I’m re-reading the 4-hour Workweek right now by Tim Ferris, one of my favorite books of all time. He mentioned something that made me stop and think- and I think it could really help you too. (Honestly, he has about a thousand life changing concepts in this book- do yourself a favor and check it out.)
He asks if we really, truly want to be happy. Is that really what we want in life? Is the idea of being happy motivating enough to use as our big goal in life? I’m not actually so sure anymore.
He states that the opposite of happiness is not sorrow, just as the opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference. I think we all know that one is true- there is so much passion in love, it’s opposite would be the total lack of that, right?
So what’s the opposite of Happy? Bored.
We REALLY don’t want to be bored.
Yet most of us are living a mundane life full of forgettable days and empty nights: Living the “American dream” of 50+ hour workweeks, soccer games, one week a year vacations and not much else. Until we can retire at 65 (maybe). If our 401k is big enough and we’re still alive and healthy enough we might do some traveling, play some golf, and relax into the sunset of life.
But what if instead we demand the opposite of boredom NOW. What is the opposite of boredom you ask?
I remember our last vacation to Mexico. It was absolutely lovely. Full of peaceful, happy days on the beach, reading good books and soaking up the sun. Swimming in the ocean and eating beautiful meals next to the sea. But what part of our trip do I remember best?
The day we went on our adventure. We rode down a dirt road full of incessant potholes in a van for what seemed like an eternity. We snorkeled in underground caves that I was sure were going to make me claustrophobic (they didn’t). We talked to people from around the world and got to hear a little of their stories. And then we swam with sea turtles. All in all- a day full of ups and downs. Many moments that were uncomfortable. But also full of excitement.
I am not saying we need to be cliff diving every day, or turn into adrenaline junkies.
But when was the last time you did something REALLY exciting? Something that took you out of your comfort zone and then gave you that rush of, “WOW! I just DID that! And it was awesome!”
I challenge you to come up with a list of exciting new things to try. Make at least one bigger, longer term one (swim with the sharks, catch a Marlin, sail through the Greek isles?) and at least one that you can do this weekend. Like go kayaking on a local lake if you’ve never gone. Or climb up a rock a little bigger than you feel comfortable climbing.
As humans, we need this feeling of excitement. This rush of adventure. It’s just as important to our wellness as eating good food and exercising. And it makes relaxing on the beach chair afterward so much more rewarding.