There are two words in the English language that may seem innocent enough, but from what I’ve seen and experienced, they can put the brakes on a positive life quicker than you can imagine:
I have a question for you, and I want you to answer it honestly–it’s a tough one too. Here goes:
Are you committed to living the life that you desperately want to live, or will you settle for the one that you’re “supposed to” live?
I believe that the answer to this simple question has the power to shape the entire course of your life.
The Insanity of “Supposed to”
In the past two years, I’ve run into many people who were almost ready to get off the fence and go after their dreams, but right when they were ready to jump, they were convinced not to do it.
- I know a guy who is staying in a loveless and joyless marriage because he has been told he’s “supposed to” stay married for the sake of his kids, no matter if he’s happy or not.
- There is another guy who has been dying to start his own business and be his own boss, but he continues to stay in his dangerously toxic job that is slowly killing him because he has been convinced that he’s not “supposed to” quit his job in this economy.
- Recently, I spoke with a woman who has always wanted to pack up all of her stuff and move across country to a new city for a fresh start, but she has consistently talked herself out of her dream because people her age aren’t “supposed to” do stuff like that.
Can you relate to these people in any way?
Is there something else that your soul is crying out for you to do (if you’re being honest with yourself, you know what that thing is), but you’ve talked yourself out of it because you’re “supposed to” do, be, or have something else?
If so, I am here to tell you that you’re making the wrong choice.
Who in the world are these people who are telling you who you are supposed to be, or what you’re supposed to do with your life?
More importantly, if you’re getting this broken advice from someone (or from a society at large) that isn’t happy or fulfilled, why would you listen to what they’re telling you to do with your life?
Most of all, what if the story about what you’re “supposed to do” with your life is a baseless story that you made up?
Finding the Courage to Truly Live
In the past couple of months, I have had a quite a few painful reminders that life is incredibly fragile, and oftentimes, too damn short.
Because of this, I am officially refusing to live in regret by creating excuses about why I should settle for the life that I’m “supposed to” live instead of the one that I truly want to live.
The life that I’m “supposed to” live involves me continuing to work in a senior management position at a very prestigious organization, making my friends and family proud, and spending every professional moment scratching and clawing my way up the corporate ladder until I finally retire.
In case you’re wondering, that’s not good enough for me.
That might be the life that society says that I’m “supposed to” live, but that’s not the life that I desperately want to live.
I want to make this world a more positive place to work and live for millions of people. That’s the life that I want to live. That’s why I keep showing up here every Monday, regardless of the drama that I’m dealing with in my personal or professional lives.
Unless I put myself fully out there and go “all in” on my dream, why would I expect anyone to trust me and support my mission?
But enough about me, I want you to be real and vulnerable with me for a moment.
Are you living the life that you want to live?
Ignoring the life that you truly want to live–the one that you know that you’re meant to live–is the same as choosing to slowly kill the spirit and fire inside of you.
The good news is that it is never too late to make the right choice.
We might have the most impressive list of excuses in the world, but the bottom line is that our dreams came to us for a reason and they will not go away easily–regardless of our excuses.
It has taken me most of my adult life to come to this realization, and I don’t want you to wait nearly as long.
The Choice to Live Intentionally
I know that a lot of people are afraid to fully go after their dreams.
We fear that the people who are telling us what we’re “supposed to be doing” will be upset by our decisions to not follow their blueprint for our lives as we go off-script and toward our dreams.
Maybe this is radical thinking, but I don’t give a damn what your significant other, your parents, your boss, your college professor, your group of friends, your minister, your therapist, or anyone else thinks about your dreams.
Seriously, I don’t. You shouldn’t either.
I’m not naive–I know that we can’t always have what we want, or do whatever we want. Sometimes we do have to do what we’re supposed to do. I get it.
My point is that I don’t want “supposed to do/be/have” to be our default life setting.
Regardless of what some people may tell you:
- You aren’t “supposed to” get married and have kids at a certain age.
- You aren’t “supposed to” drive a certain type of car, wear a certain type of clothes, or hang out with a certain group of friends because that’s what everyone else is doing.
- You aren’t “supposed to” go to school to become a lawyer solely because your daddy and your grandpa are lawyers.
- You aren’t “supposed to” suck it up and do the things that consistently make you miserable, because society says that you should.
Instead of living a life of “supposed to’s,” wouldn’t it make more sense to live intentionally instead?
If you’ve always had a soul-nourishing dream to do, be, or have something special and you’re standing on the edge of the “decision cliff” with the life-altering choice of staying on solid ground (aka, the life you’re “supposed to” have) or choosing to jump (aka, the life you have always wanted), you have to be true to that soul-nourishing dream and jump.
Will it always be a soft landing if you do jump?
Hell no. Sometimes it will be a flawless landing, and sometimes you’ll crash and burn. Either way, one thing is for certain:
If you talk yourself out of it and never jump, there will come a day where you will regret that decision with every fiber of your being.
The only failures in this world are the sad, sorry souls who refuse to try.
Yes, going after what you want is a risk. And yes, you could fail, be embarrassed, and look like a complete fool in the process. I’d be lying to all of you if these thoughts didn’t cross my mind before I launched The Positivity Solution almost two years ago (or more accurately, before every blog post that I’ve ever published here.)
But there’s also a very real chance that you could get exactly what you want, and then some.
On the other hand, consistently settling for the life that you’re “supposed to” live and refusing to live intentionally basically guarantees that you’ll lose in the game of life by default.
This is why settling for a life of “supposed to” is so incredibly dangerous.
Millions of people make the easy (and often, wrong) choice of settling for the life that they’re supposed to live at the expense of the life that they truly want to live.
Your life is too short and too precious to be one of them.
Is there an area of your life where you’re living the life that you’re “supposed to” live instead of the life that you truly want to live? If so, jump into the comments below and make your voice heard!