First published as a guest blog for www.realheidi.com on 13/03/2017
Life can be exhausting.
At a very young age, we transition almost overnight from a world of make believe, fantasy and imagination to one where we are conditioned to join the drive to success, where we take ourselves and our lives seriously and finally, where we begin to blend into everything and everyone around us.
Suddenly we find ourselves having to make decisions about whether the sport we love to play has to go … so that we have enough time to study. We have to make decisions about what subjects we are going to take … to make sure that we can access the ‘right’ career options when we leave school. We have to make decisions about what we are going to be when we grow up.
In fact, we’re so conditioned by our family, friends, school and community that we become robots, responding on auto-pilot to life as it happens around us. We’ve been so successfully moulded into the ‘right’ shape that our decisions are more about keeping everyone around us happy than they are about making sure we do things that are right for us.
We’re connected to everyone around us, yet we’ve never been more alone. Most of us learn from watching the world … but that’s now viewed through the lens of a computer, tablet or smartphone.
As human beings, we’re built to experience the world we live in, but now information comes to us from all angles, and constantly, without any down-time. We live in sensory overload. We observe the world around us but we haven’t been taught to overlay what we see with a reality filter that standardises the information.
We use the information we receive as representative of a standard that we need to meet, or exceed. But here’s the thing: for the most part, what we ‘see’ are the best pieces of everyone else’s lives. We see the promotion, the announcement, the celebration, the adventure.
When we make this the ‘gold standard’ of life, and then compare our life against that benchmark, we naturally find ourselves lacking.
We’re connected 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. So, we find ourselves in a pressure cooker that builds in every corner of our lives. The relentless pressure erodes away our self-confidence, and without self-confidence our self-compassion becomes non-existent. It feels like our heads are constantly spinning in our drive to success … but we actually have no idea what success looks like.
Before we know it, we find ourselves in a desperate, secret struggle to seek salvation from our own lives, whilst at the same time being resigned to the fact that our lives will most likely be this way forever.
Why do we live like this?
Because we’ve been shaped and moulded to accept this ‘lesson’: that life can only be lived in one way.
We’ve been taught that to get ahead in life, stress and exhaustion are normal; in fact, they’re required. The stark truth is that stress and exhaustion are a direct result of adding more and more ‘stuff’ into our lives in an effort to find the pathway to success. It’s almost like we believe that if we keep putting things on our plate – and simply adjust to the ‘new normal’ – that eventually one of those added things will deliver us the break we need. We’ll have found that elusive ‘golden nugget’.
We lurch from mini-break to holiday to mini-break … and thanks to technology, we’re most likely to be continuing to work while we’re ‘away’. We accept as normal that if we can just make it to the next break then everything will be OK.
In the deep dark corners of our mind, we know that we need to do something differently. But we can’t face the thought that we might make some changes, and still be desperately unhappy. We spend a lot of time convincing ourselves that we’ve invested too much and that we’re ‘… too far down the path to turn back now …’.
I know this because I lived this life … to the extreme.
In fact, I perfected living this way … until I was forced to stop through experiencing cancer and a breakdown. Yes, I learned the hard way, but what I’ve learned is this: there is a very different way to live – a way that will accelerate your life and your path to success.
Through my recovery, I learned that we’ve been brainwashed to believe that our lives must be complex and stressful. I want everyone to know that we’ve been conditioned to believe that change is hard. Nothing could be further from the truth. The long-held belief that we have to wait for a traumatic event in our lives before we can change … is just pure hogwash!
People hear my story and they tell me how courageous and strong I am, but my journey has taught me that courage and strength are things that only need to be brought out once in a while. What I know now is that our everyday lives don’t have to be hard. Our normal lives can be just as full of relaxation and adventure as our holidays.
All you need to do is to learn to ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – and that’s no harder than learning to ask yourself a couple of questions and answer them honestly.
The great thing is that you get to choose how you live. You can continue to be completely overwhelmed and have no idea how to get to where you want to go. Or, you can find a new pathway by finding the people who will teach you a new way.
The choice is yours … but I want you to know that there will never be a better time than right now to adopt a few simple steps that will empower you to live your life.
Want more info? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.
Want to chat? Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!
Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert, Professional Speaker and the author of Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.