How to stop listening to life advice and get a life.
Can we talk about podcasts? Can we just take a moment and acknowledge the tsunami that is Podcastlandia? Does anyone ask their mother or their friends or even their doctor for advice anymore? When you have the nurturing virtual hug that is podcasts, why bother?
There’s a podcast for when you’re sad, a podcast for when you’re broke, a podcast for when you’re single, a podcast for when you’re married– and I’m sure there’s a podcast for a lonely, broke polygamist… really, I’m sure there is.
I’ve got no gripe with this. In fact I may be part of the problem. You see, I love information. Cold hard, unwavering information. It feels so reassuring, it pushes the feelings away – it makes me feel invincible…after, 30-odd minutes, of course.
But I have a problem: I may be addicted. When I’m feeling sad, when I need clarity on how to meditate (again), when I need to finally get my life together and master the perfect morning routine, who do I call? That cute little “i” with a halo around it… iTunes, my little purple angel.
Now there’s nothing wrong with this, in moderation (I think a podcast told me that). But I’m starting to recognize a pattern – a hole in The Matrix, if you will. One podcast is telling me to just accept myself exactly as I am, another is telling me that if I follow this specific regimen, I’ll find true success. Another is telling me to get rid of everything and live in a house the size of a closet and another says to follow your joy… but what if my joy is really big houses?
I’m certainly not saying that podcasts are bad (please don’t ever ever take them away, please!). Podcasts offer a plethora of valuable tips but many do so under a flawed premise. Just because someone finds success does not mean it’s your success. Just because a news reporter found meditation to be the cure-all does not mean you need to follow his regimen, crown him the King of Peace and buy his app for $10.99. It sure would be great for him, though.
The self-help industry depends on you not being okay and it thrives on your confusion. What’s fascinating is that similarly the tobacco industry’s motto during its darkest hour was: “doubt is our product.” Isn’t that interesting? Could it be that information is the new drug?
As a creative person, the unknown can create a certain amount of anxiety – or it can create freedom. It reminds me of when I was a kid and I made up stories with my best friend. We were writing stories in the air and would surprise each other by the intriguing scenarios and plot twists we created all by ourselves. Sure, it’s good to know how to remedy your cold or fix a tire or even get through a breakup but there are certain things about life that are best learned by doing.
So instead of reaching for my next hit, er, I mean episode, I’ve started to think that maybe just maybe, I need to dig a little deeper. Maybe I need to sit with my emotions, gather more information and see what my intuition is telling me. I don’t need to follow what someone deems “the answer.” I don’t need to fit someone else’s mold. I can find out what works for me by getting out there and taking action… taking that class, calling that person, taking the first step, experimenting, living.
I am the expert on my own life – and I think you are your own expert too. There’s no one right answer but there’s an answer that makes sense for you. So before you start following some guru, realize that you may already have everything you need within yourself. .
Featured image via Giphy.
Writer, Designer, Music-er, Cooker…professional procrastinator
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