Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away with everyday life. Rethinking what you want to do with yourself is no easy task but it’s something aspiring entrepreneurs and lifestyle designers alike should look into.
Take A Step Back And Ask Yourself What You Want To Do
Decompression is a technique that I use to describe the process one goes through when taking a step back from their regular 9-5 draining life for a bit of reflection on their life and lifestyle.
There are a few things I’d like to steal from other people that make a lot of sense. After all, great artists steal.
Here is a question that I’ve stolen from the desk of Tim Ferriss to help illustrate what I want to talk about.
“What would you do if you couldn’t ever retire?”
This semi-famous question is something Tim uses to get people into the mood of “what if”. It’s a great question actually and something that isn’t easily answered.
Most people plan to retire at some stage, but it’s rare that plans go 100% the way they should.
Here are a few things that I’ve done in the past which have really kept me focused on my dreams, goals and why I’m working towards the lifestyle I want.
You Are Dead
The first is something a lot of people suggest, so I can’t cite just one person for credit. Basically the idea is you are dead.
You’re hovering in ghostly form above the congregation that is your funeral. What do you think people will be saying about you? Your friends, family, people you know.. what are they saying? Is it good?
Write it down. Just make it a few paragraphs.
Now… what do you want them to say about you? It’s important you write this one down. Be specific. Again, it doesn’t have to be 1000s of words, unless you want it to. But make sure that you get really specific about how they should feel about you, how they perceive you, and how they describe your attributes.
I have to confess, I found it hard to put this information in sentences, so I just wrote a dozen or so bullet points. I found this the easiest way to get specific with myself. Choose the best way for you to express the feelings and get creative with it. It’s an incredibly self realising technique.
Repetitive Mantra Technique
The other reflective process I’ve found extremely useful was a repetitive technique I was introduced to a few years ago. I used it for about 3 months continuously at a time where I was unclear about what I wanted in my life.
The process involved writing down 5 sentences summarizing things that you want in your life. What you want to be, what you would like to have (as in things important to you, not superficial things), what you wish for yourself and your family, etc.
An example might be “I want my family to be happy, healthy and active.” Writing this down every day for 3 months has VERY powerful results. You will actually start to feel the things that you write down and your subconscious mind will move towards them.
It’s this technique that let me refine the ideas that I presented to myself in the funeral exercise. It is a basic repetitive technique. And it only takes about 2 minutes every day.
Reduce Your Fear
Stoic practices suggest actually practicing being poor in order to remove your fear. I would suggest that you don’t have to exactly spend a night on the street, but I do advocate practicing frugality to reduce your fear.
Once you remove fear, hard decisions become easier and you’ll find that the freedoms you desire will become more achievable. When you’re living cheap you begin to realize the important things to you. I’d be happy as long as I’ve got my friends and family around me.
Now here’s the disclaimer. After you remove the fear of loosing everything, people expect big decisions in their life seem small and insignificant. Removing fear will likely not have this effect, after all, big decisions are still big decisions.
But without this paralyzing fear you will be able to act on decisions without delaying due to fear. And that is the defining difference.
Plus, as a bonus, you’ll save a packet of cash being a frugal bastard. I love it. (By the way, frugal isn’t being a penny pincher, it’s smarter than that)
Hopefully I’ve given you a couple of things to think about and try by reading this post.
I want people to think about whom they spend their time with. Do you really want to spend more time with work colleagues than real quality friends and family?
I would much rather spend 7.5 hours a day with friends and family and 3 hours at work a day instead of the other way around. But unfortunately this is the reality for most; we spend more of our life with strangers than the ones we love. This is why techniques such as the three names above can help you keep the focus on your dreams and not let opportunity slip away.
Remember that us creative types never retire. But we can all afford the time work towards the quality of life we want.