You’ve seen the movies, or read the books (there are scores of them). The main character finds themself in a monotonous job they hate. They chose the career because their parents pushed them to it, or a mentor encouraged them to choose something secure. While each story unfolds differently, the final lesson is always the same: in order to find true happiness in your life and your career, you have to follow YOUR dreams and not someone else’s. When you choose to allow someone else to tell you what you should do with your life, you are applying their filter.
Applying someone else’s filter can influence more than just your career. For example, maybe you want to learn how to downhill ski, but when you tell your sister, she says, “Oh, I think you would do better cross-country skiing.” Or perhaps you dream of hiking the high peaks of each state and when you tell your best friend, he says, “Why do that when you haven’t hiked all the peaks in your own town?”
When you toss away your idea and move forward with someone else’s, you become stuck because it’s no longer your idea. When you accept someone’s plan, everything you do moving forward goes through their filter instead of your own. You gave your power away, and now you fulfill their dreams. When you try to fulfill their dreams, one of two things happens:
- You get stuck because you need their approval. You continually go back to them for advice or approval, because it’s their idea, not yours. You constantly need their guidance to know how they would approach the next step.
- You get stuck because you aren’t actually interested in following the idea.
In both cases, you don’t realize why you are stuck. You think maybe it’s become too hard. Or perhaps something blocks your path that you just can’t work through. In reality, you are stuck because you are pursuing someone else’s idea. You have no desire to follow that idea through to success because you are looking through their filter.
Do you enjoy doing something that most people find boring? Maybe you get great satisfaction pulling weeds, balancing a budget or changing your car’s oil. Think about how you describe this activity to others.
Let’s say, you enjoy balancing your budget. One day someone asks you about your evening and you reply, “Ah, I didn’t do anything exciting. I just balanced our budget.” You just applied someone else’s filter to your joy. Why do you downplay things that you love to do when you think the other person may find the activity boring? It’s because you are looking at your actions through someone else’s filter. Instead say, “I had a fantastic night balancing our budget! I just love knowing where all my money is going.” Can you feel the difference?
You may also apply someone else’s filter through the words you choose to describe your life. Concerned about what others think, you water it down hoping they will accept your excuses and not judge you. For example, maybe you describe yourself as a packrat, unorganized, perfectionist, lazy, chaotic or stingy. When in reality you love spending time outdoors so your house is full of outdoor equipment. Your system for organization includes things on your counter so you don’t forget about them. You find joy in having a clean house. You watch TV to relax. You enjoy the active noise of children running around. You feel peace when you control your money. When you choose to see yourself through someone else’s lens, you choose to apply their filter to WHO YOU ARE. When you like the way you live, but choose to describe your choices negatively, you apply other people’s filters to your life. Constantly looking at your life through other people’s lenses makes you unhappy and unfulfilled.
As you learn to rePURPOSE your Mind, to accept your ideas as your own, and block others from redirecting your idea to theirs, you will find your path more successful and enjoyable. You will find true happiness in your life and your career. You will follow YOUR dreams.