THE BLOG

9 Ways to Tell if You Are Living Someone Else's Life

03/11/2015 11:24 am ET | Updated May 10, 2015
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Long ago my wife came up to me while I was watching a three-hour Cubs game and asked a simple question? "Why do you watch other people live their lives instead of living yours?" That insight from my brilliant wife hit me like a ton of bricks. Why was I investing so much of my own time watching from the sidelines? I pondered that for a moment and went back to watching the ballgame, saw the Cubs lose, got upset and spent the rest of the day sulking which of course proved her point further. I should have done something else with my free time.

From that moment on, however, her question stayed with me and has become a part of my internal guidance system. I am now very conscientious of how I occupy my time and do my best to spend it wisely. I also teach how to do so to my clients. Thus, in addition to sports on TV, here are the ways to check if you are living your life or someone else's.

Social Media
Like many things is life social media is of dual nature. It is a provider of incredible communal support, research, learning opportunities and ability to meet like-minded people. On the other hand it is a constant flow of information (useful and otherwise) that sucks you in and never lets go. If you find yourself using Facebook, Twitter or any others for more than 30 minutes a day, then it is either your profession or your obsession. :)

Television
Raise your hand if you have already devoured Season 3 of House of Cards? Keep it raised if you feel a bit empty now that How I Met Your Mother has ended? Feel free to swap out above examples with your favorite television series and the point will remain. Why is their made up life so important to you? And if you proceeded to give me a long list of answers or a middle finger then you most likely are living someone else's life on television.

Books
At this point I know I suck :) and am not trying to take reading away from you, far from it. I just wish to bring into your consciousness what books you are spending your time on. If you are pouring over romantic novels or sci-fi, then you like being whisked away to a far off land where someone else is having their adventures.

Comic books
Moving on...

Comic Con
There is absolutely nothing wrong with dressing up as your favorite Avenger (Captain America, of course!) but if you do that every year and are a groupie who travels city to city, you may have a problem.

Celebrities
How much time are you spending paying attention to celebrity gossip? Do you know way too much about Taylor Swift's latest style? How did you feel when Kim changed her hair color?

Video Games
Granted, hand/eye coordination is important and so is strategy but everything should be in moderation. If you feel much more in your own skin when you are playing and if you ask people to call you by your avatar name, then you may wish to re-evaluate.

Fantasy Football/Baseball, etc
Personally I would love to be the owner of the CUBS (Tom Ricketts if you are reading this, I would even consider being a part-owner). That fantasy aside how much time are you spending running your own draft and checking stats per day? There are only 32 GM's in NFL and you are probably not going to be getting that job.

Children
Very touchy subject but if you have ever used the word "vicariously" as it relates to your child then you already know what I am going to say. You and your children are always connected but you are different people who must lead their own individual lives. I have heard from way too many parents that said they are living their life for their child and then didn't know what to do with themselves once the child had gone off to college.

We can go on and on with other examples because our society is great at creating new and exciting ways to part us with our money and time while explaining why it is in our best interest. Way too often we find ourselves trying to escape from our ordinary existence into a more adventurous one. One in which we are not bound by the rules or the hand that we have been dealt. We can imagine ourselves being better, faster, stronger, richer, etc. And in it we find comfort because it's safe, because it's possible and because it's fun.

What won't be comforting however is looking back at your life and realizing that you have spent it living someone else's. So don't! Go out there and explore, grow, visualize the best version of yourself and achieve it! You are on this Earth not to be a passive observer but an active participant! Screw living someone else's life -- here's to living YOURS!

Allen Vaysberg is a Recalibration Expert who facilitates people's transition from unfulfilled and stressed to doing what they love and being at peace. He speaks on life purpose, career change, work-life balance and the recalibration process. For more information and practical inspiration visit www.allenvaysberg.com