It was another hot morning in Dubai. The sun rays were over-lighting the french-styled living room and the blue sky was clear of the sand dust storm from the night before. I had just finished breakfast with the kids and the housekeepers were busy cleaning the suite. Usher was blaring on the radio and life was good. One of the best things about living in a hotel is having freshly pressed linens, smooth pillow cases and the always empty garbage bins. The kids and I were about to go on our daily swim in the outdoor pool before meeting a local girlfriend to have a catered Lebanese BBQ lunch served poolside. I put on my new bikini that I bought yesterday at the Emirates mall and looked in the mirror as I usually do. Maybe it was the first time I ever looked myself in the eyes, but whatever it was, today was different. I stood there staring at myself and instead of seeing my outer reflection, I was looking at how I was feeling on the inside. Clarity.
This day was the day that started my melt-down… which now I call a self-discovery, aka life crisis, aka pivot. I am in my early 30’s and from the outside I seemingly had it all going on. I have a loving & good looking husband that makes good money, I live in a 4.5 star hotel with servants, I have the cutest kids – one girl, one boy, I own real estate in different countries, I have real friends that care about me, everyone I love is healthy, I have hobbies I enjoy doing… How is it possible that I am not content with my life? Am I seriously going to mess this up?
The question that changed my life…
Inside, something in me was not complete. I think Oprah, calls this an ‘a-ha moment’, because something opened up in my heart that day that told me it was time. Time for what? What matters is not what one can see on the outside, but the inner truth we all uniquely seek on the inside. This is our soul talking and what motivates us to live an authentic life. I had no choice but to be honest with myself and let me tell you, this is not an easy thing to do because we all have been taught by society to be a certain way, achieve certain goals, dress a certain way, wake up at a certain time, work a certain amount of hours, save a certain amount for retirement and the list goes on.As I looked into the mirror, I found myself asking… ‘Is this it?’ This single little question has been the catalyst of my existence ever since. As millions before have attempted, I too, am now on the mission to find, yes you guessed it, the meaning of life.
To get to the next level, we need to shake these social stigmas and be honest with ourselves first. What are you supposed to do with your life?
Before I continue, know:
- Going on a self-discovery journey might lead us right back to where we started. E.g. The meaning of life might already be right in front of us. Kids? Love? Connection? Curiosity? Time wasted by thinking too much!
- There might not be a definite answer to the ‘meaning of life’ and that it is all about the journey.
- These are indeed first world issues and perhaps we are so blessed in life that we are making irrelevant issues simply to keep our minds entertained. E.g. If I had healthy issues, I wouldn’t be on the road of discovery because I would be on the road of recovery.
If you are reading this, then most likely you are just like me and very blessed. By blessed I mean, we live in the first world with clean water that comes out of our taps, we have shoes on our feet, we live in heated houses, we have social mobility to be whoever we want to be, etc. The world is yours for the taking, so if your life is not up to par with what you want it to be, know that you live in a country where you can truly make a change if you choose to… you just have to choose it.
The Luxury of First World Issues
Let’s make an effort not to waste this luxury of freedom by being unappreciative and woeful. We are so lucky that our issues are those of the first world – Eg. Can’t fit your pants cause you ate too much… Cant afford the latest iPhone… The guy you like didn’t call you back. See how ridiculous it sounds?
Take your first world issues, laugh at them, and then appreciate that they are a gift rather than problems. This is your chance to be a higher level type of human being because you have been given ‘fortune’s cookie’ and you owe it to the unfortunate to do something with it…not just eat it!
(Thank you Princeton Baccalaureate 2012: Michael Lewis for your very inspiring speech on Fortune’s Cookie – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiQ_T5C3hIM – A must watch for those who seek inspiration)
So the first step of my journey was to figure out what was ‘missing’ inside of me. I made a conscious decision to do whatever it took to figure this out and knew that it was not going to be pretty. I wasn’t ready to face my darkest demons… but like everything else, I seem to jump first – ask questions later.
I listed all my fears and insecurities: What am I scared of? Why am I so angry? What makes me hurt? What holds me back?
I listed all my passions and dreams: What have I always wanted to do? What if time/money/talent was no issue? What am I good at? What in life do I regret? What is on my bucket list?
I spent a good 3 months in discovery phase. During this time, my relationships went to very highs and lows naturally, and finally I came to a conclusion that I needed to stop thinking and just go follow my heart and start doing. I can ponder and what-if until the cows come home, but without execution it’s pointless.
I left the comforts of Dubai and came back to Canada and started a business. [Lucky Lady Games
Like all things in life, greatness does not come without costs and this includes being fearless. Self-discovery can be recognized as selfish or narcissistic by those who reject the path of convention or are comfortable with an average life. Unfortunately for me, I have no desire to settle for less than remarkable so I have no choice but to go on this journey. Know that it’s not your job to please and be everyone’s best friend. This process is about you. Michael Jordan sums it up… “To be successful you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don’t isolate.”
How to Change the World in 7 Steps
- Have the desire and passion to be more.
- Realize you don’t have to live your life the way society expects you to live it.
- Be willing to make sacrifices/changes in your life to make it happen.
- Question your existence. What you want out of life?
- Offer something to the world that no one else can.
- Be ready to give. Be open to receive.
- Start living a life beyond just yourself… live for the greater good of humanity.
Lessons are everywhereOver the past year, I’ve been open to new teachings by people from all walks of life. Every person that enters your life can teach you a life lesson if you are just willing to listen and receive. One big lesson I learned this year was ‘If you choose to do anything, do it 100% or don’t do it at all’. This may be the big differentiator between those that are great from those that are average. Great people don’t waste a lot of time on menial distractions. Life has too many options, so pick the most important ones and dedicate yourself or move on. It’s that simple.
It’s Not Just Me, The Whole World is Dying for Truth…In these days of social media and endless streams of user-created content, the world is simply one big noisy distraction of ‘useless’ content. By ‘useless’ I simply mean, it adds no benefit to our tomorrow. Let’s not be the by-products of MTV, mass consumption and gross fast food. We don’t need to make more money to buy more stuff that we don’t need.
Wouldn’t it be great to just be free? Start by figuring out your own personal goals and seek truth by being authentic and in-tune with your desires. Remember that freedom is a luxury so don’t waste it being mediocre.Work hard, be authentic, keep learning, be kind and most importantly don’t give up. It’s not going to be easy!
Until next time, be someone people fight for…
Oh and the meaning of life is… I’m still working on that. 🙂
Further read on non-conformity… Buy this book “The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World” By Chris Guillebeau