Have you heard the quote, “Life is not a dress rehearsal”? It’s a good quote. It helps people realize that this moment matters. However, life is not a performance either. You don’t have to go all out every time for everything to avoid limping through life. Let’s take a look at what I mean.
Many parents go to great lengths to get their kids into the best schools. Once there, they stress great grades, sports, and activities that can help them get into a great college. What could be wrong with that? Well, it makes learning a performance. It becomes outcome based. If you’re not at the top of your class, you’re failing. Do you know that there are 15 year olds who are suicidal because they can’t keep up with this pressure? What happens when they get out of school and find that despite all that hard work, they are just another face in the crowd? Or perhaps they get a great job after school and they just continue to live their lives in a high pressure way that focuses on performance. Then life becomes a reflection of “he who dies with the most achievement wins.”
There are cultures that highly prize looking your best at all times. Nice quality clothes, high fashion, hygiene, and grooming are essential for these people. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Who doesn’t want to look gorgeous? When you’re spending hours on grooming, money you don’t have for clothing, and augmenting your appearance with plastic surgery, it’s gone into performance mode. When the lights go down and the make up comes off, you’re still underneath. That can be a disappointment if it doesn’t match the beautiful exterior.
Many HBO series start off with something shockingly violent or graphically sexual. The sex is not usually central to the story. It’s just there to hook the audience. It’s become so commonplace that it may be the bar why which other sex is measured. This is a performance, folks. It’s make believe. If you make that your standard for satisfaction, you are going to feel really inadequate and disappointed a lot. This may inspire you to chase newness in different partners. It may make you “hit and run” so that you don’t have to face your partner’s potential disappointment. Peak experiences are “peak” because they are rare. They are not meant to be commonplace.
There are so many spiritual courses online now that promise peak experiences. The idea is that if you aren’t having a series of mind blowing third eye visions on a daily basis and aren’t channeling ascended masters, you’re a mere mortal. Learning is great. Growth is fabulous. Peak experiences happen, but when you make them the goal, you miss out on the journey.
Life is not a performance. It’s not game where you go all out, score, and win over and over again. It’s a spiral. We gestate, sprout, mature, decline, die, and do it all over again. Life is about change. If you’re always on fire, you will burn yourself out. “To everything there is a season.” When you are okay with being small sometimes, being quiet, and renewing yourself, you will have experiences that you wouldn’t have anticipated if you simply were on the go all the time.