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Do your heroes inspire you or dumb you down?

It’s human nature to look for inspiration all around us. Our inspiration comes from many sources – from people we know; people we don’t know, some of whom are famous; nature.

Inspiration is one of our main fuel sources. We can be inspired to follow a calling – to become a doctor, a musician, an artist. We can be inspired to up our game at something – to become a better chess player, better entrepreneur, better writer, better footballer. And we can be inspired simply to be a better person – the best possible version of ourselves.

Being inspired means being moved so much by the actions or expertise of another that we change something meaningful about our own lives.

You see, inspiration ALWAYS has meaningful consequences. It helps us define who we truly are in some way. It helps make us more ourselves – the unique beings we are.

Now, there’s another force out there that masquerades as inspiration. Hero-worship.

The cult of celebrity is all about hero-worship. We are not inspired by these celebrities, we are not changed by them in a meaningful way.

We imitate them.

When we hero-worship, we want to be just like our ‘heroes’. To dress like they do. To take the same selfies as they do. To wear the same make-up as they do. To talk like they do.

And this has dangerous consequences.

Hero-worship causes us to lose ourselves completely. By dressing or acting or sounding JUST like these celebrities, we become clones. We are no longer unique individuals.

Hero-worship has the opposite effect on us to inspiration. Inspiration elevates us, helps make us even more amazing and unique. Hero-worship dumbs us down, helps make us like mindless sheep – we become all the same, no longer unique.

As such, hero-worship can only be viewed as a destructive force in society today. We may say that we don’t really admire the object of our hero-worship, that we just find him/her amusing/stylish/glamorous. Even if this is true, by imitating or putting our attention on people who don’t inspire us, we end up being dumbed down by them.

We are not dumbed-down clones. Each and every one of us is an amazing individual. An amazing individual who is surrounded by endless, life-transforming inspiration.

Inspiration is present in the individual acts of love, kindness, tolerance and courage we see every day. Inspiration is present in the expertise of those at the top of their games.

Let’s be inspired. Let’s be inspiring. Let’s be amazing. Because that’s who we truly are.

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).

 

Photo credit: Sarah Blick

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What makes YOU amazing?

If you asked an eight year-old the question: “What makes you amazing?”, I bet you’d get an answer. Maybe something like “My superpowers!” or “I can fly!”.

Ask an adult the same question, and you’re likely to get a blank stare.

Children believe that anything is possible, that they can do anything their imagination dreams up. So a question like “What makes you amazing?” doesn’t seem strange to them. LOTS of things make them amazing, because life is amazing!

By the time we’re adults, most of us have lost our sense of wonder about life. To be honest, it’s worse than that. We’ve been ground down by life.

Yet, “What makes you amazing?” is an important question for us to be able to answer.

What makes anyone amazing is what makes that person unique. And what makes us unique is who we really are.

Society puts the bulk of its efforts into making us all the same – we’re much easier to manage and control that way. But our souls, our true selves, just want our uniqueness to shine. This awareness deep within us is why we so often feel uncomfortable in our own skins, even lost.

Society has a ‘One Size Fits All’ approach. And we need an ‘I’m Unique’ approach.

A blank stare was my response the first time I was asked: “So, Sarah, what makes you amazing?”. I, someone who is rarely lost for words, had NO idea what to say. Sensing my discomfort, the questioner rephrased the question, asking: “What would your friends say is amazing about you?”. That, I could answer. Just about.

My utter inability to answer that question haunted me for days after the event. At that point in my life, I’d been working on my self-awareness for 25 years. But, with my back against the wall, I couldn’t say what made ME amazing.

Figuring this out became my mission. I’d already done a lot of work trying to understand who The Real Sarah was, but clearly hadn’t yet finished. I realised that, in order to answer the master question “What makes you amazing?”, I had first to answer some questions that lay behind it. After much reflection, I found that the responses to three simple questions provided the information I needed to answer the master question.

The three simple questions were:

  1. What’s important to you?
  2. What do you love doing?
  3. What are you truly good at?

And whilst the questions may be simple, answering them fully and honestly wasn’t! I had to peel back layers of conditioning to get at the true answers, but it was well worth it.

