Don't Live Vicariously Through Others; Live Victoriously Through Yourself!
A friendly recently asked me how I was doing I immediately and enthusiastically rattled off the following highlights:
- My wife was about to return to college a second time to pursue her true passion and calling—music.
- My brother was starting up his second leg of his 10+ month journey through Central and South America.
- My friend Ben was about to take a bold first step in launching his new company to follow his dream.
My friend nodded, paused, and then replied: “that’s great, but what about YOU and YOUR life?” It took me a little off guard and I was shocked at how difficult it was for me to state what I was doing with the same level of zeal and enthusiasm. The people I most admired where taking actions towards pursuing their respective dreams. But when it came to myself, I wasn’t necessarily sure if I was taking action towards my dream or even if I knew exactly what my real dream actually was.
The Dangers of Vicarious Living
I love inspiration. I believe it’s as important to the human spirit as food, vitamins, and supplements are essential to the human body. But unlike food, we must be able to internally generate at least portion of our recommended daily allowance of inspiration. Depend too much on external factors and we soon become dependent and addicted to outside sources as a shadow substitute.
Why It’s Easy to Live Through Others
It’s easy to stand on the sidelines of life and cheer others on. When they succeed, we celebrate with them and feel apart of their victory. When they fail, we can detach ourselves while listing off an entire litany of things they could’ve, should’ve, would’ve done to do better. It removes us from the pain of facing defeat through our own shortcomings and limitations.
In short, vicarious living can trick us into believing that we can share the fullness of their victories while shielding ourselves from their defeats. But this is all an illusion because eventually time goes on and we’re still not pursuing a calling worthy of our spirit incarnating into this human experience. Decades go by and we’re still on the sidelines with a hollow feeling and an itch to get out in the field.
The Courage to Live Victoriously
Why do people fear public speaking more than death? Because everyone can and eventually will die… but few people have the courage to expose themselves so openly to let their thoughts and dreams pour out. I know it terrifies the fuck of me at times! What will people think, what will they say, will people care, what if I waste all this time, blah blah blah de freagin dah. The ego in our head will create an endless area of fear based reasons to keep us imprisoned in fear.
Living takes courage. It takes guts to face our internal resistances each and every day in our personal pursuit of a life worth living, and a story worth telling.
Can we draw inspiration from others? Of course! But there comes a point where every student must graduate and put their education to the real test, trading in theory for the real applicability. After all, why bother with putting in decades of years of learning if not to use it?
The Time is Now
My friend’s comment helped jar me awake once again from a rut that I didn’t even know I was in. It’s not to say that I’m not going to continue to be delighted, amazed, and supportive of the wonderful journeys of my friends and family. I will always be pumped to see them succeed and hear their amazing stories. But it’s time for me (and all of you) to pursue our passions, acknowledge our inner strengths, and start living victoriously within ourselves.
Photo by Yann!s used under the creative commons.
About Rick Manelius
I'm a Drupal Ninja (brown belt), an aspiring author, a personal development fanatic, and an overall explorer of life. I own SoundPost Media, LLC— a Drupal agency that works with small to medium sized media compaies looking to improve their presence on the web. Stick around by subscribing to my feed, following me, or simply leaving a comment below. I appreciate you stopping by!