Do you ever feel like you’re taking life too seriously?
Every decision feels like it’s life or death. The smallest hiccups feel like the end of the world. You worry about unanswered questions. You’re so caught up in finding your passion and living your dream that daily life is a worrisome struggle.
Yep, I’ve been there. I’ve also found a fun way to lighten things up.
Remember those old choose-your-own-adventure books? “X” would happen, and at the end of the passage, you’d have to decide what to do. If you pick “Y”, go to page 5; for “Z”, go to page 14.
What if you saw life as a “choose your own adventure” book?
- Step away from the seriousness. When you frame life as an adventure book, it looks a little less intense. It takes some of the pressure off and allows you to lighten up – it’s an adventure, after all!
- Gain perspective and clarity. When you’re in the midst of decision-making, it’s easy to lose perspective and clarity. This method helps you find it again. It gives you a bit of distance – just enough to make things a little less fear-driven and a lot clearer. It allows you to take a good look and ask yourself: What could happen if I did X? Y? Often, it’s a choice between action and no action. What could happen if I took that art class? What if I didn’t? Fear-based responses can keep you stuck: “I might hate it. The other students might be mean. Maybe it’s not my thing.” But with a little perspective, you’re better able to see the bright side: “I could discover a new passion. It might be fun. I could make new friends.”
- Relax into uncertainty. Decision making sucks largely because you don’t know what’s going to happen. And as humans, we hate that. But with a choose-your-own adventure book, the unknown future doesn’t keep you from turning the page. If anything, you decide and move forward faster because you want to see what happens next. Let this be your life. Relax into the not-knowing and make decisions based on what feels right to you now, not fear of the unknown.
- Let go of the idea of “right decisions.” Some decisions are better for you, certainly: those that are aligned with your values and authentic self. But even if you make a decision that’s not the best, is it wrong? I don’t think there are “right” and “wrong” decisions. Yes, some are better, but they’re all on your path. Because by making that decision, you’re choosing to make it part of your experience. You can still learn and grow. So let go of fear of making the “right” decision. Anything you choose is on your path.
- Have more fun. Often, we see our lives as serious, scary tests. Only #2 pencils, desks cleared and no looking around the room. That’s why framing life as a choose-your-own adventure book works so well. Because just by having the word “adventure” in there, it’s gearing you up for more boldness and fun. So next time you face a decision, ask yourself: This is my adventure. What do I choose?
I know, life is a bit more complicated than a book. If you make a choice you’re not happy with, you can’t go back and choose again. But you can do the next best thing and choose differently at the next junction (which can be as soon as the next moment, if you decide).
Recently, I was on page 24 and faced with a choice: Take a ballet class, which I’ve been wanting to do since I was a kid (turn to page 48); or stay comfortable within my limits (page 31).
Briefly, those limiting beliefs fluttered through my mind: “Will this be a waste of money? What if I hate it?”
But I chose the “lighten up” mentality, shook off the doubts and turned to page 48.
I’m a couple of classes in, and so far my fears have gone unanswered. The class is a blast, I don’t miss the money and I’ve reaffirmed my decision to relax and let more fun into my life.
Is there an adventure you’ve been putting off? A choice you’ve been afraid to make?
What’s the worst-case-scenario here? Maybe you’ll hate what happens and regret your choice. Totally valid option.
But what’s the alternative? Staying stuck on page 1, frozen with fear? And who knows – maybe you’ll love what you find on the next page. You won’t know until you turn.
It’s your adventure. What do you choose?
Featured photo credit: Cyclist on the top of a hill via Shutterstock