Are you living life or is life living you?
Before you try to answer this question, I want you to stop and think about that for a second. While you think about that question, allow me to share with you why I called this blog #1 of 11.
It is Saturday 28th March, 2020. It’s cloudy outside.
I woke up this morning and decided that I was just going to do it. I had done every possible thing I could do to avoid it but it came to the point where there was simply no more hiding. I had a perspective and I was going to share it.
Let me emphasize the word PERSPECTIVE!
The word defined in its simplest terms is “a point of view”. In other words, it has nothing to do with being right or wrong. Let me be clear and tell you that I have no desire to make you see things the way I do or make you think like me.
I am only here to share my perspective and at the same time I hope you feel comfortable to share yours.
So, with that said, I decided that for the next year I am going to share my perspective by blogging biweekly. Each of the 12 blogs will take you on a journey where you will transform from having life live you to you living life.
I know this sounds like another grandiose and hyperbole type of statement but I am serious. If you actually follow what is shared in this series of 13 blogs you will experience a transformation that will get you much closer to living the life you want instead of having life live you. But don’t take my word for it. Put it to the test. Give it a try!
What does the term “life living you” mean?
Now let’s go back to the second part of that question I mentioned at that beginning of this blog “… is life living you?”
Can you remember a situation or time in your life where you felt like you wanted more but didn’t necessarily know what that more was?
Think of how unhappy you felt.
Maybe you got up every morning hoping that things would change, wanting to do something to make it better but in the end, you just didn’t know where to begin.
Maybe the only thing you had figured out was that where you were in life wasn’t where you wanted to be. Probably, you did what so many times we all do when we feel this way – nothing. It wasn’t that you didn’t want to do something. You did, but you just didn’t know what to do or where to start…so you continued living the status quo. You continued living life just going through the motions.
This meant following the same routine you had been doing for years. You got up, brushed your teeth, showered, ate (not necessarily in that order) got ready for work, went to work, did your work, maintained a social life, went home (to family or maybe you lived alone), watched TV, ate, and went to bed. Maybe before going to bed, you reflected on how your day went. You thought about how you smiled and laughed on the outside with everyone, but on the inside, you were yearning and crying out for greater meaning, satisfaction and purpose in your life.
While lying there you fell asleep hoping to get up to things being better but only waking up to that same familiar feeling in your stomach. The feeling that tells you it’s another day but nothing has changed… and with that, you began to go through the same routine as the previous days, weeks, months; feeling the same yet doing nothing about it.
Life Living you is that moment where you realize you can no longer continue doing what you are doing (job, school, relationship etc.) because you need more, you want more, you desire more, you dream for more and yet do nothing about it.
Rationalizing will steal your life away from you and before you know it your time is up
Let me say it again: the period of time that follows the moment where you realize that you want and need more but decide to continue doing nothing is what I refer to as life living you. You take no actions toward changing the status quo, neither slowly nor quickly. Instead, you fight or rationalize your way to remaining comfortably uncomfortable in your current situation.
Each day and the routine of that day dictates what you do. Living has become functional instead of fun. You go to work so you can get paid to provide for your family or just for you. You look for the next promotion because you need money or because it you would make you feel or look successful and so on. Yes, you want all those things you dreamed of but you say to yourself, “Hey, let’s be realistic here, there is no way I can have these things”, then go on to list all the reasons why you can’t have them.
Living life has become robotic instead of meaningful.
Living life has become functional instead of fun.
Living life has become playing it safe instead of exploring it.
Which one of these valleys are you in?
We don’t all experience this debilitating phenomenon of “Life Living Us” in the same way. We tend to experience it in one of two ways:
- You can no longer continue doing what you are doing because you are unhappy. You need to do something more even if you don’t know what that more looks like. You want to act, but you don’t know where to begin… so you continue living your status quo life.
- There is something you always wanted to do (career, relationship, hobby, etc.) but have avoided it because of either a legitimate reason or one that you have legitimized. Regardless of which one, you are not happy because there is something in you yearning to do this thing and instead of taking action you choose to stifle it with your inaction and by continuing to live your status quo life.
Why do many allow Life to Live them?
There are many reasons why we allow ourselves to have life live us; it could be due to fear of something:
- Fear of the unknown
- Fear of failure
- Fear of success
- Fear of how we would be perceived
Or it could be due to lack of something:
- Lack of self-belief
- Lack of a vision
- Lack of a plan
- Lack of action
Despite the pain of our ability to achieve this greater purpose, meaning and happiness we so desperately want, we allow these chains of fear and negative perception of ourselves to hold us down. In fact, for many of us, despite the unbearable feeling that comes from “life living us”, we choose to maintain the status quo because it feels easier to navigate life in this state than to navigate our life towards finding that greater purpose, happiness and satisfaction. It feels easier to deal with the devil you know than the one you don’t. The devil you don’t know being the unknown.
What does it feel like when you are living life?
Now, let’s talk about the first part of that question, “Are you living life?”
Sudha Chandran started dancing at the age of 3. It wasn’t her choice but her mom’s; however, she gradually developed a liking for dance and in her own words said that she could not see her life without it. (Thandora. 2015, March 30) At a very young age she had already performed at 75 stage shows and was well known for her talent.
There was no question she was destined to accomplish great things in dance, but that all came to an end in May 1981 around the age of 16. On that day the bus she was travelling on with her parents collided with a truck. The injuries she suffered that day led to doctors having to amputate her leg and, in that moment, her entire future in dance was taken away from her.
It was heartbreaking for her and her family.
Can you imagine how you would have felt in that situation?
I know how I would have felt and It wouldn’t have been great. If anything, I would have felt like she probably did – as if all purpose and meaning in life were lost.
