We all want to do and be something.
Some of us are fortunate enough to know what that is by the age of 5, and then stick with it. But if you’re anything like me, you may have changed your mind several times over the course of your life.
My journey to finding my purpose was a long one. Although I now know exactly what it is I’m seeking, and I’m well on my way, the journey is definitely not yet done.
What happens next depends on the choices I make.
Making decisions are an important part of this adventure we call life. They help us find our way. While we each have a unique individual purpose, we also all have the same purpose in life — to activate and grow our potential.
How much you grow is based on every single decision you make.
Abraham Maslow was the humanistic psychologist who created the “Hierarchy of Needs” to explain our journey towards self-actualisation.
“What one can be, one must be.” — Abraham Maslow
On this journey of self-discovery, we meet some basic needs around health, safety, belonging and respect. The core intention, however, is always to be “moving forwards”.
In fact, Maslow indicated that the need for growth is as important as the need to breathe. But when our decisions don’t help us satisfy our needs or move us forwards, we live a lesser version of ourselves.
“Everyone wants an exciting life, but most people are afraid to take the bull by the horns. So they take an easy option for an exciting life. They live their excitement through other people.”— Paul Arden
Paul Arden suggested in his book Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite, that it’s far better to “make the outrageous decision”, even if you don’t know where it will lead, because the safe decision has “danger written all over it”.*
The danger of the safe decision is that you don’t grow.
It’s taken me a good few years to become bold enough to make more outrageous decisions than safe decisions. While I’ve scraped my shins a few times in the process, the benefits, opportunities and learning experiences have far outweighed any (usually temporary) discomfort.
Plus, battle scars serve a purpose. They remind you that you’re strong enough to face and overcome danger, which builds your confidence for the next outrageous leap.
Becoming your better self doesn’t mean becoming homogenised. It’s true that we’re conditioned to live and behave in certain ways based on our experiences within a social context. But within the confines of societal norms, you can still distinguish yourself from the group.
Be yourself, not someone else.
After all, this is your personal journey.
I don’t deny that the pressure to conform is huge. But if you really want to be your true self in a certain context, all it really takes is a decision.
Next time you’re battling against the herd, why not ask yourself:
Will making / doing / saying / being / listening to / eating / drinking / thinking / wearing / etc. [THIS] move me forwards in life? Is it going to help me grow?
Be outrageous in your thinking. Think and do the opposite of what is comfortable. Be motivated by growth, instead of the desire to only satisfy your basic needs of belonging. Don’t look for your self-esteem in the eyes of someone else.
You decide just how extraordinary you’ll be in your life.
To be more extraordinary than ordinary, put your adventure hat on. Look further afield (and also look inwards).
Yes, making outrageous decisions may result in a journey filled with ambiguity and uncertainty. However, there’s also heaps of learning opportunities and often exhilarating fun to be had too. Which you’ll never experience if you only ever play it safe.*
(*Note: I’m not advocating risky decisions that aren’t well thought out, only that you stretch yourself in your boldness and decision-making capabilities)
“Life is about decision. […] Whatever decision you make is the only one you could make. Otherwise you would have made a different one. Everything we do, we choose. So what is there to regret? You are the person you chose to be.”
— Paul Arden
Your past decisions made you who you are.
What are your future decisions going to make you become?
What are you going to DO now to make you a better version of yourself?
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