We are intelligent, but easily fooled. We oscillate between fastidious participation in fads, and ironic disengagement from them. We are seduced by words like protein, paleo and Cross-Fit. We find these compulsions sexy, and therefore, worth our time / financial investment. Without thinking, we become tantalized by messaging. In falsely presuming that the advertised ingredient will better our lives, we succumb to consumerist urges- buying not one but two of the thing believed to transform our otherwise humdrum day-to-days.

While there is significant appeal in such teasers, the thing-in and of itself-is unlikely to wield any grand transformation of self. Just as purchasing a gym membership doesn’t guarantee a better bod, buying nice things doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll look or feel any better than you did before. In fact, I’d wager a guess that you’ve never felt sexier than when you changed straight into sweatpants, after a day spent solely in skinny jeans. My point is that things aren’t always as they seem, so pay attention to the nuances. Some will be carefully disguised, but with proper investigation, the subtleties will become easier to distinguish.

The person you are on paper should sound good. After all, when you’ve run low on books, your life’s story is one you should feel compelled to read. But who you are on paper-the boxes you check, the qualifications you list- will only ever be so impressive. The people who know you best will always be capable of deciphering the myth behind each bullet point on your resume. Make it a point to transform your life’s nouns into verbs. Only through the manifestation of doing and acting will your life take on any real meaning.

Think about things, long and hard, but then act upon those things. Don’t be afraid that you are anywhere other than where you’re supposed to be. On the whole, we are a friendly bunch (I believe this), but we tend to be strangely competitive against one another. Many would argue that competition is healthy- it keeps us on our toes. I get that. But I also find that the more concerned we are with comparisons, the more likely we are to render ourselves (or others) inadequate.

The more focus paid to others around us, the less likely we are to observe our own growth. So fixated we are on the uncontrollable, we feel disempowered when things do not go our way. This creates an unwelcome cycle of envy and distrust. Rather than obsess over perceived inequities, best we opt for being grateful.

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