Week 25 — Putting to Death The Allure Of The Status Quo
How many times have we started off the year with new years resolutions, only for that to get lost throughout the year.
Scribbles in your journal look something like this: “I want to lose 5kg this year.”, “I want to make a million dollars this year.”
We all start strong, only to fizzle out after the month of March. The fervor that once filled you ended up dying down and turned into a distant memory.
This week I read a section from John C. Maxwell. He wrote:
“Most people want their lives to keep improving, yet they value peace and stability at the same time. People often forget that you can’t improve and still stay the same. Growth means change. Change requires challenging the status quo. If you want greater possibilities, you can’t settle for what you have now.”
Most people want to be better, but aren’t willing to put themselves in situations of discomfort.
There are many reasons for that, but I’ve come to realise that the biggest reason for that is anxiety … Or what I call wasted energy placed on undesirable outcomes.
It’s always this anxiety that prevents me from taking the first step to start a new venture. Initially it seems like it’s a great idea but slowly with time, doubts begin to set in.
“Is this a good opportunity to embark on? Am I able to cope with my current workload?”
The longer I delay on taking the first step, the less chance the new venture has of seeing the light of day. You might think that these questions are logical and real, but in actual fact, these are excuses your brain conjures up to protect yourself from getting hurt.
When anyone embarks on creative endeavours, the thorns of failure sting all throughout the journey. By formulating such excuses, the brain’s job is to protect it’s owner from getting hurt at all cost by stopping you from venturing out into the volatile world. What it does not know is that this form of protection does not serve you in growing as an individual. It even leaves you soft and spineless.
You end up not taking the next step and you fall back doing the same thing you’ve always been doing, complaining about the same issues you’ve always had.
I believe that it is in the identification and eradication of such anxious thoughts that results in choosing a path of growth over wallowing in the status quo. The more you become comfortable the harder it is to pursue struggle.
Boxing champion Marvin Hagler puts it perfectly:
“It’s tough to get out of bed to do roadwork (hard running) at 5am when you’ve been sleeping in silk pajamas”
What drives you to do difficult things are your dreams. Not the ones that you write in your journal, but the ones that you feel deep inside your soul, you’ve felt it all your life but you’ve been told by teachers, parents and friends not to pursue.
But you have to.
Former UFC champion Max Holloway and arguably one of the best featherweights to ever enter the cage illustrates the unwillingness to stay in the status quo perfectly. On the Joe Rogan Experience, he talked about the reality of the Hawaiian community. How he was surrounded by drugs, alcohol and broken families growing up. He could have easily accepted his reality and become part of the statistic. Yet, was able to rise above his environment to achieve global stardom.
He spoke about people in Hawaii who had achieve great sporting achievements during their high school days only to squander their opportunity and end up meeting with old buddies on the weekend drinking beer, getting fat and reminiscing the good old times. Constantly looking back, never looking forward
He refuses to be one of those guys. “ Why do you want to be famous in Hawaii alone? Why not be famous ALL over the world?” He says.
How right is he.
Putting oneself in a perpetual state of growth and struggle is not a natural disposition to adopt. It is often times uncomfortable and sometimes even dangerous. Because of that, not everyone is willing the take steps towards achieving a dream, provided if they even have one to begin with.
I’ve had to drop contact with a close friend last year precisely because of this reason. He was in a state of limbo, hating his job and just not having any direction in life. I had been helping him for almost two months, listening to his problems and guiding him through it, sending him resources to consume.
But he never bothered to click a single link or listen to any of the audio files shared. And still he continued to complain about the same problems over and over again.
Classic example of craving growth but refusing to change.
The final straw came when he had mass sent a long text about choosing between two job offers that he had received and he was unsure which to choose. When I had received that long text, I felt extremely insulted and angry because nothing that I had said for the past few months got through his thick skull. He merely used me as his aunt agony, if aunt agony’s mouth was taped up and shoved into the basement.
Instead, he chose to text every single one of his bozo loser friends for advice just to conduct ‘data collection’ and the responses received was the conduit to achieve career nirvana.
I sent him a raw and very stern reply and I left him to wallow in his own self pity. No longer am I going down to try and dig him up from his hole if he doesn’t want to.
After thinking about this deeply, I realised one of the reasons why he acted the way he did.
Paul Lazarsfeld and Robert Merton wrote:
“The interested and informed citizen can congratulate himself on his lofty state of interest and information and neglect to see that he has abstained from decision and action. In short, he takes his secondary contact with the world of political reality, his reading and listening and thinking, as a vicarious performance…. He is concerned. He is informed. And he has all sorts of ideas as to what should be done. But, after he has gotten through his dinner and after he has listened to his favored radio programs and after he has read his second newspaper of the day, it is really time for bed.”
This is what web culture does to you. We have become obsessed with the constant barrage of information flowing through the news and social media that we forget the real knowledge that we seek in order to achieve growth. Without knowing what is truth and real knowledge, how does one seek to get out of confusion?
The media doesn’t care about your growth, they only care about hooking your attention to what they want you to see and making money off you.
And you’re left stuck in this loop, constantly consuming, not taking action.
It’s time to set a path and take action.
Till next week!