There seem to be a lot of opinions about what qualifies as the truth these days. Politicians of every stripe, religious leaders and zealots, philosophers and scientists all clamor for attention as they hold up their ancient teachings or current opinions or latest discoveries as “the truth”, the one and only way to believe. It can be pretty confusing to digest, and even harder to actually do anything with it all.
Fortunately, that’s not the kind of truth I’m talking about when I speak of choosing the truth. It’s not universal truth I’m interested in; I’ll leave that chase to others. What I’m digging for and becoming more obsessed with every day is the pursuit of personal truth, that thing at the core of each of us that is the driving force of our lives…or should be.
And there’s the rub. Too many of us have stopped caring about our personal truth. We’ve sacrificed it to the gods of Comfort, Complacency, and Conformity. We’ve found that life is easier if we don’t make waves or have big dreams, that things go more smoothly if we just keep our heads down, keep plodding along, and ignore the tugging at our souls to do bigger, more important things.
But the more we ignore the tugging, the deeper our world sinks into mediocrity. Each day, with every decision to give up on the pursuit of greatness and settle for what life has served up with smiles on our faces, the world gets a little grayer and a little more bland. It doesn’t have to be that way; we can choose differently. We can choose the truth.
Choosing the truth is simply this: a resolve to stop lying to yourself. It’s finding the guts to stop pretending that giving up on your dreams is okay. It’s finding the courage to face the toughest question life has to offer: what, exactly, is my life about? What am I here for? What can I offer that no one else can to make this world a better place to live?
Big questions, I know. Scary questions, for sure. But would you rather ask them now, while you can still do something about the answers, or when it’s too late and you’re stuck with the regret?
I won’t kid you: choosing the truth won’t be easy. It will be a decision you’ll have to make every day for the rest of your life, and probably several times a day. The outcome won’t always be desirable or pleasant (more on that in a future post), but you’ll have the comfort of knowing you’re moving consciously, and you’ll be able to make course corrections along the way to get closer to the outcome you want.
In the end, you won’t have to wonder if you really lived. You’ll look back on a life, not of quiet desperation like the mass of men lead, but of deliberate choice. And that, my friends, is a life truly worth living.