Full text of digital strategist Bosco Anthony’s talk: Feeling Stuck – Fuelling Life From Average to Epic at TEDxStanleyPark conference. I hope this talk will motivate people to act on their personal purpose in life and empower transformation.
Best quote from this talk:
Most people choose to live their life by default. Very few live it by design.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Feeling stuck – fuelling life from average to epic by Bosco Anthony
Bosco Anthony – Digital strategist and storyteller
Are you living life by default?
Are you feeling stuck?
Are you a human doing as opposed to a human being?
This unspoken dialogue in our head that resides here is the invisible disease that is crippling modern-day society today.
Globally the numbers are rising of people struggling with living an average lifestyle. For some, this feels like imprisonment. We are slaves dictated by life’s pressures, demands and oppressions. I also like to call it a happy prison.
Guilt has become our shackles. Shame has become our captor. Inner struggle has become our prison.
We’re reinventing slavery all over again! But this time it’s happening from within us.
So how do we break free? How do we feel unstuck?
I’m here to share some real-life applications on how to live your life from ‘Average’ to ‘Epic’!
I want to introduce you to two game-changing ingredients that will change your life: Purpose and Momentum.
You see, purpose to me is so much more important than a passport, or country of origin, or the name given to you. Purpose to me is your identity. Purpose is defined as one’s life compass.
Mark Twain once said:
“The two most important days in your life is the day you were born and the day you discovered why.”
If I was to go back into time, I would argue over drinks with Mark Twain and we’d be having a cold one. And I would say that the third most important day in one’s life is when you align your purpose with your momentum.
You see in modern day society, we compromise, we tolerate, we settle to life’s mediocrity and routine.
And then when asked how we’re doing, we use a default answer. You all know that word, ‘Fine! I’m fine! We’re fine! Everybody’s fine!’
Someone asked me a few minutes ago, ‘How are you?’ And I said, ‘I’m fine!’
But when I take off that mask, what I’m really trying to say is, ‘I’m freaked out, insecure, neurotic, and probably a little bit emotion.’ That’s what you say when you say you’re fine.
You see discovering your purpose is like discovering teenage sex for the first time. Everybody wants to do it, not many know how.
Einstein would diagnose this as absolute insanity – ‘doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.’
So as an immigrant, as a storyteller, as a strategist, my life’s taken me across the world. I’ve had the privilege of mentoring many people from different walks of life. And I’ve been humbled by the catalysts that I’ve collided with, the experiences that I’ve had.
And more importantly, I’ve consumed the answers to life’s questions. And I found out and discovered that there’s five real-life applications to feeling your purpose in life and I’d like to share them with you.
The first real life application is articulating your intent by tapping into your origin story.
Our brain is constantly cluttered with memories, pain, pleasure, sadness, tragedy. And you need to tap in and go back there – I’d like to call this an origin story. And here’s one for you.
I’d like you to take you back into a time in Tanzania, East Africa, where a little boy was getting ready for school. I see there’s someone else from the motherland.
He was getting ready for school and he heard the words in Swahili that said, “Mwizi, mwizi, mwizi.”
Now obviously all of you speak Swahili. ‘Mwizi’ means thief, and his curiosity was piqued. So he walked to the balcony to see what was going on.
And sadly he witnessed a man being stoned, beaten and eventually burnt. He was horrified. His father noticed what was going on and rushed to the balcony to grab the boy away.
Later the boy asked his father, ‘Dad! What was the man’s crime?’
And his father took a while and said, ‘Hunger!’
You see I resonate with this story. I am that story.
And this was a defining moment in my life. This was the moment when I discovered the power of love, kindness and compassion. And I’ve witnessed many tragedies after that.
But I’d like to challenge you and I’d like you to dig deep and identify what your origin story is.
The second real-life application is mapping your journey, mapping your vision.
When people come to me and ask me to help them tell their story online, the first thing I say is, ‘Where do you want to end up?’
Because once you know that it’s easy to deconstruct backwards right. Our mind is constantly being cluttered by digital disruption everyday, right. It’s time for you to articulate your journey.
It’s time for you to identify those experiences, the moments, the people that you want to meet – the catalyst. It’s time for you to put it and paint that vision.
The third most real life application that is constantly overlooked is making a contract with yourself.
You see we sign bills every day. We sign mortgages, we make contracts with all kinds of stuff, and all kinds of walks in life.
But the one thing we overlook is a contract with ourselves.
- What are the values that you stand for?
- What are the things you’re going to tolerate?
- And more importantly, how are you going to teach people to treat you?
And a lot of the time many of us put ourselves last. Many of us don’t love ourselves.
The fourth real life application is bringing a rhythm to your why.
Asking yourself: ‘How are you going to attain your purpose in life?’
A lot of you come up with a lot of great comfortable words. Typically around January 1st. I think you call them ‘resolutions’ right. The happy words: ‘I’m going to lose weight!’ ‘I’m going to afford a house in Vancouver!’ ‘I’m going to…’ Too touchy, a little bit right!
But how are you going to do that, right. That is your rhythm.
