I’m here to remind you that although you may have to work on Monday, pay your cable bill and get your teeth cleaned, you’re floating on a fucking rock through space.
It took 13.8 billion years of supernovas exploding, galaxies colliding, clouds of gas cramming and condensing, compounds shifting and replicating, millions of generations of life on Earth, (and your parent’s special moment at that Barry Manilow concert), to perfect the miraculous, powerful human spirit that is you ““ the inside of a star made aware of its own existence.
You won the impossible lottery of life ““ a prize-drawing with odds so small, the human mind can’t even comprehend the number (it’s 1 in 1 with 2.6 million zeros after it). At the moment of conception, you are gifted a golden ticket for “One Admission to Life on Earth”, stamped with a simple tagline ““ “Be Happy. Love. Create. Enjoy the Ride.”
Your nine-month journey is arduous, and upon arrival, you’re promised some basic stuff that sounds pretty cool:
80-or-so-odd trips around the sun ““ or 29,000 Earth spins.
A functioning body with five weird sensations that perceive the states of matter around you.
Eyes to look at things ““ Sunsets, mountains, baby tigers, trees, naked humans, clouds, the indignant face of your mother-in-law ““ there is an endless amount of stuff to look at.
Beautiful weather and breathable air ““ Besides our planet, it’s really shitty for trillions of miles in every direction.
Endless amounts of time to think and ponder ““ The Spanish Inquisition, baking, astronomy, 20th century literature ““ there’s a lot of stuff to fill your brain with.
The power to create ““ Art, film, sculptures, poetry ““ a human mind is a blank canvas with unlimited potential.
Oh, and you’re out of the food chain (which is nice).
Life is short. You are animated for a brief time ““ a speck on the cosmic calendar ““ only to return to the impending void from which you came. There are no rules for life on Earth, just imaginary ones. As a human, you are an empty vessel whose actions produce measurable results in the universe; a clearing with unlimited potential to create. A human life is truly amazing.
Yet, when casting an eye over humanity, what do you see? A huge disconnect between the spectacular nature of reality and how we act in our daily lives.
We fight with our neighbors. We gossip. We spend 9-5 doing things we don’t like. We pay more attention to rich housewives than the poor and suffering. We judge. We take vacations from our lives. We care more about the score of a baseball game than world hunger. We complain. We sit in front of a screen more than we give. We limit. We create artificial barriers. We settle ““ for ordinary jobs, ordinary relationships, and ordinary lives.
Why do we limit ourselves? What holds us back as a species? Why don’t we live up to our human potential?
It’s simple. We’re human ““ an imperfect creature with some fundamental flaws in our programming. We possess ancient evolutionary traits from a bygone era, hardwired into our machinery. These traits, coupled with our life experiences and social constraints, limit what’s possible and reinforce our mediocrity. This can be altered. Through discovering these flaws and taking action to untap the human potential already inside you, will you reclaim your human power and a freedom you didn’t even know existed.
Human Flaw #1 ““ Our Fear
Picture your great-great-great-great-great10,000 grandfather. Let’s name him Grook. Grook was a hairy, highly unpleasant man; a hunter-gatherer who used specialized tools to survive in the wild. He didn’t have time to worry about his long-term career goals or ponder which Netflix series to watch next. He battled other tribes, hunted animals and probably raped people. Oh Grook”¦ He was a social animal, developing his understanding of the world through other humans in his tribe.
Grook’s survival was dependent on fitting in. He developed specific tribal fears which helped him conform with the group. This was logical. Grook was either accepted ““ and reaped the benefits of power in numbers ““ or exiled, to live as a lonely vagabond. Being a social outcast was a death sentence. If the tribe thought he was a real weirdo, you probably wouldn’t be alive today. Grook operated with three tribal fears:
Judging ““ He constantly stayed on top of other members of his tribe, or they could steal his food, rape his women, or do God knows what.
Being right ““ Decisions were life or death. It was critical to be right; leading the tribe to a source of water, not a pack of hungry lions.
Looking good ““ Grook passed on his DNA by being a strong, desirable member of the tribe.
