I often have this crushing feeling that a disaster is about to strike when people tell me things such as « We don’t have a choice anyways », « We only have 30 more years of this to go » or « There is no point setting up New Year’s resolutions, nothing is going to change ». In these moments, I feel like my soul is crying for an escape plan, asking « Please, Mum don’t let me be trapped in jail! ».
You know, I get it. We were designed to be scared of the unknown and thirsty for what’s « socially acceptable ». But maybe not breaking into the vast land of unconventional opportunities is what makes so many people miserable.
I have been asked many, many times why I often look so damn happy and full of energy but many « friends » along the way have also spent tremendous amount of energy warning me « against » people, against my « spontaneous urges », « Amelie, if you don’t fit in, life will slap you hard ». Somehow, the latter was grounded. I have experienced some pain in my life, mainly because I felt like I didn’t quite fit anywhere. I didn’t want what others wanted and I always went for what made my heart beat. It meant quitting soul- sucking jobs, spending my last dimes on travelling the world, becoming a vegan and other not- so- conventional decisions. Growing up and opening my wings, I cried a lot, feeling like I would not be able to meet society’s expectations. It took me a few years to start getting a feel for my own value and an actual desire to be just me and fuck everything else.
You know what? This is the secret to alignment and a satisfying life.
I fell on my ass when I read the excellent book of Chris Guillebeau, the Art of non conformity (Chris does not know me and I haven’t subsequently been paid to say this). For those who don’t know him, Chris is an incredible guy who has been living life on his own terms since his early twenties. This means working for himself, going to every single country in the world, living on a boat off the coast of West Africa as part of a humanitarian mission and loads of other cool stuff. And he tells you exactly how to do the same. The point of this book is to show how conforming often means mediocrity. And honestly, who doesn’t want an extraordinary life?
I have been obsessing over these questions for some time now and often have a hard time minding my own business and not giving uncalled for advice to people around me. It really gets to me when I see people resigned to boredom, routine and just averaging. No inspirations, no projects, nothing that keeps you alive.
So here is what I want to say- I have great news. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Let’s have an honest look at what’s happening. Most people fail their lives because of four main reasons- they don’t dream, they are satisfied with mediocrity, they do not challenge themselves and they don’t want to be labelled as weird.
Reason #1 : They don’t dream
It sounds silly at first but this is a very serious issue. Think about kids. Think about the freedom they have- colouring blue unicorns, making plans to walk on the moon and to be the kings of the universe someday when they grow up. They are full of energy, limitless, and the world is theirs to conquer. And slowly, society (parents, school, the media) breaks them with the weight of « You can’t », « It’s impossible », « Be realistic », smirks and lack of support. They learn to fit in and become what’s expected of them and their creativity slowly dies.
I believe that people who have truly succeeded at anything and had an incredible life are people who never gave up their childhood dreams. Think about the great scientists, inventors and artists of all times. They were all people who never gave up on their quirks and personal obsessions despite their environment. A lot of them were called unrealistic and crazy but their craziness was their genius.
Now I know that not all of us will be a Nobel Prize winner and that’s ok. My point is that dreaming is what keeps us alive. No matter what you want- a house, a holiday, a business- finishing the Boston Marathon, you name it-, you will probably not make it if you don’t dream about it and visualize your success. Again, this is one of the very basic concepts of the Law of Attraction. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Daydream, talk about your plans, look them up, live your dreams. I can guarantee that just doing this will make your life lighter and much more interesting.
Reason #2 : They are satisfied with average and the bare minimum
I quite like asking questions out of the blue.
One of my favourites is : « If I give you a million dollars tomorrow, what will you do with it ? ». You know what? Most people don’t have a clue! I am not kidding you. This is closely related to Reason #1. People don’t know because they don’t get to dream about these things. They are stuck in their routine and what’s realistic and socially acceptable. « Why would I get a million dollars if I’m a waitress? » Well, many millionaires have waitered tables at some point in their lives. Your current situation is simply your current situation, it doesn’t define you. How are you supposed to attract a million dollars if you never think about it or have no clue about what you would do with it ?
This concept can be applied to anything. Always go for the best you can. When you are viewing houses, do not settle for a « OK » house. The incredible one you are looking for is also looking for you. If you can afford to buy organic grocery instead of regular GMO vegetables, please do. Living on the cheap will only make you cheap.
Likewise, always be the best version of yourself. When you have a job to do, don’t do a passable job. Go out of your own way and deliver the best you can. It doesn’t hurt anyone and it helps making the world a better place.
Do not settle for average, always seek to improve yourself, your skills and the way you live. And don’t get me wrong. This is not about money and what you can afford to buy. This is about you making decisions to be the best person you can and make the best choices for yourself every single time, no exceptions.
Reason #3 : They do not challenge themselves and get out of their comfort zone
We all like comfort. We enjoy the warmth of what we know, our routines, our homes and friends, the stuff we like to eat, you name it. Being grounded is a part of building a life, it is what makes us feel safe.
However, safety isn’t the end goal. The aim is to have an incredible life. And incredible means stretching your limits and growing.
Don’t you find it irritating when you are trying to share this new dish you just discovered with your friend and they wouldn’t have a single bite because « It’s not their thing »? They have no clue what it tastes like but they can tell you for sure they don’t like it. Somehow, it scares them.
Please take this from me- if you want to have an extraordinary life, do NOT get sucked into other people’s drama and bullshit. Try new stuff, go to a dance class, learn a foreign language, travel to another continent, test your limits. There will always be people to try and discourage you. In fact, they are only mirroring your own inner gremlin. Don’t listen to this small dude, his only job is to make you miserable.
Reason #4 : They don’t want to be called « weird »
Holy smurf this one is SO important! Why do we spend sooooo much time just trying to be people pleasers? Honestly, absolutely nobody cares about your new craze, the way you dress, what you do for a hobby and what you have. You may be feeling like people are spending their time weighing you and judging you (I’ve also been guilty of this most of my life !) but let me break it down for you- they don’t. They have more important stuff to do (like minding their own life). And if they don’t, well, do you really want to indulge and help them dig their miserable comparison hole?
Come on, be proud, walk with your chin up and embrace your uniqueness. It doesn’t matter what your unique quirks are, they are what make your beauty and your value. The Universe doesn’t photocopy, it only creates. And so out of the 7 billion human souls on Earth you happen to have this very specific combination of talent, skills and interest. I beg you not to waste it!
You know I understand the craving for « looking cool » and having fashionable friends and trying to fit in. I come from a fairly conventional society where people remind me all the time of my difference, may it be my lifestyle, my dietary choices or my general life direction. The truth is once you look beyond this first sheath of misunderstanding (and let’s say it, passive agressiveness), all there is left is respect. People respect integrity and alignment and they often wish they had the cojones to own up to their own shit and show it to the world. Once you embrace your « weirdness », you experience a sense of freedom like you’ve never known before.
A few words of conclusion
Being happy is a mindset, it’s about making a conscious decision that your time is precious and it is meant to be enjoyed. It is to be cultivated by talking about happy stuff, having a good laugh, partaking into activities you love, surrounding yourself with happy people and maintaining a good energy.
Happy decisions come from a space of love, trust and surrendering ; never from fear and scarcity.
Happiness is about embracing what is and learning to say no to what’s not for you. Closing doors may be temporarily uncomfortable but it will only allow you to open more beautiful ones later.
And, more importantly, always remember- your heart will always guide you towards the right way.