It can be quite easy to fall into auto-pilot from time to time. Most of us know that urge we have to sink back and relax into our current schedule. Sometimes, we don’t have it so easy. It can be that the intensity of our careers and the need to maintain family life will fill up all the hours of our day. There’s nothing wrong with that, provided you are healthy and can manage things of course.
Keep Your Options Open
But when we’re so involved in our own personal norms, things can feel stale. We might be at the same job for ten years, and wish for something new. It could be that we’re tired of living in the same town. For those of us who are natural explorers, we might have to temper our need to fly on the open road by realizing just how wonderful the family we have is. Many country songs express that same challenge and problem.
However, it can be worthwhile, if measured correctly, to keep your options open no matter what. We would like to offer you some worthwhile advice to that end. You might be extremely surprised as to how this attitude can open up many new avenues in your life.
A Small Change May Not Be Insignificant
Just because a change is small does not mean it’s unimportant. In fact, keeping your options open will often lead you to think about the small changes. Sometimes easing into this mindset can be a worthwhile experience. Do you drink the exact same coffee brand every morning when trying to wake up fully at your desk? If so, why? Could you try something new? Perhaps import something from another country directly? Perhaps try a better coffee machine, or french press?
This is a tiny example, something most of us consider insignificant. But it could be that if you take this minor change to your schedule, you get more comfortable in upsetting the natural flow of your life. Many people do not like change. It can cause them great anxiety. You might find yourself in this category.
Taking a small change and making it more prominent can be a great solution to this. But there’s also something important to mention here. Sometimes, the small change is the thing that could make all the difference. Perhaps cycling to work can help you feel much more present and awake in the morning, and save you much more fuel. It might only take ten minutes more to get to work, but the scenic route is worth it. Remember, optimize and switch things up. It can help your life feel renewed.
Don’t Shy Away From Opportunity
It is very easy to dismiss opportunity. This is especially true of those who are trying to distinguish themselves in a career, or just starting out. This is because we often feel that lacking that singular focus of mind can often take us away from the goal we would most like to address.
For example, let’s say you are starting a filmmaking course, or degree. You have much coursework to attend to. You need to read directing books to better understand the process. You feel as though applying yourself is the best means forward, so you dedicate yourself wholly to your task with no wriggle room. However, a placement becomes available. A local film studio is offering film school students the chance to work as traffic wardens on the set. Not so glamorous, you think. Plus, it will take you away from reading.
However, this opportunity is not something you will likely get again. It exists here, in this moment. It deserves to be grabbed with both hands. If you can do this, you’ll notice that your optimism increases. Who knows, perhaps you’ll meet someone on set who you can contact at a later date, or who might select you for future work.
Don’t shy away from opportunity. It can be a true help, and it might help you in lateral directions that you may not have considered. Does this mean that you should accept everything without thinking? Of course not. But sometimes, the plot of Jim Carrey’s ‘Yes Man’ might carry a few benefits over to your life, as well.
Use The ‘Why Not’ Approach
We can often fall into the trap of only partaking in something because it has immediate value to the project we are hoping to complete. This might involve our career or our personal life. But this can often take the color out of life. It ensures that the specialism you have been working towards constricts you, instead of lifting you up.
Now, it’s not hard to see why people fall into this trap. There are so many hours in the day, as mentioned above. However, sometimes subverting all of that and using the ‘why not?’ approach can be a great idea.
For example, a language school has just opened near you. It’s getting rave reviews. You have an hour or two free each night to potentially attend a class. You don’t have any plans to visit a particular country. But your wife is Italian, so you think, ‘why not?’ Perhaps you could tell her that you’re meeting with friends, staying after work, or something much less suspicious, and surprise her by learning this language and conversing in it with her at some point. Using the ‘why not’ approach opens your options, and can help you actualize your free time to a significant degree.
We often forget just how many interrelated subjects can inform the thing we spend doing most of the day. For example, it could be that if you work in public services, studying an online associates degree in criminal justice could be your next great move towards becoming more employable in that field. It might simply be that reading around your subject helps you become more informed, particularly if you’re leading any kind of team with specialized knowledge.
Don’t let your singular direction frame everything you need. You don’t need to go overboard by learning something completely unrelated, but a little extra reading from time to time can go a long, long way.
Manage Your Time (Wisely)
Of course, all of this advice above can be relatively fruitless if you simply have no time at all to deal with this. This might call into question how you spend your time. If you have a 9-5 job every week with work you needn’t bring home, you’ll have some free time in the evening. You won’t need to be completely engaged with your family or children for every single hour outside of that. It might be that cutting down your time with video games, or avoiding binge watching things on Netflix, or simply finding something more constructive to do with your free time (especially at the weekend) can help you achieve much more than you know.
Remember, you don’t need to spend five hours on something at one time for it to be an important part of your schedule. Let’s do some very basic calculation. Thirty minutes a day, you practice your language speaking skills, and study. That’s 3 and a half hours of studying a week. That’s 14 hours a month.
That’s not insignificant. Over time, you will become more adept at that particular skill. You will likely become more and more interested in it, and that’s only counting the time you spend thirty minutes on it in the day. Some days, you might have a couple of hours. It’s not hard to see how someone could become relatively fluent within a number of years with this kind of effort.
But be sure that in this process of managing your time, you aren’t too draconian with yourself. Remember, you are a person. If you stress about getting this minute perfected, and then the next minute, and never wasting a single iota of time, your stress will jump through the roof. It’s about jumping on opportunity when you can, not harming your health for productivity.
Consider Your Biases
It’s important to consider how your biases can impact that which you might otherwise enjoy. For example, you may be extremely averse to the idea of cooking and learning to home cook due to a bad experience you once had as a chef. Perhaps this is understandable, but if you don’t get over it, a wealth of potentially joyous evenings can be stolen from you.
A bias might be stronger or weaker than this. It will differ from person to person. But one thing that is absolutely assured is that you have those biases knocking around inside of your mind somewhere. If you can subvert them, question them routinely, and try to look for a more positive option – you might be surprised. Those biases might just leave you.