I know I’m not alone in this, but I don’t like email that much. What I do like about email is searching for and clicking on the tiny unsubscribe link. The unique joy! In a time where very little feels within my control to change, it’s one chance to hit a button that says “This is not okay with me anymore. I don’t want this.”
If only we could harness that power in the rest of our lives.
Perhaps we can.
In everything we do, we have two choices. We opt-in or we opt-out. By not choosing one, we automatically choose the other. It’s a zero-sum game and a powerful one.
Products, ideologies, conversations and habits have tremendous power over us. They make us a certain kind of person. The practices we engage in become formative rituals that mold our minds, our souls, and our bodies. As such, one of the most subversive, revolutionary choices we can make is exercising our power of the opt-out.
Want to try? Here are a few ways I’ve been experimenting with opting-out in order to opt-in.
1. Opt-out of constant connection. Opt-in to unplugging. This might be one of the most powerful acts of rebellion. I think I’m just checking in so I don’t miss anything, but these habits are changing me. They’re making me less human.
Let’s put our devices away for a day. Or an hour. Let’s declare we won’t be a slave to the endless barrage of information. Let’s opt-in to reclaiming true connection with people, our own freedom of choice, our own voice, some inner peace.
2. Opt-out of noise. Opt-in to silence. Recapture the sound of what’s in your heart. Give yourself space to hear the voices of your imagination. Give your brain time to problem solve. Take some time each day for the subversive act of sitting in silence. Start with 3 minutes before your day begins. Set a timer and just breathe.
3. Opt-out of being right. Opt-in to empathy. What if we made it our goal to be engaged partners in conversation, not winners? It might change everything.
4. Opt-out of consuming. Opt-in to creating. We were made to be makers, not buyers. Do more of the work you were made to do. Steven Pressfield put it best: “We unplug ourselves from the grid by recognizing that we will never cure our restlessness by contributing to the bottom line of Bullshit, Inc., but only by doing our work.”
Ready to do more of the work you were made to do? Want to reclaim some peace in these scary times? Start with saying “this is not okay with me anymore.” Let’s opt-out so we can opt-in to a more gentle, kinder and better world. We actually do have that power. It’s time we started exercising it.