Breaking Down or Breaking Through: Dad’s Guide to Freedom
Getting Over Yourself: A Beginner’s Guide
Family activities, pretty much anything that’s billed as “fun for the whole family!!” often contradicts my definition of fun. The moment you have to remind potential attendees that it’s fun for EVERYONE, I’m pretty sure you don’t mean me.
Because if it’s truly fun for kids who are 3, as well as those who are 8, or 12 or 16, I’m pretty sure it’s NOT going to be fun for me. That’s how I thought about things I didn’t want to do for years, because I’d tell myself “I am a realist,” “far too sophisticated, educated and smart” to enjoy my time at ANYTHING that’s “Fun For The Whole Family.” Note Smarmy, self-righteous and ego-driven voice.
Now that I’ve set myself as the least-fun-to-have-on-a-trip guy, I’ve discovered something. Event or activities I’d normally dread doesn’t have to be awful, they can be amazing, and it all starts with me. The otherwise most exhausting errand, family gathering or visit to the DMV can be full of laughter and fun. These events can be life-affirming, and not life-draining.
How Can Things be Awful and Wonderful at the Same Time?
How do you access what it takes to turn around an otherwise dreary day into an exciting, uplifting and wonderful experience? I have this funny memory of hosting a game of Boggle at a friend’s house that turned into an uproarious competition at Thanksgiving dinner a few years back. There were 4 adults around a gleamingBoggle dome (the kids word search game), trash-talking each other, placing side bets and otherwise making fools of ourselves. It was so much fun (and the most memorable part of the day!)
We all have an experience of finding laughter and joy in times that traditionally don’t have laughter and joy.
Maybe it’s a conversation with your cashier, the kindness of a stranger or a shared smile over the human experience with another person at the supermarket.
It’s Time to get Out Of Control
How can we be curmudgeons some of the time and playful at other times? It’s all about taking life (and ourselves) too seriously. The dead giveaway of over-seriousness is the perception that “life shouldn’t be” this way. Life should be another way than it is.
Life is what it is. I don’t get to control how it rolls out, only how I act and interact with it. The idea that my happiness is tied to how life unfolds is a recipe for unhappiness and disappointment. Or being a curmudgeon.
The experience of fulfillment is directly related to your relationship with control. The more you try to control how the world rolls out, the more happiness, joy and fulfillment slips through your fingers.The more you try to control how the world rolls out, the more happiness, joy and fulfillment slips through your fingers. Click To Tweet
Pull Out Your Treasure Map
Going from disappointment, anger, sadness or curmudgeon-ness to laughing your head off, having fun and acting like you’re a teenager again is like a treasure hunt. You have to search for the hidden jewel, that one thing that opens up a new way of experiencing your life.
OK, what does that REALLY mean?
When you let go of needing to have life show up a certain way, it opens what you see and the way you see it. People and things no longer show up as “right” or “wrong”, they just show up. You can see things you hadn’t seen before.
You’re on a treasure hunt, and you’re looking for something specific. It’s that ONE THING that once you’ve found it, it can change EVERYTHING. When you find it, it’s access to freedom, fun, connecting with family, and even strangers! That treasure you find will be something that changes the whole trajectory of your day.
Identifying “The Thing”
I can’t tell you what the “thing” is, because it’s different for me than it is for you. But you’ll know when you find it, as it will tickle something inside you. It will make you curious, or bring a smile to your face. This “Thing” will inspire some funny comment, thought or perhaps be a conversation starter.
Maybe your “Thing” will be the funny story you heard on the radio this morning. Perhaps it will be the kids you saw on your commute skipping to school in early morning light. You may find it when you stumble on the photo of you and your spouse when you first met. Maybe it will be the animated Uber driver chatting loudly on his phone at a traffic light.
Taking advantage of The Thing Once You Find It
Finding the spark isn’t enough. Like blowing on a just-lit fire, we need to amplify that spark you’ve found. How can you foster the nugget, that “thing” you’ve found? Share it. You can share the story of what brought a smile to your face, or just share the energy that it gave you. If you see something that gives you a smile, share it with your kids or wife. It isn’t the story that’s contagious, it’s the energy.
Life as a Treasure Hunt
What’s it like to see life as a treasure hunt full time? To live from a place where you experience life as inspiring and fulfilling? It’s all about the practice of living a life of excellence. Shedding mindsets and behaviors from the past, and building new muscles that shift the way you see the world on a daily basis.
If you’re interested in discovering what it takes to live life as a Treasure Hunt, schedule a time with me and let’s start designing your future today.