The professional sailor, the astrophysicist, the philosopher, the enlightened meditator…They worked their way towards what they loved, some had to fight the Status Quo, some crossed seas of broke, but none of them seem to regret leaping in the unknown to do what they wanted.
Outstanding careers sound from another planet, especially when you feel too old to take risks, but these could be our lives. And no, it’s not too late. This could totally be us, whatever we might think of ourselves right now, and regardless of the results we have achieved in the past.
I’m posting this as a way to wish you a happy new year, because I want 2014 to fire up as many extraordinary changes for me as for you, my readers.
2013 felt like a kick in my gums, it’s been brutal and enlightening. I married Vilma after roaming around the world, faced the tough consequences of slamming the door on the cubicle lifestyle, took gr0wing.com to the next step (10 000 unique visitors last month) – a lot happened and I’m feeling grateful my life transitioned so fast, even if I banged my face against a few walls…Maybe that’s what it feels like to deliver, a mixture of excruciating pain and delight? (that’s how Moms describe the process).
I want last year’s improvements to be just a start: here’s how I’ve decided to push it further in 2014:
- Become a Vegan for one year (thanks to Eddie Badilla Vindas for inspiring me)
- Go on a road trip to California with my wife and my stepdaughter
- Rally 10 000 people around gr0wing.com (you can join too!)
- Meditate an hour a day minimum for the entire year
- Release my first eBook
- Draw a sketch a day for a year- Following this man’s example
- Make gr0wing.com my main activity by the end of the year
- Read 52 books
Some of these goals are unrealistic, but so were the most successful projects I had.
Does it make sense to share how I’m going to do it?
If you’re not interested, if you’re already completely set with a set of fascinating projects for the next decade, the below will be of no inspiration. Before you leave this page, though, let me show you a horrible picture of Santa, so you know you can’t expect anything from this old bastard:
For those who stayed, here’s a little shot of useful techniques to be productive and motivated this year, I’d like to share the approach I intend to use, it’s a blend of tricks that I’ve selecting after trying…plenty of … other stuff…
- Keep death in mind
Remembering the imminence of death programs your mind to filter out deceptive entertainment and focus on meaningful endeavors like learning, giving or meditating. It’s easier to makes things happen when you’re aware of the countdown. Maybe not a feel-good tip, but if you’d like to kick your ass out of inertia, that’s a winner.
Life is full of our mistakes, but they’re not failures as long as we let them teach us something. “What can I learn from that?” is the only mantra that transforms daily screw-ups into food for your brain.
Kids know how to visualize, don’t you recall yourself playing with a future toy before christmas? Sadly, with time (and disappointments) the muscle of visualization tends to atrophy. Some call that adulthood, but it shouldn’t be that way.
This year, I’ve decided to imagine again, will you dare to try that?
- Fan yourself
Stop being an aggressive troll that comments and bashes each of your failures, you need a raving fan on your side, and this fan should be…yourself. The others will follow.
Too bad we’ve been formatted to become anxiety driven competitors. To excel at something, rivalry doesn’t work nearly as well as having fun. A psychologist studied the process of keeping a happy mindset while achieving your goals and concluded that “result oriented people” perform rather poorly if you compare to those who learn and play, I recommend her book, BTW.
- Focus 80% on solutions and only 20% on problems
“If you don’t know where you’re going, there no chance you’ll ever get there” – Arabic proverb
When you drive, you don’t look at obstacles, you look towards where you want to go. Keep your eyes towards your destination. Your objective equals the sum of solutions to reach it. Don’t focus too much on problems or they’ll paralyze you.
You should follow this simple rule if you want to hack your mind into succeeding.
- Screw technology
Facebook is not your friend, neither are Twitter and Pinterest. All of them will try their best to suck you dry of the only thing you need: Attention. Spend your attention carefully by learning about things that fascinate you, instead. No App can do that for you.
- Gang up
Associate with like minded individuals, if your pals are smart and motivated, they’ll help you, enrich your vision and give you valuable feedback. Online communities and forums are great for that, especially if your passion is very specific (as a blogger, I chose to join Fizzle.co).
There’s never been a better time than now to start something that matters.
If you find this process intimidating, I’ll confess something: me too. I’m scared in my guts right now. Maybe that’s a sign that there’s something valuable on the other side, something worth trying. After all, between who we are and who we’d like to be, there’s only a thin coat of learned anxiety.
I’m going to leap once more this year, let me know if you decide to do it too: gael[at]gr0wing.com
“A man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a shortcut to meet it.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien