This sounds ridiculous. And maybe it is. But I once came across a patch of grass that changed the way I think about everything I do.
It was a beautiful mid-August afternoon. You know, one of those days where the sun makes its way unimpeded across the blue sky (or was it white???), the gentle refreshing breeze whistles through the hairs on your skin, and the birds sing their songs of the season.
More importantly, I had also just finished my last ever university exam; after 18 years of grinding my way through the education system.
It was on my much anticipated walk home from the exam that I had the moment. There, standing honourably to my right, was a 10x10 patch of grass. It wasn’t even the most beautiful patch of grass I’ve ever seen. Nothing like what you see in one of those Scott’s Turf Builder commercials, and the dandelion-to-grass ratio was definitely greater than zero.
But none of that had anything to do with anything. What really had significance was the thought I had to myself at that very moment: I could lay down, there on that patch of grass, for the rest of my life, and it would not matter. Having no obligations gave me a sense of freedom that I had never experienced before. There was nothing I needed to do, and no where I had to be. I could do tomorrow whatever I wanted to do tomorrow. I could lay on that patch of grass happily ever after.
Of course I chose not to (for too long), but it led me a realization. There is nothing that you ever HAVE to do. You don’t HAVE to wake up and go to your job tomorrow. You don’t HAVE to work through the night to get your quarterly report done. You don’t HAVE to stay in to finish your class assignment. Everything you do is 100% according to you, and is completely your decision. You don’t owe anyone anything.
I know this thinking sounds kind of dangerous, but I think it can provide as solid framework for achieving that elusive happiness in your life.
To make this less abstract/high level, let’s bring it down a bit to make it more practical. Here’s how you can you start implementing it into your lifestyle today:
Sit down for 15 minutes, close Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, and think about what you want to accomplish in your life. What do you want to be, what do you want to do, and what do you want to have? Make the three columns, and write them down. Tim Ferriss calls this a Dreamline.
Then whenever you’re doing anything, think about how it fits into your Dreamline. Chances are, there will be a lot of things that don’t move you any closer to your life goals. If it doesn’t fit, scrap it. You have full right to do so. Remind yourself, you don’t HAVE to be doing whatever it is you’re doing. It’s a waste of time, and a waste of your life.
If it does fit, then continue on, and begin to double down on those types of activities wherever you can. Of course staying up all night to finish a report or assignment may be a necessary sacrifice to move you one step closer to your life goals, but at least now you’ll approach the 'unfortunate' circumstance as being 100% your decision, and not something you are forced to do.
If you consciously and continuously approach each day with this mindset, I believe you can drastically improve the quality of your life, ESPECIALLY if you aren’t doing what you want to be doing with it.
Right now, today, is the time to start looking for your patch of grass.
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