Most people are really lazy.

Myself included.

Interestingly enough, it took a sign that I saw while shopping for a Mother’s Day gift last month to convince me of that.

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The sign is true. If we actually did all of the things we were gifted to do...it would blow our minds.

Most of us want to live an astonished life.

We want to do all of the things we dream about. To change the world and do what we’re called to do.

We want to wake up utterly astonished at what is happening in our lives.

We want to be wide-eyed at what has happened, curious and excited about the future, and doing everything we can to make right now amazing.

But most of us don’t. And I, for one, haven’t figured out why.

But I think it might be:


A life lived completely for self will never astonish you. (Click to Tweet)

Piles of money, fame, and good looks will never do that long-term. They will never cause you to just laugh in delight day after day. A life lived with the mindset that the world is here for our use will always lead to dissatisfaction. And without astonishment, we get lazy.

Part of self-indulgence is hedonism, or the devotion to pleasure. You will never be astonished or do all that you are capable of when your life is devoted to your own pleasure.

That’s the only thing I can come up with…self-indulgence. Most of us don’t do anywhere close to all we are capable of because when we have what we want (food, shelter, entertainment, approval, comfort), many of us stop doing.

I think that is the answer, but I’m curious what you think.

Why do you feel most people (including yourself, perhaps) do not live an unastonished life?

16 thoughts on “We Would Literally Astonish Ourselves | Why we Live Unastonished Lives

  1. Good question…I would say living in the future and not putting in the hard work in the moment.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      “in the moment” is key. I like that Jim!

      And thanks for pointing out the error in the email today.

  2. Matt McWilliams says:

    I read a great quote saying the same thing today:

    “What keeps you alive is
    having a challenge. And the great athletes don’t care what they have to go
    through to get it.”

  3. Morgan Cryar says:

    Great post, Matt! I think of the Parable of the Talents and that last little guy, giving his lame account (which sounds too much like my lame accounts) for burying his one talent instead of doing diligent business with it. He said “I was afraid.” But then the master who had entrusted him with the talent completely redefined his “afraid” into “you wicked, lazy slave!” What we excuse ourselves in the name of fear, the Master calls “wickedness” and “laziness.”

    1. Matt McWilliams says:


      Wow…I have heard that story at least 25 times. Never made the connection between fear leading to laziness which is wicked. Wow again.

  4. Lily Kreitinger says:

    Ties in with the voices telling you how you’re not good enough. We have believed the lie and we feel we are not worthy of doing something astonishing. Part of it is self-indulgence, part of it is fear and dreading failure. What if I fail? Followed by What if I succeed? Both are pretty scary for some people.

    I’ve been reading Max Lucado’s You Are Special to my little girl. I love the story of a little wooden man that meets his maker, Eli, the woodcarver. Eli tells him that he is special.

    “Me, special? Why? I’m not very talented and my paint is peeling. Why do I matter to you?” Eli spoke very slowly. “Because you’re mine. That’s why you matter to me.”

    Now, THAT is astonishing.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      I think even fear has an element of self-indulgence to it. God says “do this.” We fear it…so we don’t. That is self-indulgence.

      Your quotes reminded me of Marianne Williamson’s famous quote. I don’t agree with her theology necessarily, but this one is powerful:

      Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

  5. Jana Botkin says:

    Obstacles, interruptions, fuzzy choices, lack of sleep, too many choices, changing priorities, pain, criticism for being “obsessed” or “driven” . . . Its name is “Legion”, for they are many (reasons to not live an astonishing life).

  6. Joshua Rivers says:

    Several have mentioned “voices” already. There are the internal voices and external voices (other people) that tell that you can’t do it, that it’s too hard, that it’s crazy… But look around at those around you: are they living astonishing lives? Probably not. So why should we think that we are so special to try living that way? (P.S. this is just one of those voices)

    If it’s not these voices, we just act like electricity – just taking the path of least resistance.

    Try this: don’t focus on “everything” that your gifted to do. Focus on one and do it wholeheartedly. That should be enough drive to spread to the rest of your gifted areas (which everyone does have at least one gifted area – most people have more).

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      You know…people should do business as usual, too, as I said in yesterday’s post. It’s not just for businesses.

      Focus on one thing and get insanely good at it. There is always time for more down the road.

  7. Travis Scott says:

    Along the same lines…I think it is complacency. We get out of school thinking we can change the world and have big dreams, but then a lot of us get our first job. We get comfortable on the money we make and our dreams begin to fade b/c we become complacent.

    It’s easy to go down the road of complacency b/c there is no risk…you don’t have to take chance to be complacent. The difficult road or the road the less traveled is one where you get outside of your comfort zone…take some chances…and help a lot of people along the way. When you do that you can live an amazing life.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Awesome stuff Travis. You are so right, most people don’t change the world at 22. Not saying no one does. Some people have. But the reason why more people don’t change the world at 32, 42, or even 72…is because they didn’t at 22 and quit.

  8. Mike Holmes says:

    One of the things the Lord had been REALLY speaking to me about was to increase my giving. That has been breaking me out of the shell of focusing on me. I think that alone would really surprise us and break us out of apathy and self-indulgence.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Well said Mike. I can’t imagine more giving would lead to astonishment (sarcasm). 🙂

  9. Charly Priest says:

    I think self-indulgence once in a week or in moderate terms can be good for you thereby making you a little happier a little stronger and that way keep on doing things or sharing your gift to the outside world. A quick example, I´m broke, I´m 30 living at my parents(27%unemployment in Spain and climbing)now is the new norm to get back to living with family members. We are in a tight budget. I´ve tried over a year and still am trying to get a job, not even Burgerking is not hiring but their are letting people go. So I decided to get back to my writing and somehow make a living through the internet,still have to figure this one out. I´m pretty much isolated now a days working my behind off catching up on my writing and trying to figure out how to make money on-line meaning that I spend a lot of time typing away at my parents computer, cleaning the house(yep I´m a housemaid now, not easy so don´t laugh)and to transportation from a little village where I am that doesn´t even have a library, I depend on public transportation since by freaking car is in the pawn shop!(anyone want´s to give me a hand to get it back I´d appreciate it, just kidding) to move around is very expensive with what little money I got. So the other day I went to the city and spend 40$ in a big burger with fries salad and cheesecake and two big beers. It was heaven! I even forgot how a big city looked,smelled and tasted. After spending 5 hours roaming around just looking at all the different people eating and gathering ideas in my little notebook, I return back home that much more happier and renovated with all that much more energy to clean the house again and to share my gift of writing to the world.(a gift or a curse to the world don´t know yet)A little, again a little self-indulgence is good, I do realise that if I had money I´d spend like that day a lot more often and probably not do half of the work I´m doing.

  10. Jon Stolpe says:

    Fear, comfort, and lack of inspiration.

    My family is heading to Guatemala this summer in the hopes of being astonished and in the hopes of making a difference. And we’re going to see what we’re capable of doing.

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