What is an awesome life?
Let's pretend it's 11:30 pm on New Year's eve and like the good procrastinator that you are, you're feverishly writing out your last minute goals for the next year (which you've totally promised yourself is going to be the Year of Awesomeness). So your compulsive list making habit leads you to write out a list of things you want to achieve in this Year of hitting-all-your-goals-like-a-champion-carpet-beater. (Act like that makes sense). Things you wish you could be (healthier, happier, more successful), things you want to accomplish (run a marathon, laugh more, and get a promotion), and things you want to have (a cleaner home, less stress, better friends). And then you wait for the ideal moment when you're slightly less drunk to figure out a way to achieve those goals.
You: Hell ya!
Me: Seriously dude? Setting goals doesn’t lead you to a awesome life. Read on and I'll tell you why.
How do we define an awesome life?
Goals are a terrible way to approach your awesome life because they imply that somehow life begins after hitting our goals and "setting the stage". Life is going on the whole time, and it doesn't have an end point (Okay, so we die eventually, but you get what I'm trying to say - don't be an *ss.)
The practice of being awesome at life is something we actively incorporate into our routine a little everyday. It's a "habit" of living better that we're cultivating.
But don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that to have an awesome life you've gotta take this "habit" and be all productive 100% of the time, completely happy, and an all-around high achiever in every area of your life. Hell no. ('cause if it was, I'd be the first to jump off this bandwagon). That is a sh*tty and unrealistic way of thinking that is responsible for half the stress and pressure we feel.
The simple truth is that we all start from different points in our lives and we'll all end up in very different places. And yet, each of our lives can become significantly better if we choose to take continuous forward-propelling actions in small incremental steps. (Totally effing doable).
how do we measure progress in our awesome life?
Let’s say that to live our version of an awesome life we want to do one or more of the following things (all examples, you pick your own): be more fit, get on a sports team, pass college, have a group of loyal 5 friends, learn how to cook from scratch, smile more, volunteer, be happily married, build a business, learn to dance, or dress up as a giant Taco 1 day a week. (Don't judge. People have dreams).
There’s no fixed right or wrong answer that makes one person’s plan for a awesome life "better" than the next person’s - so don't be a judgy jerk. That’s the beauty of it. (That you get to choose, and I get to call people judgy jerks. Everybody wins).
For Joe, knowing that he's smiling more today than he did a year ago, and as a result opening himself up to more positive interactions makes his life better and just as successful as Cathy, who knows that she's quietly working away at her business dream and moving towards it one step at a time.
It’s the small consistent (daily, weekly, monthly - you choose) actions towards our awesome life that allow us to measure our progress and make us, (and Joe, Cathy, Conseula and Boris) successful. Who are Consuela and Boris? I have no idea but they helped to fill out that sentence so let's give them the respect they deserve.
And like I said before, there’s no end point. An awesome life isn’t an end goal. It’s something to strive towards at every point in our lives. Small consistent growth that we get to enjoy as it happens.
An awesome life is filled with small consistent growth that you get to enjoy as it happens. @IdeasWithRaisa
Why do we need to be awesome at life?
Does this imply that we’re unhappy with our present life? Or does it mean that we're somehow complacent about where we've ended up?
It doesn't have to.
It's funny how quickly after we turn 18 (or 21 - whatever is the legal "adult" age where you're from) that we start to equate adulthood with responsibility and not growth. We start to associate being an adult with responsibility, giving of ourselves (taking care of people, being in charge of things, handling money...) and giving of our time (working, running errands, helping out...). And we end up side stepping the need to continue growing and investing in ourselves. We talk about how it takes a village to raise a child while forgetting that even though we've crossed the proverbial legal age limit, we’re also constantly growing and need a village of our own to support us while we're "adulting" and "being responsible". Just because puberty ends and we no longer see our growth, it doesn’t mean that’s the end for us. Yet we act that way. Or if we have kids, we focus on their growth and neglect our own. Are your kids the only part of you that should be growing? Boris and the group don't think so.
If at this point you feel the need to blame somebody for enabling this gross oversight ('cause we do sh*t like that as adults), try blaming our North American culture. It's taught us to judge growth based on visible results: the marks on a height chart in your mom’s kitchen, the weight on a scale, the grades on your college transcript, the number of sexual partners you’ve had, how much money you make and so on. And yet somehow we've learned to equate the end of our physical growth with the end of our need for any other growth. We've made the *sshole assumption that growing up doesn't last our whole lives; that growing up ends when we become an adult.
Joe, Cathy, Consuela, Boris and Deepika all agree. Yea, Deepika jumped on board while I was on my soapbox.
But the beauty is, in the midst of all this *ssholery, your awesome life comes in.
There’s the life that you’ve lived up until now that has been, more often than not, lived for others (or has been lived in part because of the choices that others made for you). Your parents, coach, friends, wife/husband, kids...they’ve all had a hand in influencing which paths you might have walked down in life: college, buying a home, who you were friends with, what job you took etc.
But an awesome life is not that.
It’s the life you wake up to one day when you realize you’re not where you want to be. It’s the life that you build out of what lies dormant within you. That’s what an awesome life is. That’s what we all secretly want. F*ck mediocrity. Life's supposed to be exciting.
So How can we be awesome at life?
Most people (especially online) will tell you that you’ll make your life better if you're successful, have your own business, find happiness/love, build good habits, be productive and so on.
But the truth is, those are all goals. You build the business, find the love, get the success...and then what? If you're working with goals, the only option is to set new ones.
Here's the bottom line: to be awesome at life, we have to learn to live better.
To be awesome at life, setting goals isn't the answer. We have to learn to live better. @IdeasWithRaisa
Learning to be awesome at life covers a crap load of glorious things:
- Learning to think for ourselves and understand the game being played around us
- Understanding the power of our minds and learning to harness that intelligence within us
- Identifying our daily habits and routines that create imbalance and fixing them
- Zeroing in on our limiting beliefs and changing them
- Knowing how to trigger our mental toughness when we need it
- Strengthening our resilience muscle
- And most importantly, feeling certain that we can accomplish whatever we set our minds to because we are more capable than we give ourselves credit for.
These 7 points make up the crap load of glorious learning elements that we need to put into play to continue growing throughout our lives. That is the key to awesomeness in life. Not goals, but lifelong learning. (Joe, Cathy, Consuela, Boris, Deepika, and Andrej totally agree).
So do yourself a favour: Don’t set a goal to learn how to dance. Instead, every time you set out to dance, look for a way to improve your dancing while having little more fun each time. And then dance. Dance like nobody’s watching and in that moment, that'll be you being awesome at life. (You can thank me later for ending this article with a sappy sentence and a boring metaphor. Double win. You're welcome.)