To live a rich and masterful life, we often encounter blocks and difficulties that cause us to want to give up. One of the greatest teachings I ever received came from an old man who explained to me the process for living “outside the box.” Life on the Outside requires going outside the realm of our comfort zones, outside of our safety nets and outside what we know. When I was having an episode of doubts, fears and worries, my old teacher told me that I had to certainly come outside the box but he went further with a powerful secret of the box, “The real truth about going outside the box requires that you get the directions. BUT! The directions are always written outside the box! You will have to find someone who is already outside the box to read the directions to you!” I was blown away…
Will Shakespeare had it right! In his play As You Like It, he wrote, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.” Many people on life’s stage spend their days just getting by. They enter the stage trying to just fit in, afraid to shine too much light. Even though we all have been endowed with brilliant talents and gifts, many people are too consumed with fear to allow others to see them. They have become too comfortable in repeating what they know. Experiencing the best in life is merely a dream to them. These people perform the role of what I call the At Least Actor. Often, you will hear them lament about their work: “We’ll at least I have a job.” “At least I have a roof over my head.” “Vacation is coming soon. At least I will have a few days off.” “At least we’re getting a little raise next year!” In relationships, they say things like: “He yells but at least he does not beat me.” “She always has the television on but at least she does not stay out all the time anymore.” These people move through life not savoring the awesome possibilities that life offers to all of us. The practice of living life out full in what I call an At Most Life.
An At Most Actor looks for the best in life. She doesn’t wait to stumble upon positive relationships. She creates them! Instead of singing the Monday-morning-back-to-work-blues, she builds a work experience that feels more like play time. The At Most Person/Individual looks for ways to demonstrate his most brilliant talents. Whether in the board room, on the sales floor, on the stage singing or working communities, he knows that the most important outcomes of his performance yields joy, builds positive relationships, makes communities, creates abundance, and solves problems. The At Most Individual is looking for ways to squeeze the most out of life. He might be the one that you see who looks forward to showing up at work, he doesn’t complain about his job, laughs a lot and surrounds himself with other positive people. Most times, the difference between the At Least Actor and the At Most Actor consists of slight adjustments. In my practice as a coach, I often work with clients to make the slight adjustments that facilitate them in experiencing tremendous change in their lives. The five most important adjustments to improved performance consist of setting the proper stage, seeing the vision, writing the story, building a supporting cast, and consistent rehearsals.
Clearing the clutter, and negative pasts can make the difference between a dull experience and a brilliant one. The At Most Actor knows that in any given moment lies the possibility to create something new and wonderful. She doesn’t carry the past into the future. She sets the proper stage so that she can excel.
Every self-help book ever written most likely prescribed the notion of creating the vision that you want to see. The At Most Actor knows the truth of this principle and makes the time to be quiet to envision the world that he wants to see. He knows that first the actualization of his dreams happen in his mind.
One of the reoccurring memes in popular psychology today says to “change your story and change your life.” The truth of the matter is that for every society around the world, if you can identify their original myth, you can predict their future. If we keep telling ourselves the same old story, we can expect to get the same old results. The At Most Actor is willing to experience a new story. They are willing to start again, and sometimes, again and again and again, until they are satisfied with the results. They know that the story that they tell about their life resonates into the world.
All the Academy Award winners talk about the fact that they could not have given their dynamic performance alone. The usually always thank the supporting cast. The At Most Actor knows to surround himself with the positive forces that support the vision that he wants to manifest in his world.
Finally, the At Most Actor dreams of a magnificent performance but she knows that how she prepares determines her final performance. The idea of stepping outside of their comfort zones scares the life out of the At Least Actor. Going beyond the confines of the comfort zone also frightens the At Most Player but she goes outside anyway because she knows that the directions for greatness lie outside the walls of the comfort zone. The At Most Individual doesn’t try for her grand performance in one try but she knows that by taking small rehearsals towards greatness, she can eventually master the gifts that the entire world is waiting to see. Her rehearsals become her habits.
The option to live the At Most Life exists for us all. The difference between those who actually live life to the fullest and those just get by lies in choice. For those seeking the At Most Life, life is waiting to surrender all its gifts but only to those who choose.