If we were able to read the minds of every single person alive today, what percentage of the population would be able to say they truly feel excited to be alive?
Are you excited to be alive?
You don’t want to die, sure. You like not being dead. Your life has its ups and downs. Maybe you’re more or less relatively well adjusted. For the most part, you are happy, but are you excited?
Do you have a lust for life? Are you on an adventure? Do you feel blessed to be part of this at all?
When was the last time you went on a crazy spontaneous trip, made something you’re proud of, had crazy hot sex with the love of your life, tried something you’re afraid of, stayed in the present moment for longer than a minute or two, learned something truly insightful and profound, seen an awe-inspiring sight of beauty, or felt like you made your own little dent in the universe?
When was the last time you didn’t feel like you were going through the motions?
I like looking at people’s eyes. I want to see if they’re awake. Often, I don’t see abject sadness or anything like that, but the twinkle is gone.
And hey, maybe that’s ok. For some people, living a simple life without a ton of excitement is a fine way to live. Maybe even a great way.
Only you know the answer. It’s imperative to ask yourself, though, if you were being 100 percent honest about your life, does it match the excitement your younger self imagined. Does it fit this description?
“For I have a single definition of success: you look in the mirror every evening, and wonder if you disappoint the person you were at 18, right before the age when people start getting corrupted by life. Let him or her be the only judge; not your reputation, not your wealth, not your standing in the community, not the decorations on your lapel. If you do not feel ashamed, you are successful. All other definitions of success are modern constructions; fragile modern constructions.”
If not, maybe it’s time for a change.
“People are strange: They are constantly angered by trivial things, but on a major matter like totally wasting their lives, they hardly seem to notice.” – Charles Bukowski
When was the last time you zoomed out and took a real birds-eye view of your life?
I do it every day. I do it too much, maybe. This causes me to observe others and can’t help but feel like they’re wasting their lives. This is just my opinion of course, which is why I always turn it back to you.
It’s so odd. You’d think that since you are the one who cares about yourself the most you’d do the most for yourself to live the most exciting, daring, and daunting life ever, but you don’t.
If you were able to convert your level of self-absorption and preoccupation with yourself and turn it in a positive direction, you’d be unstoppable. But you don’t. Neither do I. Not fully, at least. Not even close. It’s hard.
As much as I push myself, I hold myself back in many ways. Like you, I’m always fighting this invisible ghost of fear. Why is the grip of fear so strong when we face no real danger most of the time? I ask myself that question often and I use it as inspiration to push myself.
I have a conversation with myself, “Ayo, why the fuck don’t you[insert crazy cool yet scary thing]? ” I have this conversation repeatedly, incessantly, obsessively. I’m trying to use repetition to make it clearer and clearer that avoiding exciting things out of fear is extremely dumb.
That’s what I suggest you do.
Ask yourself, why the fuck shouldn’t you live a grand adventure? Why does it always, always, always have to be someone else who gets to “live the life”? Aren’t you capable?
Why do you have to be so scared all the time? Why do you have to imprison yourself with rationalizations? Is it really that hard to face your fears? Why are you wasting your life?
Cheesy cliches are often a degree or two away from deadly accurate truth. The cheesy cliche? You only live once. The deadly accurate truth? You only live once.
You stare death in the face every day. The more you have that conversation with yourself about the fact, the more likely you are to do something about the situation. Will it work? Can’t guarantee that. But trying seems like the only sane choice to make.
But let’s say you do decide you want to be excited to be alive and go on this grand adventure. How do you do it? What do you do? You can chase the dragon in many ways.
Let’s talk about them honestly, right now.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” – Hunter S. Thompson
Pleasure and thrill-seeking have their place in this equation, no doubt. In fact, this is the area I want to focus on in 2020 because I’ve spent too much time hunkered down working.
All work and no play makes you dull, right?
But at the same time, you don’t want to fall victim to the hedonic treadmill.
Imagine you won the lottery today. Sure, the first few years would probably be awesome.
But after you’ve traveled the world ten times over, stayed in every luxurious spot, bought every toy, did every experience, took every drug, and rode every wild ride, what would be left to do? You don’t want your life to be an endless party. Without something to juxtapose it against, pleasure and thrill-seeking aren’t enough on their own.
