As a kid, did you spend hours in the ocean never once feeling cold or thinking that you should get out of the water?
Or, did you roam the fields and streams in your neighborhood until it got dark; only to be surprised by how much time had passed?
For kids, life is an adventure. They spend all afternoon building a tree house with their friends and scream, “Oh, no! We are having so much fun!” when called for dinner.
For most adults that thrill for life has vanished. Instead of savoring every minute and using curiosity to keep life fresh, we eagerly await the end of the day so we can go home and rest. We don’t like getting up in the morning, not because we didn’t get enough sleep, but simply because life isn’t exciting anymore.
If you have kids, you can observe this loss of enchantment first hand. My youngest daughter used to devour books. One summer, she read close to 50 books, one per day. Then she had to read books for school, write book reports, analyze book contents, and evaluate author’s styles. This experience took the unabashed joy of reading right out of her. She still gets lost in her books at times, but now it comes with a sense of guilt or obligation. The freedom is gone.
If you are wondering what happened to the passion you once felt for life, I have good news for you: with a dose of curiosity you can rekindle your inner fire.
For kids this is easy. They are naturally inquisitive and playful. But so are you. Only because you have more responsibilities doesn’t mean you have to become serious and dull. Your games might have changed: instead of building sand castles on the beach you now build businesses and instead of talking to friends for hours you now talk to your clients; the joy, however, does not have to disappear.
How to Keep Life Electrifying:
1. Pay Attention
Start noticing how you make the fun disappear. Are you a master in talking yourself out of it? “This is never going to work.” “My boss won’t like it.” “What if I fail?” Do you allow other people to ruin it for you by being overly protective, critical, or fearful? Or, are you too burned out and tired to engage in a more meaningful life? Paying attention to what’s going on around you and the impact it has on you is the first step in waking up and coming alive.
2. Break the Rut
Getting into a rut is the killer. By doing things over and over, day after day, life becomes habitual and bland. Consciously breaking your routines and changing daily patterns will keep your experiences fresh. Mix it up a little. Get up early next weekend and take a walk in your neighborhood, visit a new coffee shop, brush your teeth with your left hand, replace red wine with white wine (or mineral water), listen to an audio-book, go to a comedy show, or make pizza from scratch.
3. Change Your Inner World
Even more critical than breaking your outer routine is changing your inner routine. Preconceived notions and expectations erode curiosity. By taking things for granted and expecting life to be a certain way, it becomes flat. You forget everything that’s possible.
By challenging the way you perceive reality, think, and form opinions you change your inner world. This requires vigilance and alertness.
Use curiosity to look at yourself and your life with fresh eyes. What if you could have the adventures, the fun, and the life you always wanted? What if it is possible to travel more, learn about new cultures, and start a thriving business? “What if” and “why not” are great questions to ask to get this process going.
Want to give it a try? Pic one habit this week – one routine you’d like to change – and replace it with a new one. Share your experiences in the comments below or write to me, I’d love to hear what you observe.
As always, thanks for reading,