6:15. Alarm sings joyfully. I wake up, brush my teeth, put my clothes on, kiss my wife. I grab my lunch and backpack, go out, walk to work. I work, eat lunch, work more. I walk home, eat dinner, play with my baby daughter. I skype with parents, help daughter shower, kiss my wife goodnight. I fall asleep. Rinse and repeat.
People find life monotonous. And for very good reasons, too. There is not much to it. You study, get married, work, raise children, pay bills – all struggling through. Of course, there are others whose lives are full of adventures, happenings and explorations. But you just do not have the time for anything beyond what is in your pockets, right?
Recently, I realised, though: if I want my life to become more flamboyant, I need to challenge myself daily. Because at the core of all adventures, there lie challenges to your body or mind.
So I started thinking of how I can challenge myself. Making my hemispheres collide sounded like a good idea and I came up with heaps of things I could do to make daily routines more interesting. It takes literally a couple of minutes a day to come up with at least a dozen of ideas to make your life more exuberant than it seems today. Here are six examples (that work for me) just to get you started.
Difficulty level: ★☆☆☆☆☆
Take another route to and/or from work. Notice how you’ve never seen this tree here or that building there before. Stop to look at the pond you never stopped at to see if ducks still float or look at the flower box you never counted the flowers in. Dare yourself to experience your daily routines without going through the motions.
Difficulty level: ★★☆☆☆☆
Swap the pockets. Whatever you carry in them, that is. Put your small belongings in all the new places. Do you carry coins in the front left pocket, keys in the front right, wallet in the back left and some junk in the back right? Move everything around and see if you can find your keys when you need them.
Difficulty level: ★★★☆☆☆
Walk backwards up and down the stairs without looking backwards or ahead um, wherever you need to go. There are always stairs around. No stairs in sight? Walk backwards around your house or backyard. In any case, be extremely careful, lest you should step on the rake. It hurts whichever end of your head you hit with the handle.
Difficulty level: ★★★★☆☆
Turn your mouse 90 degrees and go surfing the Internets. Open a browser, a word-processing program or even a photo-editing monster and feel the difference. For the shortcutting cheaters or trackpad users: turn whatever you use to interact with the machine 180 degrees. Feel the difference now?
Difficulty level: ★★★★★☆
Write a love letter. No, not a love e-mail. A real-life letter on a real-life piece of paper. First, take the pen. Ready? Now, switch hands! That’s right! See if your loved one appreciates your scribbled handwriting. Don’t have a loved one? Write a letter to your manager. Or landlord. Tell them how awesome you think they are.
Difficulty level: ★★★★★★
Try finding flaws in you. Hard to think of any? Ask your spouse, children or parents. They’ll know. Having too many flaws to count? Focus on the first three. Now, take a flaw and make a list of five things you have to do to kill it. Let the five things be like chain links that loop over five months, one measure a month.
Important: never ever stay satisfied with where you are. When you are done mastering your challenges, there will always be new ones to face.
Do you have other ideas for challenges? Share them with me on Twitter or in the comments below!
(Photo courtesy of Anne Roberts.)