Today I’m talking about how it’s time for us all to get out of the parking lot and get on with our lives. I was reading Chris Brogan’s newsletter earlier this week, which had the very odd title of “How to Crush a Rebellion”. The gist of the article was that the way rebellions are crushed is to lure the rebels into a false sense of security by making them think you’ve surrendered, so that the fire within them dies down, and then quietly and gently destroying their will to continue so that they don’t even notice that they are the ones who are, in fact, being defeated.
Basically, Brogan’s view is that you destroy a rebellion by making the rebels think they’ve won and then making them so damned comfortable where they are that it’s much more palatable to accept excuses for why things have to stay that way than it is to continue the fight.
It was an interesting metaphor and I was particularly interested in this one in light of the podcast episode I did a couple of weeks ago about not playing small in your life (episode #1421 Go Big or Go Home). In that episode I talked about why it’s so important that you stop holding yourself back because your greatest gift to the world is to become all that you are capable of becoming. I also talked about how amazing this world could be if we all let ourselves shine as brightly as we can.
The perils of the parking lot
It’s not rocket science. I think that, at some level, we all instinctively understand this concept; we know that the best way to create the kind of life that we most want is to get out there and live it, and that the best way to create the kind of world that we most want is to contribute our best to it, and I think that we all get that the combination of these two ideals is where the real magic happens – we are only able to contribute our best when we are living our lives in the best possible way for us – when we are living our lives in accordance with our own highest principles and working towards goals that mean something to us. In short, we are best able to make this world a better place when we are in alignment with our vision and when the work that we do is in service of those we most want to be of service to.
It doesn’t sound like something particularly hard, does it? All we need to do is figure out what our principles are and what we’d most like to be working towards, and then go and do it. And it’s not like you have to be your own boss to accomplish all of this – you can most certainly be working for someone else and still be working from your highest principles towards goals that mean something to you.
So why is it that so many of us are stuck in that rut of dissatisfaction?
It’s because the rebellion has been crushed. You’ve found “good enough” and that’s where you’ve decided to settle. The forces inside your own mind that call you forth towards your highest good have been lulled into complacency and you’re too comfortable where you are to bother moving anymore. You found yourself a parking spot and now it seems like such a risk to get out of the parking lot and continue your journey; what if you can’t find a better spot later on? You’re tired. There’s money issues. The odds are against you. Everyone says you’d be an idiot to give up what you have to take a foolish risk on something else.
You can have results or you can have excuses
These are all convenient excuses. And it’s just so much easier to carry on as is, to bitch about the Establishment and harp about how it should be so much different. And so the status quo is kept and the rebellion fizzles out. And that’s why there are so many unhappy people today, and in my opinion, it’s one of the biggest reasons for the unprecedented rise in mental health issues we’ve been seeing over that last few decades.
So many people have given up on their own principles highest callings and decided to settle for the safe route out of fear. But turning your life into something you’ve settled for never made anyone happy. And spending your life doing something you hate just leads to bitterness, anger and regret… and what kind of a life is that? Do you really want to get to the end of your days and realize that you never even took the chance to do what it was you most wanted to do with your life? So many people drag themselves through their lives, doggedly focused on their next vacation or on that holy grail of “when I retire…” They make retirement the be-all and end-all of their existence. My father died of cancer at 70 years old. He survived only one week from the day he told me it was terminal. For the love of everything you believe in, don’t put off doing the things you want to do in life, and don’t waste your time here doing things that don’t matter to you.
Get out of the parking lot or you’ll start to rust
If you never get out of the parking lot you’re in, you’re just going to rust in place, and you will never know what you could have done. So figure out what your touchstones are, figure out what you most love to do, figure out how your talents and gifts can help the world and figure out where you would most like to use your talents to make that difference. And then make the choice and make the commitment to go out there and do it, because it’s not the big bad Establishment that’s holding you back. It’s not society, or your parents, or your boss. It’s not lack of money, or lack of talent or lack of support. Trying to blame other people or any kind of circumstance for you not going after your dreams – these are just excuses that keep you parked where you are. And until you are prepared to let those excuses go and realize that the only thing holding you back is YOU, then you will never get to where you want to be. YOU are the only one who can get you from where you are to where you want to be.
The rebellion starts with you. It starts with your own thoughts. It starts with doing the vital work of looking deep within you for the answers to your own existence. You know what you want. And what’s more, you know that you can have it. Don’t settle for anything less. Shake off the complacency and false sense of security that has lulled you into a stupor; get out of the parking lot and get back to the journey that is your life. Get out there and live…
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