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Humans by nature live inside of various performances. Identities, or personas, if you will, that have been created over our lifetimes. And, these created personas are learned through socialization.

Socialization is the process of learning about the world, and how you fit into it. Further, it is about the creation of the you that you know yourself to be. It is about learning the rules and “appropriate” behaviors for the myriad contexts we find ourselves in.

From the time we are very little, we are told who we are, what we are to do, and not do, and how we are to behave. We become mechanized into a certain pattern, or habit, of being. And, if we do not get pushed, or stumble on our own, outside of that habit, we will continue to live that way for all of our days.

However, if we are fortunate enough to have someone in our life push us outside of the habitual “me” or we have the same good fortune to discover it on our own, a whole new you can emerge.

The emergence of this “new” you is an iterative development process, which unfolds as you make new choices in familiar contexts. These new choices are not predicated on what you once knew. They are, rather, predicated only by the limits you put on yourself.

When we live within the narrow framework that we were given by our parents, extended family, and school system, we limit our potential. I would know, I lived this way for most of my adult life.

However, when we leave that narrow framework, we can experience all there is to experience in the world. Of course, this means experiencing successes and failures. Thomas Edison has two of the best quotes on failure.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” -Thomas Edison

In order to achieve all that we can, and to be all that is within us, we must experience failure. Yet, most people avoid failure. They are fearful of what it means to themselves, first, and then to others around them when they fail. They do not see it as Thomas Edison did; that, in order to be successful, failure is a necessary and needed component. You cannot have one without the other. Failure is part of the process of being successful.

And to be successful takes the ability to reflect upon oneself. To venture out into the unknown and be vulnerable.

Vulnerability is also something that people avoid, for fear of what it might mean when they make a mistake, or misjudgment, or a poor decision. Yet, just like failure, vulnerability is a needed and necessary component to live the authentic life that is awaiting you.

Authenticity simply means being genuine, first with yourself, and then with those around you. You cannot lead an authentic life when you avoid failure and vulnerability. It is simply not possible.

People know when you are not being authentic. When we avoid mistakes, for fear of judgement by others, people know that you are playing it safe. Playing within your comfort zone. Playing within what is known to you; your lane, your habits, and pattern.

Get outside of your lane, those narrowly defined parameters that someone set for you, and live the authentic life of your choosing. It is your choice. Ultimately, no one can make you choose to live a life outside of your comfort zone, as no one can make you live one inside of your comfort zone.

Whether we are aware of it or not, the life we live is our choice. And, I am inviting you to choose a life that is different than the one that was handed to you. If you are living that life, wonderful. If you are not, also wonderful, as you have before you the choice to live a different life, a life full of wonder. A life that is your authentic life.

Originally published on covid-19creativity.com

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