Letting Go of What Society Believes
It’s a funny thing life. The way some of us go through it without necessarily asking ourselves deep and meaningful questions, nor answering them without any boundaries. And if we were to find answers struggling to actually doing anything about it.
It’s disheartening to think that this is a reality for so many people… it almost was for me. The sad thing is we are taught from a young age what to do… habits are ingrained into us from birth; we are taught to follow to what is considering right and unfortunately it is a habit many of us fail to break away from, or even question for that fact.
There are so many reasons we subside to conformity… fear of judgement, boundaries, restrictions – they all seem to be outside influences. It’s a harsh reality. But you know what’s even harsher and scarier at the finish line? Not bringing your talent to life. Never allowing yourself to flourish…. Having that fearful question hang over your head, that almighty ‘What if?’.
Imagine being at your deathbed, looking back at yourself and the agonising realisation that you could have been something… that you could have made it, if only you continued to do what you enjoyed rather than giving into what ‘society decided for you’.
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In my opinion, when putting aside the factors we feel restrain us to the mundane, in all honesty I think what it comes down to is ‘courage’.
The courage to rise above what is said to be the norm, and finding the courage to be who YOU want to be…. To essentially understand we have the right to even question what is the norm is. This courage is being fearless when standing out from the crowd and to also question what direction the crowd is going even in.
It’s not easy finding the courage to look those in the face who laugh at your dreams, and state to them - you just wait.
Neither is it easy finding the courage to risk losing it all.. friends, family, comfort, security, dignity – everything, all for a possibility, a dream… that leap of faith to allow yourself to become who you really want to be.
But, what is life if we don’t follow what it is we are truly passionate about? If we don’t break free from the barriers we feel so restricted from, why get out of bed in the morning? Why wake up to be told to fit in, when inside ourselves all we feel is a sinking helplessness of being alone and out of place?
Why put ourselves through the struggle of getting to the top of the ladder only to realise the top of the ladder is against the wrong wall? Why spend so much energy on something that makes us feel so negative?
The whole idea society pushes of success.. get good grades, go to college, get a good job, get married, buy a house, have a family… do this, do that… where is the spontaneity for innovation and entrepreneurship?? Where is the room to design the life that you see fit for yourself? Where is the freedom to play with creativity and self expression?
Why do we conform to what society thinks is a great career and life plan? Yes lack of courage is a big part, but the underlying reason we have that lack of courage, is the lack of belief.
A lack of feeling as though we are unique, that we are more special in one way than any other. The belief that we really are each different and unique, and that this is a good thing. I believe we are all born with a talent. It is recognising this talent within that is the hardest part.
School teaches us that talented people are only those who run fast, the ones who can jump high, those clever kids who get an effortless A+ day in and day out and so on. With this belief being ingrained into us at such a young age, it’s no wonder why so many of us don’t flourish. It’s no wonder many of us don’t feel as though we have a chance. It’s sad. Sad that society makes us feel and believe we are inadequate.
But we are not, we are all more than adequate. What we need to realise is there are many many many talents within the universe, each of which if we allow ourselves to, we can flourish and blossom in. It’s recognising your unique talent and believing in it that will one day give you the happiness you deserve.
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Understanding that talents come in many shapes and forms is so incredibly important.
Your talent may be in being an incredible negotiator, communicator or connector. Someone who has a gift of being able to understand the needs of someone and connect them with someone else. You may be gifted with words and know how to inspire those around you, you may see things from a completely different perspective continuously and are able to shed light on a new way of doing things.
Even if you haven’t found your talent as yet, find what is natural to yourself, and follow what you’re passionate about - be intrigued by what grabs your attention, not what gets others attention.
Don’t feel trapped by what society thinks a real job or real success is. In this day and age more than ever we should believe in creativity. The awareness of designing your life and desired career is stronger than ever. 100 years ago an idea as outlandish as a car was too much. 20 years ago, the ipod was unrealistic. Understand that most people don’t have vision, so why should you allow yourself to succumb to their naivety?
I also feel originality has disappeared from many industries. I feel people play it safe. They stick to safe topics rather than questioning the topic altogether. It’s almost like we are so reliant on the approval of society that we hold back on original ideas in order feel a sense of achievement, the achievement of fitting in rather than standing out and aiming to make change for the better.
Think of child prodigies. Young geniuses. They are grasped at a young age and bombarded with countless areas of knowledge of which they soon learn all the right answers in. But studies show the majority of geniuses don’t actually change the world for the better… surprising right? And why? Well essentially they don’t know how to be original. They don’t know how to think for themselves, they don’t think to question the way we do things, instead they only know approval from reviving what has already been taught.
The more you value achievement the more you come to dread failure. Find values in things with meaning and then you will never seek approval but your own.
Most people aren’t open to the ideas that can change the world. They’re pessimists. We all know them. Some are more obvious than others. These are the people that will tell you, you’re not unique… you’re not special…. What makes you think you have a great idea… what makes you think you can do that at all…. If it was a good idea it would have been done before.
