YOU WILL THINK THE FOLLOWING IS SIMPLY SCIENCE FICTION:
Sun rises. A robot follows suit. The robot puts on a suit, and says goodbye to his son.
Thirty minutes later – no more, no less – the robot attaches itself to a larger machine, where it joins the gear-grinding for eight hours. No more, no less.
Robot returns home. There is a bracelet on the kitchen table. The robot picks it up, and attaches it to his robotic hand. Eight hours pass by. The evil time-stealing bracelet had gotten its fill of the daily victim.
Sun rises. As does the robot. This continues until the robot finally breaks down or runs out of time, like the Justin Timberlake movie.
. . .
Do you think I’m crazy?
Replace the robot above with your average American, and the evil time-stealing bracelet with a remote control (or alcohol, or drugs, or the abstract object that is complacency).
Most people wake up, go to work, come home, and spend the rest of their time with little purpose, fun, or care. The TV, shot of tequila, or longer-than-necessary mid-day naps reign supreme, and are winning in the game of stealing your time (the most VALUABLE thing we have).
. . .
Time to experiment in lifestyle design…no?
. . .
Whether you are a student, 9-to-5’er, entrepreneur, or something else, there are all different ways to make sure you get the most out of your time on this planet, and create lasting memories alongside a lifestyle you can be proud of (and actually want!).
For beginners who don’t have too much “free time” on their hands (I’d argue that you have more than you think…but I’ll get to that in a minute), here’s some super basic ideas for lifestyle design improvement.
- Swap music or silence during your morning commute for an audio book (if you drive or walk) or a physical book/e-book if you take public transport. Educate yourself, listen to fantasy novels…whatever. Do something to enrich yourself, and pick a topic you’ll enjoy hearing about. Instant boost of positive juices for the day, accelerated imagination and learning, and prevention of overplayed radio music that will forever repeat in your head the rest of the day (get out of my head already, T-Swift!). You can’t go wrong.
- Take a few deep breaths. And relax. Please. Just once. Do it! Try it now. Then later. And, for the advanced, try to meditate for five minutes when you wake up or before you go to bed. I have a meditation challenge in San Diego in February, but have yet to graduate to consistent meditation, but I’m working on it too! Join me. At the very least, take a few deep breaths now and chillax, bro.
For those who are willing to get out of their comfort zone at all, try these ideas:
- Go out with a new group of friends. If you don’t know where to start, try co-hosting a dinner party at a restaurant with some of the most outgoing people you know, and have them invite a lot of people. You’ll make new friends quickly, and have the mutual connections to fall back on. This also doubles as part of the dinner party experiments I’m currently working on, but the overall idea is to start hanging out with some new people. Reason? If you don’t like your current lifestyle, or want to experiment to see how it can be improved, you need to surround yourself and befriend a diverse group of people who will show you all different aspects of life. From there, you can pick your “hierarchy” a little better, and refocus on the new things you really love (or continue experimenting full force, which you should always be doing at some level to avoid complacency).
- Try a new class or experience. In October (actually, I did this on my 19th birthday) I took a free Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class and then went speed dating! While I haven’t done either again in the last three to four weeks, I may certainly return to each activity at some point, and whether I do or not doesn’t matter. What I’m getting at is that you need to continue experimenting with how you design your life so you can incorporate as much fun, flexibility, freshness, and intrigue into your time on this planet as possible.
- Find a new group to hang out with, or a recurring activity to try. I’ve now gone to 2 Daybreaker parties – morning dance raves with no alcohol or substances designed to give you an incredible start to the day – and I have LOVED it. Your monthly group could be an intramural sports team, or a group of friends dedicated to spending spontaneous time together at least once a month. Perhaps a weekend getaway…Do something outside of your normal routine every once in a while in order to recharge your batteries and begin crafting a more exciting life.
For the extreme:
- Try studying or working remotely for a week, or a month, or infinitely like me at this point. Negotiate a remote working agreement with your school or employer so you can work from home, or test out new coffee shops in the city to cozy into as you pump out now-more-productive work (no peer distractions, self-controlled environments, no commute times, less meetings, etc – if you can stay self-motivated and focused).
- Take on a major project. Start a company, lose 30 pounds, start your own type of “Gap Year Experiment”. Take on something that will require a lot of your time, will test you, and ultimately create growth. A few of these undertaken in a lifetime makes for a life worth living.
- Travel-hack, and just flat out vagabond for a little while (or a long while). We live in a world of connectivity, where I can travel to Europe, Canada, or South Africa, and still work on a soon-to-be-released book in the United States!
- I can probably give you other ideas, if you’re game…(!!!)
- Stop watching TV. Throw those devices out, or give ’em to friends. They’ll love you. You’ll love yourself (in due time if you don’t instantly). Win-win.
- Don’t watch/read the news. You’ll become depressed, and not much of it is valuable. Have a friend give you the 5 minute rundown of important, practical news rather than taking half an hour to an hour each day to absorb it all.
- Say “no” to obligations you don’t need or like that much.
- Become a productivity ninja (just google “productivity ninja” and I’m sure you’ll find a thousand ways to become more productive with your work, and at home too!).
Revisit the way you are designing your life. If you don’t like the way your masterpiece is turning out, start changing it. Baby steps first, then bigger steps. You only have one life to live, and none of it should be wasted. Long-term rewards are one thing, but sheer hatred of your job, life, or position in life is another when you do have the ability to experiment here and there to change things.
Maybe I’ll see you at the next morning dance rave! 😉