Are you a consumer or a creator?
Which do you do most of the time – consume the world around you, or create it as you go?
Too often too many of us are worsening the quality of our lives by living out a second hand life. We’re consuming the world around us, moving from one byte of information to the next at breakneck speed. It’s as if we all boarded the same speeding bullet train and now we don’t know were we are going or how to get off safely.
Too many of us are being influenced by fear mongering, global violence and unconscious bias. Our social identity as a country, as a community and as individuals is gradually shifting.
We’re overdosing on bad politics, bad food and bad advice from modern day prophets, self-styled gurus and know-it-all experts.
We’re binging on selfies, celebrity wars, Kimye, reality TV, catching Pokémon in the real world (oh the irony) and unproductive Google searches, only to get back to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube to share our primitive opinions and the useless material we’ve gathered.
We’re obsessed with ripped abs, bikini bodies, post-pregnancy bounce backs and what others shouldn’t be wearing. We judge our family, our friends, our peers, complete strangers and ourselves by impossible and unattainable beauty standards because we’ve bought into a billion dollar industry that exists to provoke our insecurities - hook, line and sinker.
And we’re downright possessed when it comes to body shaming, gender shaming, slut shaming and socioeconomic shaming.
It’s like we’re committed to wasting our most precious and limited resource - TIME - hating the world, hating ourselves and secretly (or openly) hating those who are deemed to be winning.
It’s evident in how we treat one another and the person we confront in the mirror.
It’s evident in the way we live above our means, spending money we don’t have on things we can’t afford so we can have more of what we don’t need in houses we can't enjoy because we’re too busy working in jobs we hate to sustain a lifestyle someone else created for us.
It’s exhausting and it's time to get off that train.
The truth is the more you succumb to the above activities, the less control you will have over your life and the less you will enjoy it, and the less you will be proud of who you are.
You and I - we get this one life and neither of us knows when it will be taken from us. We have zero control over how long we get to stay. That is terrifying or freeing, depending on how you frame it. But we do get to control what we make of our lives. We get to take FULL responsibility for the kind of life we want to create and the contribution we want to make.
You and I - we have the ability to make a profound impact on our lives and those around us through the conversations, interactions and experiences and work we create and dedicate ourselves to.
Let that sink in.
Now think about how you can take greater creative control and direction of your life. You might want to grab some paper and a pen and try this brainstorming activity if you want to do some good today.
Imagine you could create the EXACT life you dream about without worrying about satisfying someone else's expectations and society's obligations. What would your life look like? What would it feel like? What would you be doing? What would your mornings, days and nights look like? What would you be eating? How often would you be exercising? Who would you be with? What would you do for fun? Where would you be living? How much money would you really need? What pain and suffering would you let go of? What fears would you let wash over you? Who would you be at the end of each night? How would you make yourself proud? What contributions would you make? Who would you be?
Chances are you've come up with a healthy mix of random and considered ideas. Excellent. Is there anything else you’re tossing around in your mind? Put it down on paper so you don’t have to waste any more time holding onto it.
If you had to pick A PLACE to start, where would it be? Is it your job, relationships, finances, fitness, diet, wellbeing, travel, a hobby, or environment? Or something different entirely?
What would be the first step you would need to take to start? It just needs to be ONE small step forward. Is it updating your resume, or cleaning out your fridge/house/wardrobe/yard, or exploring local short courses, or picking up a travel brochure, or making a list of all your expenses, or telling someone how you feel, or is it turning off all devices for 30-minutes, or doing 5-minutes of exercise, or giving yourself a day off to get all your check ups out of the way, or something else?
Now, imagine you have successfully completed that first step, what would be the next six logical small steps?
Look, you've successfully outlined seven clear, small steps you can take over THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS to move forward in creating a more fulfilling life experience in that area of your life. (That's probably more than you've done in the last seven days, right?)
What would happen if you applied this practice to each area of your life, one goal at a time - would you be consuming the world around you or creating the world you want to live in? Perhaps you can start thinking of it as the difference between existing and thriving. Between what happens to you and what you make happen.
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