To succeed you need to rise above them. Don’t listen to the naysayers. Listen to that gut instinct you have. That fear inside you. I know.. yes… it’s scary but it’s trying to tell you something. It’s trying to lead you somewhere. It’s waiting for you to develop the courage to say yes, yes I can.
The idea of growth can be daunting. It’s uncomfortable. It’s a big commitment and puts us into situations that really test us. But as stated so perfectly by Dr. Rabbi Abraham Twerski with the video to the right, we need to feel discomfort in order to grow.
The most important thing you need is to believe you can do what you have set your mind to, and then give it your’re all. Embrace your imagination, commit to persistence, practice and patience. Understand it is not an easy journey, but think of it this way, if it were easy – we wouldn’t appreciate the development within ourselves once we’re at the top?
Decide what it is that you want and make a plan. Then take action. Understand that your plans are always and forever will be a work in progress….. Because as we grow and develop, our courage expands and in turn, our dreams flourish even more. I can’t deny the process… as this has happened to me.
I have been there and done that. When I was young I was all about my fitness and being immersed in the outdoors. I was so incredibly fit, every spare moment I would be running countryside for the sake of it, on the lake wakeboarding, or in the mountains snowboarding. I wanted so badly to study outdoor education however was quickly told there is no money in a career like that, ‘You’re going to study business’ I was told. So instead I followed the route of my mum. She was an accountant and business manager.
Growing up in a tiny town (only 50 locals – yep I know) without the internet, I had no idea of the possibilities that were available. I didn’t even question them. After I was told what I was to do, I just did it. I lost faith in my own direction. I turned off my inner voice and essentially never listened to her again until finally that day I woke up to my unhappiness.
Realising life is too short to continue a career I wasn’t passionate about, I took a trip back to New Zealand and I guess ‘found myself’. I spent every day of that trip running my old running tracks, climbing my old waterfalls and watching the sun set on empty beaches, all while contemplating what it is I wanted for my life.
I guess it was only then I had that oh so important conversation with myself. It was only now I really awoke the voice I had silenced so long ago. It was now I started to question for myself again. I took charge. I queried my reality and asked what is it that I enjoy doing… and more importantly how can I make this my reality?
And the answer? I was stuck on the idea of being a photographer. The idea at the time seemed so far fetched, so unachievable and outlandish however I knew photography was always one thing that always intrigued me and I enjoyed above all else.
I was known for always having a compact camera on me. And although I didn’t know what an aperture or shutter was let alone anything else, I had many people remark on my snaps and I enjoyed the memories and adventures they brought me. But that didn’t stop those pessimists having their say.
I ventured on… as soon as I got back to Australia I enrolled into college. I still remember the moment when I was driving to the grocery store and I promised to myself… if I’m going to do this, I’m not going to stop until I get to the top, I’m never going to give up and I’m going to give it my all. That was the moment I promised myself and realised it was only me who could make my dreams a reality. It was in that moment, bringing my dreams into reality became a must rather than a want.
From that moment forward my dreams have evolved countless times. Initially I wanted to be a National Geographic photographer, due to my fasciation of their adventures around the world.. but as time went on and my frame of reference expanded I realised I loved the fashion side of photography more than any other…
Not because of the clothes (well a little bit of the clothes) but because of the connection within a story that can be expressed and of course the exotic landscapes that can encompass a story. Contriving a story to enable people think differently, to provoke questions and to bring out different emotions than what we are all used to.
The more I studied the images of the people I admired I realised it truly wasn’t the ‘pretty’ and ‘cool’ images I felt a connection with – it is the images that made me think deeper, the images that make me question their intentions, theses images drew me in.
Sadly with the abundance of imagery these days, images that touch on powerful topics are becoming less and less frequent. It’s less likely to be drawn into an image these days. One day this is something I hope to bridge the gap on.
But I thought why stop there. What else is it that I love doing. And well with my combined passions of health, fitness and travel, that’s essentially how I have come to the idea of this website.
I am a passionate person. I have no trouble talking for hours about chasing dreams to those I meet. I find nothing more fascinating than listening to people and asking questions to understand their journeys, points of view and their lessons learnt.
Fortunately for me many individuals I meet have a positive go-getter attitude themselves so are quite receptive to my long-term goals.. Well either that or I just don’t listen to those who think otherwise?
The thing is when you have the courage to stand strong inside your own two shoes, holding proud and tall, you can then admire how far you have come, rather than giving in to what the negative people have to complain about.
It’s only in these instances we can quietly bite our tongue and feel comfortable in ourselves.
I want you all to feel free to express yourselves in any way that you see fit. Embrace your curiosity and uncover those talents that you never knew you had. Explore with your imagination and above all never feel like you have to conform… you should always listen to your inner voice.
It’s been an exciting yet scary journey for me, the discovery of not being afraid to be who I want to be wasn’t an easy one but it has enabled me to grow in ways I didn’t think possible. And this is only a reality because I took that leap of faith to free my inner voice.
Here is a film I made representing the struggles I encountered trying to step away from societies conformity.