Fast forward 200,000 years ““ we no longer need to fit in to survive. Decisions are not life or death. Being a social outcast in not a death sentence. Yet we still judge, want to be right, and want to look good ““ and get the same negative gut reaction when we don’t fit in. Our ancient DNA is stuck in the past while the modern world marches on. We compare ourselves to others, worry, obsess over our appearance, care too much what other people think, instantly judge, and try to gain admiration and respect by fitting in ““ fitting in with a tribe that no longer exists.
All social fears can be reduced to two simple motivations:
To look good
To not look bad.
It’s that simple. We witness “looking good” everywhere. Scan Facebook. The “check out my amazing relationship” photos, the “I’m living quite the life” brags, the cryptic, “something bad is happening to me” cries for attention, all highlight our desperate need for approval ““ our biological need to project a positive image of ourselves and look good to the tribe. Sometimes I want to hug the middle-aged guy with the $300,000 Ferrari and say, “Everything will be okay. You’re good enough buddy. You have nothing left to prove.”
In order to look good and do normal things that everyone agrees are normal things, we developed a system of mass agreement called:
Human Flaw #2 ““ Our Society
“Society knows perfectly well how to kill a man and has methods more subtle than death.” ““ Andre Gide.
We live in a world of social agreements ““ a matrix of reality that shapes who we are. It’s the unquestioned backbone of society that deems what is and isn’t normal. This is considered a “consensus reality”, or an agreed-upon reality based on a consensus view. It’s an imaginary construction, crafted long before our birth.
What we eat for breakfast, the length of a work day, the proper age to get married, family values, what it means to be a man, table manners, how we act in public ““ all consensus realities. You can see it, I can see it, but we didn’t sign up for it. It’s like a traffic jam ““ we’re all in it, but can’t change a damn thing.
Think of how much social agreements limit what’s possible:
“I can’t change jobs, no one will hire someone my age. I can’t take my kids on vacation, I’m only allowed two weeks off. It’s okay I’m bored at work, most people hate their jobs. I need to be realistic. I need to buy a house like everyone else; then I’ll be happy.” Our societal pessimism and resignation construct a prison of our own creation; an artificial barrier to what’s possible.
The worst of these social agreements is the idea of busyness.
“Hey Adam. How are you?”
“I’ve been sooo busy lately. Everything’s been so crazy.”
“So do you want to hang out tonight?”
“I’ll have to check, I’m sooo busy. I might have a few hours after work. I’ll let you know.”
Busyness is a brag disguised as a complaint. It feels good to be busy. It makes us feel significant, like people rely on us, and we matter.
“I’m an important human being! I have a full schedule and people that rely on me! Why aren’t you as busy as me?!?!”
Say, “I’m not doing anything today,” and get a horrified glare of disapproval.
What are we so busy doing? Finding a cure for malaria? Stopping world hunger? Moving the human race forward? No. We’re filling out proposals, creating spreadsheets, writing emails, taking phone calls, and sitting in meetings ““ staying busy for busyness’s sake; working our asses off for someone else’s future. Punching the clock and spending half our waking life doing shit we don’t want to do. All of us need to get comfortable with the idea that what we’re doing does not matter.
On this rock in space, all this busyness ““ all the forfeited lunch breaks, time away from family, work-induced stress, and late night email checking ““ is completely and utterly meaningless, and an insult to human dignity. Will any of it matter 100 years from now? 10 even? It may pay the bills and fill up our agendas, but it’s not why we were put on Earth.
Hold up. Let me get this straight. We’re floating on a rock in space at 67,000 miles per hour in a vast an incredible universe, our bodies are made up of 93% stardust, and millions of generations of life had to combine at just the right time to create you at this very moment ““ this moment when you’re sitting in your office, bored out of your mind ““ dead inside.
Humans are worker ants that never leave the anthill ““ never questioning what’s outside their patch of dirt. People laying down at night without enough time to question our own routine; without enough time to just be with themselves. People glancing around, seeing everyone doing the same thing, and believing it’s okay. I’m here to remind you it’s not okay.