They are great for contrast, though — work hard, play hard.
I don’t know the real science behind this, but experiences seem to create more excitement and happiness than toys. I bet you’d remember something like jumping out of a plane more than you would owning a brand new BMW.
Budget allowing, find some time to shake up your life. Do fun things.
Real fun — a rooftop bar in another city is still a bar. Switch it up. Travel — really trave…no itineraries, resorts, or planned activities…chill with the locals, go to random concerts from genres you don’t normally listen to, skydive, hike, deep-sea fish, go on a real bender, take a random road trip, eat at a Michelin star restaurant and drink 70-year-old wine, whatever.
Of course, you do this to a degree already. Just ramp it up!
Always remember, if you’re bored, you’re boring.
“Why do they always teach us that it’s easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It’s the hardest thing in the world–to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want.”
I put this one second, but it’s truly first in my mind. Yes, it’s cliche, but then again it’s deadly accurate. Finding a mission for your life just kills such a large amount of birds with that single stone. Waking up and doing exactly what you want to do is the biggest middle finger you can point at a society that wants to kill your ambition.
Again, like I always say, finding a mission for your life is not… becoming me.
You don’t need to become a digital nomad, start a business, make millions, create content, or do any of the things within this narrow band of approved activities that the self-help/business milieu has dubbed a “mission.”
I can think of so many mission-oriented lives that have nothing to do with that type of lifestyle. As long as it’s what you want, as long as you’re not suppressing yourself out of fear, as long as you truly care, you’re free and have a mission.
I can imagine a detective being excited to be alive because there’s always a new and unique case to work on, plus they’re doing a true human good and public service.
You can have a conventional career and be completely mission-oriented. Don’t buy into the hype about ditching corporate. Some people are wired to be corporate, but they pick the wrong path. They don’t work at that company they really want to work for. They don’t aim at that position they really want or take on that level of responsibility that excites them to the point of being terrifying. They stay in Boise instead of moving to Silicon Valley. Settling is settling in any context.
Achieving competence at something you enjoy is irreplaceable. Never limit yourself in your career, business, or vocation, ever. You owe it to yourself to get as close as mastery as possible.
“We are quick to forget that just being alive is an extraordinary piece of good luck, a remote event, a chance occurrence of monstrous proportions.” — Nassim Taleb
Meditating on life itself can help you become more excited about life. Growing spiritually and beginning to simply appreciate the fact that you’re alive at all makes things more exciting.
On days where I feel deeply meditative, I start having all of these random, crazy, exciting thoughts and mental connections. Like now, writing on this computer. This computer is made of all sorts of parts. There are probably dozens of companies and thousands of people responsible for making it. All of these companies, at one point, never existed. At one point, someone had to make the initial discovery of the raw materials that were mined to make this. Then, the person who discovered said resources has great […] grandparents that were single-celled organisms cooking in some primordial soup on a planet floating in the middle of nowhere.
Getting stuck in trivialities keeps you from realizing just how insane all of this is. Work consciously on piquing your curiosity, inducing awe, and developing a real spiritual appreciation for everything available to your consciousness.
Yeah, it’s a little woo woo. But maybe the woo woo is the answer. I swear, every once in awhile it hits me. I want to renounce all my possessions and meditate in a cave somewhere. I realize that I could be happy meditating and staring at flowers slowly growing in a garden all day.
Do things like this to become present, aware, curious
Meditate on life until you understand you’re playing with house money walking around in a world full of endless opportunities for exploration, learning, observing, and ultimately enjoying.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is this.
Live is meant to be lived. However you want to define living, you know whether or not you’re doing it.
Like I’ve said too many times already, self-improvement might be the cheesiest yet most useful remedies for life. Get good at stuff, explore, create, add something to the collective consciousness.
I want you to simultaneously feel the joy of the careless child and the deep level of meaning and intellectual satisfaction of a groundbreaking scientist.
I want you to have moments in your life where you pinch yourself. Not all of the time, but often enough to brighten the aperture to your soul. Your eyes.
Look alive, friend. Let me see you. Let all of us see you.