There is no map

12 Jun 2014

Does the thought of finding your own way in life excite you or freak you out?

Some people are very comfortable with rules. They would prefer someone to just tell them what to do.

Are you like that?

Do you take comfort in just doing what’s expected of you? Do you long for a clear path that has already been cleared?

I think there is great pressure in society to conform. From the time we start school, we are expected to perform in certain ways. We are rewarded when we behave, color within the lines, and serve as good members of the group.

Life is not like the childhood chance game of Candyland. As Seth Godin wrote in his book, Linchpin: Are you indispensable?, “You pick and card and do what it says; repeat. This is early training in agenda-following; indoctrination in obedience. We teach kids that the best way to win is to endlessly pick cards, follow instructions, and wait for it all to turn out ok. What a disaster!”

We think if we stay on the track, life will go well. Then it doesn’t.

The fact is, life if hard and unpredictable. Shit happens. There is no map. There is no one standing over us to constantly tell us what to do.

You were born with a brain, a heart, freewill, creativity, and the opportunity to make your life what you want it to be. You have the chance to create your destiny. Nobody is going to give it to you. You have to work for it.

We accept a different scenario when we follow others’ expectations, try to hard to fit in, or give up.

Yup. We try to do the right things, but life knocks us down. Knowing when to surrender and when push through is a technique that is not always clear.

Some cultures and personalities are comfortable with uncertainty and others are not. How about you?

I have had to come to a place of passionately believing some things and letting other things go. Life is fully of paradoxes, anomalies and uncertainty.

The fact is, there is no map. You have to create your own map. But what a gift!

Godin also wrote in Linchpin: “If your agenda is set by someone else and it doesn’t lead where you want to go, why is it your agenda?”

I may or may not know you personally. But today I want to give you a gift. I want to give you permission to set your own agenda, color outside the lines and create your own map.

As Irish writer Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

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