Shut Up, Please!

When was the last time you told everybody to shut up?

If it’s been a while, then stop reading and go do it now. No, seriously. Go and do it.

Go tell your boss to shut up. Go tell your husband or wife to shut up. Tell your kids to shut up. Tell all the bloggers and social media gurus to shut up. For you college students, when you go to class tomorrow, tell one of your professors to shut up. For all you Christians, tell your pastor to shut up after service this Sunday (I’m sure that rustled some feathers). If this seems too harsh to do, then I give you permission to comment and tell me to shut up. I’m ok with that.

Ok. I’m just kidding. Not really.

Here’s the thing.

Do you know how many hours a day you spend listening to someone else? Just think about it. Most of us are spending massive portions of our lives being defined and critiqued by the opinions and ideas of others. We spend so much of our lives living like blood-sucking leeches, latching on to every word of every person who seems to know just a little bit more than we do. And there’s a lot of good reasons to why this is a good thing. But what tends to happen is that this becomes the norm. And the result of this is that we all become photocopies and clones of another person’s DNA. We’re striving to be the next Tiger Woods or the next Oprah or the next Steve Jobs. It’s not that our intentions are bad. It’s just that we lose ourselves in the pursuit of finding ourselves through others.

Sometimes I just want to tell everybody to shut up. Or if that sounds too harsh to say, how about “Shhhh.” lol. What I’m discovering is that this doesn’t fix the real problem at hand. The real problem is me. It’s you. Better yet, instead of telling everyone else to shut up, why not tell ourselves to stop listening? Why not block out all the voices long enough to hear ourselves?

There are a lot of things right with us that we don’t even know. We underestimate  how awesome we really are and how much potential we really have. Ok, I don’t wanna be another Tony Robbins, but I think we can all take something from this.

Why?

Because there’s so much discovery that we miss out on by not listening to ourselves; by not discovering our own voices; by not being authentically who we are. There’s so much fulfillment we miss out on when we live our lives artificially being someone we’re not. Look at how we talk, how we dress, how we act, what we do, where we go… it’s all shaped. By who? I’m not saying go out and rebel against the culture (or maybe I am). What I’m saying is don’t miss out. Don’t wind up on that gurney headed for the dark tunnel called death, regretting your life.

I’m guilty.

I know what it’s like to have my eyeballs and ears glued to every blog and every book and every bit of advice I could find. It can be addicting. I know what it’s like trying to be the ideal blogger or designer, taking bits and pieces of every successful blogger and designer I can find in hopes that I can be like one of them. I’ve heard all the “how-to’s” and the “5 steps to”, but what I haven’t heard enough of is me. And what you haven’t heard enough of is you.

There’s one thing that I know we are all amazingly great at being… ourselves. We may fail at a lot of things, but this surely isn’t one of them. So my challenge to you (and me) this year is this…

Find your voice. Know your voice. Live your voice. And LOVE your voice. Be. YOU.

3 Comments

  1. Antwon, you are right on in this post. I have been in the position when all I did was read opinions, self-help books, how-to’s, etc. And I believe that is important to always be striving for bigger and better things for myself. But there is a season for everything.

    After all the reading and studying of ‘others’ I chose to sit back for awhile and not listen to anything at all, to soak it up, and to contemplate… Now, I’m trying to take the theoretical information learned and use it in practical ways that fit my life… The things that don’t, well, they may be useful to one person but they don’t fit with me.

    I think you are definitely onto something with this, Twon.. and I agree. Let’s be authentic. Let’s just be true.. Be.You!

    (love that!)

  2. Good Stuff, man! One thing that I am guilty of that I have actually been trying to change is that I spend a lot of time listening. Sometimes, it’s great & other times, it’s senseless. Maybe, the voies we need to tell “SHUT UP!!” are on Bravo, Nickelodeon, Animal Planet or even on DVD. On top of that you’ve stated, we spend so much time listening to garbage that we destroy the potential our own voices & lives can have!

    Gret post! Great points!

  3. @Melissa – I too have a stock pile of leadership and business books. I’m a big consumer of blog content as well. But just as you said, “There is a season for everything.” There’s a season to pull away and discover self. It’s actually been quite a fulfilling experience. I’m learning that there’s a lot of drive in me to creatively add value to people. I wake up now, pumped about the possibility of what a day, a week, a month, or a year could hold. I wish that more people would pull away. I see so many college students and parents and adults overloaded with the cares of life with no clue of how awesome the are and how amazing they could be.

    @Anthony – I totally agree with the Bravo thing. I’m a big fan of Bravo actually. lol. It’s amazing how many hundreds of hours a month we consume gazing at a tv or computer screen. We’re frozen; incapable of making anything remarkable happen. It reminds me of my uncle who sits and watches tv ALL day (you know who I’m talking about – lol). Sad.

    I think both of you have amazingly awesome voices (and I’m not referring to singing -lol). The world needs to hear it. Better yet, you need to hear it.

    Thanks for the comments.

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