Or the recipe for expanding your options and growing your life.
We know that growth and being deeply engaged in providing service to the world is what makes us truly happy. We all have to wrestle with our lives, listening to our inner voice, figuring out our deep inclinations and placing that at the highest service.
Many times we can feel stifled. We want to go to the next level, but have no idea how to. We want to grow in our career but we do not know where to even start. We feel the desire to have more impact, live with more purpose, but even defining that purpose remains so elusive. How do we navigate these waters? How do we approach this design problem of life to end up at this nebulous end.
I’ve been thinking along these lines as I navigate issues of career and figuring out where I want to go next. The above three words crystalized as a compelling strategy. Lets break it down.
You cannot expect to get different results if you keep doing the same thing. The chains of habit are too weak to be felt, until they are too strong to be broken. The routine of daily life and our circumstance keep us locked in patterns that keep us stagnant if we do not actively work to break free of them.
The first thing you must do is to explore. We live in a world of infinite options, and multiple opportunities for life, for love, for career. While this can be very overwhelming, it is very true that you do not have to settle for what you have. You can settle for less or you can opt for more. You can stay on the safety of the land or you can choose to embrace the open seas and lose sight of the shore. You can keep napping under the tree or you can take the leap of faith off the cliff.
Explore. Do some research. What options are out there? How many other ways could you make income? Could you tap into something you have neglected? Could you resurrect old ideas? Maybe you need to check out another country for a while. Maybe you need to quit your job? Maybe you could learn a new skill, perhaps you could write a book. Your options are many, explore them. The answers to your ‘stuckness’ are right there under the surface. If only you would stir the waters a little.
Talk to people and seek out ideas from them. Contrary to what you might think, the answers are not within. Well, not all of them. Read books, look for mentors, study the greats. Study those doing the things you would like to do.
Tai Lopez talks about the need to be a mad scientist – always trying out new things and optimizing for better. You have explored your options, now it’s time to try on things for size. Try different things, and evaluate the results.
It doesn’t have to be huge incredible commitments. It can be small and bite sized. And don’t take them too seriously. The point of experiments is not to be perfect or succeed. The point of experiments is to test hypothesis and perhaps pose new questions. Experiments provide useful feedback.
So try new things. Take an impromptu trip. Try vagabonding for a while. Make a new dish. Play around with a new language. Take a class. Approach the pretty girl at the bar. Offer a new service. Try the gym out once a week for a month. Make small little experiments based off the things you explored and see what feedback you get.
When you find something that works. Double down on it, optimize it and commit to it fully, making it a new part of your life. Now you have a whole new experience and framework you didn’t have before.
Notice this last step is not something satisfying like ‘walk into the sunset and enjoy your new life’. Nah, for me, the last step is ‘Endure’. Why endure? Because all I’ve written about above is hard, and harder for some than others. It takes a certain strength of mind and slight delusion to be comfortable with the ambiguity and uncertainty of a new path.
You will be scared. You might be lonely because you have to leave people, your friends and family. Things might take longer than expected. You will certainly meet with your fair share of failure if you lucky, with ridicule and scorn if you less fortunate. So endure. Endure the days nothing seems to be working. Endure the days the answers seem elusive. Endure the discomfort of trying new things and breaking old habits.
Endure the days you are almost broken and crushed by a darkness and depression that seems to come out of nowhere. Endure being misunderstood. Endure missing out on the opportunity cost of your decisions.
It will make you stronger, it will make you more fulfilled. You will grow tremendously. You will discover strengths you never knew you had. You will experience life even deeper. You might even find great success and fame.
So Explore, Experiment, Endure.
Then do it all again.