What if? What if we all invested the time in ourselves that we invest in television, technology, gossip, judging – you name it?
People's capacity for self-avoidance is staggering. As humans, we'll dump limitless time and energy into a lot of things, but we'll rarely pay attention to our own development and growth. We've talked a lot about how the best investment you can make is in yourself. People who know and accept themselves, it's said, make wiser choices, are more confident and live generally happier lives.
So why the self-avoidance? Because investing in yourself is also life's greatest challenge.
Oftentimes, we fear self-knowledge because we're scared of what we might find. Old tapes – of not being good enough, of screwing up, of that one big mistake – eclipse all the good. So we stop paying much attention to ourselves, start going through the motions of life and forget who we are.
Over the weekend we were catching up on all of the press surrounding Jason Collins coming out as gay (I know, we're so far behind). When asked "why now" in terms of his timing, he said that he first had to accept himself. Great point. If you can't accept yourself, how can you envision anything but rejection from others? In one interview he talked about how the NBA lockout of 2011 forced him to look at what his life was becoming. He didn't like what he saw.
Pondering the question – What am I becoming? – can be a powerful catalyst for change.
While we often don't know if we're on track, we always know when we're not on track. Asking that question of yourself is a quick way to determine where you stand with yourself.
If you don't like what you're becoming, it's time for action.
A good starting point in navigating this kind of self discovery is to keep track of what energizes you throughout your day. What things do you do that make you feel vibrant and alive? What do you engage in that, after all is said and done, makes you feel depleted? What might you be filling time with in an effort to avoid cultivating the real you?
Most people are surprised to find just how much time they spend wrapped up in things that are soul killing.
So it's an easy first step: Keep track of what goes on in a typical day / week / month and figure out how to do less of what depletes you and more of what energizes you.
You may find that you're spending too much time with a negative person. Give him/her the chop.
You may find that you're wasting too much time on avoidance activities (social media?). Cut back.
You may find that you're craving more time with a friend who inspires you to think big. Make it happen.
Through this, you'll find that you'll know yourself better and you'll start to view things around you differently. You'll stop living the dream of the planet and start living your own. You'll stop listening to those old tapes and start having a point of view.
What are you becoming?
What are you going to do about it?