Warning: This post is an experiment. In it I will lay out some stuff that I can only describe as, "new age, psycho babble, weird, gobbledygook". Normally, I am vehemently against that sort of thing but I'm a pragmatist first. I do what works. I am going to share a mental exercise that you can go through sometime. I cannot explain to you how it works, I can only tell you that it does. It is up to you to suspend any disbelief and go for it. The only thing you are risking is a little bit of your time and some brain juice. Since you're already on my blog I know you have some of both to spare so invest them here. You will thank yourself later.
I first went through this exercise in the spring of 2010 and have continued to repeat it at least annually since. I think of this as a software update for my brain and each year I go in and make tweaks/changes so that my software is always running at maximum efficiency.
I can't say where I learned this, as I honestly don't remember. I was reading a lot of self help blogs/books/pamphlets at the time to try and get out of a serious case of depression. This is what worked. I share it for what it's worth and hope that you can gain as much from using it as I have.
What can you hope to gain by doing this?
Personally, it led me to making an effortless transformation in my life from the person that I used to be to someone completely different. I became someone I genuinely love and admire. After this exercise you should feel intense focus and drive. You should feel stable and calm, and you will begin moving towards your new life immediately without much need for conscious effort.
That was my personal experience. Give it a try and please tell me how it goes.
The Method: Perfect Average Day (two easy steps)
Step One: Take out a piece of actual paper and a writing utensil.
Remove any distractions (close all your computer stuff except this page, mute your phone, lock the door, etc). You really do need to write this out by hand and not type it. You won't be asked to DO anything except write. No challenging confrontations of your fears, we're simply going to figure out what it is that you like.
Step Two: In as much excruciating detail as possible (essential) answer the following question.
"If There Were No Limitations Or Consequences, What Would Your Perfect Average Day Look Like?"
Now let me expand on that.
No Limitations: Financial, Geographic, Health, Limiting People, Etc.
If your perfect average day sees you waking up and going for a run by the bay in San Francisco and you currently live in Wichita, Kansas; assume for the sake of this exercise that you're living in SF (or wherever YOU want to be). If it involves expensive things, assume you have all the money you could possibly need and so on.
No Consequences: Stuff that you could get "into trouble" for.
If you want to have sex with 3 playboy centerfolds per day but in your current life this would mean for certain that your wife ends up murdering you. Just imagine that that barrier does not exist. You could either say, "I'm happily divorced" or "my wife is cool with me banging other chicks". Be creatively honest with yourself. If you want to go for a long walk in the morning but don't have any legs, assume you have healthy working legs.
This is absolutely NOT about what you think you deserve or what is realistic. It is a gushing exercise of heartfelt erotic overindulgence. Work on expanding your imagination/vocabulary by being extremely descriptive. Rather than saying, "I wake up and have breakfast" spend 3-4 pages in ridiculous detail on what your process of waking up and eating breakfast contains (Example: what is the name of the farm where the blueberries in your pancakes were organically grown; and where is it located?)
Average: You could do all of this stuff every day and not die or get sick of it.
This means that "setting the world record for heroin consumed in a day" is not a great answer; as it is hard to do that more than once. Aim for longevity! Once you start living this way you're going to want to live forever. Avoid "Stuff" and focus on "Experience". Average is really the key word. It has to be sustainable for you. So if you like to go out to clubs and party maybe avoid saying, "I get up at 5am everyday" unless you can find a way that fits for you.
You should be noticing by now that these two easy steps are more of a 500 part question. Here is a list of "sub questions" to get you started and your mind flowing. Add more questions to this. Answer the questions you think to ask yourself, these will represent what YOU really want. The questions below are just a framework.
- Where would you live?
- What would your house look like?
- What time would you wake up?
- What would you do in the morning?
- What would you think about while you wake up?
- What would you have for breakfast?
- Who would you eat breakfast with?
- What does the mundane stuff look like? (Clothes, shower routine, brush/floss?, temperature, thoughts, etc)
- What would you spend the first half of your day doing?
- What would you have for lunch? (who with, how long, where at)
- What would you talk about?
- What are your friends like?
- What would you do for personal fulfillment? (Hobbies, business, skills, interests)
- What life purpose would you strive towards? (Answer it honestly, you might find the answer is dramatically different from what your time/energy is spent on now)
- What would your business be?
- What time would you start work?
- What would you actually DO at work?
- What are your clients like?
- What is your relationship like?
- What is your sex life life? (How much? With whom? How many partners? Fetishes? Wants)
- What do you have for dinner (same as lunch)
- What would you do at night?
- Who would you do it with?
- What are you thinking about as you fall asleep?
These questions are mostly related to experience. Life is experience.
I can't state how important details are! With every sentence you write ask yourself, "Could I expand and add more details to this". Keep on going until you can honestly say no. Feel free to get weird with it.
Everything changes when you do this exercise. A lot of us go through life knowing that we want, "something different", but we never stop and define what that thing is. This exercise does exactly that for you and it does it with amazing clarity. When you know what you'd like to have your brain will set about acquiring it for you automatically. You'll get find yourself having new ideas related to experiencing your dream life. You'll wake up to new opportunities that you would have missed before and now you will find yourself having the courage to stand up and take the opportunities head on.
The writing/thinking process should take you at least a few hours.
Once you've exhaustively gone through and written this all out to where you couldn't possibly write anymore. Put it away for a few hours or a few days and then go back and add in more details. Build in new wings of awesomeness to this mansion of a lifestyle. If having everything you wrote down suddenly be the case in your life tomorrow wouldn't cause you stop and ball your eyes out then you haven't dug deep enough yet.
It can be helpful to keep re-reading it a few times per week for a few weeks to really incorporate it into your neurology but this isn't required.
The first time I did this I wrote about 3 pages and then left it and forgot about it (I didn't even describe a whole day). I found it a year and a half later and re-read it and my jaw must have gone through the floor. 80% of what I'd written was accurate to my current life. I had moved 1,000 miles away from where I was living at the time of writing it, now just minutes from the ocean (In Wilmington, NC). The general lifestyle I had imagined was extremely comparable to what I was then experiencing and radically different from how my life was at the time of first doing this exercise (when I was in Michigan). I had nailed it without ever giving it a second thought.
Right then and there I decided "this shit works' and I set about rewriting it with a bit more boldness and flare. The next time I re-read it was "on an average day when I'm watching the sunset on a beach in Koh Samui, Thailand I find myself noticing how I feel overcome with joy and appreciation for the amazing life I'm able to live as I sip another Pina Colada." This was literally an exact line from what I had written. As I sat there re-reading it, pina colada in hand, I started crying. When I wrote that I didn't have a passport, any money, a backpack, a clear idea of where Thailand was on the map; I'd just seen a picture. It was less than 6 months after I'd re-defined what I wanted using this exercise that I was living it out in it's entirety.
This...Shit...Works... And over the next few days I'll be diving back into rewriting mine yet again. I'll let you know how it goes :)
In my opinion this is the most emancipating gift I can give you. This is freedom... evolved.