April 18, 2013

Transitioning From Fitting in to Standing Out


That Moment When You Realize You’re Not Who You Thought You Were

“It's that instant where everything that has been out of focus suddenly becomes clear; the moment when you realize that all the things you thought you couldn't change are indeed different; the day you look around and your surroundings are new--the same people, places and things aren't there anymore; the moment when you can tell that you're just not the "you" that you thought you were.” -PLPT

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As much as we like fancy titles and credentials, a meaningful life can't be captured on paper.

It takes a very personal and intimate discovery of self to make life truly fulfilling. This can't be taught in a classroom. For most of us it takes some missteps and disappointments to realize that it takes creativity to figure out what path we should take. No one can dictate what will work for you. We’re told that college is the answer, then graduate school, then marriage, then children, then a safe & secure retirement. La dee da. This is the good life that was ingrained in me and seemed so attractive when I was growing up. Then I grew up and realized that things don’t always happen in that order and that I would have to find my own yellow brick road.

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Do you think of yourself as a creative person? An artist, even? Well, you should. Your life is your art. How you interact with people, how you solve problems, how you express yourself - all of these things are products of your creativity.

Do you think of yourself as adventurous? Well, you are. Your life is your adventure. The places you go, the u-turns you make, the experiences that you seek out – all of these things are part of your adventure.

If you have a habit of telling yourself that you are not a creative person -- you are selling yourself short. This limiting thought can hinder your whole...well, everything. For me, it was a defense mechanism. I didn't feel like I had anything particularly unique to add to the world, so I told myself in a most repetitive, self-defeating fashion that I was not creative.

Sometimes the harsh realities of our lives hit us so hard that we stop using our imaginations.

But didn't we all start off as curious children who were often more in touch with imagination than reality? We didn't understand all of the complexities going on around us, so we created our own stories. Enter adulthood, and we keep telling ourselves stories but they become more and more negative and limited -- “I’m not creative. I’m not a go-getter. I make bad decisions, so I can’t trust my instincts. It’s too late for me to try something new.”

We stop taking chances because we’re afraid to fall down, afraid to be rejected, afraid to be vulnerable and do things differently. Afraid to make our own rules. Afraid to create our own pot to piss in. Afraid to create something meaningful and authentic. Afraid, afraid, smothered and afraid.

Inevitably, that moment will come when you start to question those limitations. You’ll start craving those things that you once loved -- those things that set your imagination free when you were growing up. The things you’ve been too stifled to express.

My favorite Drake lyric ever is, “…Don’t ever forget the moment you began to doubt/Transitioning from fitting in to standing out…”

This moment marks the birth of your intentional, soulful life that others may not understand, but finally makes perfectly imperfect sense to you. Yay!

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