Continuing on with this series of posts on the drivers behind our binge drinking culture, I want to now explore the psychological driver of ‘purpose’. What does it mean to have purpose? How does a young person lose it? how it is found? and how does a lack of it translate into dysfunctional drinking behaviour.
A person without purpose is like a jellyfish. They sway and migrate with the oceans currents; they have no say in their future and are protected solely by their reliance on the collective. They fit in.
A person with purpose is like a shark. They fear nothing, they take what they need, when they need it and they are completely deliberate in their actions. They make shit happen.
There is nothing more inspiring than meeting someone who has living with purpose. If you know someone that truly is living their dream, next time you see them, take a deep look into their eyes and you will see what I mean. There is a universal calmness, a freedom deep in their soul that drives their every action to where they are destined to be. They get everything and they make it look so easy.
However, it is rare that someone has this sense of purpose their entire life. My belief is that we are all born with a purpose, but life seems to put us through a series of tests and challenges to see if we really believe that we are worth it. The unfortunate thing is that that our purpose often gets tested so rigorously by other people and experiences that many people often fail to fully realise it. They live and die like the jellyfish.
There is nothing more dangerous than a person who cuts down the aspirations of another with their own limiting beliefs or sentiments. Parents, teachers, friends, family have such a direct conduit to the thoughts of others that they often lock person into a box of limiting beliefs. You can see how this happens in this very simple diagram below:
“You are too fat, too skinny, too dumb, too smart, too… too… too… too.. to ever be that”. Like a snakebite, the poison of our conditioning comments, if taken to heart, can put a ceiling between a person and their purpose, sometimes for the rest of their life.
The individual then goes about finding things to re-enforce their conditioning in every waking moment of the day. They find things that make their reality, their reality. Take a look at the media you consume. Who we are, and what society says we can and can’t achieve is plastered on every billboard, every magazine and screen we walk past. It is inescapable. We live and die by the jellyfish reality others have chosen for us.
So how does drinking help us in this existential dilemma? Binge drinking, for many people, is a way for us fall below the level of social conditioning we have built around us. For that brief moment in time, the limiting voices we have put in our heads all disappear. We don’t mind being the jellyfish, we might even pretend we are a shark occasionally. We have this false sense of freedom from that voice in our head that says ‘you aren’t good enough’.
Having been there, I know that for a weekend of freedom from limiting beliefs, the damage is often worth it. A reprise from our psychology is worth it’s weight in gold. To get this reprise, as a collective, Australians are willing to pay $15.1 billion for this false freedom each year.
Doing Hello Sunday Morning has provided me with an opportunity to really see first hand just how much that conditioning has influenced my life and limited me from my purpose. It has been a long arduous process of removing that conditioning, one by one, but I’m getting there.
By extension, on a grand scale, if we really want to shift the binge drinking culture in Australia, we need to realise just how deeply we look to create mediocrity in our lives and cut down those that aspire to reach their dream. We need to provide ways for young people to rid themselves of their psychological conditioning and inspire them to realise their own individual purpose. Be the shark.