Dream into Action

by Mark on January 1, 2010 · 3 comments

George: It’s not working, Jerry. It’s just not working.

Jerry: What is it that isn’t working?

George: Why did it all turn out like this for me? I had so much promise. I was personable, I was bright. Oh, maybe not academically speaking, but… I was perceptive. I always know when someone’s uncomfortable at a party. It became very clear to me sitting out there today, that every decision I’ve ever made, in my entire life, has been wrong. My life is the opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have, in every aspect of life, be it something to wear, something to eat… It’s all been wrong.

Jerry: If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.

George: Yes, I will do the opposite! I used to sit here and do nothing and regret it for the rest of the day, so now I will do the opposite, and I will DO something!

The Opposite

In this classic Seinfeld scene, George Costanza — the perennial loser — realizes that his instincts are all wrong and begins to do the complete opposite. To his surprise, his life begins to work for him every time he does the opposite of what his instinct tells him to do.  It’s a hilarious episode that includes George yelling at George Steinbrenner, who then immediately hires George to work for the New York Yankees. The episode was of course meant to be humorous, but it can also be quite instructive as well.

How often do we persist in using the same ineffective strategies merely because we believe that they SHOULD work? We try diets that don’t work, exercise programs that we don’t stick with, To Do lists that we end up ignoring, and on and on. The old saying is that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Sometimes we just need to re-evaluate our assumptions and radically shift our beliefs about what works and what doesn’t, as well as what is possible and what is impossible. Otherwise we will be stuck spinning our wheels for the rest of our lives.

Put Your Dream into Action

Have you ever noticed that most of us constantly defer our dreams into the future? Why do we focus on retirement so much while wasting the healthiest and most vibrant years of our lives? Why do so many of us work 40 hours or more per week? Is it because our jobs coincidentally all take this long? I seriously doubt it.

It is actually pretty amazing that our dramatic increase in prosperity over the decades hasn’t led to a more significant reduction in the hours that we dedicate to work. The result is that we suffer from a time famine. We long for retirement so we can stop working and finally really have the time to start doing what we want to do. Unfortunately for most of us, this means at the age of 65. And for some of us, we will never be able to retire. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wait until I’m 65 before I start to really live my life. I want to begin to put the dream into action NOW, not when I’m too old to really embrace it. Life is too short!

What Is This Blog about?

I intend this blog to be a real-time narrative of my experiments with “lifestyle design.” Lifestyle design is a phrase popularized by Tim Ferriss and his book The 4-Hour Workweek, which I thought was very interesting and would highly recommend to anyone interested in this topic. In a nutshell, lifestyle design is about designing your life in such a way that you radically reduce the amount of time you spend doing things you HAVE to do and radically increase the amount of time you spend doing things you WANT to do. Also, the idea is to implement the changes as quickly as possible rather than grinding away year after year until you can finally enjoy the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I will be writing about some of the strategies that I use or that others have used successfully (or unsuccessfully). I will be writing about personal development, time management, personal finance, business, investing, goal-setting, and other topics that I find interesting.

A New Year. A New Decade. A New Start.

Today is January 1st, the beginning of a new year. Traditionally, this is the day that we promise to make major changes in our lives (and traditionally we fail!). It is an interesting phenomenon because choosing January 1st is completely arbitrary. We could just as easily choose any other day of the year to begin making major changes. In fact, Groundhog Day might be more appropriate, since it is so common to try to make the same changes over and over again every year!

Today also happens to be the beginning of a new decade. Despite the arbitrariness of choosing January 1, 2010 to begin this adventure, I think it will be interesting to see where I will be ten years from now on January 1, 2020. Will my life be radically different? We will see!

Do you have a dream that you have been putting off?


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