Are you living on your own clock?
Or are you on somebody else’s?
Let’s take a look at an example of what I mean.
Let’s imagine you are standing in line waiting to order some food at a Chinese restaurant. You get to the front of the line and you still haven’t decided exactly what you want to order. You want a little bit more time to decide but there are growing number of people waiting behind you?
What do you do?
Do you just make a quick decision and roll with it?
Do you take your time? Do you stand there for however long it takes for you to decide what you want to order?
I think that the way you answer this question reveals a lot about the type of person you are.
For most of my life I have fallen into the first category. I am very conscious about taking up others peoples time and in this situation, I would decide on what I wanted almost immediately.
While initially I could justify doing this with the explanation that I was being considerate. I don’t necessarily think that this would be the full truth.
I didn’t rush to place my order just because I was being considerate. I rushed to place my order because I didn’t want to be ‘that guy’ that held up the line. I wasn’t really concerned about how holding up the line impacted other people but how it impacted me.
In these situations, I wasn’t living on my own clock. My actions were being dictated by other people and influenced by social norms.
The issue with living with this people pleasing mentality is that you are not being authentic. The more often you act in this way, the bigger problem it becomes. You begin to rely on other people clocks so frequently that you lose track of your own. You end up forgetting about what’s important to you.
When I was travelling last year, I noticed something interesting. I found myself very quickly relying on my own clock and my own clock only. I worried far less about other people and the influence I was having on them. I was totally concerned with myself and what I was doing. I’m still not entirely sure what caused this change but I would guess it had something to do with the fact that I was placed into a situation where I was totally responsible for myself and it was constantly on my shoulders to take action if I wanted to stay safe and progress with my journey. The funny thing is that for me this was an enjoyable and addictive state to be in. It was like the experience cleared away a lot of the clutter and bought me back in touch with my authentic self. Since settling down again in Taiwan I have mostly reverted to my old self but not completely.
The point I’m trying to make with this blog post is that I think it’s important live on your own clock. To make independent decisions, while simultaneously taking full responsibility for those decisions.
I also believe you can also go too far the other way and become completely ignorant to the feelings of those around you but I think people that go to this extreme are less common.
If you are like me and can relate to this post. Try putting yourself into a situation where you are forced to rely on your own clock (solo travel is a good option) and see what happens. Do you start to notice a mentality shift in the same way I did?
I find this subject interesting and I’m going to be working on trying to live on my own clock more often myself.