We all have dreams and fantastic ideas in our heads. Whether it's a thought that came to us in the shower or a venture that we've been mulling over every day for the past couple months, we find ourselves resistant to take the first step and materialize our desires. Why do most of our ideas get stuck in the fantasy of our minds?
Quantum physics states that matter is both a wave and a particle. Matter is an infinite wave of possibilities until it is observed, where it materializes into a particle with an exact position.
An easier way to illustrate this is with Schrodingers Cat. A cat is placed in a box, in which a poison will be released unpredictably when the radioactive source emits radiation. Since we have no idea when the radioactive element will actually emit the radiation, we don't know whether the poison was released or not at any given time. Until we physically open the box and observe, the cat is in a state of superposition, both dead and alive. Its only when we look we find the cat either dead or alive.
OK, COOL. BUT WHAT THE HECK DOES QUANTUM PHYSICS HAVE TO DO WITH US BEING LAZY? Well in the same way that the cat is both dead and alive in the box until the box is opened, your brilliant idea is both a success and a failure until you take action.
In our minds we tend to dream and focus towards the positive. Its easy to get caught up in the fantasy of focusing on the best case scenario in which you're making millions of dollars and not give failure any thoughts. Its only the thought of taking action that makes us think, "Oh shoot, this actually might not work."
Lets say two men are at a bar and see a cute woman. One urges the other to go approach and talk to her. After a while of thinking he doesn't do it and replies, "Nah, she kind of looks like a bitch anyways". The beauty of this situation is that in his mind, he's absolutely correct. She could have very well been a bitch. Had he gone up and talked to her, it would be also likely that she was friendly and receptive but we weren't able to tell because he did not take the action.
Perhaps this is also why huge menus are so overwhelming. Until you make a decision, you could be enjoying the rib-eye steak, lobster, pasta, fish tacos, and burger all at the same time. But once you commit, all the other choices go away and you're left with the hope that what you chose was the best. Thats quite the pressure.
When we have ideas in our head, it becomes tempting to play around with all the possibilities that we get lost in our own minds, never committing to moving forward.
So in order to get over this dilemma, you need to consider two things.
1.) Are you able to let go of the fact that your wonderful mental ideas of how things could turn out mean nothing until actually acted upon?
2.) Are you able to accept that, when acted upon, failure will be one of the possibilities and be okay with that?
Many people are out in the world trying to "find" their passion in life like it's some sort of treasure chest. I'd argue that a passion is not something to be found but rather re-discovered.
If someone asked you what your favorite food was, would you respond, "I'm still trying to figure that out" or "I'm hoping to find that this year". They would think you're absolutely out of your mind and probably stop talking to you. You know exactly what your favorite food is based on all of your experiences eating throughout your life whether it be pizza, steak, or your favorite flavor of Ben and Jerry's ice cream.
I find that there is a big tendency to look forward and into the future as if our passion is some sort of destination we reach. A passion is a desire/preference, which cannot be projected into the future.
Here's two things you can do instead.
1.) Look into the PastInstead of going on a frantic quest to "find" your purpose, I would recommend looking into your past desires. Take a step back in time and ask yourself...
What are the things you loved doing as a child?
What type of activities gave you the most pleasure?
What kind of jobs and tasks didn't really feel like work to you?
How did you like to relate to others?
Theres a pretty big chance that the answers to these questions are still relevant now.
2.) Tune into Your Current FeelingsTune into this exact moment.
What exactly do you feel like doing right now?
What would feel good to me in this moment?
What do I feel inspired to do?
In order to tune into these feelings, you might have to look past other people's expectations of you and what you should be doing.
As a child, you naturally gravitated to things that brought you pleasure and the activities that you were inspired to do. Whether that was video games, sports, cooking, music, or playing with barbie dolls, that was completely up to you. Everyone is unique and has their own gut preferences, which guide them to make choices.
As a child, you didn't need anyone to tell you to find your passion. You probably didn't even know what that meant. You simply tried things out and stuck with the activities that resonated with you.
Having a "need" to find your passion is quite paradoxical because it implies obligation when a passion can only come out of spontaneity and inspiration. This can easily leave you disappointed and have you feel like you're desperately grasping for straws.
Start tuning into your preferences and desires. If you've loved pizza as a kid, chances are, you'll always love it. Perhaps you've just been eating too much canned food and lost touch with what you really love.
I predict that it will be the next popular commodity in our new economic era and it's one of the reasons I changed my career path to be a coach.
During the Agricultural Revolution, we traded crops and food. During the Industrial Revolution, we traded gadgets and widgets. During the current Information Era, we are trading information and ideas through the Internet.
This is wonderful time to be in because there is an increasing sense of comfort. We have most of our basic needs met.
Need to drive somewhere? Just call a uber and a car will appear in front of your house in minutes.
Need to buy something? Amazon will have your product on your doorstep in 2 days. (Sometimes even same-day)
Need to eat? Browse seamless and a delivery guy will knocking in no time.
Need to learn something? Just google and there are thousands of articles for you to choose from.
With all this in mind, the main issue of our new generation is not a lack of goods, products, and information, but an overflow of choices.
We live in a society that has endless choices but limited attention.
You're constantly bombarded with social media and messages. Your attention is scattered. Your patience is low.
