Growing up, my parents were content with me because I was an above-average student. Eventually, I became an above-average employee, an above-average friend, and husband. Before I knew it, it had become an addiction – to be above average. This expectation that I had set for myself had started to become a deep source of fear and anxiety. It inhibited me to try anything new outside my tiny circle of excellence. I was enslaved by the very idea that used to be a spectacular source of joy when I was younger.
It was a Sunday, and I had gone to a fair. By luck, I had won a ride on a giant swing. I had been a while since I had been on a ride. As the swing went up and down, I felt tickles in my stomach and I burst out in laughter. I laughed. And laughed like I hadn’t in a very long time. It was uncontrollable. In that moment I had found ecstasy.
I left the ride confused. Five minutes of a giant swing had beaten the decades of hard work in the amount of joy it produced. The irony of life had made itself evident – I could no longer deny that the path that I was treading was not leading me to happiness. Where had I gone wrong? After all, I had been diligent; I had put in hard earnest work.
I pondered over the question for weeks. Eventually, the answer started to dawn upon me. I was conditioned to celebrate being above-average, and everything I did was in pursuit of maintaining this very status. The distinction for which I was once celebrated with pride had become the source of my bondage. Above or below, the idea of qualifying the journey of life to the average meant that I was choosing to be defined by everyone else, but myself. We know that every piece of life on this planet is unique, and must therefore be gifted with its own strength and purpose. By tethering myself to the average, I was stifling the possibility of who what I could flourish into becoming.
Finding this awareness has changed the way I make choices. Over the years, I have discovered ecstasy beyond what I had imagined possible. Every day is a new seeking to find something new within myself and in that discovery lies the never-ending joy of being alive.
Do you find yourself resonating with my story? I’m just like you. If I have, you also have a choice of how you wish to benchmark the success of your life. What will you choose?