Since taking to documenting my travels and fortunate mishaps, I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of support I’ve received from readers like you. When I started this blog, I thought I would just record my insane adventures to laugh at down the road. But I’ve been touched to find that there are so many others out in the world who identify with my experiences and want to laugh with me. Everyday I receive an e-mail, a comment or nod from a kind and encouraging soul. It’s support from inspiring and creative people that keeps pushing me through untrodden territory, and for that I thank you.
But what I’ve been more surprised to see are the number of e-mails, Facebook messages, or comments from people expressing jealousy and envy of my situation. I can’t understand why anyone would want to be in my shoes when they could be experiencing their own unique adventures.
Over the past year I’ve learned that jealousy is a mark of discontentment and resentfulness with one’s own situation. It’s a draining feeling that wastes valuable energy on unattainable ideals (I mean, I can never be you, so being jealous over your situation is pointless). I think people turn to jealousy not because they want to, but because society accepts this emotion over challenging the status quo.
And since you have all been so supportive of me, I now want to help you. You too can live the life you’ve always wanted. There’s no shortage of happiness to be pulled from the well of possibilities. If you there is something that you want to have in your life there is nothing stopping you from having it, except you.
So how do you move away from a place of jealousy, discontentment, and stagnancy toward your dream job, location, relationship, or lifestyle? I’ve compiled a list of tips to help you continue to grow and move toward that which you really desire. I’m calling it…
Let’s all be happy, damn it. Here’s how, yo…
1. Think about what you want and imagine the worst possible scenario. What did she say? She seriously wants me to catastrophize how wrong this could go and why I shouldn’t do what I want to do? Yep. I know you know how. Make me proud.
We, as creatures of a modern society who feel obligated to fill socially acceptable roles, love love love to provide ourselves with dramatic ends to our feared behaviors (like public speaking). We punish ourselves in the worst possible ways: with our minds.
You can (and will) imagine every worst-case scenario, down to the sweat on your naked bodies as you stand in front of the judgmental crowd you are supposed to speak in front of. You can imagine every national news crew and Youtube channel uploading your most embarrassing failure for all to see. All you want to do is crawl in a hole and die a quick death to avoid the overwhelming amounts of embarrassment you feel. But naturally, because this is the worst possible scenario, that won’t happen. You will live for a hundred more years to see your demise replayed over and over. Clearly, since you have so successfully created this outcome, it will happen and you shouldn’t do it, right? Wrong.
The first step is imagining and really feeling the emotions that go along with your utter failure. The second step is asking yourself, well now what? What if this really happens? The likelihood and math will statistically show you that this scenario won’t occur. But even if it does, you’ll live. I mean, you just lived through it now, right? You’ve already felt what it’s like to go down this path and drink in the embarrassment, fear, or failure. So now that you’ve gotten past that hurdle, let’s move forward and try it out.
What’s the worst that will happen, you’ll experience the emotions you just found out you can handle? That’s not so scary, eh? Plus, how many times in your life has something gone exactly as you thought it would? The actuality of your situation will probably be much less traumatizing than your mind’s prediction and possibly (could it be?) fun.
2. Accept your fear. I’ve heard all of the excuses, all the reasons why one shouldn’t be allowed or can’t leave their current life to pursue the one they want. “I want to, but I have to make money. I work all the time. I have a family. I would love to move to Bora Bora, but I have roots here. I’ve got bills to pay. I don’t have the education. I’ve always wanted to try that, but I’m scared.” Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ve talked myself down, I’ve wasted time toiling and waiting to move because I was convinced I couldn’t do it on my own. But the reality is, it’s all a bunch of crap and you know it.
These reasons are just veiled fears. There is a fear of not being able to support oneself, not having a full-time job, leaving the comfortable for the unknown, and so on and so forth. The reasons why you rationalize to not do something are probably (well, maybe) very logical. However, they needn’t paralyze your movement. Just accept what you’re afraid of by simply substituting an “and” for the “but” in your rational thinking. Here’s an example:
Me before acceptance- I want to see the world, but I have no idea what I’m doing.
Me after acceptance- I want to see the world and I have no idea what I’m doing.
Not much changes, except that you are no longer in your own way. You are recognizing your limit and you are pushing past it. Sometimes this small change in the verbalization of your goal can make all the difference. Now instead of stopping yourself, you’re giving yourself the freedom to be scared. And just think how excited you’ll be when you are able to conquer your fear.
3. Live for everyday adventure. Sometimes the struggle isn’t necessarily changing your situation but changing your attitude. Everyday is an opportunity for you to do something special and worthwhile. You don’t have to move to the coast, fly a plane, or invent a time machine in order to have a meaningful and adventurous life. Again, we are blocked by our own assumptions and perceptions of where and how we live.
I am a perfect example of how someone can miss what is obvious to others. I grew up in Sin City. I lived in a town built on a reputation of entertainment, nightlife, and excitement. (I double dare you to guess what I thought of my city). It wasn’t until I started traveling and meeting others who were so enchanted by my town that I realized how lucky I was to call Vegas home. I was no longer stymied by own preconceptions about what was possible as a local. When I broke through that mental block, I was introduced to a world of adventure that lay only miles from my doorstep.
Start doing things that are just slightly outside of your comfort zone. Take a late night drive with the top down, go skinny dipping, read a novel by an author you’ve never heard of before, say hello to someone in a coffee shop, learn to cook a new dish, do something sweet for a friend. I promise you it will be a story worth telling. And even if you go to a party that features fondue and frog legs, at least now you can say you had that adventure.
4. Appreciate what you have now. When you start appreciating what you already have, the universe is more willing to give you what you think you’re lacking. But what you’ll probably realize is the more you practice appreciation, the more you’ll find that what you’ve been looking for is right in front of you.
Our need to be something different than what we are stems from constant comparison. It’s not your fault, really. We live in a society built around being ‘the best’. It’s natural for us to want what we don’t have. But let’s start building a more evolved society that’s focused on being our personal best, rather than the ‘ultimate best’. Really, who knows what that means? You have been blessed with so many wonderful things. Sometimes all it takes is a little perspective. It’s like the ancient Indian proverb states, “I cried because I had no shoes, but then I met a man with no feet.”
Need help finding the beauty and adventure in your everyday life? Start an affirmation book. Take five minutes everyday to write down ten awesome things that happened to you that day. It could be as simple as, “I made the most bang-up batch of brownies,” or, “That cute barista smiled at me.” It can also include people or things that you are grateful for. Some days you may have to stretch for ten but always do ten. Over time it will become easier and you’ll find yourself waking up excited to live the day exactly where you are.
5. Always, always, always keep going. Life is hard. People are mean. At some point someone will try to take your happiness and your confidence. Some people just can’t stand to see others succeed. Forgive them and understand that they are just people with the same insecurities and inward battles as you. Recognize that life will not always go your way. Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes you are in the path of destruction and devastation. Without struggle there would be no compassion, no growth, no appreciation. You will live through the pain. Just never give up.
Being able to break through your personal blocks and your hindered state is such a beautiful thing, but it’s only the first in a long line of accomplishments. Once you reach your dream, you’ll realize that wasn’t the ultimate journey; it’s just the beginning of what the world holds for you. Keep putting one foot in front of the other; you will find wondrous things. And remember, you’re not alone on this journey.
Convinced you can do this yet? That you are deserving of your dreams and the ultimate happiness of living in the moment? Don’t worry if you’re not there yet. You set the pace for your own success. The reward will be worth your consistent plodding and if you ever need reminding of that, feel free to get a hold of me. I’m happy to support you.