Remember the golden ticket we received at birth, with the tagline that read “Be Happy. Love. Create. Enjoy the Ride.”?
Society has it’s own tagline, and it reads:
Listen to your parents. Be a good student and get good grades. Do your homework. Perform extracurricular activities. Go to college. Get good grades. Land a good job. Work hard. Get promoted. Settle down. Buy a house. Spend your money. Have kids. Save for retirement. Pay your taxes. Retire. Enjoy yourself. Die.
This blueprint is a race to nowhere.
It leaves us stressed, unhappy, and unfulfilled. We plan and save and dream of “one day”, pushing happiness into the future. We settle for tolerable jobs making just enough for a mortgage, a few vacations and retirement. We fit in. We put our head down, work hard, and stay busy, ignoring life’s precious moments. In our endless pursuit of the American Dream, we never wake up; ending up with a life we didn’t ask for. Our self-expression, our belief in what’s possible and our very humanity is murdered by society’s collective, self-limiting, negative beliefs. We experience a predictable, reasonable, ordinary life, and then we die.
Thoreau on life advice in Walden:
“I have lived some thirty years on this planet, and I have yet to hear the first syllable of valuable or even earnest advice from my seniors. They have told me nothing, and probably cannot tell me anything to the purpose. Here is life, an experiment to a great extent untried by me.”
How do we break free from this predictable, linear life path? How do we escape this limited way of being that starts in our minds and is reinforced in society? First, we break free from our past.
Human Flaw #3 ““ Our Past
“The human mind is a wanton storyteller”¦ We see faces in clouds and tortillas, fortunes in tea leaves and planetary movements. It is quite difficult to prove a real pattern as distinct from a superficial illusion.” ““ Richard Dawkins
Your past is a movie; a dramatic narrative of every event in your life. In your story, there are heroes and villains, acts, sets, producers and cameramen ““ it’s all focused on you. And it’s all an illusion. As the hero of your story, it’s awesome when you win and it really sucks when you lose. In your past, there’s a single event ““ a bully picks on you when you’re 8, you get rejected publicly by a cute girl in art class, you strike out in the 9th inning of your championship game, and you attach drama to it. You feel defeated, embarrassed, unworthy and unloved.
Life is a series of random events. There is no story, complicated drama, or horrifying moment of embarrassment that everyone remembers ““ that’s all in your mind. The past is a hypothetical reinterpretation that no longer exists in reality. Yet we carry our past with us our whole lives, defining our present and future on what’s already occurred. We say, “I have always been this way, so it’s who I am.” We’re stuck.
Humans are meaning-making machines. We can’t escape it. This meaning allows us to be winners and losers, heroes and victims. We suffer, justify, and make excuses for why things are the way they are. We beat ourselves up for things that happened days, months or even years ago. We live in the same reality day-after-day-after-day. We let our past dictate our future. Unless we change this, we’ll be constantly falling into the same patterns over and over again.
Pretend your past is stored on a hard drive, with files and folders consisting of the memories of everything that ever happened to you ““ that family trip to Michigan, the first day at your new job, the time you and your ex split up ““ everything. This hard drive is flowing with terabytes of memories, stored haphazardly in folders, with files opening every so often, pushing themselves into your conscious thought.
You also have another hard drive ““ your future hard drive. This is filled with what you expect to happen in the future ““ driving to work tomorrow, meeting your friend for lunch, fixing your kitchen, moving into a bigger house ““ everything you imagine might happen. However like a lot of computer programs, there is a major glitch. A hacker snuck in and fucked with your hard drives. She copied all of the files from your past hard drive and pasted them into your future hard drive.
This is how you operate. Since your past is your only reference point, you view your future through the lens of your past. You imagine going to the same job, the same meetings, having the same kind of relationships, the same level of success, and living a predictable, almost-certain future.
These assumptions, based on an imaginary past, restrict what’s possible. This leads you to say things like, “I failed at my business; so I’ll fail again. My girlfriend broke up with me; I’m unworthy of love. I’ve always had an office job; there’s no way I can travel the world. I’m shy; I can’t be a public speaker. My life has always been average, so it always will be.”
