Thursday, 27 December 2012
Steps Towards Your Dream Life - That you can do today!
“Wow, you are so lucky!”
That is the most common comment I get when I tell people that I am a nomad, moving from place to place every 2-6 months, working remotely and exploring the world first hand. And I hate that comment. I am not lucky; I am determined and goal oriented. There is nothing special about me that allows me to live my dream life. I was not born with Hermes wings sprouting from my ankles. I take risks, I work hard and I dream big. That is it.
In this blog post, I will tell you four steps you can take today to make a similar shift in your own life. I do not aim to make you a nomad, unless it is your genuine dream life. What I will do is challenge you to reach for what you truly want and help you on your way with concrete actionable tips.
What you are about to do, you should take seriously. It could very well change your life. It changed mine. You are about to dig deep into yourself, and you can’t do so when you are constantly interrupted. Even the potential for interruption is a nag on your mind that you can’t afford.
First, clean a room, may be your bedroom. Cleaning is a great way to quiet your mind. While you unclutter your physical space, you will also be uncluttering your mind.
Then remove everything from this room that is a link to the outside. Remove the computer, phone, cell phone and a pager, if you happen to be over 60. (It is never too late to make a life change!)
Tell anyone who might be around to not disturb you for anything short of a fire. Then lock yourself into the room. You’ll be spending several hours in here. It might sound like a long time, but these hours may be the best spent hours of your year.
For three hours, do nothing but evaluate your life to date and think about what you truly would like to do going forward with your one and only life. Allow yourself to dream big and without limiting yourself. Nothing is too crazy or out of line. Brainstorm and dream, dream and brainstorm.
Three hours might sound like a long time, but you need it. You’ll notice that your brain goes in circles, but each rotation sinks a little deeper into the quiet part of your mind to which you normally are too busy to listen.
Your goal is to figure out what you really would like your life to be. Don’t be shy. Don’t be embarrassed by your dreams. Don’t shoot yourself down. We are human beings! We all have an amazing ability to shape our world around us until it fits, but few ever try.
3. The Map
Take a pencil and a paper. On the left side, draw a map of where you are now. On the right, draw your dream life. In between, draw a map of all the concrete things you would have to do to get to achieve your new and authentic life.
The worst hindrance we ever face is our self-doubt. We resign ourselves to a life that does not fit us because it is easier than to take on the challenge to live bravely. We don’t think we have it in us. The seed of self-doubt grows in dark places in our own mind. As long as it remains in the back of our mind, it grows into an amorphous shadow that kills our belief in ourselves.
Creating a concrete map to your dream life makes the journey concrete. You can see it, and in the sharp light of day, I promise you the journey will look half as scary as when it resides in your mind.
Put your map on your bedroom wall where you will see it often. Stand back and look at it. Forgive yourself if you let a giggle escape as it dawns on you that your dream is closer than you thought and within reach!
You can let yourself out of the room now. But return and look at the map every day, and think, “What step could I take today to remove one of these obstacles in the way of my dream?”
4. Burning Bridges
When you are ready, call your friends and family and tell them that you've decided to take active and brave steps to live an authentic self-directed and brave life full of excitement and joy. Tell them about your dream! You need to tell them so they can support you on your journey. This is also a great way to stop you from backing down when the going gets tough.
You are not guaranteed to succeed, but nothing in life is ever guaranteed. If the only challenges you set for yourself are ones you already know you will succeed at, then you are wasting your life. You live once. Make it count!
Last year, I did all of the above. I went from working a dull office job to living my new life as a nomad, my true dream life, moving every few months to new and exciting places. If you want to read more about my own personal experience, then read 'New Year, New Life' for steps 1-2, 'The Map' for steps 3 and 'Rubicon Birthday' for step 4.
Gustav Andersson is the author behind The Modern Nomad, a site exploring nomadic lifestyles that frees people to live and work anywhere, anytime. He is a tango-dancing,steer-wrestling burner who strives to inspire people to actively and bravely choose how to live their lives.