Change For Life

Your lifestyle in the recent days/weeks/months conveys one of two messages:

1. I am content with my life

2. I want to change or improve my life

So as to avoid meaningless, vague profundity, I will dissect these two options and clarify exactly what I mean. Briefly, number one means a person is doing the same things they’ve always been doing, and they are hopefully happy with the results. Number two is a person who wants more out of life than they are currently getting (and will get) out of the current path.

Most of us fall into the second category, but not all of us live accordingly.

1. I am content with my life

This is not a snapshot of your current situation, finances, social life, contribution to society, etc. That is the shallow way of looking at this statement. The accurate way of looking at this is the current path you are on.

Our lives are like a rolling ball on the ground. Based on our momentum and direction, we can project where we’ll end up in one year, five years, or twenty years. To do this, simply focus on how you currently spend your time and how you act in key areas. With time, observe the results of your lifestyle.

Examples (these are very simple and very important!):

  1. Unhealthy eating habits = unhealthy person
  2. Eating well and exercising = healthy person
  3. Reading great books = very knowledgeable person
  4. Watching the news often = knowing mostly useless information
  5. Putting off dreams = never reaching them
  6. Financial strain = continued financial strain
  7. Being unhappy = remaining unhappy

That’s just to say that unless you do something differently, your current paths will play out as one would expect. The good news is that you can change your current path(s) at any time! Do things differently and experiment with your life.

We get into patterns and routines. Some are good and some are devastating to our well-being. Keep the good ones and target the bad ones to change for life.

Sunset path
Is your current path – the one you’ve been on for the past few weeks – producing now or projecting towards the life results you desire?

Tip: KILL the “someday” thoughts.  They will RUIN your life. The time to act is right now. Of all of your someday ideas over the years, have many ever happened? No, because saying someday means weak conviction.

2. I want to change or improve my life

If you answered no to the boldface question above, you’re in this category. Simply, it means you need to make changes in order to redirect your path. The changes you make should be both large and small. Both in the mind and in your daily actions.

This is an exciting place to be. It represents newer, scarier, more exciting reality that has always seemed out of reach. But it’s only been out of reach because you’ve conceded that. I realized recently that I had thought it “impossible” for me to explore the depths of the deep sea – a completely absurd thought. Of course I could explore it if I became driven to meet that end goal.

If others have done it, why can’t you do it? People that are less talented and intelligent than you are living their dreams because they are driven to do so. They’re willing to take risks repeatedly to see their vision through. They have a vision and pursue it recklessly.

So if you want to change, the first thing you need to do is kill the assumptions that have you gridlocked to a mediocre life. Are you sure that quitting your job would mean absolute and utter disaster? If so, are you so fully content with your job that you’re not even looking at others?

A social conditioning machine exists that seeks to shrink and morph our desires and force conformity upon us. The thing I’m realizing is that those who break free of these actually weak conditioning chains that appear strong are often rewarded abundantly.

Of the people you admire, how many got there taking the conventional path? I don’t know of any. I just see a long string of risky behavior, abundant failure, and ultimately wild success in what they set out to do.

1. Get Rich 2. Live Your Dream Life

“The conventional path” is a broken philosophy of life. It says that we must first get rich in order to live our passions. Smart, thoughtful people will find that there is more than one way to reach a desired end 99.84% of the time. You can likely live your dream life without being rich.

Another problem with conventional systems and paths is this – our desires, personalities, and passions differ greatly and no one path can satisfy all of us. You need to find your path that creates the life you truly desire. Not the path that society says someone in your position should desire.

I listened to the The 4-Hour Workweek audio-book in the past week and it is now my favorite book. The timing in my life was perfect to listen to it. If you’re open to new ideas, the book will open your eyes to the vast possibilities outside of your current job situation (which is not likely your absolute passion).

Affiliate links – no extra cost to you. Instead of Amazon receiving 100% of a purchase, they receive 96% and I receive 4%. I only recommend products that I have used and loved and this is one of them.

In the 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss (author) tells a story about a Harvard MBA on vacation in Mexico. Here is a video I found of this story being read.

[stream provider=youtube flv=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3Dh69gOCr11Y4%26feature%3Dplayer_embedded%23at%3D53 img=x:/img.youtube.com/vi/h69gOCr11Y4/0.jpg embed=false share=false width=640 height=360 dock=true controlbar=over bandwidth=high autostart=false /]

As you can see, being rich through sacrificing years of your life isn’t the only way to live the life you want. The Mexican fisherman was living the “retirement” lifestyle of the rich.  The conventional path tells us that we need tons of money first to be able to do whatever we want, but it simply isn’t worth it if you hate the process.

This is where experimenting comes in. Have you tried or even thought about alternatives? Be honest with yourself. What do you really want? People don’t want money, they want what money does for them.  Focus on what you want out of life and find the most enjoyable way to live it out.

Problems and Solutions

1. Temporary change

If you make a change and aren’t thrilled with it, you’ll most likely revert back to your old ways. Get serious and go for something your passionate about. Once you get started, you’ll hang on through the challenging times because you love it. It’s why I’m still blogging after making about $50 in 3-4 months. I don’t do it for the money.

2. Fake change instead of change for life

Sometimes we’ll make changes that seem important on the outside but are pretty meaningless because they are still under the “safe umbrella” of a life we don’t want. If you find yourself taking big risks to live the life you want, you’re probably on the right track.

