Words impact us. It’s true. The things people say affect us, whether we show it or not. But what affects us even more are the things we say about ourselves.
Labels mean things. Some we identify with voluntarily, while some are cast on us by other people. Others, we adopt out of hopelessness, discouragement, or desperation. These labels sink deep into our minds and affect how we think, how we act, and what we believe about who we are.
In this culture, we’re okay with living small. We don’t like risks—especially if those risks may end up costing or hurting us. It’s scary to step out too far, so we rarely do. Living small is comfortable.
It’s difficult to break out of the mediocrity of small living: the comfort zone. Yet deep down, we long for more. For adventure. We thirst for a bigger purpose, and so we turn to stories.
Let’s admit it: life is crazy. Downright unpredictable. We live in a wide, wondrous, dangerous world swirling with mysteries; spinning with possibilities, endless and pulsing with life. It draws us deeper, seeking adventure, and yet we fear to enter the Perilous Realm, because we want to be certain.
Every day, we tangle with mysteries; brush with the unexpected. And most days, we resist it. We cling to our plans and expectations, pushing away the hidden gems of possibility because we fear the unknown and hate the unexpected. And sometimes I wonder: What would happen if we embraced it?
I’ve talked before about how creativity—the thirst of our souls for wonder and beauty—is a part of us all. It’s something we were born with; something we connect to in our innermost beings. The magic of imagination is not just the talent of a few, as we sometimes tell ourselves, but in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “[It is] the health of every man.”
Did you get that? Imagination is health. Health. And not just for those people we refer to as “creatives”, but for everyone. Something we often write off as a pastime or a mere hobby is actually critical to our mental wellbeing. And not only that—creativity is absolutely vital to personal development and growth for several reasons. When we neglect to foster it, we don’t mature.
This world is noisy. Everywhere, every second, something is happening—and people are talking about it. News channels, YouTube, blogs, and social media blare into our lives at a constant rate. It’s almost as if silence—real, true silence—no longer exists.
In the past, I’ve talked about the purpose of beauty: the intrinsic value of the useless pursuit of Wonder and how it fills our spirits. We hunger for it, just as we hunger for peace and quiet in this age of constant noise. But life moves too quickly, it seems, whisking away silence in its crazy storm.
We of the millennial generation face more clutter and shiny distractions than any generation before us. We have things like television, radio, ads, email, social media, texting, and more—all at our fingertips, vying for our attention every single day. Things get complicated fast.
We’re in the habit of keeping up with everything—and not because we have to, but because we can. Entertainment and information are everywhere all the time, so why not? We’re used to living with so much mental clutter, we sometimes don’t even recognize how it’s causing us to suffer.
When I look around at people I admire, a certain word comes to mind: powerful. These are great people: influencers, leaders; people worthy of respect. These are the people I aspire to be like, and so I started pondering the question: “What makes someone truly powerful?”
When I say “power”, I’m not talking about authority or force, but strength. Impact. Security. The people I admire most have a sense of personal identity and strength of character that makes them stand out, and today I want to talk about six habits I’ve noticed that all these great influencers have in common.