You have to articulate the checkpoints, the milestones, the experiences, the moments, the people, the catalysts. That ‘how’ is the rhythm, your pulse that keeps you moving every day. I call it ‘activation energy’.
And I want to share a story of a human being that inspires me.
I’ve been fortunate to mentor this human being and her name is Winnie Nansumba from Uganda, East Africa.
Winnie discovered that she had HIV when she was 13 years old. She lost her parents. But this wasn’t an obstacle for her. She decided to create a movement called ‘The Innocent League’ and she’s trying to help spread the word about this killer disease through creative arts.
Pope Francis was visiting Uganda and asked Winnie to speak. He asked two people – Winnie and a child soldier, to speak on behalf of the Pope. Later that day the Pope blessed her and gave her a rosary.
See, Winnie used this moment to fuel her purpose in life. Today she’s taking the movement globally and her purpose in life is ‘To inspire current and future generations by tapping into their potential through hope and confidence!’
What’s your activation energy?
The fifth real life application was designed by my very dear mentor. He taught me the word ‘Hansei’ which in Japan means to reflect.
And when I came to Canada I was looking for a mentor. You see, for immigrants coming to Canada is like winning the lottery. For me speaking in front of you today at TED is like winning the jackpot. I have to pinch myself.
So my mentor, his name is David Reeve — he is in the audience today — designed a movement called ‘Unleash Culture’. And now we started this movement called Unleash Dreams, and he helps people find their purpose in life.
And the two most valuable questions he has shared with me that has changed my life were the following:
- What have you done of meaning today?
- And what are you going to do different tomorrow?
These two questions have changed my life. So to reflect, create a form of introspection.
And to sum up these five real-life applications, here’s what you’re going to have.
- When you articulate your intent to discover your purpose, you start to create an identity and a vision.
- When you start to identify where you want to end up, you start to get clarity in your purpose.
- When you make a contract with yourself, you start to hold yourself accountable.
- When you boost the how to your why, you start to build a rhythm.
- And more importantly when you answer your daily reflection, you start to design introspection and optimize yourself better!
So I want to share with you another story, and we’re going to stick to David Reeve’s story, here.
David and I were fortunate enough to do mentoring through Google Hangouts in a village in Uganda where there was no power. And these kids came from everywhere.
And they said, ‘You got to hurry up! We only have 30 minutes before this laptop runs out!’
So David and I had to rush through and try to find those breaking moments with these people! Amazing human beings! They keep us humble.
And I was struggling. I was having a crisis. And I looked at David and I said, ‘I don’t get it. This is so hard for them!’
And David said, ‘Well you’re also having Millennial Attention Disorder. It’s a crisis of your own!’
David puts me in check and he said something that was really profound and I think all of us can resonate with this. ‘Most people choose to live their life by default. Very few live it by design.’ I want you to think about this for a moment.
‘Most people choose to live life by default; very few live it by design!’
You see, for some of you that haven’t discovered your purpose, it’s okay. For some of you that aren’t aligning your purpose with the work that you do, it’s okay. You’re one step closer to feeling your purpose.
The key is to accept where you are in life. The key is to embrace who you are in life and that is the start.
You see, there’s a storm brewing inside each and every one of us and it’s time for you to say ‘Yes’ to that storm. Some of you are waiting for the divine moment we call it – if this then that, right. You slash… that divine moment is in you.
So I was reading a sign that said, ‘Is your mind full or are you mindful?’
It’s important for you to ask yourself that: ‘Are you mindful? Are you happy? Are you living the life by design?’
I want to leave you with three challenges. These three challenges need to happen today, now.
First, I would like to invite you to embrace the hero within you. We all have one. You need to embrace it, you need to accept who you are.
The second challenge is we all collectively need to make our purpose and our momentum the latest fashion trend. We need to do it at home, we need to do it at work, we need to do it in our daily lives.
Imagine if you went to work tomorrow and your employer said, ‘Let’s check out the performance reviews! We’re going to start with our purpose reviews.’
How many of you have had those moments, with the people in your life. You know your vibe is your tribe! How many of you have gone back to your tribe and said ‘I need help!’
I certainly did a couple of years ago, when I said, ‘I would like to speak for TED!’ And put this on my bucket list. And all I did was went out there and put it in the universe.
The third challenge which is probably the most important one comes from my mentors – purpose in life. You see David Reeve’s purpose in life is to discover greatness within and leave people better than he found them.
And that sentence ‘leaving people better than he found them’ is what articulated my purpose in life.
So why is this important? At a time we’re about to build walls, that’s the latest fashion trend. We need to leave this world better than we found it.
We need to leave our kids better than we found them as well. We need to engage the future. It’s time for us collectively to introduce mindfulness, purpose, mental illness, self awareness and self love into our schooling systems. I can assure you this will help our future generations.
I implore you… for all of us to collectively find a way to engage the masses in the future.
So I love Bob Marley and one of his quotes really inspired me when I was younger and he said, ‘Live a Legacy, Leave the legacy!’
And I want to leave you with this question. You see the power has started and always stayed and ended with… will end with you.
And the question is very simple: ‘Are you ready to leave a legacy? Are you ready to live life by design as opposed to default.
Resources for Further Reading: