Opt In

Once a week, I have the pleasure of teaching a pre-dawn bootcamp class, where I take great pride in encouraging my students to venture out of their comfort zone.  Interestingly, however, this week the tables were turned when one of the members of my group left me with a comment that is forcing me to venture out of mine.

It came post-workout after all the hard work had been done, after the impossible became possible, and the sweat to show for it was fresh with salt.  One of my male students thanked me for class while mentioning that he couldn’t help thinking through the workout “this is optional?”  We laughed, struck by the simplicity and truth of this question.  I had no response.

As my day went on, I found his words hovering around me, casting light on each of my interactions and decisions, framing them in a context of which I had not previously thought.  Suddenly, the possibilities seemed endless through the power of such conscious choice.  Because is life optional?  Hell yeah it is.  So what do you want?

Because you can opt in to anything.  Just deciding to do so puts you at a head start.  It’s a deliberate decision that says “I want _____________.”  And desire defines us.  Inherently, at our core, we are what we want.

Of course, one of the most interesting facets of opting in is that it often requires a corresponding opt out – out of aspects of our life that no longer serve us, despite the fact that they may have once carried clout.  Far from passive, opting out typically requires a good deal more courage and strength than an initial opt in.  Because it’s easy to say that you want something, but it takes true conviction to say that you want something else.

So I urge us all to move through our days with the awareness that we are choosing to be where we are, and that no one or no thing is dictating our spot.  It should be liberating, exhilarating and downright comforting to know that at anytime, we have the ability to choose to change the course.

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