You probably have some pretty amazing ideas, goals, dreams, and ambitions running around in your noodle all the time but how often do you take action on them? Most of us talk the talk but when it comes down to walk the walk the majority are lacking, what gives? It’s really disappointing too because there are some really unique, talented, and inspirational people out there… I’m going to go on a limb and say if you’re reading this that you’re probably one of them.
You may even have had to unearth hidden talents you never knew you had, passions and gifts often are discovered through overcoming personal challenges, breaking through barriers, and pushing past personal limitations that you’ve placed upon yourself. There’s real power in expression and creativity so I say do more of it. Be you, be free, explore, lose yourself in moments, get comfortable your emotions, and find confidence and power in both failure and success.
There’s real power in experiences
I know you’ve felt it before, the excitement, power, confidence, and invincibility that occurs when you are in your element. You know, those times when you’re in the zone, when all your virtues seemed to be aligned and your acting in a way that emphasizes your strengths; you’re around people who help pull it out of you, you’re being challenged, those moments of pure and utter bliss, those moments of flow.
For some of you this may be in the work that you do, while exercising, kicking it with your kids, out in nature on a hike, while listening to some of your favorite tunes, or it may be any combination of those things. It’s those times when you just get lost in within yourself and the environment around you. You feel free, comfortable, and confident expressing emotions and just being yourself.
If you’ve never felt that before, believe you don’t feel it enough, or are unsure of what those moments are for you then you need more experiences. You need to give yourself a platform to be yourself, learn, and experience new things that will challenge you and force you to grow. Personally, I don’t really believe that any experience is either good or bad, it just is, but it’s the way you respond to it that determines how that experience is perceived now and in your future.
So get busy today and define what your ideal life looks like:
Have you ever felt complete freedom in any of those areas before where you were acting as your authentic self? If not, how can you create more experiences in those areas that help you to figure it out? Maybe a 30 day nutrition challenge is needed, or trying to read 52 books in 52 weeks, or maybe you need to swim with dolphins, go bungee jumping, or even just let someone know how you feel about them.
Look to previous experiences for guidance
Previous experiences can be used to help you dial in if you need help finding your mojo. As I think back a little bit here I notice I seem to have this natural high and enthusiasm after a good adrenaline rush. Skydiving and bungee jumping in particular are two activities that always seem to spark something inside of me that lasts right around 3-4 months. After doing a jump I tend to feel more enthusiastic, confident, and productive in all areas of my life – The work that I’m doing, personal health, my relationships with others, and so on.
I don’t always need some big grand event either to plugin and find my mojo. Often, I can find it by listening to a certain song, getting in a nice bodyweight workout or jog, hanging with my dog Lincoln, or spending time with some really great people.
Start keeping track of events, people, experiences, music, food, whatever it may be that helps you feel free, comfortable, excited, and confident and start creating rituals around those things or people so that you can spend more time with your authentic self. Life gets busy and you may find that you may have to actually schedule those things in, but make them a priority, find the time, the reward you’ll receive from these experiences will be well worth the effort.
- Make time to exercise
- Connect with people you admire, feel good around, or get energy from
- Spent time taking on personal challenges
- Educating others
Whatever it may be that gets those juices flowing.
Be that person, as often as possible
Think for a second about the people you like to be around, go ahead, I’ll wait.
What exactly are they like? Are they optimistic, happy, joyful, confident, persistent, motivating, inspired, enthusiastic, and hopeful? They most likely display some if not most of those characteristics. Pessimism, negativity, and generally unhappy people can be exhausting, it’s physically and mentally difficult to be around them and can seriously affect your health and well-being.
Spend more time with the people you really feed off of and be one of those people for them as well. Be a leader and an example that others can use as a resource for their own search for meaning.
Experiences over possessions every time
I recently read a short but terrific piece over at Psyblog that dealt with the relationship between life experiences, material purchases, and well-being.
“…Which of these two types of spending do you think makes you happier, purchases that are made with the primary intention of acquiring a:
life experience: an event or series of events that one lives through,
material good: a tangible object that is kept in one’s possession.
When thousands of Americans were asked this question, 57% said experiences make them happier and 34% said things make them happier (Carter & Gilovich, 2010). For once the majority is right….”
Why is this? Why do your experiences play such a larger role in your well-being than material purchases do?
- Experiences improve with time because they tend to take on new meanings in our minds, but things just tend to get old.
- People mentally revisit their experiences more than things they’ve bought (Van Boven & Gilovich, 2003). So experiences keep providing pleasure long after the event itself.
- Experiences resist unfavourable comparisons because each is unique. Things, though, are easy to compare unfavourably because they’re similar to other things.
- Also, because experiences tend to be unique, we adapt more slowly to them and adaptation or habituation is the enemy of happiness (Nicolao et al., 2009).
- Experiences tend to be social and social events (generally) make us happy. Things are often not that social.
Here’s a link to that full article with some extended resources to check out. Well worth the next 15 minutes of your life.
Your experiences don’t always need to be grand events, they can be simple pleasures that can be accomplished every day.
- go on a walk
- create some art
- be a kid again
- eat with your hands
- visit a gallery or play
- write a letter to someone
Just do something you have never done, or maybe haven’t done in a while, and hell; invite someone to join in on the experience with you.
We only see the masterpieces
Welcome the bad ideas and the bad experiences. Picasso didn’t only create masterpieces, he’s got a few duds in there too. The only way to find that masterpiece is to question and experiment with everything. You’ll find what works, what doesn’t, what you like, and what you don’t – You build a repertoire of knowledge and resources to build upon.
Continue to get comfortable with the uncomfortable, this is not something that will happen overnight, it’s a journey and a journey that may never really end. Either way your on it and you might as well make enjoy as much of it as possible. Here’s to experiences… go get some.
What is something you have always wanted to do? What’s keeping you from doing it. Let me help destroy every excuse imaginable.