Is it possible to “have it all” and be the “whole package?” Society as a whole seems to revere hyper-specialization. The message is, the deeper the expertise in a particular niche, often the more highly respected, compensated and sought after one is. We daily live in a world completely sold on depth—the era of the ultra-specialist. In our globalizing, technology-driven, ever-more-complex world, we often seem to have convinced ourselves that the route to excellence and progress lies in narrow specialization—in obsessive concentration and focus. This is seen in career paths, vocational and educational training and even in kids’ sports. The number of kids specializing in one sport to the exclusion of all others has skyrocketed in recent years. It is almost as if we are compelled to choose which field or thing we want to focus on earlier and earlier in life to try and “get ahead” of our peers. The tacit notion seems to be that we can’t possibly be successful in multiple different fields and things. Have we pushed the envelope of specialization too far? Is it really possible to get really good and become an expert at many things? Why can’t we become experts in lots of things?
I’d like to pose the same question in regards to the details of our lives. Can we achieve huge success in every facet of our lives? Can we be massively wealthy, perfectly healthy and fit, extraordinarily kind, generous, charismatic, knowledgeable, wise, deeply spiritual, mentally masterful and wielding exceptional power, command and authority among people and over all things physical and spiritual all the while enjoying dynamic, flourishing thriving relationships with family, friends and peers? Or is this just something we read about in fairy tales, history books and see, often feignly portrayed, on TV and through social media news outlets? Or do we have to choose one or a few to “focus” our time and attention on in order to get really good at to the exclusion of all others? If so, why? Why can’t we become experts in everything? Why can’t we have it all—anything and everything we could ever imagine, want or dream of without limits? Why can’t we be it all—a veritable one stop shop of all the characteristics, attributes, powers, talents, abilities and wisdom anyone could ever need or want? I have literally spent years grappling with this question.
For me the ideal and all-consuming desire internally to have it all has never matched up with what I had seen and experienced in the world. The cultural collective unconscious and my own life’s experience seemed to lead me to believe that I had to choose one or the other. Wealth or spirituality? Family life or professional greatness? Physical fitness or a supportive, loving spouse and/or parent? Riches, fame, and influence or humility, knowledge and wisdom? I then woke up one day and realized how misled I had been. Not only could I have it ALL but I was wired, engineered and designed to have it ALL.
In my own journey I have met many wonderful individuals along the way who have exhibited superior qualities, skills or abilities in one or more areas that have taught and inspired me. Yet I still always felt a disconnect with this burning ideal in my mind and my day to day experience of reality. There was, and often still is, a profound sense of loneliness in the thought that things aren’t always as they seem and as most of the world says they are. Why were so many people just content to choose one or two things in life to excel at? Why did (and do) I not feel satisfied with an above middle income job, a beautiful home, beautiful wife and family, an exceptional mastery of spiritual texts, a great body and physique and even accolades and initials next to my name???
Was I dreaming, studying painstakingly for years and feeling an incessant hunger for an ideal that doesn’t really exist? What about this unmistakable internal gnawing and unrest for more than peers, religious leaders and society in general told me I can have or should have? Why would I not feel content or satisfied even when successful in my chosen vocation and after decades of devotion to my native religious faith?
Despite the typical oversimplified and pedestrian answers most supplied, it was and is not enough. It does not appease the questions in my mind nor soothe the burning in my heart. I can not philosophize away the incessant, unrelenting nature of a voice and feeling inside that screams for something more, something bigger, something more vast, expansive and all inclusive. My deepest and greatest desire is to have it ALL and be it ALL, not just some of it or part of it or most of it but ALL of it. And I believe, whether you admit it or not, in your heart of hearts and in the un-distracted silence of your thoughts, it is yours too. It is all of humanity’s deepest longings, urges, and wishes wrapped into one universal desire–to have, experience and express more LIFE. Then why the societal pressure to choose only one or a few? Why the culture of such rigid specialization?
The examples of hyper-specialized individuals are rampant. Rich but horrible health; healthy and fit but broke; rich but snobbish with horrible family life; spiritually grounded but poor health and financially unstable. A great spiritual or economic mentor to others but lacking deep, meaningful and loving relationships with others at home. The old adage that
“who you are screams so loudly I can’t hear
what you are saying”
is never out of style.
In my own life’s experience I think of my father and father-in-law, who are both now gone, as prime examples of this point. My father was perceived by many a spiritual giant of a man and one who had charisma and influence with people- but he labored, toiled and struggled his entire professional life to provide adequately for his large family. My father-in-law was a seeming guru of business and wizard with finances but suffered from poor health and strained and often tumultuous family relationships.
I remember my nutrition teacher in medical school spouting the benefits of eating proper legumes and consuming the correct amount of protein and fat. He was thin, frail in appearance and probably 130-lbs soaking wet- not the epitome of what I wanted to look like. Or the myriad of spiritual teachers I have witnessed who diligently teach eternal truth but struggle themselves by living paycheck to paycheck, being 50+lbs overweight or having strained, fractured home and personal relationships. I remember my wife seeing a physician colleague who told her she should lose a few pounds, who himself was bulging at the seams and couldn’t hardly reach down to tie his own shoes. Or the many political leaders I have witness who have all sorts of learning, acumen and oratory excellence but can’t keep their pants in the upright and locked position in their extramarital relationships. While one labors to become wealthy, another focuses on perfecting familial and social relationships while another puts the majority of life’s energies to becoming a spiritual guru and so on. Why does it seem that there are such a rare few who have mastered the art of having it all? Again, is it really possible to become an expert and excel in all these things? The same question may be asked of those with spiritual inclinations: why would Jesus not only recommend, highly encourage and extol but plainly command followers to “be ye therefore perfect” if it was not only possible, but also expected?
The entire purpose of this blog is to elevate your thinking and smash to pieces what you and I think is possible and to not only show through reason, logic and intuition that you truly can have it ALL and be it ALL but to prove through the touchstone of life’s experiences that you are, destined to and made to experience that reality. Words are no longer enough. The Living, Breathing, Flesh and Blood manifestation is the only thing that will ever do.
I invite you on this journey with me as we explore and venture into unknown realms of thinking and living. Do not squelch that desire in you. Do not suffocate that most primitive of urges to have more, be more and do more any longer. You are not meant merely to just observe, admire, and document the successes, triumphs, and achievements of others but to be full blown participants in the process. I believe you and I would never feel that surge of desire flowing so powerfully in us if the mechanics for the fulfillment that desire weren’t already in place. Let the LIFE that wants you have you.
The world is waiting for us–a new generation of men and women, awakened to their infinite nature, ignited to their limitless potential–who unleash greatness, mastery and genius in every facet of life. We ARE those who refuse to settle for anything average, normal or common.
We are consumed with an obsession to increase, enlarge, expand and magnify everything we touch and everyone we know. We waste no loathing in self-pity of what we may lack but we ARE driven to have it all, recognizing this is our birthright and great and ultimate purpose!