One of things I am determined to change about my life this year, is breaking free from passivity, fear, and limiting beliefs.
While each one of these intangibles is an issue unto itself, they are all interrelated. I'm an analytical thinker, and spend lots of time in my own head. Sometimes this serves me well, other times I could probably be more productive if I got outside of my head, and into "doing" life instead.
That would probably help some of my passivity issues right now!
But, I like to know "why" things work the way they do, and "how"?
In my own life and the lives of others, I have noticed a common theme; we are all different, yet we all respond similarly (given circumstances). Neurologically, we are all the same. Our thoughts, feelings, and emotions are triggered the same ways. Our response and reactions can be anticipated depending on situations. But what controls that part of us? Why do we choose to respond or react the way we do? Who taught us to think, feel, or behave the way we do? Why does one person get offended by something, and another laughs at that same something? I believe the answer can be summed up in one word:
Belief is the hard wiring in our mind, that creates meaning for all things conducive to life. It shapes the very fabric of our identity. And the strongest force in the human personality, is the need to stay consistent with that identity. Our beliefs create our Blueprint. And our Blueprint is like our map, GPS, or compass. It is our navigation system mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, socially, sexually etc. It is the conditioned programming that runs in the background of our mind, that controls everything about who we are.
Back to the passivity thing...
I've come to the belief that most of the answers to the frequently asked questions of life, are right under our nose, or already within us waiting to be exposed. When I was growing up, the common theme throughout school was, you showed up on time, you sat down at your desk, you did your work, and you didn't talk to your neighbor. Does that sound like any other familiar environment you spend many hours a day in? Culture has (by in large) taught us to be passive people. We were being prepped for industrial type jobs of the 20th century (that don't necessarily apply anymore in the 21st century). The power of that conditioning doesn't only affect our jobs however - it affects every area of our lives.
Passivity is another form of fear and weakness. Or in some cases - control. We are seeing the effect more than ever. There is a lot of chatter, but even more inaction. It's bizarre how provoked people can become, but how little they are willing to apply and invest in a different outcome. Be it politics, relationships, career, raising children, or getting heated over that one sock laying on the floor (that you refuse to pickup).
Another critical and personal (for me) arena where I see so much passivity, is in modern religious organizations and churches. And I understand why. It all goes back to conditioning - the earliest programming of our lives.
I was raised in church, and as a child I attended Sunday school. We were taught about Jesus, His life and principles, but also His death for our sins and wrong doings. It is interesting, that there is only one story in The Bible where we ever see Jesus upset (angry) to the point of appearing to lose his cool (Matthew 21:12-13 for reference). But the majority of His story is centered around teaching, healing, performing miracles, and being friends with the rejects of society. Then He gets arrested, beaten, spit on, flogged, tortured and crucified.
That sounds like the metaphor of so many people's lives. They are just trying to get along in life, do the best they can, and then life kicks the crap out them. And it seems entirely unwarranted. It is a subtle form of passivity, that is waiting to give birth to the next victim mentality. It seems inescapable in this day and age. We are surrounded by narratives that have conditioned passivity. Perhaps the most recent, being the strong feminist push against masculinity. There is no better way to confuse or destroy a man, than confuse the very nature of his biological origin. And putting aside all the political rhetoric - for what gain? Are we solving problems or creating new ones?
What is the price we pay by being passive people? And what would our lives look life, if we (instead) became proactive people. Powerful people of intention, responsibility, accountability, and discipline aligned with the highest level of good and love for all? What would our families, careers, and relationships look like if we drew a line in the sand, and decided to take action - to live in the fullness of our now moment? Which is the true story of Jesus I might add. As there was nothing passive about His life!
There is a well known saying: "Live as if it is your last day."
The power to become a powerful statement, is found in the truthfulness of the statement. Those who often live full out - truly living the moment - are those who have been confronted with the reality of unexpected death. If you were told you only had 30 days to live, would you be stressed about the sock on the floor? Would you be stressed about the bank accounts, the bills, the grandma in front of you going to slow? Hell no you wouldn't! You would either waste your last days utterly depressed by the news. Or you would do everything you have (already) been telling yourself to do - probably for a long time now too.
Passivity is the poison that kills our chance to leave a legacy. Or at the very least, live a life that feels good. And how many people are truly living a life that feels good most of the time? We can't always control what happens to us, but we have absolute power over the perspective that controls our focus. And whatever we focus on, our energy follows. Fulfillment is the choice to direct our focus to something that energizes us in a way we desire most. The secret to beating passivity, is deciding (once and for all) that it will be more painful in the end, to have done nothing, than to have taken action. Life isn't a sprint, it is a marathon. Give yourself grace, and know that at times it will be two steps forward, and one step back (or maybe three steps back). Forget the metrics, just choose to keep moving and taking action. When you do something long enough, you will create a new habit, which will construct a new Blueprint.
What area(s) in your life have you (perhaps knowingly for a long time) been passive in? What steps can you take right now - if even the smallest step - to start taking action? How do you feel right now with your life, relationships, marriage, family, or career? Be honest! There is no need to lie to yourself. How would you rather feel? If you knew you could change how you felt by even 10-20% for the better, in the next 30 days or less, would it be worth it to try?
Lastly - are you willing to get to the end of your life, and be OK knowing you only lived up to your potential today? And is that how you want to feel on your last day?