All throughout life we’re told how to live. When we’re kids we’re told how to act and how to hold ourselves. “Be proper. Don’t be loud. Don’t be disruptive. Stop laughing and be quiet. Sit still.” When we’re thinking about our futures and what we want to be we’re told to “be realistic” and to go down the well-trodden path that is college in order to reach financial security. And all throughout adulthood until the day we die we’re flooded with messages telling us to live how everyone else is living. “Watch this, buy that, think like this, hold this belief, be like everyone else, and whatever you do, don’t stand out and don’t rock the boat.”
The problem with this way of life is that it leads to unhappiness, apathy, regret, depression, confusion, and mediocrity. Stop conforming, live life by your rules.
Look to Yourself for Answers
Stop living by socially accepted standards. Stop making your life choices because it’s popular or because it’s the safe route. Be an individual. Cultivate your own values and your own vision for what you want out of life. You are the highest authority over your life and thus you are the only one responsible for your quality of life.
This should apply to every aspect of your life. Your health. The foods you eat. The content, information, and media you allow into your mind. Your education. Who your friends are. Your job and career path. Your daily habits. The thoughts that you harbor. Your level of positivity, energy, and engagement in life. Examine all of the areas in your life and see if you are making decisions based off of conformity, comfort, and easiness, or are you making choices based off of a standard measured by YOUR values.
Carve Out Your Own Path
A huge part of this is understanding that you can trust yourself. You SHOULD trust yourself. At the end of the day, only you know what is truly best for you and how you want to live your life.
Where do you think happiness and fulfillment is going to come from? From being a follower and doing all of same things as everyone else? Following the well-trodden path? Or is it going to come from living a life of your making, discovering what you love and what you want, and from creating a totally new path that is unique to you?
Stop settling for “good enough.” Stop making choices out of fear, out of a desire for comfort, and out of a lack of belief in yourself to achieve something great. Inside each and every one of us there is greatness, beauty, talent, knowledge, and strengths that are unique to us. We are capable of achieving and creating things beyond our comprehension, if only we’d get out of our own way and stop settling.
Set a higher standard for yourself. Pursue the new, the different, and the untrodden. Do things because you fear them, instead of not doing things because you fear them. Embark upon things because they seem impossible and out of reach, instead of delegating yourself to a life of mediocrity. You only have one go at this journey called life. Make it one that fills you with pride and joy, instead of apathy and indifference.