THERE IS UNLIMITED INFORMATION BUT HOW DO YOUREALLY WANT TO SPEND YOUR TIME? Looking at maslows hierarchy of needs, we move on to higher needs once our lower needs are met. So as our technology becomes more efficient and provides an increasing amount of our basic needs, there will be a bigger appetite for the higher needs such as self-actualization and living your creative potential.
I experienced this when I was at my corporate job. I had all my basic needs met but found my life increasingly lacking in meaning and purpose. That's when I started to feel a craving for more.
In Viktor Frankl's book, "Man's search for meaning", he shows the power of a sense of purpose as one of the deciding factors between life and death in extraordinarily tragic holocaust conditions.
So basically, purpose is really damn powerful.
And many people are starting to realize that. There's a big urge today to "find your passion" but not much out there showing exactly how you do that.
Under our current economic model, we work for what society needs. If society needs food, there will be work for farmers and manufacturers. If society needs gadgets, there will be plenty of factory jobs. However, many of these jobs are already being automated.
SO, WHAT ARE WE TO DO?I foresee a future in which everyone is hungry to live their purpose and life of their dreams. And the demand for two things rise...
1.) guidance on how to live your passion
2.) role models who live their passion
In order to provide these, it requires that you are living your passion. As a coach, I help individuals live their dream life so they can have their higher needs met as well as inspire others to do the same, who will then pass it on. From there, it creates a snowball of inspiration which brings more creativity to the world.
This blog is based on a journal entry from Apr. 4, 2015 during my trip to Southeast Asia post-graduation.
I was in paradise.
Every day I woke up to beautiful palm trees, serene beaches, and delicious cheap pad thai. I had just graduated from college 3 months prior, saved up plenty of money for this trip to live like a king, and was completely free of responsibility halfway across the world. I took beautiful pictures, posting on Instagram as my life seemed like a dream come true.
After all, this is the life that most people today idolize and envy. If you ask someone what they would most like to do if they were rich, many will say, "I would love to travel the world to explore and try different foods". So here I was in this paradise, living a dream, yet some part of me felt like there was more to live for.
Don't get me wrong, the food and experiences were AMAZING and a great relief from stressing out at the office everyday. However, I gained some valuable insight and perspective from the trip. I learned there are the 3 things that you should avoid in order to not get sucked into the trap of materialism and hedonism.
1. COMPARING : I believe there a healthy and unhealthy type of comparing. The first type is inspirational, which is the excitement and curiosity you feel from being exposed to different perspectives and new experiences. For example, someone living in America their entire life eating American food and experiencing American culture can be interested in exploring other cultures and eating exotic foods. Someone can also enjoy talking to others because they can share different ideas and thoughts. This is the healthy type of comparison which runs on the paradigm that sounds like...
"Cool, I wonder what else is out there that I don't know".
Then, there's the unhealthy type of comparison which runs on the paradigm of, "Shit, look at all these things other people have that I don't. What's wrong with me?" This type of comparison is compulsive and self deprecating. When I first experienced Thailand, my perception and internal dialogue was "Oh my gosh, this is amazing and incredible!" and thus it was. Later, it turned into "I wonder if theres a better, more popular restaurant I'm missing out on" or "Look at all these things I'm not going to have time to do".
This is really toxic especially in our age as we are exposed to technology and social media that constantly has us comparing our status to our friends. Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat are big culprits (Instantaneous ways to feel inferior).
2. STRIVING FOR PERFECTION : And because you compare, there's a overwhelming compulsion to strive for perfection. There becomes a certain standard and bar that you set for yourself of what's "good". And if you don't meet that, you're hard on yourself and think you're a failure. The trap with materialism is that the bar can rise easily without you even noticing it. As you attain more, you get sucked into that idea of perfection, which has no bounds.
When I first arrived in Thailand, I noticed myself being in the "honey-moon" phase. Every new place I went to was amazing and I'd appreciate every new meal I ate. I was on a high because all these experiences were new to me and this allowed me to consciously enjoy it. However, I noticed later on in the trip, this high started to wear off.
I started noticing myself complaining about the heat, feeling tired after walking long periods of time, and treating eating amazing food by the beach as just a normal everyday event. I'd want to go to the "best" restaurants in order to get the most optimal experience of my vacation and make sure I'm getting the most out of each destination. I wondered whether the pictures I took were good enough to capture the beauty of the paradise.
The real question is, what is the underlying fear behind the need to be perfect? What are you afraid of if you aren't perfect? And what does this say about yourself?
3. FEEDING YOUR EGO : Pretty soon you realize that you become attached to the things you have and they become part of your identity. This invites even more comparing and striving for perfection and all of a sudden you're craving more things and more experiences. You feel a sense of superiority to others because of these things, which can feel like a dirty high at times. However, you're always putting effort into maintaining the status and find yourself compulsively feeding and managing the image. This is incredibly draining and time-consuming. Who are you trying to prove to anyways?
I put this out not to discourage materialistic things but to be able to enjoy them in a way that doesn't pull you into an endless cycle of energy-draining compulsive behavior. I still love my fancy restaurants, expensive vacations, and cool technology and gadgets but make a conscious effort to not get sucked into these traps.