courage is an evolutionary imperative

So here’s an important question, and it requires courage to look at it honestly and answer it: What are you doing with your life?

If you’re interested in how to deeply examine the question of what you’re doing with your life, what your life is really about, then keep reading.


Daily Fear

I don’t think we have any time to lose. Daily, people are waking up, afraid–and this is the kicker–without even acknowledging their fear.

Our society has become one in which there’s not just fear, there’s a layer OVER the fear:

  • a layer of psychobabble to explain behaviors (“Well, you know, I procrastinate so much because my mother always…”)
  • or a layer of justifications for not acting (“It’s not that I’m afraid, it’s that I’m just so busy with this other project that I don’t have time, right now…”)
  • or outright denial (“No, I don’t really feel a lot of fear–I’m sure that that’s not my issue. If I really wanted to quit this job that I hate, I’d do it.”)
  • or manipulation of the work (“I’ve already done all of that personal growth work”–says the person who is clearly living a life that lacks integrity, as evidenced in their finances, interpersonal relationships, or elsewhere).

If there’s an extra layer of double-speak and illusion over the fear, then this means that speaking in evolutionary terms, we’ve taken a step back.

Instead of meeting challenges head-on, as a global society we are becoming more and more practiced by the minute at justifying how surely, we were not meant to be the ones to act with integrity (Since, your Honor, the defendant started it!) or to step up and be a force for good (After all, surely I couldn’t make a difference, since I’m just one person).

We need to stop doing that, and I hope you agree.


Microcosm, Macrocosm

Courage is my cause, not because I want everyone to bungee jump or start non-profits (all well and good, but “role-playing” courageousness by doing all the things you’ve heard other people do is inauthentic), but rather because I want people to practice it in their daily lives.

We need to practice “ordinary” courage, the daily acts of courage that require us to speak with respect, act with integrity, pursue our dreams, truly connect with one another, and cultivate the kind of emotional and psychological inner affluence that enables us to give back to others without feeling drained.


Courage is an Evolutionary Imperative

We need it to grow as a society. We need millions of people who are willing to practice courage–and it is a practice, not something you either have or don’t have.

We need a society willing to look at the hard questions, and the hard questions start with ourselves.

If you’re interested in creating a better world for yourself and your children, start with creating connection between yourself and the person in your life you have the most conflict with. That, right there, is where “peace on earth” begins.

If you’re interested in living in a world where people are joyful, prosperous, and connected, then it needs to start with asking yourself where there are opportunities to feel joyful amid ruin, to examine the connections between emotional and spiritual and financial prosperity, and to connect to who you are by speaking your truth.


So, What Are You Doing With Your Life?

I started this piece by asking “What are you doing with your life?”

It takes courage to answer this question because it’s vulnerable, and there are so many opportunities for the inner critic to step in and tell you that you’re doing it all wrong.

Many people will stop right there–as soon as they hear the critic, they’ll give up that line of thinking and move along to something else, some other distraction. Some people won’t even get so far as to acknowledge the existence of a critic, automatically feeling that such a concept is cheesy, self-help bullshit (interestingly, of course, adopting this attitude basically ensures that the critic will live on, indefinitely).

In service to practicing courage–I’m asking you to spend some time deeply contemplating the question of what you’re doing with your life.

  • What are you doing with your life, day-to-day? Literally–what activities do you fill your life with?
  • What are you doing with your life, on an emotional level? (I.e., “I’m getting angry all of the time; I’m feeling joyful when I’m throwing clay; I’m feeling frustrated when I…”)
  • What are you doing with your life, as it pertains to deeply connecting with others? (Note: DO you deeply connect with others?)
  • What are you doing with your life, in terms of following your dreams and deepest desires?
    What are you doing with your life, when things get difficult? (I.e., what form does your fear take? )
  • What are you doing with your life, when you’re completely and totally connected to who you are?


Evolving Courage

When you start to answer these questions, you begin shaping a picture of where in your life courage is called for–

–the courage to evolve your soul, your life, which in turn evolves the lives of the people around you and thus, the world.

And again, courage is not something you “have,” it’s something you choose to practice.

You never know when, just by being yourself, you’ll be someone else’s gift.

One person, one idea, one revolution can spur a million others.

So consider this the call, sounded–to have the courage to take a gentle yet honest look at your life, and to be unflinchingly honest about how much joy and aliveness you experience.

Then–take action. Take courageous action to ferret out every little dream compromised, every justification that creates mediocrity, every little white lie that you tell yourself.

Take every courageous step necessary to truly thrive, not just tread water in your day-to-day. Live on your own terms, without fear ruling your choices.

Live in such a way that when you ask yourself what it is that you’re really doing with your life, and you answer that question, you can look yourself square in the eye, because that’s the level of integrity that you rise to.