What is Holding You Back From an Awesome Life?

I feared putting myself out there for years. Then one day, when my life appeared to be falling apart, I saw the abyss. I began to wonder, what if I lose everything I’ve worked so hard for? What if my wife leaves me and the state takes away my kids? What if this happens every day to many others? Then I became afraid. I feared living a life not fully lived. I feared not being true to myself and not sharing what I’ve learned with other people. I feared a life of lost connections. So, the fear of living a mediocre life overcame my fear of failure and rejection. Some days I wonder why I write and why I hit that publish button. I know not everything I write is gold, but I also know I am my own worst critic and if I strive to make every piece perfect, then I’ll never hit publish. I’ll never pick up that phone. I’ll never speak up. Life is imperfect and everyone will make mistakes. I am the person I am today because of my failures. Without them, I would not have grown. Now my fears of other’s perceptions have been silenced over my fear of a life not fully lived. I know I’m not alone in this and I see it every day. Don’t be afraid to put your true self out there and share your story. You are not alone.

I never expected to be the type of guy who would write articles or a blog. In school, I dreaded a writing assignment. It takes too long. The rules are too constrictive. That is the problem with school; they burn kids out by wasting their time. School stifles creativity and stomps out individuality. They tell you to write so many pages and every assignment has the same guidelines for format. School is still training kids to become cogs in the machine, even though many factory jobs are being automated or sent offshore. No individual expression is tolerated. Yet when you enter the real world, success is often found by those who know how to break the rules and create a new product or foster a unique idea.

The problem with the current education model is it is preparing young minds for the old world. If school held the secret to success, then everyone would be excited for school and living the life of excellence after graduation. There is no secret formula for life to be found in a public education. I don’t blame educators for raising an army of mediocrity. I blame a society that expects excellence from a person who postponed his real life to spend more time drinking beers and taking exams for years. The amount of filler content in our school system is a joke and a massive waste of time, money and resources. As a senior in college I was required to finish out some gen education classes, which included geology which was dreadfully boring and not pertinent to my major or current career. I skipped nearly every single lecture and still got a B+. I also took Astronomy: The Top Ten Ways Astronomy Can Kill You. I believe it was sponsored by Buzzfeed. I rather enjoyed that class as the professor made it fun and captivating. Education is the training level. The sooner you move on to the real world, the better. Some of us will skip this step altogether. The worship of degrees is an outdated concept. The world has changed and education is more accessible now than ever. Anyone can go online and watch lectures, read scientific journals or research whatever interests them. The barriers to entry for a higher learning are crumbling like the Berlin Wall. Our phones can access a constantly updating encyclopedia to look up any information we failed to memorize in school. This is true, even if they are more often used to mindlessly peruse social media. We all had teachers tell us we wouldn’t have calculators in our pockets everywhere we went. I do agree that knowing basic skills such as math are essential, yet so much time in school was spent memorizing useless dates, names and places. I still don’t really know how to do my taxes. As an economist though, I learned it is more efficient to pay someone $400 to handle it for me while I focus on my own profession.

What is more important than basic memorization is the ability to think critically. School rewards students who obey and conform to whatever model is working at the time. I am by no means an old person, but when I went to school, we had nine planets, we were told to eat 6 to 11 servings of bread a day and Marilyn Manson was going to turn the youth into a bunch of devil worshipers. First off, Pluto is a planet and I’ll fight to the death to defend its honor. Second off, the old food pyramid was basically propaganda to get kids to eat more grains to support domestic agriculture. Now those extra servings of grain get turned into ethanol to drive our obese bodies around. Between 1999 and 2005, America experienced a 2.5 percent decrease in miles per gallon due to the weight gain of the average person. Also, I’m going to guess that we never saw a rise of attendance at demonic churches, since the younger generations seems to be abandoning faith altogether.

Critical thinking could lead to systemic change in the way our society and even our economy works. Change is frightening to those who control education, politics and corporations. They fear promoting critical thinking because our current system is inefficient, corrupt and damaging our natural world. The fact that some of you are likely screaming socialist or commie at your screen right now reaffirms the indoctrination that modern society and the school system have done to the average person. What they don’t want you to know is how fragile this system really is. If you believe that this system can’t be changed, look at how quickly gay marriage and marijuana has been legalized. Change is rarely affected by watching Netflix or playing video games. If you want to change the world, you’ll have to get your hands dirty and get outside so that you can be a part of it. Don’t be afraid to be outspoken; be afraid of spending your whole life taking the safe route only to lay on your deathbed wondering what if I was brave enough to be myself? What if I unplugged from the Matrix, and began to reevaluate my own lifestyle? What am I doing to help make a difference and could I do more? Ask these critical questions that the system doesn’t want you to think about. That is why they keep you distracted with drugs, alcohol, porn, video games and Netflix. Be honest with yourself and consider what is holding you back from becoming the awesome person you were born to be.

