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Life: Choose Your Own Adventure

Life: Choose Your Own Adventure

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.

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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?

You would:

  • 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).

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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.

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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.

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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

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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