I used to live in the pool. As a competitive swimmer, I spent upwards of four hours per day swimming laps, training to be as fiercely competitive as I could be. I was naturally gifted in the water, but the downfall of my talent was that I couldn’t stop looking around when I raced. In the sport of swimming you want to keep your head still. The body follows what the head down, so to minimize turbulence and to maximize hydrodynamics, it is important to focus your eyes on the line below.
Over the years I earned myself the backstroke nickname of Stevie Wonder. The back-and-forth of my head from side-to-side drove my coaches crazy and they swore that I looked like the great Wonder when he sat down to a piano. Not only did my swivel neck make me look like a fool in the water, but also, more importantly it slowed me down.
We always slow down when we waste time looking around to see what others are doing. We all have more in common with my backstroke bad habit than we might realize: we all waste time, energy and speed comparing ourselves in futility to others. Comparison chokes us out; it steals our grace and talent right from under our own eyes and it tells us to worry about how we measure up.
When the focus of your life is more directed towards impressing or competing with others, you have sacrificed your ability to live your own life. You are living for others rather than living for yourself, and as you do, you will lose site on how to actually live.
The moment you stop living for yourself, you have shifting from living life to just trying to survive and make it through the day. Every time you worry about how others perceive you, you have stopped your ability to live in the moment.
We tend to worry about what others think of us because, fundamentally, many of us lack the basic self-confidence that we need to flourish as human beings and live the life of joy that we were meant to live. By allowing others to define us based on their opinions and influences, we are not only running from our true selves but we are allowing others to define our existence. We need to know our true selves in order to break free from this natural tendency to allow others to define us. The happiest people in the world are those who know themselves and know what makes them happy; they exude confidence and dance like no one is watching.
Most people, regardless of gender, struggle with confidence. That means that every one of us is fighting to achieve that delicate balance of living for ourselves and not for others. When confidence is lacking, the root is either from having too-obsessive focus on others’ opinions or in an ignorance of one’s true identity. A confident mind is unachievable without a deep grasp on what lies within the base of one’s personality. It is impossible to be strong and confident if your focus is solely on other people’s standard and perceptions.
Eventually I was able to break my bad habit. I raced successfully in college pretending to race with horse blinders on, and it worked. Bad habits can be broken. You can break your bad habit too. Stop looking around at others; all you have to be is yourself. The more you are yourself, the more alive you will feel. The more alive you feel, the more you will maximize life and serve others along the way.
Break the habit, your neck is tried of swiveling around so much.
Today’s blog post was a partial excerpt from my book The Skinny, Sexy Mind. If you enjoyed today’s blog post, you’ll want to purchase my book at Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/The-Skinny-Sexy-Mind-Ultimate-ebook/dp/B008HUK5QE#