Okay, show of hands: who worries about having a boring and mediocre life?
No, your life is not as boring as your grandma’s (unless you have one of those active grandmas who dance salsa on Thursdays), but you might cave in to society’s expectations, and you may have a tendency to go for “the safe choice” just so you can please your proud and pestering parents.
And so life can get a little boring. Not because you suck, or the whole world hates you, but because we live in a world where you have to take action on the kind of life you wish to lead.
Let’s talk about how you can create a more fun and meaningful life for yourself with these three practical tips.
Begin with the end in mind
Imagine that you visit the doctor’s office today and discover that you have an incurable disease. The doctor gives you six months to live—at most—and that’s being optimistic.
You don’t know what to say.
Your mind keeps playing scenes from your life, like you’re watching a movie about yourself—only you’re not satisfied with the ending. A sea of questions swim around in your head:
- Why do I have to die before my 97-year-old grandma? Can’t we just swap? It’s so unfair.
- Who will show up at my deathbed?
- How will I be remembered? What will people say at my funeral?
It’s never fun to imagine yourself on a deathbed, but it is a necessary exercise because it forces you to reflect on what’s truly important in your life. It helps you to appreciate life, clarify your goals, and most importantly, make the most of your day.
Use this exercise from one of my favourite authors to create a more fun and meaningful life for yourself, so that when the time comes, you won’t have any regrets on your deathbed.
Choose the more outrageous option
We’re constantly told to make safe decisions throughout our lives, but there are two problems with that:
- Fun and meaningful choices are never “safe” (that’s what makes them fun and meaningful), and
- “Safe” options are about as exciting as watching your grandma ironing T-shirts on a Sunday afternoon.
When given the chance, always choose the more outrageous option, and don’t let the naysayers stop you.
I’ve often been called crazy and naive by my peers, but I’m OK with that because I’ve been stepping outside of my comfort zone. I’ve lived with a host family in Barcelona, moved halfway across the world to study creative writing (yeah, you should see the looks on people’s faces when I tell them that), and jumped out of an aeroplane.
See what happens when you make more outrageous decisions? You gain valuable experiences that you’ll never forget. You meet people who are equally or more insane than you, and as a result, you feel inspired to live a more fun and meaningful life. I dare you to start making a few more outrageous decisions on your own. Remember, you decide what’s outrageous enough for you. Your mileage may vary. My tip is to begin small and work your way up.
As you live your life this way, you’ll soon look back at your “outrageous” decisions and realise that they weren’t that crazy after all. Instead, you’ll find yourself smiling.
Befriend your fears and move forward
We learn to fear failure from a very early age. We bury our faces in shame when we fail an exam, and blush when we ask stupid questions. We think we suck when we fail to get a job. Of course, this is a recipe for disaster: it’s exactly this kind of fear that leads us to have boring and mediocre lives.
So, what can we do about it?
Fortunately, most fears are learned. They’re a product of our environment and with a little help, we can begin to unlearn them. Think back to the last time you were scared. Perhaps you had a class presentation or a job interview. Your hands and face may have been sweating like crazy and all you wanted was for it to be over, but as soon as you exited the room, the fear disappeared.
That’s because failure is not a matter of life and death. It’s an internal struggle; a nasty voice inside your head that tells you that you’re not good enough.
The problem is that your body responds to this voice in the same way it would fight off a sabre-toothed tiger. When you take your fear for what it is (a learned behaviour that has been internalised), and ask yourself: “what’s the worse thing that could happen?” you often find that yes, you might embarrass yourself, but it’s not the end of the world.
Be proud that you did something instead. Most people never do.
Go ahead, set sail to a more fun and meaningful life
Please don’t be one of those people who stand still. If you don’t try, you’ll never move forward, and you’ll have a boring and mediocre life.
Something tells me that you’re different—something tells me that you’ll move forward one outrageous choice at a time because you know that’s the only way to live a fun and meaningful life. So go ahead, be more outrageous.
You don’t need anyone’s permission.
You don’t need to be afraid.
You don’t need to be perfect.
But you do need to act now. Set sail, my friend, and leave the safe harbour behind. After all, you don’t want to have any regrets on your deathbed now, do you?
What are your tips on how to live a fun and meaningful life? Please leave your outrageous thoughts in the comments.
It can be easy to run through the maze of life without pausing to think of its meaning: 10 Ways to Live a More Meaningful LifeFeatured photo credit: Damian Gadal via Flickr