“A man must love his father and yet be free of his father’s expectations and criticisms in order to be a free man.”
— David Deida
Your Biggest Influence
As a first-generation immigrant, I’m highly influenced by my parents.
Growing up in a rural village in China with a small rice field with no running water, I experienced poverty.
Although my family didn’t have much, we always had food on the table when we were hungry.
Not having electricity during evenings, we used candles as a way to bring light into our world.
Ignorant of external luxuries in first world countries, I was happy because I had everything that I ever needed.
Growing up, my dad worked a lot to bring money home while my mom stayed home to take care of the family.
Witnessing the hard work that my parents carried out every day, I became motivated to follow similar footsteps.
In return, I studied hard in school to get good grades in efforts to get into a prestigious college so I can make a great income to provide for my family.
Oblivious at the time, I was greatly influenced by my parents, teachers, friends, and society – what I saw on the television.
By far, my biggest influence was my parents because I would see them almost every day.
Everything that I did up to my early 20s was because of their “invisible” influence of beliefs and morals.
But after truly becoming independent, I weakened my parents’ lifelong influences as I strategically chose my influences.
With more time, I was able to replace their belief system with that of my own by learning through trial and error.
As I later discovered, I wasn’t living my life true to my expectations.
I wasn’t living my dream because I was living my parents’ dream.
For me to completely break free from their expectations and start living my truth, I had to imagine my parents were dead.
Sadness came rushing through my entire body, but in the midst of the overwhelming sorrow, I felt a faint beat of freedom and liberation.
In the deepest part of my core, I felt a sense of exhilaration because I can now choose whatever I want to do with my life.
I asked myself, “Now that my parents are dead, what’s my “why” for existence?”
“How will I live the rest of my life?”
“What things that I once thought weren’t possible are now possible?”
After going through that mental exercise, I broke the lifelong shackles that are my parents’ and society’s expectations and belief system.
That’s when I started living for myself from my deepest core.
Unpeeling my “purpose” one layer at a time, I lived with more intent and drive towards what I want in life – to become my best version so I can help others becomes theirs.
Select the “Right” Influences For You
Your environment influences and dictates your life.
They range from the people you work with to the television shows that you watch.
For example, take the people that you spend the most time with.
Who are these people?
Whether you realize it or not, eventually what they believe and do will rub off on you through osmosis.
Think of it in terms of equilibrium.
Imagine you’re at room temperature (60 degrees Fahrenheit) and you head into a sauna that’s about 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
The longer you sit in the sauna, the hotter you will get and eventually you’ll be at the same temperature as the sauna.
This is exactly what’s happening to you when you spend time with people and things.
You naturally cultivate their beliefs, behaviors, and patterns and vice versa.
This can either work for you or against you.
Are you strategically selecting your environment to work in your favor?
Don’t underestimate the impact that your influences can have on your life.
If you want to create a healthy lifestyle, then don’t constantly surround yourself with people who want to drink alcohol every night.
You can still hang out with them on a sparing basis so that it doesn’t interfere with your goals.
If it comes to a point that your “friends” become obnoxious and unsupportive, then you must make a conscious decision between your goal and your friendship.
The truth is that you can’t change people unless they also want that for themselves.
However, you can change the people around you by spending your time with different people who are supportive and are on similar missions as you.
Live Your Deepest Truth
What is it that you truly want in life?
Contemplate on that question and write down anything that comes to mind.
What beliefs and people are holding you back from achieving what you want?
What roles do your parents or early caretakers play in that?
Because they were your biggest influences when you were growing up, it’s nearly impossible not to have a similar belief system as they do, especially that of your father.
Now imagine your biggest childhood influences are no longer alive, how will you live your life differently?
Without having to live up to their expectations, would you still keep doing what you’re doing with your life?
Go deep with yourself and be brutally honest.
When you live for yourself, you won’t have anyone to disappoint.
You’re free from carrying on your parents’ dreams.
Now you have the free will to choose how you want to live your life, will you take advantage of it?
You must because you only have this one life to live.
You must discover your deepest purpose through trial and error by first delving into what your current and intuitive purpose is.
Fully commit to that purpose until it no longers serves you.
Signs of moving on to a deeper purpose include disinterest, lack of energy, and unfulfillment in your current purpose.
As that outer purpose fades, you must continue to unpeel each layer of lesser purpose to find your true purpose – your core desire in life.
Continue to follow your curiosity and pursue your deepest purpose.
After discovering it, you will be fully awakened living life with more intention as all the distraction and external noises fade away because you’re focused on what’s most important to you, which is living your deepest truth.
Your fear of missing out goes away because you’re no longer concerned about meaningless activities that don’t serve you.
Living and creating meaningful experiences, you’re no longer interested in wasting time and living vicariously through others by watching television, movies, or social media.
Your biggest influences in life are your parents because you spent the majority of your time with them when growing up.
Certain degrees of their beliefs, behaviors, and morals have transported to you.
Despite the deep transplant, you can still counteract it by creating a belief system that’s true to you.
Start by surrounding yourself with people who you want to become.
Then take deliberate steps to become more like them.
Take what you admire from them and make it uniquely yours.
Soon you’ll become a person with traits and qualities that you’ve always wanted.
Remain humble and continue to learn because you’re forever a student of life.
Discover your deepest purpose and truth by fully exploring your current curiosity.
Let it be your guide and step up to the challenge.
Use this life to find it and understand that this isn’t your practice life, so use it wisely.
You’re no longer bound by anyone’s expectations but yours.
The question now becomes:
“How do you want to live it?”
And you’re the only person who can answer that.
Please share this article with anyone who you think may find it valuable.
If you have any questions and/or comments on selecting the “right” influences, please leave a comment below or send me an email.
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