I’m a freelance professional writer. Cue the surprise faces. It’s one of those careers people are convinced it’s impossible to have. “There’s too much competition.” “You can’t make any money.” “It’s a pipe dream.” “You’ll never make it.” “You have a better chance of marrying George Clooney (oh wait – someone’s actually doing that).”
And my favorite: “Everyone wants to be a writer.” Maybe so, but I am one, so it’s clearly not impossible. In the words of the illustrious Audrey Hepburn, who would have been 85 today: “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, it’s possible.”
Living life your way takes bucking the critics, the naysayers and the worrying moms. It takes guts. What it doesn’t take is any particular skill set or advantage or personality trait. However, listening to your own internal compass above ALL else — above well-meaning college professors, nervous mothers and frantic spouses — proves extraordinarily difficult for most people. You have to believe that your opinion is the only one that really matters — and that ain’t easy.
Your inner vision is why the hell you showed up on this gorgeous green planet. Wayne Dyer, (who I’m totally enamored with and who I attended a workshop with this weekend and who inspired this blog post and have I mentioned I’m totally enamored with him?), has said the following:
“We all have a destiny, a dharma to fulfill, and there are endless opportunities, people, and circumstances that surface throughout our lives to illuminate our path. The incidents and the people create tiny sparks that cause us to recognize, This is for me — this is important; this is why I’m here. Those sparks are signals to pay attention and be astonished and know that those little sparks are being ignited by the same Divine Source that is responsible for all of creation.
I have always been eager to say yes to life in the belief that when I trust in myself, I am trusting in the very wisdom that created me. That inner spark is God talking to me, and I simply refuse to ignore it. I know that if I feel it and it ignites something in me, then the igniting process is the invisible, the Source, the very essence of all creation — and I trust it to the max.”
Here’s the key: when you listen to the opinion of others, you drown out your dharma. Most people aren’t steadfast enough to follow their own inner wisdom — they silence it with doubts that originate outside of themselves.
Sometimes I think what separates the fulfilled from the forever frustrated is the ability to not give a shit what other people think. Clearly that’s not an easy skill to master — we live in a society of conventions and expectations and ridiculous, antiquated moors. We’re taught from the earliest of ages to fall in line. But falling in line is not the way to happiness or self-actualization. Listening to your inner voice, is. Even if it’s telling you to sell lemonade on a street corner or launch a society for the liberation of lab rats (I’d be in total support of that idea, btw).
I totally still have areas where I need to overcome the influence of nonsense I was taught to believe. We were all taught a load of crap. But deep down, at the core of my being — at the very heart of me, I’ve always been a rule breaker (hence the title of this blog). I’ve always known my inner voice knew a hell of a lot more than the folks telling me I should do stuff their way. And y’all have that same. exact. voice.
Most people who give up on their deepest desires do so because the world is arguing with them. “You want to be a POET? HA! You’ll be starving on the streets. And don’t you have kids to take care of? It’s irresponsible and selfish of you to think you can pursue an artistic career. You have to be practical. Get a stable, secure, traditional job that sucks your soul out through your eyeballs.”
And flussssshhhhhhhh go the dreams. Out goes the spark in the eyes. Disappearing act of the dreams. Welcome to a lifetime of drudgery because someone else said it should be so.
Every day I hear about well-meaning family and loved ones and colleagues crushing dreams and grounding aspirations into the asphalt. But it’s not their fault. The critics in your life think they’re looking out for your best interest — guiding you towards a life of security and comfort. They’re wrong, but that’s not the point. If you give up on your dreams, it’s no one’s fault but yours. You can have anything you want, but you have to want it badly enough.
It’s YOUR happiness at stake y’all. Don’t compromise it based on the “good opinion of others,” as Abraham Maslow called it.
Why do you think people are so unfulfilled and screwed up? They’re all walking around trying to please each other. When it comes to careers, opportunities, your life’s deepest purpose — don’t listen to anyone else. Even me. You know what’s best. Just do it. Even if it means moving to an ashram for six months. #bringmebacksomeincense