The hardest part about being you is that quite frankly, you’re not that unique. In the grand scheme of things, we’re all really quite alike.
What I mean is, we live and think alike…we struggle with the same things. You spend a lot of time trying to fit in and you ignore your uniqueness. Keep doing that and it will cost you your life.
Your humblest hour
I don’t want to offer formulas and junk like that. I don’t want to cheapen what it means to be a lover of style. Because for me style is an art form. How can I double down on the most important things to me? How can I create art like Man Repeller, where I don’t really care what people think per se but have a strong sense of what I stand for.
How am I supposed to handle the sameness all around me? I want to stand out from the crowd but Lord, sometimes I don’t know how. I look at people like Jenny Mustard and Casey Neistat who are so unashamedly themselves. I want to be like that.
I so want to be like that.
My values are this. I want to stop looking around at what everyone else is doing and focus on what matters most to me. Yes, it’s style but it’s also the substance behind style. I don’t want to do this for some marketing thing. I don’t want to be known for something that doesn’t, in the end, make me proud. You know? What’s the point of that?
I have a quote in the front of my journal by JM Barrie the author of Peter Pan.
The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story and writes another, and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.
This quote terrifies me in a good way. About a year ago I felt the nudge in my life that something wasn’t quite right. That perhaps I was on the wrong path. I was pursuing health coaching at the time and although I loved health and wellness and still do, it wasn’t the thing that really felt like a career to me. It didn’t feel like my calling. It felt forced.
So I boldly asked for help from my mastermind group and they helped me arrive at the conclusion that following art and style was my real heart’s desire. I loved it and wanted nothing more than to live and breathe it and to share that knowledge and passion with anyone who wanted my help.
But lately, I’ve been feeling that nudge again. I keep asking myself, “What am I doing? And who am I doing it for? Am I really happy with how I’m spending my time?”
The thoughts of another year on the downhill slide to completion lead me to take an inventory. This is healthy when done with hope and openness. Just like any business would take a quarterly or monthly inventory, I think it’s really smart to take a personal inventory of your own life.
Not only did a friend’s recent success and an acquaintances stint in France get my mind jogging, but also the loss of a connection I thought I had to a mentor, got me questioning what I am really creating, how I’m really living, and how do I want to spend the rest of my life.
What inspires you?
I mean what really, truly grabs your guts and makes you hold your breath? Do you ever let yourself be inspired like that? Do you ever let yourself feel the pain of loving something so much it actually makes you clutch your chest?
Being inspired is a joy of life. It’s a gift. You have to let yourself feel something, love something and appreciate it with glee. Fall for something beautiful, like you’re falling in love…hard. Develop a mad crush on it.
Collect these things…somewhere, anywhere. I use every means I can to collect these tidbits of inspiration. Of course, there’s my journal. Then there’s technology like saving images to my phone, pinning things on Pinterest, collecting books and magazines, capturing stills from movies I love, and bookmarking Instagram posts.
Little by little, the collection grows and I know as soon as I turn to it, I am well lit. A fire starts burning and I’m off to the races thinking new thoughts and pouring out ideas into my journal.
Being true to yourself may be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. It’s easy to forget you who are, how old you are, and what you’re really capable of. Looking at the collection of ideas, images, and art is a way for me to tune back into myself, what my calling is and why I do what I do.
Stop looking to others to figure out who you are
What’s the point of doing what you’re doing if you’re not passionate about it? Who are you doing all this for and why? What if you were so YOU that people stopped and stared? What if you were able to stop being so “nice” and pleasing everyone else around you but you? What would life be like for you?
I’m not saying that you need to be an uncompromising, arrogant diva. Or that you need to be calloused and unkind. But what I am saying is that I see far too many vanilla people, myself included, who are just too frightened to say what they really think, feel what they really feel, and create the art that they really want to create.
So what if we could step out? What if we could stop playing it so safe, and start taking some risks?
What if you wore the clothes that you wanted to wear? Spoke vividly, acted boldly, and showed up a little bit in this world? Everyone around you who you think cares about what you’re doing and saying and dressing like will be dead in 100 years or less. You will be dead in 100 years or less. Most everyone on the planet will be dead in a 100 years give or take. What does it matter to be so timid? What does that get you? Life is so unbelievably short. Even when you live for a long time. So don’t waste it worrying about what others think or what convention tells you is right or good or necessary.
Live a little. Sell what you don’t use or love. Give away big things to people who need them. Let go of what’s holding you back and get to stepping.
Risk and recovery
People have overcome many great obstacles and losses only to get back up and surpass what they ever thought possible. The great irony is that so many of us are tangled up by what we think we’ll fail at so much so that we don’t try and we miss the growth that comes from trying. If you could see it, see life for what it really is, you would never see failure the same way again. Don’t be afraid of failing. Be afraid of not trying. Be afraid of not living the life that God has called you to live. Be afraid of not being true to yourself, loving the people around you, the least of these, be afraid of giving of yourself, and of being extraordinarily kind.
There is no greater loss in this life than to give up before one’s time is out.
So what’s your greatest dream? What is the thing that lights you up inside? Don’t worry about taking all the steps at one time. Do one step at a time towards the things that resonate with you. Keep your journal full, find inspiration everywhere. Change your morning routine. Live on less if you are able. Do something big and brave that scares you. Create before you consume.
I don’t care how many iterations it takes. How many times it takes for you to try and get up earlier, to try and make that dress, write that book, paint that painting, edit that short movie, till that garden, or lose that weight. I don’t care how many times it takes. You don’t stop until you’ve cracked the code. Quitting isn’t always a bad thing. You’ve got to know when to quit. But please don’t quit before you know in your gut that it is time. If there’s even the slightest doubt in your mind that you need to keep going, do.
Dying with regrets
In the book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing, you read about people who’ve literally come to the end of their lives and realized that they never lived true to who they knew they were inside. They never had the courage or the bravery to live the life they knew they were capable of living. Unfortunately, this is the norm for most people.
We were made for eternity and so we think we’ll live forever.
We think 27 is forever, 33 is forever, 40 is forever, 59 is forever. But it isn’t. I’m not saying anything you don’t already know to be true or anything a million people haven’t already said. But I’m saying it because I need to say it for myself and for you. I, you, we don’t influence everyone. We influence everyone around us. Messages make their way to us by any means necessary.
So although it’s been said to death, it bears repeating. Life is short. Don’t waste your time being like everyone else or being liked by everyone.