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We talk so much about establishing routines and making sure that you stay consistent which are definitely the hallmarks to getting into the best shape of your life.
But, is it possible that routines could actually be KEEPING you from living the best, most fulfilled and most adventurous life you can?
A lot of us stray away from adventurous experiences and that's understandable. Adventures inherently are unpredictable. They also tend to make anyone who is conservative, a Type A personality or a control freak really uncomfortable. What will it take away from? What won't get done? What about my to-do list?
BUT, think about this. When you ask most people about their day, week, month or even the most memorable experience they've ever had what do they say?
Do they say, "The moment I marked everything off of my agenda and to-do list for the day".
OF COURSE NOT!
We tend to remember and romanticize the big moments or ADVENTURES in our lives and that's GREAT! The good, the bad, the unexpected are what living life is all about. One of the biggest reasons people slow down and deteriorate in health after they retire is that they no longer force themselves into situations with adventure! They are just going thru the routine, marking everything off of their agenda from day to day. Their mind slows down, their body slows down and eventually things just stop.
So don't just live life! Live an EPIC life!
See if the things you'd say are your most memorable moments can be described as E.P.I.C.:
Without experience not only are we naive to what happens in the world outside of our 3 foot bubble but we don't grow. The secret here is to do NEW THINGS! The things we do over and over, day after day often aren't even things that propel us forward. Those are the things that were new, the things that challenged what we thought we knew, the things that gave us insight that we never had before. It happens all the time, I hear people say, "Well I've never experienced that." as if it can't be true because it didn't pop up in their day-to-day life. Well did you create an opportunity to experience it? Or did you just look for it to surprise you somewhere in your agenda?
There are over 6 billion people on this earth living in thousands of cultures in hundreds of countries with dozens of climates. If you base everything you know off of what you see, hear, touch, taste and smell in your daily agenda and to-do list how can you possibly grow to your true potential? How do you gain wisdom? How do you learn how to interact with others who have a different background and perspective than you? How do you ever know if what you are doing now is the thing with which you can impact the world most?
One of the silliest things I've ever heard someone say is that they didn't think they had any reason to leave their city because they've lived there all their life and it's "not that bad".
NOT THAT BAD? That's your litmus test for life?
It took me many years to realize this important fact. NOT everybody is meant to be friends! Now I don't mean that in a negative way WHATSOEVER, hear me out. If you have friendships or relationships with people that are always competing with you, disagreeing with you, talking down to you, giving you the cold shoulder when you have accomplishments or are unsupportive of you during your times of need are you choosing wisely from the 6 billion people on this planet to have friendships/relationships with? Are THEY choosing wisely?
None of us have time in our short lives to interact with people who make us feel bad about ourselves. There's really very little time for misunderstandings as well. If someone is constantly misunderstanding you there's perhaps a reason. Maybe they don't WANT to understand you. Do the people in your life continually talk to you about same things? Do they continually exhibit the same behaviors over and over in your interactions? If so, what are you really contributing to each other?
The people in your life should lift you up, encourage you to do your best and be there when you fall. If you can't find those things in the people you interact with, merrily send them on their way and seek out people who respect and love you for who you are.
People should grow wiser, stronger and healthier together just as they do independently. The people in your life should be just as memorable as your experiences. Stop wasting your time with each other if they are not!
When is the last time you gave your FULL attention to an experience? Did you notice anything unique?
Let's say you go on a hike in the woods. Typically you take your phone in case someone needs you but one day you forget it or you leave it in the car. How much more likely are you to notice more during that experience? You can concentrate on the details of your surroundings. The leaves have a brighter color, the air smells different, perhaps you meet people on the trail and exchange words. Think of the innumerable variables that could come from being totally immersed in your surroundings versus rationing out your attention to other things.
Now here's the really important point. What do those other things have to do with the current moment you're in? Does answering your phone add to your experience of going for a hike? Does looking at Instagram while you walk? In the moment you're in, those things DON'T MATTER!
If you met with a friend for coffee and the entire time they were splitting their attention between you and a dozen other things would you feel that you mattered to them? Maybe not as much as you thought!
Why can't we give all of our experiences that same respect?
Reading a fitness blog post you may be inclined to think that I'm going to start going on about running a race, or lifting heavier weights or getting more reps. But challenges are all around us. We can be challenged to meet a new friend, we can be challenged to do something that scares us (like public speaking), we can be challenged to accept that someone with a different viewpoint than us COULD have a valuable perspective. But so often we DON'T do these things.
Living a life constantly rooted in routine and agendas don't challenge us to be different or grow. They give us the false impression that we've got it all together, like an ostrich with it's head in the sand. But if all you ever do is what you are familiar with what will you ever become an expert at? The things on your to-do list? I hope you thought it out REALLY well!
Without challenges to face we slowly deteriorate or worse become so ingrained in our daily lives that we never seek anything new, unique or memorable.
On my deathbed I'd like to be able to tell stories, not ramble off statistics. SO what if I have millions of dollars? Did it enrich anyone's life? SO what if I lived to 100? Were those years really LIVED? And SO what if I always finished my to-do list? Was I doing anything that really, truly MATTERED?
If all I can point to at the end of the day is that I accomplished some tasks I have failed my mission in life.
If I can point to moments that will be remembered for a lifetime (or multiple lifetimes) though, well I know I have had an EPIC life!
Go live YOUR EPIC life!