We live in a society where the media mantra is: “BE ALL YOU CAN BE.” Yes, of course, “You’re not where you need to be yet, but WE know how to get you there.” Listen to the experts, those with credentials, the pundits.” Join the Rat Race. Win at all costs. Be Desirous. Shop and Save; Spend, Spend, Spend, and then show off what You’ve accumulated. Become Famous and Adored. Be AMAZING! BE AWESOME! Take a Smart Pill. Build bigger muscles, no even Bigger! Get a bigger penis! Bigger boobs! Bigger lips! Bigger! Richer! BIGGER! More Cowbell!!
First, let’s get one thing straight. I’m not a guru and don’t profess to have any answers to anything. Heck, I’m still learning how this thing called Life, works and sometimes, not doing such a great job at it! What I share are only perceptions and conclusions based on experience;
a lot of trials and a lot of errors.
Many of us work very hard. We become accomplished, acquire expertise, or earn a college or vocational degree hoping that our lives will change, improve. We live responsibly, do all the right things, follow up and network.
Then, we find that people still don’t return our phone calls or emails. They cancel appointments, show up late, forget, and disappoint. Even though, they are also probably up to their over-scheduled necks, we often think that it’s because we are just not worth it to them. And, in many cases we’re not.
It’s frustrating. How can we get ahead; “be all we can be,” if we don’t even get the chance – can’t even get a foot in the door?
There is a saying in the music business that is all too sadly true.
“When you need them, they don’t need you. When they need you, you don’t need them.”
From my experiences, this is how it that world works, and every other business I’ve been involved. How does this apply to all of us, though? The other day, the answer rang out, clear as a bell.
I met a stranger who lives in the neighborhood who also has a Boston Terrier. While our dogs frolicked as Boston’s love to do, he began telling me his story.
He feels sorry for himself and his situation. Additionally, he will speak badly of himself so that people will comfort him and give him love. Yes, that’s right. It is a form of power snatching.
Now, he has had difficulty, but many have it much worse. Some of you, know that I wasn’t going to attend his Pity Party.
At one point, he said, “I know, I’m an ass.” Without saying anything, he knew I wasn’t buying into this show. I told him that I didn’t care for him talking about himself that way. I said, “Based on what you tell me, you have one of two choices: either you are going to resign from life and wait to
I said, “Based on what you tell me, you have one of two choices: either you are going to resign from life and wait to die, or you are going to choose to find something that gives your life meaning and the will to live?” At that moment, I believed that was the kindest thing I could have said.
He replied, “Wow! No one has ever spoken to me like that! I like that you can be so direct.” You know he’s not the first person who has said this; about being so direct.
The next time I saw him he was beaming and happy to see me. Time will tell what he chooses.
Being honest and direct with sincerity, compassion, and love have always been the qualities I value most in a good friend.
When I left him that first day, I thought about this trait I seem to value so much, and how it has evolved in the recent years.
I think it started in 2005 when I walked away from the music business. I had no longer needed it. It did nothing to make me happy and with our newborn baby, I didn’t want to leave my family for the road.
It’s astonishing how suddenly the phone rang off the hook. Musicians were confused. “How could I?” “NO,” was not accepted for an answer. So, I stopped answering calls and returning messages for a year or two. Eventually, they all got the message and left me alone. Occasionally, I would still get a call, and I would summarily reject the offer.
When you don’t need anything from anyone, you are free.
Of course, we need people. I’m convinced that living alone is not natural. It’s not healthy, and it’s not safe. I need my family. I need friends. I need to earn a living. I have to answer to others.
The difference is; I have set them all free. They don’t owe me anything. I’m not looking for anything or EXPECT anything. Whatever they give, is accepted with gratitude.
How would all of your encounters with others be if you didn’t see them as opportunities to potentially improve your situation? How would your interactions change with everyone and everything in this world?
Something interesting will happen. You will be free. You will feel equal to everyone, no matter how powerful they seemed to you before. There’s no more carrot dangling!
With this attitude, you will have a better chance attracting what you want. You will have a better chance of getting that opportunity; your foot in the door. You may increase sales. You may even get promoted. You will have stopped pushing away everything that you wanted before because you won’t have that desperate look on your face that everyone else saw. You know, the look of: “I don’t believe in myself, so why should you?” Or, “Oh, please help me, sir, I just need a chance!”
So yes, this is a different kind of silence. It’s silencing the fears and the misguided thoughts and beliefs from your past. You may get off the treadmill and realize that it’s not about “being all you can be.” You will see that that just creates an endless loop of unfulfillment. You can spend a lifetime trying to be good enough. It just sets up another rat race to replace the one you’ve been running in.
What will improve your life today is “being who you are right now.” Explore these depths and not some elusive concept that takes you outside of yourself.
Don’t let the media frenetics and this culture’s false values run your life; telling you that you always need to improve, be better, that you are not good enough. You know that commercialism drives the entire lot. Use that MUTE button to better hear your inner voice. Revolution begins with becoming free of the values of obsession, judgement, pettiness, fear and greed.
It won’t happen overnight, but some things will shift right away. Every encounter is an opportunity, not to get ahead, but to become more aware and conscious. It’s a possibility to know someone better, and know yourself better.
Every moment is a chance to live from the core of your truth.