In my last article I talked about the importance of creating the lifestyle you want. But how do you even begin that process? I often hear people say that the first step is the most difficult. I completely agree with this sentiment, but not for the reasons you may think. It has nothing to do with start-up costs or timing, instead the failure to launch is often due to a lack of direction or desire.
Creating the lifestyle you want sounds good. I like to think it is a sexy and provocative idea, but what if you don’t know what your ideal life looks like? I sure didn’t. I had a much clearer vision of my desired possessions than I did my actual lifestyle. Honestly, I didn’t even really know who I was; let alone who I wanted to be.
So I reverse engineered my life and began to identify the elements I did not like, and built up from there. No one ever talks about the task, or necessity, of getting to know yourself. People tend to assume that it will come naturally. I mean, you’re you, so of course you’ll know everything there is to know about yourself, right? Wrong.
You have to take the time to strip away your learned layers, and get to know your raw self. What do you truly want? What are your strongest desires and priorities? What have you wanted to do for so long that you can’t even remember the birth of the desire? When you think of yourself, as your best self, what are you doing? What are you wearing? Who are you with? These are the details that will help you identify and ultimately create the lifestyle you want.
To reverse engineer the solution, go backwards and look around your life while identifying what you dislike. What are the things you would like to eliminate? What purpose do they serve? An alternative that arrives at the same result may be a perfect element in your ideal lifestyle. Did I lose you? Let’s take it a step backwards. As an example, I disliked my job, but I needed the financial purpose it served in my life. An alternative could be entrepreneurship, and so it became an element in my ideal life.
By identifying core elements that you enjoy or dislike, you can begin to develop a framework. From there you can test out elements and make adjustments, because maybe after trying entrepreneurship you learn it’s not for you. Then you’ll need to replace it with another element that serves your financial purpose. As you move core elements around to find a fit that works for you, you’ll begin to add on unique details that make your life tailor-made and interesting.
My core need for money was generically fulfilled with entrepreneurship at the beginning of my ideal life plan. As I embarked on my entrepreneurship journey, I eventually arrived at the unique detail of creating businesses that revolve around my love for writing and traveling (after many failed attempts at trying to sell things no one wanted to buy). I realized how important location independence and self-sufficiency are to me, and added those details along the way.
Indulge In Your Interests
The best way to better understand and love yourself is to indulge in your interests. I strongly believe that to be an interesting person you have to be interested in many things. Because it is can be challenging to list your interests off the top of your head, I recommend keeping a running list of ideas, historical events, activities and places that interest you. Then it’s not as difficult to feed those desires and build an interesting life around them.
Read books that focus on your favorite historical events and people, and watch documentaries. Travel to the places that peak your curiosity and continue to learn and study your interests. These activities will build your confidence and help you develop character.
Starve Your Scary
I’ve seen some really cool memes online, encouraging you to starve your fears. I find this to be extremely difficult because of its overly abstract premise. Have you ever seen your fears? I haven’t. But I do know what I do when I’m scared. I know how I react to anxiety, and I can actually identify the activities I use to avoid doing things that make me uncomfortable. Those activities I call my scary activities, because I resort to them to avoid doing what needs to be done, and by eliminating them I am often forced to deal with my fears and realize how making that phone call or building that website was much less scary than I thought.
My scary usually consists of time killers – those activities that make the day pass, so that bedtime arrives and my to-do list can casually roll over to the next day – a behavior that can easily develop into a routine. I am not a casual TV binge-watcher. I am a ‘start Game of Thrones for the seventh time and not give my undivided attention to anything until every episode has been re-watched and analyzed’ type of viewer. So I have to limit my television time to avoid using it as a blanket to my fear of launching a new product or re-working an article.
Surround Yourself With Superstars
My mother was right (as always); birds of a feather do actually flock together. At the very least, it takes a lot of time and energy to help redirect someone going in a different direction than you. And guess who suffers the consequence of losing that time and energy? Yep, you.
Eliminating the wrong people is equally as important as finding the right people to surround yourself with, for guidance and inspiration. You’ll need people that broaden your perspective while expanding your idea of possibilities. The good news is that you don’t actually have to know these people. Instead, you can pick your mentors and advisors through their written works (authors and bloggers), videos (motivational speakers and vloggers), pictures, lifestyle, etc.
Change is scary in general, especially when it involves leaving your comfort zone. So don’t try to take on the process of creating the lifestyle you want too fast, or too drastically, because like with dieting, you’re bond to fail if you do too much too fast. Instead, try to start with your elements, and build from there, adding in details as you go and eliminating people and activities that aren’t beneficial as you identify them. The only thing you have to do to start is start. So, just start. You’ll figure it out as you go.