Have you ever wondered how to be a better conversationalist, and how to help your subjects be more in tune with their own desires? Thought so. The next time you find yourself in a small talk situation, do not ask, “What do you do?” but inquire, “What do you like to do?” It’s a fun scenario if you’re like me and love to watch people’s facial expressions. You can pick up a lot of cues by people’s reactions, and for the most part I’ve seen people struggle with this inquiry. As if the people who get invited to their backyard crawfish boils are not allowed to know such intimate details about them. You are not your job. You are made up of so many different details and emotions that it is silly to expect to understand someone by asking “What do you do?”
It seems crazy to me when people ask what I’ve been doing, and seem enthralled by my response. When you are in the down and dirty of day-to-day tasks there is no glamour. Even fancy galas and cocktail hours are driven around work and connecting and collaborating on projects. It is also crazy to me when people always seem to know what is happening in my life, but never comment on it online. As if they are merely glancing at what everyone else is doing, like modern day neighbor Gladys’s.
As for what is actually going on in my life, I am consistently working on being a more healthy and well rounded individual. Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way. Don’t get frustrated when you can’t accomplish every “meditative home remedy”. You can read thousands of online articles (read, opinions) about how to wake up every morning and drink warm lemon/ginger water, run 3 miles, eat oatmeal and some juice, then stretch, then meditate, then…, then…, then…, and that’s all before your hectic day. That’s just it, your days are hectic so try to just keep this in mind to keep you in line; “No excuses. Do what you can. Then do more.” You would be amazed at how much you can actually get done if you just forget about all the other bullshit.
I am not the best writer, but I write. I write because I learned a trick from Austin Kleon. My morning routine is this: Eat, write 500 words, workout, and the rest is admin. Your job, your bills, your responsibilities are all apart of life and will never go away. Hopefully you are doing something every day that is fun, but to truly appreciate what you have to offer focus on your creative stuff first, and then focus on the rest. The majority of your day is just administrative tasks to make it to the next day.
Our ancestors (and the lineage of every organism) adapted to their situations in order to survive. In the modern world there seems to be less evolution needed. However, complacency is a mutation. Humans were not made to grow still. Constantly work to evolve in the direction that you want to be going in. The trickier the landscape or the bigger the goal the more creative you will have to be. So, enjoy the process.
The process is the biggest hangup I see most people have. I write, but I don’t like writing. I know I’m not the best at it. It’s a skill I need to work on more though because it helps me keep my thoughts in order. I don’t really have other creative skills (I can’t draw stick figures and I should never make video) so I write. It’s rough at some points and rewarding at others. So, find your process and enjoy it.
The most startling point that I find when people ask me “how do you do all these cool things” is that they don’t see I make sacrifices. I have a restless soul, so even though I may be out traveling and exploring that means that settling has taken a back seat. Settling could possibly help me with business connections or affirming more relationships, but instead I am out making new connections constantly. It’s a trade-off, and one that I need to work on.
Next time you start to feel that FOMO creep in and your wanderlust/secret obsession take over just remember that not everyone has it figured out. That it’s a “complicated answer to a simple question” to be able to know what you want all the time, or even after you do know what you want, know how to get it.
Previously written for Thought Catalog.