Dear readers, I'm no guru when it comes to living life. I'll admit that. I've got a long ways to go in certain areas. However, I'd like to introduce you to 3 actual gurus later in this post. And I didn't even need to go to Peru to meet them!
The other day someone wrote to me on Facebook messenger and said, "Dude! You are freaking living the dream! Your life is filled with travel, fun, and adventure! How did you do it?!!"
I was almost moved to tears when I realized...they're right! I'm living the dream! My life is almost exactly how I envisioned it.
Coming up, are the top 10 actionable steps I took, back in Los Angeles, where I had a job that was draining nearly all of my life force and had me dreading the alarm on my cell phone every morning.
I owe a debt of gratitude to a particularly petulant television producer, who had such a negative attitude that an entire 100 person company suffered because of it! It's remarkable when one person has that much influence over the climate of a multi-million dollar company. The other odd part is that she was not particularly good at her job, and nobody seemed to want to fire her. But if it weren't for her, I never would have broken free from the cubicle.
There was a clear source of this woman's distress -- displayed like a angry child in the office: she bought a million dollar home that she (probably) couldn't afford. It was many of her colleague's opinion that her unprofessional behavior in the office was due to the significant financial stress that she had put upon herself, willingly. The problem was that everyone else in the office ended up paying for her million dollar home.
Be very careful, as the movie "Fight Club" warns, that things you "own" don't end up owning you. And, of course, she doesn't own the house, presumably. The bank does!
This woman's situation is a cautionary tale. In my opinion if you "own" a home, but you can't go out to dinners, or the movies, or on vacation, your "home ownership" -- (bank ownership) -- is not worth it. The irony of home ownership is that people do it for security because real estate always goes up, right? Personally, I don't feel very secure when I'm sweating the bill on a nice dinner because I'm always thinking about my mortgage. But everyone is different.
Buying a home can be a very wise financial choice. Just please don't do it while I'm working on a project with you unless your cash flow and capital reserves warrant such a decision. Please and thank you!
So, with the above mentioned woman as an excellent catalyst in moving me toward my life's dream -- (a life of travel) -- here are the 10 things I started doing to turn my life around, and BREAK FREE FROM THE CUBICLE!
1. I started listening to every episode of the following 3 podcasts (often, multiple times, and just before bed). When your life sucks, you need to surround yourself with inspiring people. Sometimes, virtual ones will have to suffice if there are no flesh and blood ones around.
One nice thing about my job back in the United States was that I could listen to anything I wanted all day within the confines of my small, dark room. This was a great advantage. Focus on the strengths of your situation. There are ALWAYS strengths. Look for them.
I chose to learn things all day from the above people / podcasts. The room and all the computer screens had been massively DE-energizing for years. So, I counterbalanced this by filling the room with massively energizing personalities that refused to see obstacles as roadblocks.
2. I didn’t drink soda for two years. That stuff is mostly crap and is deleterious to your health. Drink tons of water instead.
3. I cut out almost ALL sugar from my diet. (Although very dark chocolate was an exception).
4. I dropped people from my life who had temporarily insurmountable issues that generated negativity or who were DE-motivating. A couple of them I’d know for more than ten years so it was a difficult decision.
Most of us have friends that are always telling us why we can’t do something or how we are not quite good enough. Oftentimes, they use humor to soften the blow which makes it a more insidious problem. These people are like a cancer. Perhaps more deadly in some cases, because their highly influential behavior seems innocuous, while cancer does not.
Pay extremely close attention to the 3 people you spend the most time with. It will most likely determine the quality of your life. Show me a person’s three best friends and I will show you where they are going to be in the near, and perhaps distant, future.
I began to spend time ONLY with people who were supportive, positive, and had their shit together.
5. When I drank alcohol, I mitigated the harmful effects on my mind and body by taking large doses of Vitamin C, Alpha Lipoic Acid, and Activated Charcoal Pills. I always had a bag of these pills in my jacket when I went out, just in case. I usually felt fresh as a daisy the next morning, even after nights where I drank 4 cocktails such as an Old Fashioned with Old Overholt Rye (my favorite – bourbon is often too sweet for me, so I like Rye).
6. I drank Dave Asprey’s bulletproof coffee every day, for over a year. It contains energizing ingredients such as optimized coconut oil and grass-fed butter from happy cows, not cows that are mistreated via their environment and unhealthy injections.
7. I ate super high quality food from Whole Foods, including at least one salad per day.
8. I tripled my vegetable intake for about half of a year.
9. I meditated semi-regularly for the last 3 years of my time in the United States. Usually for 15 minute sessions which were timed with my cell phone.
10. I did what the “Artist’s Way” book by Julia Cameron calls the “Morning Pages” for about 6 months before I left. This involved stream of consciousness writing, first thing in the morning before your mind can start using filters and barriers to block your expression. I would write for 5 minutes, stream of consciousness, absolutely no filter – whatever came to mind no matter how obnoxious, lascivious, or politically incorrect. Then, after the 5 minutes, I would write a powerful affirmation ten times. My particular affirmation has stayed the same up until this morning, even. I credit Scott Adams, the creator of the tremendously successful cartoon "Dilbert" for this practice. Also, his Periscope is super fun and thought provoking.
I hope this list has helped.
I guarantee if you start doing even 5 of the things on this list for half of a year, there will be a significant change in your life for the better.
Good luck out there!
And, as always...safe travels!
Scott in Peru.