How to use your ‘quirks’ to live an exciting life people want to be a part of [even if you think you’re ‘boring’]
I personally die inside whenever I hear someone utter one of these phrases:
“I’m getting old!” [And oh by the way, you just turned 25]
“I just don’t do anything interesting”
“I’m not really that great”
“That’s just the way it is”
I die inside because I rail against this kind of thinking. It’s an ‘I’m defeated’ mentality that puts you in a hopeless, and helpless position. Worse is when you actually believe it.
Which is why today–even if you’ve ever said one of those phrases before–I’m going to show you the exciting ‘interestingness’ you already have inside, and how to pull it out of you so you can live a life other people want to be a part of, and be invited into.
First, let’s talk about my dad (who left me a 1 minute long voicemail the other day in a pirate voice).
When I was 16, my dad bought me a book for my birthday called: “Things I Want My Daughters to Know”. Who is the sweetest man in the world? My dad. But that book taught me a deeper ‘secret’ about living an interesting, unconventional life that I didn’t know until I read it.
There’s one part of the book that talks about how this woman milked the magic out of every moment in her life. When she got fresh eggs from her hens, she’d invite her neighbors over for breakfast. When it was a bright sunny day on the weekend, she’d head outside to garden for hours.
And I remember after I read that and thinking: “I can do that! I have interests and things that I do that people would love to be a part of, and that I can take advantage of.”
It reminds me of what one of my favorite authors has said: “To be bored is absurd.”
Because look at how ‘proactive’ this kind of thinking is. It’s the art of multiplying what’s in front of you, instead of thinking: “One egg for me!” it’s “Who can I share this delicious meal with?”
But of course, I can already hear people saying: “What if I want to spend that time by myself?” or “What if I don’t have anyone to share that with?” and “What if I don’t have hens, or a garden?”
All valid concerns. But certainly not ones I’ll allow you to rule your life. Because why else are you here, if I’m not going to push you out of your comfy little nest every once in awhile?
Because being ‘bored’ or ‘boring’ is not because there is a lack of opportunity, or a lack of things to do. I’ll give it to you straight: there are 1,000,000 things to do, so that’s not the problem. It has to do with you. This is a problem of creativity and imagination, not an actual reality.
But what does this mean for you?
First, it means that ‘excitement’ and ‘fulfillment’ are not reserved for ‘someday’. The magical day when you get a promotion, the business comes together, you find the right person, and your hair isn’t frizzy anymore. What a mistake in thinking, an entire lifetime’s worth of opportunity floating by because of how you think.
So today, we’re going to do a fun little experiment so you can see exactly how you can take your ‘quirks’, what you think might be ‘weird’ about you and completely turn it on its head so people are surprised and delighted by it.
Step 1: Write down: What’s 1 thing you think is ‘quirky’, weird, interesting, or different about you? Just one!
My example: I love to color like a 5 year old. I buy coloring books. And ask friends to color with me. For some this may seem totally silly, but the secret is that it’s time to refuel and recharge so I can be more creative and productive.
Step 2: Let’s take something uber simple and easy and say that you love ‘exploring’. You like exploring new places, different food, things to do, or being outside and exploring in nature.
Write down: What’s ONE thing you’re going to do today that aligns with that?
My example: If I love coloring, I might take a 5 minute coloring break. If I love ‘exploring’ I may take a 15 min walk outside while I’m at work and go down a street I’ve never been on.
Step 3 [Advanced]: Write down: WHO would you love to do this activity with?
Let’s say you enjoy trying new food. Your action would be finding a food place around your house or where you work that you’ve never tried, and then making plans to go there (either by yourself, with friends, or your partner/date).
Or, let’s say that you enjoy playing covers of video game songs on your piano and it lights you up with joy. Your action is making TIME to do this, and then: Who can I share this with? Who can I do this FOR? Who can I play with? Which would lead you to recording the video, putting it up on YouTube, and inviting your musical friends to play with you. [Try really hard to not fall in love with my friend]
My example: For the month of August, I was obsessed with tea ceremonies. Why? I cannot tell you, other than I have a strange affinity for Asian culture. So, I then decided I was going to host a tea party, and I went out and bought a beautiful tea set to share with my guests. One action: multiplied. And that’s something I can do for the rest of my life.
Here’s Why This Matters
To quote one of my favorite books for the upteenth time, Essentialism, “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”
This means that you must be PROACTIVE about making time for not only what you ‘have’ to do, but what you WANT to do. My friend doesn’t ‘have’ to play video game covers…but she loves it and makes time for it. You don’t ‘have’ to go on a hike with a friend…but isn’t it wonderful to take a break and enjoy the art of conversation with someone you love being around, and who loves being around you?
If this has been ‘lacking’ in life, it’s not because the opportunities aren’t there or because you don’t have a piano. It’s because–maybe until now–you thought it wasn’t important, wasn’t ‘valuable’, or that you didn’t ‘deserve’ to take this kind of time for creativity, imagination, and rejuvenation. Or even, yourself.
For what’s it’s worth, I understand. There is too much hoopla about life being so short that we should take 4 hour walks every day. And then, there is the mentality that you won’t get far if you don’t go above and beyond what you’re supposed to do, which leads to thinking: “There is no time for fun.”
But there is a THIRD option. A clever, creative, and more useful one.
Which is: to treat both your ‘work’ and your ‘play’ time as EQUALLY, and as SERIOUSLY. Because one will wither and die without the other.
Play sucks when you feel you haven’t been productive or done anything that’s impactful. You feel like a slothy, retiree. Work sucks when you feel like a dried, starved raisin who hasn’t seen the sun in 22 days. This isn’t about balance, but about INTEGRATION. It’s the exact separation of ‘work’ and ‘play’ that causes us so much trouble.
What to Do Today
Follow the steps above, and then let me know: What was your biggest challenge doing it? I can’t wait to hear.