Happy Re-Thinking

I’ve been listening to a number of podcasts lately that have inspired me beyond the normal amount a podcast usually affects me and radically changed the way I’ve looked at a few things in my life. So much so, I was inspired to write about them, because I truly feel like they could be of use to someone, hopefully help someone reframe the way they view things that they may of thought stressful or negative. It’s hard to reframe something you’ve had boxed up, or hell, haven’t even thought about before.

These people I’m mentioning are great minds, out-of-the box thinkers and unconventional doers. And isn’t that what we’re all striving for? At least, I know I am. To be someone that can truly state they’ve taken the path that has beckoned them, a path they have mindfully chosen, or made the best of, instead of the path that someone else led them down, or even worse, a path they have no idea how they ended up on.

Paula Pant interviewed Nomadic Mat, a man who’s been traveling the world for the past 13 years. He doesn’t have a ‘home’ base and his story is unique, as in he used to be in the corporate grind with the rest of us, but decided to take a year, and travel. Well, that year turned into almost two and when he came back, he realized he wanted to continue. Mike and I love to travel, and within the past seven years we’ve explored Costa Rica (2012), Amalfi Coast & Naples (2013), Vieques (2014), Ireland (2015), Belize (2016), Portugal (2018) and Chamonix & Lyon, France (2019. The thought and idea of traveling more appeals to me, so loved how the conversation unfolded and here are a few things that wowed me:

  • Think about your day-to-day spending in terms of how it affects your ability to travel (of whatever your ‘IT’ thing is). Want to go to that concert? That may be ½ of a plane ticket. Going out a few times a week to restaurants, where lots of craft beer is consumed? The equivalent could get you a week in an Airbnb in Portugal. When you start putting a price tag on your NOW, you start reframing where you’re putting your dollars and the value you start placing on what you really want. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy yourself, it just may alter some things. Have some friends over who can jam. Pick a new recipe to cook and drink some craft beer in the backyard.
  • Travel slow. This concept resonates with me and is how Mike and I typically travel. As much as I’d like to see absolutely everything, every nook and cranny, every part of a new place, that’s not only not reasonable in the allotted vacation time I get, but it’s not enjoyable. Being able to explore one area thoroughly is a true gift. For example, when we went to Portugal, we spent 3 full days, in the off-season, in a small beach town where we hiked a portion of the Rota Vicentina. There really wasn’t much open, a few great cafes, but not a lot of night action at first glance. Looking back though, we did a ton! Hiked all day, went to a local market to shop like locals, visited several different cafes, went to a vegan friendly lunch joint, meandered through the sleepy town, watched the sunset on the beach…..we enjoyed the slowness.

Tim Ferris interviewed Seth Godin and it was one of the best interviews I’ve listened to, maybe ever. He was insightful, humble, truthful, blunt (in a non-abrasive way), real, but in a ‘you’re way cooler than me’ kind of way….if you know anything about Mr. Godin, this isn’t surprising. What he made me think about though is how we approach things and how we present things. A few things that stood out from the interview:

  • You have more power than you think you do. This. This all day every day. The control is within. Stop searching elsewhere, stop relinquishing. Make a decision, even if it is to take a deep breath and go a different way. Having a crap day? Choose to be in a good mood. Having an argument with your husband or wife? Take it upon yourself to let them have it and move on. Ready to blow a gasket at work? You have the control to let it affect you the rest of the day or remind yourself it’s just a job. This is something I’ve embraced in the past few years, although I’m still a work in progress.
  • Scrolling mindlessly on Social Media isn’t conducive to your end goal and not aligning to your mission. This struck a chord and lately I’ve been extremely mindful on how much time I spend on Twitter and Instagram (I deleted Facebook off my phone six months ago). If I find myself mindlessly scrolling, I realize it’s most likely due to boredom or the need to distract myself, so have tried to replace this with the statement ‘Go do something productive.’ Whether that’s taking the dogs for a quick walk, putting dishes in the sink, anything that HAS to be done. Because social media isn’t something that has to be done for me.
  •  Methods and tools don’t matter as much as the ritual of doing. What time of day you write or workout, what apps you use to be productive, what kind of pencil you use. These things are distractions and will be different for everyone. Just start. If you want to workout, do so when it works for you. But do it. Do not let a ‘method’ or having to do so in just the right way get in the way of putting the time in to actually get your physical activity on.

I’ve recently gotten interested in Ramit Sethi, author of ‘I will teach you to be rich’. At first glance, some of the principles he talks to are diametrically opposed to some of my core beliefs. For example, he tweets a lot about forgoing on lattes isn’t going to make you rich. He also advertises the luxurious clothes, shoes, vacations, he has, which from first glance looks unnecessary to someone who is trying to retire early or think different about money. Listening to a recent Tim Ferris podcast, I’ve changed my tune. Here are some of the nuggets I really took away:

  • Define yourself by what you want, not what you don’t want. This speaks to the core of how I try to live – focus on the positive, move forward with purpose, fill your life with things that have meaning and bring you joy. Stop thinking about things you don’t like, things you WILL NEVER do again, things you CAN’T do. And really think about the former. What DO you want?
  • Spend more money on things that bring you joy, and cut back elsewhere. From someone who lives frugally, with savings on my mind, ummmm always, this is a novel concept. If I’m slicing back in areas that don’t bring me that much meaning or happiness makes total sense. What I’ve never thought about is putting a bit more money into those things that I love or at least shifting my mindset that when I do spend money on those things, it’s a good thing. I’m going to try to do more of this, mindfully.
  • Identify on a scale from 1 to ten, identify with your partner the things you absolutely love doing around the home (or at least don’t mind doing) and the things you hate. Divide these things up and never think about having to ask the other person to do, again. This is brilliant. If you have a serious conversation with your partner, and are honest with yourself, you can stop wasting energy on keeping score of household bullsh*t. There’s no resentment, there’s no, ‘But I do X,Y, & Z….what are YOU doing!!!???’ Maybe you don’t have that problem……but when it’s discussed and assigned, it’s not a problem. Full disclosure, Mike and I had this conversation and it was actually fun….and it brought light to some things he was doing that I, when I was honest, didn’t really want or like to do.
  • Create and strive for a Rich Life. Now, initially this concept didn’t sit well with me, because I truly think there is a consumerism plague that has infiltrated and needs to stop. But as I learned more about Ramit’s philosophy, I realized he’s not advocating for you to blow your money on designer brands (unless you love them). He’s simply asking people to think money differently, as the vehicle that allows you to have joy. Whatever joy is for you. And it’s different for everyone, so this has reminded me to stop being judgmental of those who choose to spend money in different ways than I.

Finding motivation, different ways intelligent people  look at things truly excites me. Discovering ways to become a better version of myself, well that is hopefully a lifelong journey. I hope you find the above helpful and would love to hear other podcasts or people that dish out happy thoughts and insightful ways to look at things.

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