The Need Machine: Filtering Out the Garbage and Keeping the Gold

Trash

Summary: You can spend a lifetime chasing your tail without ever getting ahead.

1. Killing Yourself to Keep Up

I don’t know about you, but I have a very long list of movies that I personally have been meaning to watch, and even more that people tell me I should watch. Not to mention the amount of book and restaurant recommendations that I have been sitting on for who-knows-how-long.

The fact of the matter is: As hard as you and I try, we will never get rid of all items on those lists. Even if we had the time, it’s like doing dishes: As soon as all the dishes are washed, someone uses one up and the process starts all again. This infinite Cycle of Wants can get overwhelming at times. It is easy to get lost in it. So, we try to take shortcuts around it, skimming through dense reading material and re-posting hit videos before we have had the time to watch them ourselves. (Guilty on all charges.)

2. Introspect to Awaken

My advice to you: Stop it. Take a moment, go outside, take a walk, and ask yourself: Who am I and who do I, specifically, want to become? I don’t mean to send you on a deep, metaphysical journey. No. Nobody needs that. (Although a little meditation never hurts anyone.) I just want you to realize that there is a war going on, a war for your identity.

Businessmen, bishops, and bureaucrats: they’re all fighting to stake a claim in your heart- not necessarily in a malicious way, just with the knowledge that we only have so much time and resources and they would like a slice. You can try your darndest to appease all of them. I definitely have made a similar attempt. The problem is, when you do that, both you and those around you get a very convoluted idea of who you are.

When you’re everybody, you’re nobody. You’re jumpy and non-committal; and in this era of digital distraction, that’s totally cool, but, in the long run, commitment is a game changer. Ask any friend or loved one and they’ll tell you: You get no brownie points for hanging out if you’re mentally somewhere else. So, take time to focus. Draw your line in the sand, and walk it. When you do that, you will find it takes a great amount of fear and frustration from off your shoulders.

Therefore, ask yourself: What/Who am I willing to commit to? Then, commit to it. Be willing to say, “I am going to invest my time in so-and-so, and if that means I won’t be able to do this-that-or-the-other, then so be it.” You see, that is the tale-tell sign of commitment: the willingness to stick to something even when it costs you something to pursue it.

3. Be Bold Enough to Emerge (From the Crowd)

We live in an age when everything is free. Facebook is free. YouTube is free. Amazon sells things so cheaply it might as well be free. When we are asked to pay in full for something, it is almost weird. For that reason alone, any investment we are willing to make, no matter how seemingly small, triggers in our brains something that says, “hey, this matters to me.”

So, invest. Make things matter. Take a risk and put yourself out there. When you take a stand, you will soon find it freeing, and, I promise you, you will be more confident in the steps you take from there. That newfound confidence may strike others as odd, but remember: everyone is odd in their own way.

So, tally forth! Take on the world as your newly enlightened self, and may you find peace, fulfillment, success, and love along the way.

Blessings to you in Christ,

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