has now outlived its usefulness.
There’s no shame in any of these things. People evolve. Preferences change. Life spirals on.
Where we get in trouble with ourselves is when we refuse to let go. When we waste an inordinate amount of time thinking about what no longer is. And when we’re unwilling to cut new channels in the terrain of self, uprooting strands that no longer serve us.
We can’t help but suffer in these moments. And unless we let the past die, we will never become what we were meant to be.
My coach used to challenge me on this. He would often ask:
Do you want a life of obligation, or a life of desire?
Not an easy question to answer. Because if we want to choose the latter, we have to yank ourselves out of the ever tightening noose of consistency.
And it’s sad and scary to part with these obsolete things.
It’s like throwing away old clothes from our closet. We know we haven’t worn that ridiculous red shirt in four years, but it just feels so comforting and nostalgic to have it hanging there.
Yet another sign that letting go might be in order.
People evolve. Preferences change. Life spirals on.
To grow, each of us must be willing to shed or undo elements of ourselves that no longer have a future.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What obsolete things are trapping you?
Sanders, the hall of fame running back, spent ten years playing pro football.
He earned dozens of rushing and touchdown records.
But at the ripe age of thirty, taking time to sort through his feelings and make sure that they were backed with conviction, the fastest guy in the league decided to walk away.
He took one good look in the mirror and said, it’s time for me to go.
In his farewell speech he spelled it out beautifully:
It was a wonderful experience to play in the league, and I have no regrets. I consider the players, coaches, staff, management and fans my family. I leave on good terms with everyone in the organization. But my desire to exit the game is greater than my desire to remain in it. I have searched my heart through and through and feel comfortable with this decision.
Naturally, broadcasters, critics and fans wondered about what he could have done as a player if he spent the next ten years of his career with a lot of talent around him. Barry might have been greatest of all time, they predicted.
But the guy didn’t care. People’s expectations were their problem.
He was done. Going out on top. Leaving in a blaze of glory.
His story is an inspiring reminder that if our heart is not in something anymore, it’s okay to leave. If we can achieve greater fulfillment by moving onto something else, it’s okay to walk away.
It’s not quitting, settling, giving up, wimping out, cashing in, or whatever other disapproving word our macho culture uses to demonize the pathetic losers who quit.
This is about evolving. Moving forward. Outgrowing our origins. Living lager than our labels. Choosing to live a new story.
There could not possibly be less shame in something like that.
Adams, the most widely syndicated cartoonist in history, wrote that the most important skill in success is knowing how and when to switch to a game with better odds for you.
If your desire to exit has finally become greater than your desire to stay in the game, if the hunger has been flushed out of your system, peace the fuck out.
Let go and explore other avenues of life.
You’re not quitting, you’re allowing to find it where it lives for you.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What game might have better odds for you?
As long as anyone believes that his ideal and purpose is outside him, that it is above the clouds, in the past or in the future, he will go outside himself and seek fulfillment where it cannot be found. He will look for solutions and answers at every point except where they can be found, in himself.
Proving, that meaning is made and not found. Joy is our responsibility, nobody is going to give it to us. We are the source of it, it’s not something that’s out there for us to acquire.
Ask yourself this. How do you approach mundane and meaningless work? Do you avoid it completely, do it begrudgingly, or layer joy on top intentionally?
Motivation assessments suggest that people who approach it from the latter have a strong platform of emotional autonomy from which to develop their leadership capacity. Guided by their own set of rules and not affected by external forces, their internal local of control becomes the emotional anchorage that helps them remain firm, stable and focused in adverse or empty situations.
The good news is, this doesn’t require labor, merely bravery.
Joy, according the existentialists, is the emotional expression of the courageous yes to one’s own true being. It is the affirmation of that essential being in spite of desires and anxieties creates it.
Which means we can always do things that remind us who we are, that make us feel like ourselves, no matter what situation we are in. We can always take agency when doing uninteresting work and produce our own motivation. And all the tensions and worries that stop us noticing how sweet the world can be float away.
Barnum, the greatest showman and founder of the circus was once asked by a journalist, does it bother you that everything you’re selling is fake? To which he replied:
Do these smiles seem fake? It doesn’t matter where they come from. The joy is real.
We all do what we have to do to survive.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Do you give yourself permission to immerse in personal pleasures and private interests whenever you like?