IS YOUR LIFE FOR RENT?
The other day I happened to hear a song from the early 2000s. I had listened to it many times before, but that day the lyrics took on a new meaning for me. Maybe it was the circumstances in that moment or my recent experiences, either way the following words stuck with me:
“If my life is for rent
and I don’t learn to buy
then I deserve
nothing more then I get,
‘cause nothing I have is truly mine”
I started thinking about ownership and what it means. Ownership (per Merriam-Webster) – it is about having full claim, authority and dominion over something, and acknowledging this claim as one’s own. It is about having control and legal right of possession. This usually requires a greater responsibility and accountability, hence true ownership must be accompanied by commitment. Therefore, knowing the definition of ownership; is there anything more important to have ownership over- then your own life?
Many of us dabble, not fully prepared to commit. Think of all the things in life that require commitment, and which of those things have a sense of finality to them. It is a scary thought; commitment means putting your heart and soul into something and taking a risk. Risk of failure, risk of being hurt. It is much easier to rent a room while we assess the situation – the issue is that a lot of times we never finish the assessment, but instead we keep jumping from rental to rental. For many who rent, if we have a water leak or the heater stops working; we immediately call the landlord and make it their problem to deal with. And if it is not dealt with to our satisfaction, we find a “better” place to rent, ‘cause as a renter- it is really not our problem to spend energy on. As a homeowner, those would be our troubles to deal with – and just the initial thought of the possibility of such negative consequences causes discomfort. Yes – there are risks that come with ownership; hence, just like the rental, we are quick to abandon a dream or goal at first sight of possible failure.
In our need to protect ourselves, we are risk-averse to taking chances that have the potential for discomfort. Chances that have the possibility of causing bruising to our egos or even worse, our heart. This fear has translated to how we handle our careers, our relationships and our dreams of the future. We just go with the flow, looking to others to pave the way for us; to show us the path and hopefully present us with opportunities. It is much easier that way, because if things do not go as we hope they would, we don’t have to take the blame. We can point the finger at someone else. See…safe, right?
Sure, but here is the thing. Just like in the management of an investment portfolio, the higher the risk, the higher the potential for reward. Life, and same goes for your career, your development and your relationships, will return to you what you put into it. So, it is time to face the reality…..what you have and how things are going for you in all these facets of your life, is a direct reflection of what you have put into it.
Some people call it the law of reciprocity, destiny, karma, or other relevant terms that define the personal values of your life- whatever it is to you, it is real. Things and rewards don’t just land in your lap. Your life won’t just suddenly take the direction you have always dreamed of, unless you have been putting the work into it, and continue to put the work into it to stay on course. Many of us say the right things, but never quite match our actions to the words. We riddle our communications daily with non-committal phrases; “I had a thought… it was just a thought….just my 2 cents…keep or toss….just a suggestion”. Always with our bags half-packed, ready to find a new place at the first sign of trouble- and why not? Why deal with the consequences, when you can just avoid them?
I challenge each of you to embrace your goals, your dreams, and your decisions. Stop trying and start doing. Quit running away to find a new rental when the living situation becomes hard or the neighbors start complaining too much. Invest yourself into that which you want. Sure, you will stumble along the way with setbacks and unfortunately you will likely get hurt along the way – but that is a part of the school called life. And remember, you will never taste the sweetness of success unless you have experienced the pain of failure.
Just as in home ownership there will be times you question if what you put in is worth it, but ultimately through all the ups and downs- home ownership is an investment that pays off in the long run. And so is your career, your relationships and your dreams; a long term investment. After all, in the insightful words of Dido, “…if I am so afraid to fail, that I won’t even try, then how can I, say, that I am alive?…”
So, I urge you, starting now:
Own you decisions
Own your choices
Own your actions
Own your development
Own the words you use
Own your responsibilities
Own your goals & dreams
…and you will own your life!