What does it mean to live radically and boldly, so that you don't wake up one day -- decades too late -- wondering what the hell just happened? Where did my life go and why didn't I do the things I wanted to do?
We could point fingers at our well-intentioned, but conservative parents who steer us away from our dreams and into a 9 to 5. We could point fingers at our education system and society, which would rather keep us all in a nice shade of beige. And we'd probably be right.
But there's an elephant in the room most of us miss in the blame game ... that mug that stares back at us while we scrub our pearly whites each morning.
We're scared. So we play it safe and "practical". We don't push ourselves into the fear of the unknown and in the process we don't win big or live big or feel big.
Why Sir Ken Robinson Matters
Sir Ken Robinson's uber-popular TED talk on schools killing creativity struck a nerve with viewers around the globe. Since that time, his work and book The Element have continued to wake and shake people up from the slumber of their business-as-usual lives. But as Sir Ken told me, what he's saying is nothing new. He's telling us what we already know in our hearts and our bellies. And maybe that's why it stirs us.
What do you love to do more than anything in the world? What is that one thing where you feel no sense of time or lack of energy -- where you feel that yes, this is what I am passionate about, this is what I am good at, this is who I really am -- regardless of the money?
Are you doing it? Are you getting enough of it?
Are you paying attention to what rocks your kid's world by encouraging them to follow their heart?
Or have you been or are you now too practical to go after what you love or to encourage your kids to do the same? I realize that this might sound like a strange conversation to be having with the economy in the tank and at a time when we're supposed to just be grateful for jobs period. But to not check in is to miss the grander view.
The big picture: Your life and our economy
Let's stay with this theme of the "practical" for a moment.
Is it practical to work your entire life, 40 to 60 hours a week at a job that where at best you just get by and at worst sucks the life out of you? A job where you go through the motions, watch the clock, and pray for Friday?
And is this practical or at all productive for our economy? Think about all that lack of productivity for companies to have millions of people on the payroll who are only half engaged. Or maybe they produce a bit, but not nearly to the extent they could or would if their employees were where they were meant to be.
Think about how much better the economy would be if each of us were in our groove, doing the things we love -- the things we're good at. Think about how much more joy we would have.
Ok, so maybe this doesn't mean that we all run out and quit our day jobs. But at the very least it encourages us to flirt with the thought of bringing some blood racing, heart thumping passion back into at least a small part of our lives.