I’ll start things off with a good ol’ dose of vulnerability. For the last couple of years, I have felt “behind” the times because I didn’t own Apple TV. As I noticed this toy appearing in my friends’ homes, I started to see my lousy deluxe cable package as being much like the brown box converter in the remote control era. As my friends were changing channels with one thumb on a small, cordless device, my two index fingers were plunking away on a long row of buttons.
A few weeks ago, through a random act of kindness, I was given someone’s hand-me-down Apple TV. I was delighted! In another act of vulnerability, I will admit that much of my delight was due to the fact that I felt like I now “measured up” because I too had this completely unnecessary piece of technology. In an act of even more vulnerability, I will admit that having this damn toy made me feel hipper, sexier, and hell, maybe even a bit thinner.
Ah, the mad little world of the ego. I am what I have. My worth is based on my possessions. What an illusion…what a bunch of crap.
It really is something how the ego can play such a powerful role in how determine what success is and what we think is “enough”. At times, the standards we create for ourselves comes from listening to and believing our ego telling us that we are what we have. For some people, the struggle to have more works for them, but for so many of us, it’s not aligned with our truth. Trying to attain this uniform definition of success is sending many people to the fridge, the bar, the doctor, or the therapist, because the truth is that each and every one of us is unique.
Somewhere along the way a collective hunch was formed to determine whether or not someone has enough in order to be living the “good life”. If you take a close look at what is motivating many people to live to work, so they can “get ahead”, it’s because the so-called “good life” is equivalent to earning a certain level of income, owning a house, owning at least one car, going on vacations, wearing certain brands of clothing, and owning every bloody toy that Apple sells.
It’s time to challenge the belief that success is only determined by the stuff you’ve done and the stuff you’ve got.
What about “success” or having “enough” be about living the life of your dreams?
Some folks really want to do what it takes to get the big house, the fancy car, the trips, and all the other bells and whistles. Along with that group of people, there is another group of people who wish they didn’t have to work so hard to keep up with the newest version of what’s considered to be enough. Subscribing to someone else’s version of enough can rob you of the life you truly want just so you too can sing the praises of your PVR, GPS and favourite iPad apps when you attend social events. If you are authentic in your desires to own many possessions that’s one thing, but what if the truth is that you would really like to take that money you spend on stuff and use it for something else entirely?
What if the truth is that you don’t want all this stuff and not buying it would allow you the freedom to make a much-wanted change in your life or career? What if the truth was you would like to yell, “Screw this stuff, I’m going to go sell seashells by the seashore!”
I know I didn’t buy Apple TV, but trust me, I eventually would have if it hadn’t be given to me. The point is, the main reason I wanted Apple TV wasn’t because I LOVE television and movies. Quite honestly, I’m not a big fan of either. The man in reason I wanted it was to feel special. The desire to be special is the fine work of the ego and that desire can often drive us to do more and have more just to attain the illusion that our self-worth has been enhanced by that accomplishment or possession. Ah, the mad little world of the ego. It tricks us into thinking and living like we’re running a never-ending race to be the winner.
I’m still delighted that I have Apple TV, but I can see clearly how my desire to feel special and subscribing to the collective standard of “enough” was the source of my desire.
The trick is to have that same clarity before you make the move. That clarity can really come in handy before reaching for something really big like a job or house that is going to end up only making you feel special because you have attained that collective standard of success or enough.
In the wise words that were tweeted by Danielle Laporte, “Before you choose it, buy it, take it, repeat it…question it.” Seeing if the ego is at work can save you from doing or owning those things that won’t bring you that real, pure, honest joy. Checking in on what is driving you can save you from being involved in things and spending your money on things that you will end up regretting and resenting down the road because it munched up time, energy, or money that you could have used to lift your soul.
You’ll know when your desire is soulfully authentic and connected to real, pure, honest joy when you would do it or have it even if no one was looking.