I never thought that at 33 I’d be the crotchety old man that I’ve become. If my 25-year old self saw me sitting grumpily in my office chair mumbling things like “these damn kids with their damn twerks, and whatnot”, he would shake his head in disapproval…and then probably do a shot of Jägermeister. 25-year old me drank a lot of Jägermeister.
See, the thing is, that I’m not at all unhappy. I live my dream life for the most part, but there is always room for improvement.
There is more to life than just existing, recycling oxygen for plants, and checking your Facebook status. So, let me put my Texan Guru Hat on, and let’s talk about things you can do to THRIVE in your life.
Step 1. Be You
So many people these days are caught up in worrying about what everyone else thinks, and with the advent of social media, we KNOW what everyone else thinks. It’s a vicious narcissistic cycle that leads people to lose touch with who they are. “Oh, everyone likes the picture of me in this bikini, but no one likes this picture of me in sweatpants – therefore I must always wear a bikini”. No, you should wear what you want. No one on this planet has to live with you, but you. Your face is the one in the mirror you have to be comfortable seeing. People have developed this strange ideal that “likes” and “followers” = real friends. Sorry to break it to you folks, but Facebook isn’t real. It’s a constructed, managed, and censored view of what people want you to see. Only YOU know who you really are, and that’s all that matters. You don’t need validation, you need self-reflection.
Step 2. Make Dreams into Goals. Accomplish those Goals.
My dad told me once that “a goal is just a dream if you don’t write it down”, and in my opinion, he is totally correct. Writing a goal down, and keeping it somewhere visible (like a post-it note on your computer screen) makes you accountable for that goal. Not all of us have to be shamed into something, but for some of us it works.
This doesn’t mean that you need to give up on dreaming, though. Dreaming is one of the most beautiful things we do as humans (and it’s super cute when puppies do it). Turning a dream into a goal doesn’t take away from the magic of a dream, it just means that you’re taking whatever your dream is – getting it out of your head, and putting it into action.
What I’m doing right this second (writing for a living) was a dream of mine for years. I was in the computer business for 12 years, and last February I’d gotten laid off from a job. While watching the Super Bowl with my parents, I was talking to my mom about upcoming interviews and such, and I said “I just really wish I could change careers and write for a living.” My mom cocked her eyebrow and said, “Why don’t you?”. I proceeded to ramble off a list of reasons why I couldn’t just “change careers after a dozen years of doing something”. My mom looked at me and said, “You can do anything you want to do, you just have to try.” 5 days later I was working for a marketing company as a staff writer.
Step 3. Put Your Damn Phone Down
Yeah, I’m super guilty of this one. Try walking out of your house without your smart phone, and see exactly how long it takes you to have a little mini-panic attack. I shake my head when I see a group of people at a table having drinks or food (mostly drinks) and they all have their phones in their hands. What ever happened to conversation? Conversation is an art form that is being lost in our society. You know, back in the good old days there were people that were famous simply because they were revered guests at social events? They got invited to dinner parties to regale the guests with their tales of life and their wisdom, Not their bathroom selfies or clever use of emoticons. People are losing touch with people. When I go out with friends, I take all of our phones and put them on the table, face-down. First person to check their phone, gets the bar tab, and trust me – you don’t want to be stuck with one of my bar tabs.
Step 4. Use Your Brain
Thanks to the instant knowledge that Google provides, people seem to confuse intelligence with a good keyword search. Take away the internet connection, and all of the sudden your buddy that knows everything there is to know, is a bumbling idiot. Truth is, he was a bumbling idiot to begin with. With all of the technology in the world, people should be getting smarter, more conscious, more connected. Nope, we have things like Kim Kardashian’s ass, Justin Bieber, and cat memes (which are okay sometimes).
I encourage people to create, to build. Paint a picture. Write a song. Do something original, and make better use of your brain than just keeping the wind from whistling through your skull. “Oh, but I’m not good at anything”, you might say. How do you know if you don’t try? I never knew that I had relentless dance moves until I danced so hard to a Maroon 5 song in a gas station that I got a free piece of pizza. True Story.
Related: 13 Things Highly Successful People Do Differently
Now, I’m not technically a Guru, simply because I assume there is paperwork involved in that process, and I hate paperwork. I have lived some life though, and I sincerely want the best for you in yours.
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