At the end of life, our questions are very simple: Did I live fully? Did I love well?” – Jack Kornfield
We have different lives. But in a way we all are a lot similar than we imagine.
We all have moments of fun, despair, happiness, sadness, awesomeness, success, failure and so on. It’s like life plays itself and we just sail over it with not much absolute control.
But some people are able to live it better than others. How do they do it?
Over the years I have figured out a trick for living an awesome life. It keeps me grounded in moments of glory. Keeps me afloat in worst times. Helps me tide over failures. Provides me direction when I’m stuck in life. It answers the question “what to do now (or next)?” Most of all it keeps me from making life boring.
So how the trick works?
Ok. Here it is.
Imagine in future your biography will be written. In this moment you are living your biography. And it should turn out to be a good one coz no one reads or bothers a bad/boring biography.
So how’s this for summary of your biography?
Born. Went to school, crammed and perspired to pass with good grades. Graduated. Joined a company. Then for next 40 years worked 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, in a cubicle. Spent the weekend grocery shopping, movie or in a shopping mall.
Saved money to buy a home and a car on loan and then worked your ass off for next 20 years repaying those loans. Retired. Raised 2 kids in between. Took a world tour as retirement gift (if you call visiting 4-5 country packaged deal a world tour).Died.
That’s the biography many in the current generation are looking at. Pretty normal and boring right? But that’s what it would end up if we don’t put up a good fight.
1. Break the script.
At every stage of our lives, the people around us try to write our scripts.When we are young the script our family writes : school, cubicle, promotions, management, retirement, death.
But you might realize that the right script for you didn’t include only “cubicle”. You have your own dreams. You want to rewrite your script. If you stay in the old script it’s like acting in a role not written for you.The final biography will be a disaster.
You want to be in a work of art, not a forgery or a cheap copy. Make it interesting. Go out of the cubicle life more often.
I don’t know how.
Go to swimming with dolphins. Try some sport you always dreamt of. Travel all around the world and soak in the culture. Volunteer and help the society. Learn dancing or that new language you always wanted. I mean just break the script and make the bloody biography interesting.
Change the usual script. Change things small and big. It is not so hard.
2. Embrace Change
We can’t control our life. But we control how we react to unexpected events and sudden changes. We should embrace change with open and highly positive mind.
Make it a rag to riches blockbuster if you hit a speed bump in your life. Don’t think only you are unlucky. Don’t feel regret or pity over self. Who wants a biography where the main character is a failure and is always whining.
I am practically disabled for now but I don’t sulk on it. It doesn’t matter if the chances of full recovery are slim. I try hard and remain extremely positive. I don’t want my biography to be a story of tragedy and sorrow.
In future I want to be someone who rose from an impossible situation and came out a winner. I want to be someone who made impossible possible.
Rise to the occasion and turn your failure upside down.
If your life have always been good them make it better by giving back to humanity and being a better person. Being generous makes a great biography.
If you are living a stable life try some new things and introduce some instability. If you have some weird dreams and wishes, just give them a try. What will happen worst? You’ll get defeated, you fall. But that will be better than not trying at all.
The last thing you want to do is look back in your life and say ‘only if’. Imagine what could happen if you succeed in any one of your dreams.
3. Dream big, small and stupid. Money is not an issue.
We make strange excuses to postpone our dreams. Not enough money. Not fit enough. It would look strange. People will laugh at me. Etc. Etc.
I’ll start playing golf once I rise to a higher position and become rich. Guess what, a golf kit costs less than a smartphone. And each play session costs similar to a movie trip. You need not to be a millionaire to play golf. You just need time on a Sunday and desire.
Or I always wanted to fly planes but it’s too late now. I am a engineer now. Guess what anybody can fly planes. And it doesn’t cost much. A private pilot licence costs less than a proper sedan. Imagine the things you can achieve in life only if you wanted and tried.
Or I always wanted to do MBA but now I’m married. Marriage or kids don’t stop you from studying. The only limitation is your own mind. Most colleges are welcoming and providing facilities for families.
Or I always wanted to write poetry/novel. But I can’t take that now and no publishing house would launch me. Guess what, with things like Amazon anybody can write, publish and sell books. And best of all you don’t need either money nor a contract from some stupid publishing house.
Or I always wanted to become an entrepreneur. Give it a try. What will happen worst? You’ll lose couple of years and possibly some money. But what’s 2-3 years from a 80+ years life to follow your dream? No dream is too big and none too small. But if you succeed you’ll be living life of your dreams.
I’m not saying you become a super achiever. I’m saying just try many things. Give all your weird dreams a try. Don’t carry your desires to your grave. We only have one life to live. Believe me there is no second life or reincarnation (well nobody can prove it).
When we try many things, we excel in some. And fail miserably in some. And in some we’ll hurt ourself real bad. But at least we gain experience. And we’ll have really interesting stories to tell to our grandchildren. Become your own Indiana Jones. One adventure after another.
Nobody is stopping you except YOU.
Your life is in your own hands. Make it large.
4. ‘No Time’ is worst excuse ever.
Time is very stupid thing. A day is 24 hours for everyone. All people spend same 10-11 hours in office. Everybody have same time yet some love and live life and others just sulk and complain.
‘I don’t have time’ is plain stupid excuse. If you really wish to change, make time for your dreams. Cut stupid things down. Cut Facebook time from 1 hour to 10 minutes. Use the remaining time for the gym which you always wanted.
Figure out what’s eating your time and devote it to your dreams.Also age is never a factor in life. It’s never too late. If you want examples, I will give them. But you are never too old, no matter who tries to tell you you are.
Following your dreams (big, small, wierd – every day) means getting good at life. Do it without expectation. Wish for nothing. Care for everything. You’ll find happiness somewhere in between.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “most people die at 25 but are buried at 75.”
Ask yourself at what age you want to die? You can’t ask the world to change its ways for you … you have to change first.
When you start to live your dreams and start changing your routine, here is what happens. Well, I have no clue what happens to you. Here is what happens to me.
5. Get out of the old script. And people will drag you.
Sad thing is, I can tell from experience, is that when you opt to break the norm and usual routine, people try to stop you. They spent a lot of time and effort to keep you serious and stick to the boring script.
They will criticize you and drag you back to your boring cubicle life.They will give you strange reasons like future stability, family tradition, public image, too much risk, decency and what not.
But don’t stop.
Follow your dreams. And once you succeed those people will admire and try to emulate you. That’s how the bloody world works. First they don’t want you to be different from the majority, which they call as ‘normal’.
But once you do that, they want to be you. They criticize and ridicule every Socrates, Da Vinci and Tesla. When these people keep following their dreams, they become heroes. And ‘normal’ people write books and make movies on their lives.
Who you want to be: ‘normal’ or a hero. It is totally up to you. Whenever you are stuck in life and wonder what to do next, ask yourself this question. Ask yourself “How do I want my biography to turn out?”
If you don’t feel charged up after reading this then I don’t care.
Go back and live your ordinary life. Sit in your cubicle. Work. Earn money. Pay loans. Work more. Die.
If that’s your life plan then good luck to you. At least I won’t read such a boring biography. And believe me nobody will. Not even you.
I write this not as advice. I write this because it is the advice I need to give myself each day. I hope I follow this advice today. I hope I follow this advice tomorrow. And the day after that.
I won’t let my biography go ordinary or boring.