Question EVERYTHING. Or the way you avoid the complacent life.

For the past few days I have been obsessed with reading “Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It” by Gary Taubes.  Straight-up: reading this book will shock you. Gary basically turns all the things we have learned about food, and dieting on it’s head (calories in, calories out? Nah folks. It is NOT that simple, and the food pyramid is a sham, btw.).

I’m still reading the book (and becoming more shocked as the days go on), but the thing that has impressed me the most (besides the wealth of eye-opening info) is that Gary has no problem taking on conventional wisdom. He questions the data that health-promoting organizations have reported for years.  In fact, he said he is willing to risk his reputation with this information. The man is a relentless researcher. And we all know, good research starts with a good question.

Naturally, I am applying this thinking to the issues (career, life balance, general confusion and disillusion) that Gen Y is facing today. One of the hardest things we have to get over on our quest to build the fabulous life that we want, is our aversion to questioning the things we have been told.

Most of us grew up following instructions. We were told that if we followed a strict, set of rules, life would be good for us. We never questioned it. After all, what reason did we have to do so?  When you give us a task, and spell it out for us, we will complete it with “rock-star-esq” like results. We take directions, and follow them. Giving it all we got because we want the praise that comes at the end. (Yep, we were also raised to be praise-whores, too.)

And now, we are discovering that this model of following instructions blindly, and never questioning things, is not working for us. Some of us are stuck. Others are disgruntled. We are all slightly confused.  And if we don’t figure out how to make sense of what is happening in our lives (the eternal battle between what we are told we SHOULD do versus what we really WANT to do) we will rapidly become more jaded as the years go by until we turn into THOSE people.

You know, those people who are not happy with their meager existence, but have become too complacent to do anything about it.

Nope, peeps. We DO NOT want that to happen to us. But the older we get, and the more we just kind of “accept” the things that happen in life versus proactively making things happen in our lives, the closer we get to succumbing to a life of settled average-ness.

Yuck.

So, by this point, you may be wondering what is the solution? What EXACTLY can we do not to become one of THOSE people. After all, we’re Gen Y.  We would like a list of directions, and if it has bullet points, we really wouldn’t be mad at it.

But there are no bulleted-lists involved in this answer. Because the key to avoiding average-ness, is to  QUESTION effing EVERYTHING. ( I don’t think I’ve used caps so many times in a post before, but hell, this is important.) Don’t just accept what you’ve been told. There is absolutely nothing wrong with questioning conventional wisdom. Life isn’t a+b+=c. There is a lot of room for discovery, and how will you know what turns you on (and I mean this in the most PG of ways) if you don’t go explore?

Which conventions do you think we should question?  I would love to hear YOUR ideas.

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  1. #1 by I got the Suber-Jones : ) on February 7, 2011 - 12:02 pm

    I am up from my desk giving you a standing ovation…………. I loved all of this….. I was just telling someone the other day that their is a fine line between keeping up with perception & conventional ways of things you’ve been taught all of your life……… and then on the other hand TO finding things out for yourself & drawing your own opinion, based on your own beliefs at the end of the day…… I believe theirs a very fine line………….. one line that stuck out to me in this blog post was…… “One of the hardest things we have to get over on our quest to build the fabulous life that we want, is our aversion to questioning the things we have been told.”……. I immediately thought about the church & religions……… I thought about politics & parties………. oh my goodness I could go on & on……….. but in conclusion this was a very very good post……… now in contrary with you a little bit I won’t question everything….. because in my opinion somethings shouldn’t be questioned but will say that the time that we are living in right now……. that yes quite of few things should be questioned…….. overall kudos……. great stuff………..

    http://www.goody-e-books.com/

  2. #2 by Nicole on February 7, 2011 - 12:56 pm

    Agreed! I will have to look for this book as well. I previously read a book called “The China Study” which opened my eyes to alot about eating practices. However, I agree with you that this “theory” of questioning should be applied across life. I also believe that self discovery is very important for individuals. Too bad I am just realizing all of this upon entering my 30’s! But that’s what life is all about. Live and learn =)

    Great post!

  3. #3 by MissGina on February 9, 2011 - 11:40 am

    What things should we question? OMG, church, black hair, how to make a living, what we eat, what we put on and in our bodies, I could go on and on but will stop there. Great post!

  4. #4 by stacey herbert on February 15, 2011 - 11:41 pm

    Its easy to fall victim to the rat race and social norms. Especially if with all your style, gumption, and capability, you still somehow lack direction. You clone up, and just hope you can pay the bills at the end of the month.

    The problem is when you start to question things, and examine situations with an open and curious heart, you find answers and receive inspiration. Some of this will scare the crap out of you. You become accountable for what you know, and your forced to start making some uncomfortable sometimes risky decision about your life, to really pursue your hearts desire.

    For some it easier to follow the crowd, keep up with the Jones, and silently except the edge of misery in every day.

    Not for me though, I’m a questioner, just like you advocate. This was a slamming piece of writing

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