The Y.O.L.O. Effect…

images  Forgive me for overworking the YOLO cliché, but I’ve got something to say that I know will help you live a little better.  If you think about how many times people use that cliché and it’s context, you’ll find something very interesting.  Almost every time we say it, we are making some reference to getting rid of our fear of doing something with a complimentary urge to “do it” right now.  We are saying that life is too short to not do the things you really want to do.  So, as you can imagine, that got me thinking

How much time do you spend doing things you really don’t want to do?  Or, how many things do you do because you think they are what others expect you to do?  Or, stated in the positive, do you spend most of your time doing the things you enjoy doing; have passion about and want to do?  And of course closely related to those questions, why are you doing the things you are doing?

As I’ve said a hundred times prior, this ol’ world funnels us into well-worn grooves of expectations!  The subtle and not so subtle message is to get in line; shut your mouth and don’t buck the system.  Do acceptable work; make acceptable comments; have acceptable opinions (not your own opinions, but the popular ones) and for goodness sakes, don’t start questioning things.  If a thing doesn’t make sense to you, it’s not because it doesn’t make sense, but rather because you don’t understand it – so again, close your mouth and get in agreement (now!).  The problem with that “go-along to get-along” mindset is that you no longer get to be “you” in the process.  Now on the surface, you may not think this applies to you, so I ask you, give it a little more thought.

People are employed in a line of work they hate, for decades.  Folks are suppressed in unhealthy relationships or subjecting themselves to unhealthy family members for a lifetime.  We laugh when it’s not funny.  We say the food tastes good when it doesn’t.  We nod in agreement to insane political ideas when those views couldn’t be further from our own.  We don’t play the music we like when others are around.  We get college degrees in subjects we cannot stand.  We tip waiters for poor service.  We devote time to reading books we don’t enjoy.  We trudge ourselves to tired church services and participate in nonsensical observances and even pray to a God we are grossly unfamiliar with!  Why?  Because we are afraid, that’s why!  Fear, often confused with terror, is a subtle beast.  We can all recognize the fright we feel when we see a tiger, but do we acknowledge the slipperier version that causes us to do all of the above?   Why would a man work in a job he loathed for twenty years?  He’s afraid that he can’t do anything else?  He’s afraid what his family would say if he quit?  He’s afraid what society might say if he stepped out of line!  Why do folks put up with family members that are toxic and discourage their growth?  Because they are afraid what everyone would think if they stopped coming around.  Fear.  (disclaimer – this does not refer to my family- 🙂 )  We agree, we cajole, we acquiesce, we agree because we’re so friendly?  Probably not when you get right down to it.  Fear drives a multitude of things we feel obligated to do.  Then there is obligation’s close companion – guilt.  Guilt is just another form of fear manifesting itself as something you need to do because of something you didn’t do; should have done; or to avoid something because of what you did do (or perceive you might have done)!  Fear…

I’m certainly not advocating morphing into a self-centered douche, parading around town looking out for number one only!  I’m suggesting rather that you take the time to consider why you do the things you do.  There really are only two great motives in life – love and fear.  Love works no ill to its neighbor (or to you either for that matter)  Fear starts bad, proceeds bad, and ends bad.  Working out of fear leads to misery.  Working out of love fans the flames of passion.  Saying how you feel out of love leads to understanding and agreement and resolution.  Saying how you feel out of fear leads to arguments and conflict.  Doing things for other people out of love is the very heart of service.  Doing things for people out of fear leads to slavery and bondage and all kinds of mistreatment.

So the simple acid test is to ask yourself why you are doing the thing that you are doing.  Do you want to do it?  If you had a million bucks would you do it?  I’m sure we all have the fantasy of all the wonderful things we would do if we just became rich enough to do it.  And the reason we cannot do it now?  Fear…  And while you are asking yourself these things in the solemn privacy of your mind, take solace in the truth that you can change anything you want to change.  Sure folks will deride you and chastise you and demand you get back to being who you are supposed to be!  But what you owe yourself is to be the “you” you really want to be!  Don’t you think?  People live frustrated, defeated, unsatisfied lives because they spend their precious lives living as someone else. Don’t let that be you, my friend.

Cliche’ alert – At the end of the day, we all have only one life to live and we all only live once (on earth anyway).  Start today by asking yourself why and then get busy modifying and changing what needs to change.  You oughta be able to be “you,” doing “you” in the ways that make “you” the most happy!  YOLO my friends, YOLO!

Just some good thoughts…


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