This week on the Hell Yes Life podcast, I'm doing another blogisode. It's called "How to Make enemies with the Present Moment, and 2 Ways to Stop. Feel free to listen to the episode, read the post below....or both! We'll be back next week with another interview episode.
How to Make Enemies with the Present Moment (And 2 Ways To Stop)
Here's the thing about deciding to pursue your dreams: As soon as you do, you may well find yourself making enemies with your present circumstances.
There's nothing like developing a grand, lofty, amazing, pie-in-the-sky, Academy Award-winning vision to make your present circumstances feel like you're [living on the set of Sanford and Son.] There's nothing like marinating in that dream vision of that dream career to make you seethe in fiery, stewing resentment about the asinine and mundane details of your current day job.
This has been one of the biggest challenges I've faced with going after my dreams – that pull between where I want to be and where I am now. Let's be clear: you should have a big vision. You should be visualizing yourself up onstage making your Oscar speech (or whatever). But as Jim Carrey once said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey (and I'm paraphrasing) “You can't just have a big vision and then go eat a sandwich.”
You've got to do stuff.
Taking action is one of the two things I’ve found to help ease the tension between my dream reality and my present day reality. The more we find the time to take some kind of action towards our dream, whether it's writing a blog post or a chapter for your book (as I'm doing now) or spending 10 minutes on your website, or that new app your building, or that new creative project you're working on, the more that tension will be eased.
I would suggest this action in the morning, before the chaos of the rest of your day gets into full swing. Even if you just spend 10 minutes on it, you'll get to carry that secret feeling with you for the rest of the day that is like “Ha-ha! Little does everyone know, I took one step towards my dream today. Hee-hee-hee.”
The other thing that helps is gratitude. I don't always do this myself, but when I do, my life goes better. Yes, that's right. I'm suggesting you do a gratitude list. A gratitude list is not for when you're already feeling grateful. It specifically is for when you're not feeling grateful. It's for when you're feeling petty, resentful, wallowing in self-pity, and just pissed off at the world.
So the key here is not to wait until you feel like doing a gratitude list. You just do it, and inevitably the first few thing – or maybe the first 50 things – you say you'll be saying through gritted teeth with a sarcastic tone in your voice. But I'm willing to bet if you do it long enough, you'll start to shift as you realize there are some basic things about your present circumstances that you're taking for granted that are pretty awesome.
When I'm doing a gratitude list, I like to focus on the basics as opposed to the things I think I should be grateful for, like my job and my house, etc. I go like this:
I'm grateful for air.
I'm grateful for breathing.
I'm grateful for gravity. Yeah! got to love gravity! Keeping me on the ground! Thanks gravity!
I'm grateful for chickens. (Mmmmm, chicken. And mmmm, eggs.)
I'm grateful for laughing. Good old laughing!
I'm grateful for my health. Sweet! I'm not sick today!
I'm grateful for Altoids.
I'm grateful for food. Good old food!
I'm grateful for dogs and cats. Good old dogs and cats! And cat videos. I'm grateful for Grumpy Cat and Maru and I'm grateful for our neighbor cat Whiskers (aka “the Whiskey Whisk”. Who, by the way, is the true owner of our neighborhood and he’s nice enough to let us live there. Thanks King Whisky-Whisk!)
I'm grateful for teeth. Yay teeth!
I'm grateful for cars and light bulbs. Thanks Henry Ford and Thomas Edison!
Thanks for not giving up on the hundredth or thousand failed attempt.
I'm grateful for coffee. Thanks for the pick me up coffee!
I'm grateful for water. Yay water! which makes up 90% of my body or so I'm told.
I'm grateful for ideas and creativity and possibilities.
I'm grateful for new people I meet.
I'm grateful for people. It's so weird and amazing to be a human being and to be among other human beings.
I'm grateful for Otter Pops and swimming pools and sunshine and rain and candy and kale and clothes and belts and pants. Good old pants (funny word pants—PANTS!!!!) and good old movies and podcasts and books and TV shows!
And I’m even grateful for my problems. Good old problems. I'm grateful for you because I know you're here to teach me something, even though I don't know what that is yet.
And so on.
You get the idea, right?
Over the course of writing that out just now, my mind truly did shift from focusing on what my life is lacking to what I have in my life on the most fundamental level (Air! Food! Water! Shelter! Whoo-hoo! I’m rockin’ it.)
What we're looking for here is that George Bailey moment—that “It's a Wonderful Life” moment when we realize how much we already have in our lives to be grateful for, and to remember that all this stuff that we take for granted will not always be here because WE will not always be here (it sort of seems like we will, but we definitely won’t).
So when we’re pursuing our Hell Yes Life, we take action towards our dreams, even if it's just for 10 minutes, and then we shift to gratitude.
We breathe it in. We hear a bell ring and we think Clarence the angel…
And then we get on with our day, knowing that things are unfolding as they should.
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