3. Fear

Fear is rarely valid. I devoted a large chunk of my Stress Management ebook to the topic of fear. In it (as well as Tim in the 4-Hour Workweek), I said that a great way to dissolve fear is to admit it, define it, and calculate the worst case scenario.

When you calculate a fear’s worst case scenario, you set a floor on how bad it can be. This is important because without that floor being set, your mind can blow it out of proportion.

After that, calculate the most likely scenario and the best case scenario. A simple risk analysis of these levels will often lead you to recognize that your fear is simply absurd.

4. Excuses

This is the big one. You probably have a stockpile of excuses ready to unleash on your dreams ranging from children to finances to job security. Excuses are like the number of grains of sand. I can fabricate 4 excuses not to publish this post right now. The excuses are true, but they won’t stop me.

  1. I’ve could have written a better one.
  2. I could edit it to make it better. For example, there is an error in #1.
  3. It isn’t as cohesive as it could be.
  4. I didn’t include much humor in it.

These excuses fall to the one reason to do it – I think it is a good post and that people will gain something from reading it. I aim for perfection, but I don’t adamantly demand it anymore. Very good is… very good.

If you find yourself needing to justify your actions and inactions with excuses, you’re messing up. Badly.

You’ll be dead in 100 years.

Just live. Passionately.

Make mistakes.

About the Author

I'm lazy, but you can call me Stephen. When you're as lazy as I am, you need superior strategies to live well. My strategies are so effective that I'm productive every single day. As the world tries to figure out how to always stay motivated, I create strategies that don't require it.

Justin | Mazzastick

Hey Stephen,
Change is a real problem for many people today. Even though their present moment may suck it is even more difficult to face then the unknown.

I get bored easily so I always welcome change and new experiences.

Riley Harrison

Stephen,
A good post. I try to view life as one big experiment. Some work some don’t but the process is always interesting and maintains a vitality that is required for an enjoyable life.
Riley

Stephen Guise

Hey Justin, that’s a great point about the unknown. It is an important life skill to embrace the unknown when appropriate.

Stephen Guise

Hi Riley,

Life as one big experiment makes sense to me. Experimenting is the best hands-on way to learn. I agree that failed experiments are very interesting because at the start of each experiment, you are doing something you expect to succeed. If it doesn’t succeed, you automatically fine-tune your view of reality.

Tom

Hi Stephen,
I agree that Tim Ferris is onto something with the 4 hour work week. I just hope you don’t follow all of his advice and stop answering your emails and blog comments.

Its not always easy to apply logical thinking to fear but in saying that I am probably just making excuses. I have a dissatisfaction with my current situation but I have fears of failure and rejection that often paralyse me. I don’t say what I think or show my passion openly. Since reading 4HWW I am trying to do thing that are out of my comfort zone. I went to an industry function where I didn’t know anyone. I started a conversion online with the global practice leader in my field at my organisation. I got in contact with a famous fisherman I respect and invited him to meet me for a drink.

If you are looking for more good books check out the Personal MBA reading list, thats where I found out about 4HWW

Stephen Guise

I don’t plan on shunning people as much as Tim does in the name of productivity. 🙂 I don’t plan on getting a virtual assistant either (though it did sound interesting).

I agree with you that logic alone is not sufficient to overcome fear, but it helps tremendously. I’m beginning to shed my fears as I realize the benefits of doing so and the cost of not doing so. The more I step out, the more I’ve been rewarded.

It’s great that you stepped out of your comfort zone and made some excellent contacts! I’ll check out that list. Good reading never gets old!

Thanks Tom,
Stephen

Dave

Stephen,

I read through Tim’s book and found some of it to be interesting, some of it enlightening and some of it impractical for myself. Like any good book, we can choose what ideas to put into action and what ones to cast aside.

Tim certainly lives an interesting life and his ideas concerning emails, blog comments and virtual assistants make sense from a productivity standpoint. However, personally I like human interaction and even though I’m not dealing with the large volume of comments and queries he is, I enjoy answering comments and chatting with people.

Again, I’m not in the position he is, so I can’t imagine how challenging it must be receiving thousands of emails and hundreds of comments every day. At that point, one could spend the entire day on answering everything so I suppose a pick and choose method would have to be implemented.

I recently read a post by Julien Smith on fear and he made some excellent points. Here’s the link if you’re interested. http://inoveryourhead.net/how-to-tell-if-youre-doing-your-lifes-work/. Good stuff.

Good post man, glad to see you’re back from the beach and survived the spider attack.

Stephen Guise

I don’t think many people have the need for a virtual assistant. 🙂

I’m with you on human interaction being enjoyable. I can’t imagine dealing with 100 emails per day though – that would get pretty stressful. I do like Tim’s idea of doing things like email in batches for efficiency’s sake. It’s easy to check email 100 times in a day and not realize how much of a time waste that is.

I plan to check email once or twice per day as a norm.

I’ll definitely read that article. I like most of Julien’s stuff. Thanks man!

EDIT: Very interesting article. I’m inspired now. I have something on my plate that is terrifying, so I suppose I should press forward with it. 🙂

Is It Down

I’m always striving to improve my life and the path I’m on – because even if things are going well, they can always be going better, right? I really enjoyed reading this, it’s very motivational and inspires me to stay on track.. Or at least try to!

~Laurie

Stephen Guise

I have the same perspective of constant growth and improvement. The alternatives aren’t any better! I’m happy you liked it Laurie. Thanks for sharing.

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