Our addictive behavior often holds us back from changing and progressing as individuals and as a society. We are a nation that is addicted to cheap fuel and it is destroying our natural habitat. There is a mad rush to seek renewable energy to sustain our current economic model of endless and mindless consumption. Apparently, it is easier to discover a new form of energy production, engineer the machines to use it and mine it, than it is to simply consume less. a society this mad will risk the entire ecological system to sustain our mind-numbing entertainment and modern conveniences.

What if our relentless pursuit for clean energy fails? We are growing as a population at a rate that has shown to be unsustainable in every animal species on this planet. Are we so vain to think that somehow humanity is unique in this regard? Without renewable energy, our infinite growth model of endless consumption has an expiration date. We have finite resources on this planet, yet we act like a civilization with no future. At the current rate of consumption, we don’t have a future. China made an attempt at slowing the population growth with disastrous results that we are still beginning to comprehend. A species with no natural predators will over-consume until it has exhausted its food supply and then they experience a mass die off. For many animals, that future has already been stolen, and more extinctions will happen if we continue to wait for the gods of technology to save us from ourselves. Humanity can survive this current crisis, but it requires a more mindful way of living. The lack of critical thinking has created a society that is blind, deaf and dumb to these economic realities. Many of the people are too high on Soma to bother paying attention. The fact is that due to the nature of American politics with respect to term limits, no problem will get addressed if the consequences are past the next election. So, any issue that can’t be solved within four years, get pushed off to the next term when the problem has become more critical and more difficult to solve.

So how can we change this? We can start by growing up and realizing that the government has no motivation or backbone to enforce the type of change that we need, so we must change from within. We can vote with our dollars to get companies to change their ways. We have seen hundreds of small little changes to move toward more sustainable practices as many companies realize that sustainability is profitable. I have already made the case against plastic, which is damaging the natural environment as well as our own personal health. The easiest change you will make is going stainless. Keeping water with you at all times will lead to a healthier lifestyle too, which means weight loss and less impulse purchases on sodas or bottled water. The recent change by the FDA that no longer requires country of origin to be present of food labels is evidence that corporations have a greater say than consumers. We can start our own gardens to grow our own food in protest and get healthier as a result. Even if you can’t grow everything you need, every little action helps. Just start with one little tomato plant. If you enjoy it, move on to more: try carrots or peppers next. I have had great results with those specific plants and find them to taste much better than store bought produce. This way you know exactly what you are eating. Go paperless with your bills and stop buying worthless junk that you don’t need. The advertisers don’t want you to know how awesome you can be with exercise, diet and connecting with your fellow man. You are already complete and don’t need a fancy car or shiny gold watch to be happy.

It is our responsibility to live a more mindful lifestyle, yet also remember to not let perfect be the enemy of good. It is OK if you still use plastic at times or you occasionally veg out on the couch to watch Netflix. I for one will definitely be going to see Infinity War this weekend. Life is meant to be lived in balance. No one expects Americans to suddenly turn into Buddhist monks who do nothing but write, read and meditate in the forest. Though, the older I get, the more that life appeals to me. The point is we should strive to do better than our past selves. One of my big changes this year was to work harder on my cardio. I set a goal to hit 2,000 miles on the exercise bike this year, and yesterday I hit 1,000. This may sound like a daunting goal, but you just need to break it up into bite sized chunks. It is only 167 miles a month or 5.5 miles a day. The trick to these big accomplishments is consistency. How many of us have already forgotten about our New Year’s Resolutions? If you want to be excellent, staying consistent with your goals and positive habits over time will separate you from the herd of mediocrity. It all starts with a goal. If you don’t have a destination in mind, you’re just adrift at sea going with the flow. Set your sights on a target and then decide what you must do to reach your destination and conquer your goals. Write it down and reevaluate your progress on a regular basis. I check on my yearly goals monthly. Figure out what daily habits you need to do to accomplish these goals. Because if you want to change your life, you are going to have to make changes to your life.

 

Comment below if this rings true to your daily struggle. Write down one action you are going to take to begin changing your life. What change are you going to make today? Please share this with someone who you think would enjoy it. Remind your friends that they aren’t alone.

 

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