When I was in my late 20s, I was dating this amazing guy who had a family I loved. One day we were visitng his parents and he wanted to do a thing with his dad, so I was thrilled to have a day with his mom. We decide to see a movie then go to lunch. I was intimidated by her, but she was akways kind and approachable.
I don’t even remember which movie it was, but we go in and right from the start it’s horrifically violent, which wasn’t what I expected at all. So I’m shocked, and his mom leans over and asks what I’m thinking so far.
And, unsure of what to say here, I’m like, ‘It’s… fine I guess. Maybe it’ll get better?”
She immediately says, “I think it’s horrible and too violent. We should go.”
I say, “but we’ve already paid for the tickets…” And she’s like, “Who cares? Why would we sit through it if we don’t like it?”
I was blown away. Here I am, close to 30 years old, and I just learned that you can pay for something, realize you’ve changed your mind, and just… walk away.”
My parent didn’t give me the option to not like something they paid for. We were poor so if money was involved, I better like it, or even fake it. Walking out of the theater? I was shocked.
Better late than never, I guess.
So, what’s this about? Why do we make ourselves tolerate shit that makes us unhappy?
I remember I was leading a retreat once and a common theme was participants feeling pressure to make the right decisions – about career, relationships, you name it. One participant in particular said there was this voice that kept chiming in, telling them they were stupid and not able to pull off whatever they set their minds to.
As a result, they never stuck with anything, always doubting if the decision was the right one and wondering if they’d be able to follow through, changing their mind again and again.
So I asked them, “If you don’t follow through or change your mind, what do you make it mean about you?”
They said it meant that they would be a failure.
And I asked, “So what?”
So what if you change your mind and you spent money and time on that thing and then you learned you didn’t want to do it?
And who decides what’s a failure anyway?
I’ve dealt with this before plenty of times in my own life, especially because as a child, my parents were like, “You don’t like it? Too bad. I’ve already paid for it – so like it.”
I spent quite a lot of my young-adult life not even realizing that I could walk away from something just because I didn’t like it – especially if I paid for it.
Now, I’m not saying there aren’t hard things we have to do that might suck on our way to creating our ideal life, but it’s ridiculous to think we should stick with something just because we started it.
If we find ourselves unsure about what our purpose is and are exploring things, it’s best if we move on from things we hate. (Sounds obvious when we say it, but it’s not uncommon that we forget).
Instead, we can use the time and energy to get clear about what we want – and that happens with exploring what feels good.
Sometimes clarity comes through action, like trying out a new practice or hobby. That means we might be wandering and trying LOTS of things.
This gets uncomfortable when we think we should follow through on something just because we don’t want it to look like a “mistake,” or for us to seem flaky.
Then we feel pressure to pick something else, instead of taking the time to go inward and reflect, which is another way we can gain clarity.
But who says that changing our minds about something is a mistake in the first place, right? Last I checked, it’s only a mistake if you didn’t learn anything from it.
We allow other people’s disappointments to enter our brain… “There she goes again. He’s such a slacker. They’ll never figure it out.” But that’s all just NOISE. Static.
And beyond that static is the best you’ve got at any given moment. That’s all we can ever ask of ourselves – to make the best decision we can with the knowledge and information and resources we have at that moment.
We think that decisions are either right or wrong, but in my opinion, the only “bad” decisions we make are the ones that are made when we are out of alignment and aren’t in touch with our true selves.
Deciding whether something was the right or wrong thing is a choice. How we feel about any decision – no matter the outcome – is a choice. And who decides this? US.
What matters from there is how we feel, how we make our next decision, and the energy behind it.
Are there choices that end up with us feeling discomfort and pain? Really really difficult emotions? Did they cost us money, time, and energy?
That doesn’t make them wrong.
To wrap this up, here’s a short list of just some of the things I’ve started in life but never finished:
:: My first marriage
:: My first doctoral program
:: A sailing trip I booked, and I losta bunch of money for my deposit, but ended up with more free time that I really needed
So you see, it’s possible. You have the freedom to change your mind. You don’t need to justify it with anything more than your heart. Even if it costs time, money, and energy.
Because, rebel, nothing is not worth staying true to yourself.
You will learn:
// Why we force ourselves to complete something we’ve started – even if we hate it
// How to decide whether to stick with it something
// Whether the “right” decision exists (hint: no)
// How to make every choice worth it – even if that choice is to walk away
// Episode 8: How to Get Clear About What You Want
// Episode 66: How to Fail Perfectly
// Episode 121: Clarity Is a Decision
// If you want to deeply dive into this work immersed in nature on retreats and with a small group of like-minded seekers connecting regularly throughout your journey, apply for the next cohort of the Adventure Mastermind at AdventureMastermind.com It’s unlike any program you will ever do in your life. Ever.
// Want something more self-paced with access to weekly group support? Check out Freedom School – the community for ALL things related to freedom, inside and out.
It’s where you can get individual help applying the concepts to your own life, and where you can learn new coaching tools not shared on the podcast that will blow your mind even more. It’s also where you can connect over all things freedom with other wanderers, just like you and me. It’s my favorite place to hang on the interweb, and it will change your life, I guarantee it. Come join us at JoinFreedomSchool.com. I can’t wait to see you there.
// If you’re new to the squad, grab the Rebel Buddhist Toolkit I created at RebelBuddhist.com. It has all you need to start creating a life of more freedom, adventure, and purpose. You’ll also get access to the Rebel Buddhist private group, and tune in every Wednesday at 10:30am PST as I go live with new inspiration and topics.