From the output of this exercise, I created what I call my Personal Statement – a few sentences that express who I am, what I do and how I live every day. I’ve changed the words many times over the years – each change reflected where I was along my path towards living my purposeful life. Now that I am living my purposeful life, my Personal Statement looks like this:

I know that love is stronger than fear, that life is an adventure, that being of service to others is our purpose, and that we are all amazing. I value PEOPLE, so I focus on healing lives for a more joyful existence. I value PURPOSE, because it’s the path to true self-fulfilment. I value COMPASSION, because we’re human beings in an often challenging world. I know that how I live my life is my choice, and I choose to live consciously, with passion, courage and creativity.

 

These 86 words are MY answer to the question “So, Sarah, what makes you amazing?”.

What makes YOU amazing?

Image credit: Sarah Blick

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).

 

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How to reclaim your autonomy

We don’t mean to give away our autonomy. It just seems to happen. After all, we’ve been doing it for years, since we were about eight.

You see, society taught us to give away our autonomy.

This started to happen during the Industrial era, when the primary concern for government and industry was having a compliant workforce. Even our education systems were designed that way, to create people who were obedient.*

So, how are you giving away your autonomy?

  • By not questioning what you’re told/asked to do
  • By following the masses, instead of considering what your own values are
  • By allowing others to control you, or put you down
  • By feeling as though you have to behave in or be a certain way
  • By believing that government and industry have your best interests at heart, that they wouldn’t knowingly do or make anything that would harm you
  • By believing in perfection

Things like that.

Individually, you may not feel they’re a big deal. But we rarely do just one or two. And the effect of doing most or all of these things is devastating. You start to feel lost, hollow inside, as if you’re impotent, and don’t matter.

But you do matter. A lot. And you need your autonomy back.

How do you go about getting your power back? You start small, that’s how. You pick one thing, and start looking at it another way. When you’ve mastered that, choose another. And so on.

Here are some ways of reframing these long-held habits.

  • Not questioning what you’re told/asked to do:

==> Ask yourself what you truly think of what you’re doing. Do you agree with it? Do you understand it? Does it fit with your values/what’s important to you?

  • Following the masses, instead of considering what your own values are:

==> Do you actually think like the masses? Do you really care what [insert celebrity here] says, does, thinks, wears? Do you need all of that stuff? Does stuff matter more to you than anything else?

  • Allowing others to control you, or put you down:

==> How you react to things other people do or say is YOUR choice. You can choose to let someone control you, or you can exercise your free will. You can choose not to feel belittled by something said to you. See these things for what they truly are – failings of the other person, not you. And feel compassion for them, not anger.

  • Feeling as though you have to behave in or be a certain way:

==> See above. This is about control. Control by society (e.g. dress like this if you want to be successful). Control by your family (e.g. don’t show us up by doing that).

  • Believing that government and industry have your best interests at heart, that they wouldn’t knowingly do or make anything that would harm you:

==> Question everything. Inform yourself as thoroughly as you can. Most motivations are not honourable and have FAR more to do with power and money than anything else. If you do not agree with what government or industry is doing, vote them out – literally, in the case of government, and with your wallets, in the case of industry. People power is stronger than anything else… if we use it.

  • Believing in perfection:

==> Perfection is either something imposed on us by others, or is a form of self-torture. Either way, you need to drop this notion if you’re going to regain your power. Doing your best is what matters. Always. Just remember that your best will vary from moment to moment, and day-to-day. And that doing your best is never competitive.

You were born autonomous, it’s how you’re meant to be. And it’s how you can be if you make some changes in your life.

 


* “In our dreams, people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present education conventions of intellectual and character education fade from their minds and unhampered by tradition we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into men of learning or philosophers, or men of science. We have not to raise up from them authors, educators, poets or men of letters, great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, statesmen, politicians, creatures of whom we have ample supply. The task is simple. We will organize children and teach them in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.” First mission statement of the J.D. Rockefeller-endowed General Education Board in 1906

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).