[Initially published on The Intrepide, January 2016]
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Something piqued my interest.
As I scrolled through my Facebook feed, my eyes were drawn to a video. The two-minute clip features a celebrity outlining how to eat a KitKat bar in six steps.
At the end of the video, an ad for a downloadable app was embedded. The app boasts “exclusive content” which features an inside-look into the celebrity’s life.
(Yes, I’m aware other celebrities have their own app.)
I’m aware that there are people who genuinely enjoy following the lives of celebrities. It’s very easy to get caught up in the seemingly glamorous Hollywood lifestyles, or other people’s lives, for that matter. Social media allows us to over-elevate our accomplishments and/or possessions, down to our lunch for the day, as well as that of others. Given this, we are drawn to the lives of other people just as they are to our own lives. Don’t get me wrong- being happy for other people’s achievements, or following their “interesting” lives is not necessarily a bad thing. However, if keeping up with these celebrities or other successful individuals causes us to be complacent with mediocrity in our lives, then that is a problem.
What do you mean by “being complacent with mediocrity”?
In keeping up with these individuals who lead “successful”, interesting lives, we fall behind in allowing ourselves to pursue greatness or to simply improve ourselves. Just think – a minute spent watching how to eat chocolate in six steps could be invested in something simple but worthwhile, such as stepping outside to breathe in fresh air; browsing through different fitness classes and resolving to follow through with it, or, in contrast to the chocolate video, make a healthy shake or snack. The list of things we can do to improve ourselves is endless, but we must take initiative and identify what we need to do in our lives.
“Write your story.”
For the past three years, I played the lead character in an original musical called Right Here, Write Now!. The show revolves around a group of friends about to graduate university, recalling different turning points in their lives that shaped them to be the person they are at that moment. My character, however, seemed to have no story to tell; that, after all these years, her life had been nothing but a mundane list of routines. Playing this part, and being guilty of this in real life, it is common to compare our lives to other people. We often look down on ourselves because those around us are accomplishing great things, while we may not. We often attribute success with meaningful lives. I am particularly guilty of this. What I learned from my character, however, is that more often than not, success and fame are not the vehicles to happy, purposeful lives: it is merely finding what motivates us to live a life worth living; something we need to look for within ourselves. Only then can we write “a story worth telling.”
So, no more watching videos of other successful people?
No, watch less videos of other successful people doing insignificant things (such as eating chocolate), but invest your time and energy into seeking resources that provide suggestions as to how you, too, can reach your goals. While not all suggestions are right and/or applicable to you for various reasons (age, situation, etc.), reading tips may help you discover your own personal mantra to live by. Use successful individuals as inspirations – “if they can be a (insert adjective attributed to success, here), why can’t I?”.
Know that deep down, we are inherently meant for greatness.
Keep up with that purpose; keep up with yourself.