Now your past is a shitty movie that tells you the sequel’s gonna suck too. Terrific.
Unleashing Your Human Potential
Up to this point, your life has been held in check. You’ve been controlled by your ancient fears, repressed by a mediocre society, and limited by your imaginary view of life, through the lens of your past.
This is the best news you can possibly hear.
As the corporate drones clasp desperately to their tedious, safe existence, you have the opportunity to step outside of yourself, to be courageous, to do things that scare the shit out of you and create a life worth remembering. While everyone else is asleep at the wheel, you have the innate human potential to change your community, your society, the world ““ because 99.9% of people aren’t doing it.
If you can see your fears for what they are ““ innate defects in your programming, not something that defines you ““ you can bypass them.
If you can see society for what it is ““ a bunch of ordinary worker ants reinforcing mediocrity”“ it doesn’t hold you back.
If you can see the past for what it is ““ an imaginary drama with no real significance ““ it loses its grip on you.
The goal of this blog is to empower those who feel powerless to impact the world in their own way.
However, motivation doesn’t work. How many times have you read motivational quotes online (from your oh-so enlightened Facebook friends)?
“Do It Now. Sometimes “˜later’ becomes “˜never’.”
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
Blah Blah Blah.
“If I read enough of these quotes, I’ll be the next Steve Jobs! I’ll be able to accomplish anything!” (As you sit in your underwear and go back to browsing Reddit).
Learning concepts doesn’t produce results either. Reading a weight loss article telling you to eat less and exercise more isn’t going to get your fat ass off the couch. Being informed about starvation in Africa isn’t going to change the fact that a child dies from it every 4 seconds (161 since you started reading this). And reading this blog post isn’t going to miraculously change your life.
What Will Unleash My Human Potential?
You transform your life by becoming nothing; a clean slate; an empty canvas; who you were at birth. From this world of nothing, you have the power to create anything. You ignore fear, society, and the past to invent a future of your own design. You become your fully-expressed self ““ independent of failing, being right, looking good, or fitting in ““unattached to all meaning and only focused on the result.
After reading this, you will still be on the sidelines ““ thinking, planning and figuring out what it all means in your head, analyzing the validity of the arguments, and judging the quality of the work. Stop that. There’s nothing to figure out. Get out of your head and into the world.
Take action now.
Put an imaginary wall behind you that blocks your past, and let’s you forge ahead fearlessly. Keep your word. Lead by example. If there’s anything from your past that you’re holding onto ““ regret, a failed relationship, or feeling of guilt ““ make a simple phone call and erase it now. Apologize and move on. Mend your broken fences. Hug your kids; tell them how amazing they are. Don’t stress about your job; money won’t make you happy anyway. Take an extended lunch break ““ or hell, a whole week off. Give to others; fulfillment comes from making a difference. Laugh your ass off. Smile. And don’t take life too seriously.
Finally, please remember, you’re only floating on a rock through space; all the rules are made up, and none of it matters. So go invent your life. But most importantly:
Be Happy. Love. Create. Enjoy the Ride.
My name is Adam and this is Adam on Earth ““ I hope you enjoyed the first post. Adam on Earth is a blog that will shift your perspective on what it means to be human.
I want to be that mischievous kid knocking on your classroom window, urging you to come out and play ““ to rebel against what’s accepted and to stop taking life so seriously. I want you to discover things you didn’t know about yourself, conquer your mind, and design a blueprint for your life that leaves you happy, empowered and fulfilled. This new perspective ““ and the actions you take ““ will inspire you to live powerfully and impact the world in your own way. This isn’t motivation; it’s action. Whether it’s creating your first $100 million company, becoming the next Stephen Spielberg, starting an International non-profit or solving the world’s water crisis, I’m here to tell you, you’re going to do it. It’s not a fucking clichÃ© ““ it’s the truth.
Assignment 1 ““ Comment and answer this question:
What is the number one thing holding you back from living up to your human potential?
Original Source of Article Posted with Kind Permission of Adam Enfroy.