After coming to terms with her new reality, she decided to focus even more on her studies.
As you could imagine this was a trying time for her. Yes, she did refocus her energy on her studies as she worked towards her Masters in Economics but that wasn’t the same as focusing her energy on pursuing her passion… dance!
Six months after losing her leg she came across an article about a Dr. Sethi who was renowned for manufacturing artificial legs. She was able to get one of these legs made for her which allowed her to walk.
But being able to walk wasn’t enough.
She wanted to dance.
So, with that purpose in her heart, she embarked on a journey over the next three years. She spent countless hours in physiotherapy while spending many hours per day learning to dance. (Times of India. 2016, January 16)
That’s right. You read correctly: she learned how to dance again using her one good leg and one artificial leg.
Despite the excruciating pain that came from pushing herself, she returned to the stage on January 28th 1984.
There she stood in front of all these people, and after overcoming initial nervousness, went on to dance so expertly that at the end of her performance she received a rounding ovation from the crowd.
The rest is history.
She became famous overnight with her story posted in newspapers and magazines across India. This led to her having her story told in film by one of the most famous producers and media entrepreneurs in India.
Did I mention she played her herself in that film?
Fast forward to today, she is an Indian film, television actress and yes, a dancer.
So why did I share this particular story with you?
I shared this true story with you so I could ask you this one very important question: “At what point after her accident, did Chandra begin to experience life living her?
Do you know?
If not, please allow me to tell you. It was right after the injury when she realized she couldn’t dance anymore and decided to focus even more on her studies.
Why you ask?
It’s simple. It was at this point where she made a decision that she could no longer dance – her passion and dream. It certainly wasn’t the decision she had ever wanted to make but she had to be realistic.
How was she going to dance with only one leg?
Have you ever tried to dance with one leg?
Heck, many of us can’t even dance with two legs.
So, she did the smart and future thinking thing which was to focus on her studies. It’s not like focusing on studies was a bad thing and let’s be honest, it wasn’t too bad a backup plan.
There was only one issue.
Sure, she still had much to look forward to with her studies but she was living life with her head instead of experiencing it with her heart.
The point where Sudhra goes from having life live her to her living life
If you guessed it was when she was back on-stage dancing again with her artificial leg to the thunderous sounds of claps at the end of her performance you would be half correct.
You are only half correct because the moment where she started living life, began when after receiving the artificial leg, she decided to begin learning to dance with it. Yes, this includes the three years spent in physiotherapy, the excruciating pain and the long hours learning how to dance with an artificial leg.
How could this period she described as being the toughest time of her life be the point where she went from having life live her to her living life you ask?
It’s simple, because she echoed this in her own words when she said this about that period, “It was a slow and painful process but with every step I learnt I knew that this was what I wanted.”
The moment when you realize your purpose and begin to pursue it (like Sudhra), is the moment when you go from having life live you to you living life.
It is not only powerful in that moment but it actually empowers all of your existence: your past, present and future. When you find and live your purpose, like Chandra did, it puts all the pain, disappointments and challenges you have experienced, are experiencing and will experience into a different perspective – one where your past, present and future all begins to make sense.
So, I ask you this two-part question:
“Is life living you or are you living life?”
What is one thing you are not already doing, that you can do in the next week, which will make you feel like you are living life?
I would love to hear what this is.
I would also love to hear what you thought about this blog.
To do this, please visit our FACEBOOK page. Before I tell you more about UP’s mission, I want to share with you the title of our next blog (2/12). It is called:
The Secret To Achieving Your Dreams And Goals Revealed Throughout History
Here’s your call to action: Give Your Dream a Chance
Get off the sidelines of procrastination and self-doubt and get in the game!
Come join and help Unleashed Possibilities (UP) build a global community whose goal it is to bring the world together by inspiring, motivating and encouraging 8 million people globally to Think BIG, Be BOLD and ACT NOW towards pursuing and achieving their dreams and goals.
Yes, I know it sounds crazy especially the part about bringing the world together, but before you allow yourself to think this is all pie in the sky, let me ask you one question:
What is the commonality among the following?
- Horse & buggy, car, train, plane
- Radio, television, satellite
- Internet, Facebook, Google, Twitter
- Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela
If you guessed they all in some way brought the world closer together, you would be correct.
In some way, each one of the inventors and activists allowed us to reach out to millions of people through their inventions, discoveries, social activism and so on. In other words, they brought the world closer together. So why can’t you and in your own way?
Okay, Unleashed Possibilities, I am going to give my dream a chance; how do I get started with your challenge to Think BIG, Be BOLD, ACT NOW towards pursuing at least one of my dreams and goals?
Congratulations!! Imagine where all this can lead!
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“Do what you can with what you have wherever you are”
- Thandora. (2015, March 30). Exclusive Interview with Sudha Chandran Actress. Retrieved from Exclusive Interview with Sudha Chandran Actress – YouTube
- “Sudha Chandran’s story about her accident will leave you inspired,” The Times of India (blog), January 18, 2016, accessed May 31, 2020, Sudha Chandran’s story about her accident will leave you inspired (indiatimes.com)
- “Sudhra Chandran: A Journey of Dancing Will Power…” Sanskritimagazine.com, Sudha Chandran: A journey of dancing willpower (sanskritimagazine.com)
- Chandran, S. 2016, SudhaChandran’s inspiring@HumansOfBombay, Motivation, 19 January, viewed May 31, 2020, ScoopWhoop on Twitter: “#SudhaChandran’s inspiring @HumansOfBombay post is all the #motivation you need: https://t.co/DugZLVQOlU https://t.co/7uvAcgbpOv” / Twitter