Wake Up!

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Do you start each day dragging yourself out of bed and end it wondering where the time went?

Here’s what your typical day might look like:

You think hitting the snooze button a few times will help you build up the energy to face the day, but it’s no use.  You have to get up. You wash the sleep out of your eyes and brain with a hot shower and a hefty dose of caffeine.  You take in the day’s mostly depressing news stories while wolfing down some semblance of a breakfast and rush out the door.  A frustrating drive sets the tone for a long day.   While the sun shines on the world outside, you’re trapped indoors.  You attend meetings that are more talk than action and scramble to complete assignments so they can sit on someone else’s desk for weeks. By late afternoon, you face the usual dilemma: do you leave on time so you can sit in traffic or work even longer so the drive will be smoother?  You finally step outside, let your eyes adjust as the sunlight is replaced by headlights and street lamps, and head home.  There you make small talk about how rough your day was, inhale your dinner, and escape into evening TV.  You go to bed thinking about all of the things you didn’t get done, sleep less than you’d like to, wake up the next morning, and do it all over again.

In short, your life is predictable and boring.

The reason we struggle to get up in the morning is because we’re bored out of our skulls and sick of doing the same things over and over again.

The reason we end each day wondering where the time went is because we’re not actively engaged in our own lives.

We become like robots, programmed to follow the same routines, go to the same places, and have conversations with the same people about the same topics.  And before we know it, life has passed us by.

Maybe this story doesn’t describe you exactly.  Maybe you pride yourself in having a diverse and exciting life.  But I guarantee that in some areas, you still get stuck.  You may have encountered a dry spell in your love life or your friendships.  You may have reached a plateau in your career path or your fitness efforts.  It’s impossible to thrive in every aspect of your life all the time, and in general, the more you invest into succeeding in one area of your life, the more the rest sinks into routine and repetition.

People will tell you that the key to ending this cycle is to find your passion. This is flawed advice.

Finding your passion isn’t enough.

First, many people have, at best, a vague idea of what their true passion is.

Second, even if they find and pursue their passion, most of them will eventually burn out and lose interest.

Third, life is more interesting if you have more than one passion.

So how do you figure out what your passions are, and once you find them, how do you stay passionate?

 

Think back…

 

When we were born, everything around us was new.  New people.  New places.  New things.  New sensations.

The world was a mystery waiting to be solved, a puzzle waiting to be put together.

We were extremely curious, and our curiosity drove us to try new things.

We wanted to be able to explore our surroundings, so we learned how to crawl and then walk.

We wanted to be able to communicate with other people, so we learned how to speak and understand their language.

But the older we got and the more we thought we had life figured out, the more we started to gravitate to what we already knew, and the less we were motivated by curiosity.  And it was all downhill from there.

Curiosity is like a living thing.  It needs to be fed.  If it’s neglected long enough, it will die. And when our curiosity dies, we stop growing.

I’ve been there.  That dull, predictable life I described earlier was once my own.  And at times, I find myself regressing.  I go through stretches where everything feels repetitive, and sometimes I wonder, “What’s the point of it all?”

 

Then there are those times in my life when I feel invigorated.  I walk with a spring in my step.  A surge of inspiration shoots through my body, and I feel as if nothing can stand in my way.

And almost every memorable experience I’ve had, every new relationship I’ve formed, every time I’ve discovered or reawakened a sense of passion within me, the catalyst was trying new things.

It could be a new place.  Just as we learned to crawl and walk, we can expand our world further through travel.  I’ve learned as much from visiting and living in other places as I ever did in school.

It could be a new job.  After many years, I got sick of losing half my waking hours and most of my energy to an office job I didn’t care about.  Now I have my own business doing something I love and I actually look forward to working.

It could be a smaller change, like ordering something different off the menu.  I decided to try some new beers one day and it soon led to finding a whole new circle of friends.

And that’s the idea behind this blog.

I’m writing this because although I understand how critical it is to try new things, I also understand how easy it is to become dependent on our habits and how hard it is to overcome them.

So as much as this blog is about sharing with you what I’ve learned and will continue to learn about trying new things, it’s also about continuously pushing myself to break out of my routines and to practice what I preach.

 

What does all of this mean to you?  How does it relate to your own life?  Share your comments below and let’s turn this post into a conversation.

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