Let’s get honest, because candor is a trait I really respect and admire. We could probably do with some more “real talk” in life, right? I’m about to share something important with you. Skip ahead to the end of the blog post if you’d like the specific “action item”.
The more I am myself, the happier I become. Even if it requires some painfully uncomfortable moments. Lately, I’ve gotten stubborn as hell, dug my heels in, and began to swim upstream, against popular opinion. To me, it’s better to stand up for something you truly believe in, and be honest to a fault, than to be a sheep. I get it – we all want to belong. And sometimes we unconsciously believe that belonging requires agreeing with others, even if it’s not what we believe.
Well I’ve done that for long enough. It didn’t really get me anywhere, at least not anywhere I actually wanted to be. It got me stuck in a job I don’t enjoy, where I don’t feel my purpose is being fulfilled and my gifts are going unused. For a long time, I chose the easy option, which was to be a chameleon and literally blend in, nodding and smiling with the notions put out into the world by whomever I encountered, particularly those who were my superior in jobs. But on the level of humanity, we’re all the same. No one is better than another. And if we believe they are, it’s only because we make it so. For example, if I believe that someone who holds an executive position, or has a doctoral degree, or drives around in a Range Rover is somehow better than me, that’s how I’m going to act around them. But you see, I don’t subscribe to that belief anymore. I have taken those materially “successful” people down off the pedestal where I put them. Feeling inferior is my deal; that’s on me and no one else.
We all have assets. My assets are not necessarily any different or better or worse than yours. Everyone has strengths. Successful people acknowledge, list, and imprint their assets on their minds and hearts. They know that those assets are their tickets to success. They’re what they pull out when it’s time to move past resistance and dynamite through the obstacles in the way of their goals. They don’t reinvent the wheel. They know what their strengths are, and perhaps more importantly, what they are not. Instead of having a pity party for all their weaknesses, they say, “well I may not be the most organized person ever, but I have kickass resolve and thrive under pressure.” They shore up support from their beliefs about themselves.
These beliefs are not always inherent. Sometimes, it takes a great deal of effort to recognize the strengths that will carry us to success and allow us to dream bigger than we’ve ever allowed ourselves. We can blame parents, or the school system we went through, or media, or the government. But ultimately, we are responsible for exercising the muscles of our thought patterns. If you’ve heard of muscle memory, then you know that when we start doing pushups, they become easier over time, even if we take a long break from doing them. The neural pathways function similarly. When we have a thought response that persists over and over again, it can become almost Pavlovian. We have to be aware of destructive thoughts, and replace them with another thought, over and over and over until that placeholder becomes permanent…the new normal.
Meditation can help shed light on what exactly we’re thinking, and how this can be potentially damaging. Our thoughts might be the gremlins that are holding us back, and limiting our imagination and its ability to dream up and manifest our best life. When we learn to control them, they can be the stepping stones to a life better than our dreams.
I will crack this code, mark my words. There is no Earth-rule saying that in order to live on this planet, you have to be limited to a life you don’t enjoy. Everyone is worthy of EXTRAORDINARY.
There you have it. Sit down with a pen and a piece of paper, and write down your strengths. You may want to meditate on your breath in a sacred space to clear the clutter in your mind. You might also find it helpful to ask someone who knows you well, “what do you think are some of my strengths?” Reflect on their response, or whatever you wrote down. Be honest with yourself. Are there ways you’re acting that are actually opposing your beliefs and limiting what you’re capable of? If after reading your list of strengths you feel like you aren’t using them, make it a point to pick one and capitalize on it. Maybe a strength of yours is chatting people up, even if you don’t know them. So go out of your way in line at the coffee shop or grocery store to genuinely compliment someone and spark up a conversation. Maybe you have an artistic talent that has taken a backseat to the reality of the “steady paycheck”. Pull those strengths off the back burner and cook up something different, that actually uses your creative marrow. You might find that this recharges you, and powers other aspects of your life.