What Do You Want to Be?
I beseech you: watch this 11 minute TED talk by 13 year old Logan LaPlante. Seriously, do it now!
Here’s what I noticed:
Although it may appear to be a talk about the education system, Logan touches on something far more important than that. He addresses the distinction between what you are doing and what you are being. This is absolutely critical, folks. It’s the basis of the adage
“We’re human beings, not human doings.”
So many people find that concept obfuscating, and it’s only perpetuated by that ridiculous question we ask children, what do you want to be when you grow up? I’m certain this is connected to why countless people believe (not necessarily consciously) that they are defined by their jobs. Our language patterns reveal this.
What do you do?
I’m an event manager/accountant/teacher/insert your profession here.
I’m no different. When someone asks me what I do I say I’m a Brain Trainer. Once upon a time though, before I felt wholly aligned with my vocation, I would respond with “Depends when. When I wake up, I drop a deuce. After that, I get ready for work…” After they chuckle they typically clarify the question: what do you do for work?
When did that become the most popular question to ask when you first meet someone? Moreover, WHY?
What would happen instead if we began to direct our focus not to what we’re doing but rather, how are we being? What might change?
Heaps, I reckon. When I first began to shift my focus from doing to being, through the tutelage of Deb Maes, here’s what I discovered:
1. What we’re seeking in life is a feeling. It’s contentment, joy, inspiration, etc. In my case, it’s graceful and grateful. Danielle LaPorte talks about this too in her book The Desire Map: A Guide To Creating Goals With Soul. When we’re focused on what we’re doing, we often lose sight of the most salient thing: how are we feeling? This is the birthplace of the saying, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”
2. Being and feeling are the same, but doing and feeling are not. I used to do a lot that I didn’t feel like doing. I did it because I felt like I “should” – because I was obligated to. I didn’t know how to extricate myself from my own perception of external expectations. When you focus on how you are being, it quickly becomes evident that you choose how you are being. No one can make you be anything. To think otherwise is to cast yourself as the role of the victim. As the writer, director, producer, and protagonist in the story of your life, you’d probably pick a more empowering role, right?
3. Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” It may appear contradictory to my last point but it’s really complementary. What she’s actually saying is that people will remember how they feel around you. The best way to invite others to feel amazing around you is to commit to feeling that way yourself. Our mirror neurons are great at detecting and replicating others’ experience of life. Hence, the better you feel, the more likely others will feel better in your presence.
It all comes back to how are you being. This is why I named my meetup group Brilliantly Blissful Beings – what we do is always secondary to how we are choosing to be. In Logan’s case, he’s already identified that being happy and healthy is what he aspires to now as much as when he grows up. How brilliant that he’s come to that knowing at his age!
Let’s ask better questions. Questions are powerful because they provide a platform for consciousness to play, and often in that, allow concepts that are below the level of consciousness to rise up. So here is my invitation to you: focus on how you are being.