There are two phrases you should never use if you’re going to live an impossible life.
I’ve started a mini-moratorium on using these words in my personal vocabulary and I hope you will do the same.
This might be the saddest statement I’ve ever said (or heard). “Bored”
Feeling weary because one is unoccupied or lacks interest in one’s current activity.
You should never feel “bored.” If you’re “bored” all that means is there’s space to push your limits a bit more and tell a better story.
People become “bored” when their actions don’t seem to make sense or they don’t have a cohesive explanation for the things they’re doing in their life.
Don’t be one of them.
Bored people tend to lose themselves in artificial stories like video games, reality tv, movies, playing pointless games. Those things aren’t bad on their own, but when the ancillary stories in your life take away from you building your own story, it’s a problem.
I started this blog because I realized that I wanted to live a life worth writing about. Living in my parents basement and failing to get a job at Starbucks was not cutting it.
We live in a 7 billion person, 193 level video game in stunning HD with countless adventures, challenges and quests to go on where you get a stunning amount of control over your character. If you’re bored, you need to find a new adventure, quest or challenge to go on and push yourself to live a better story.
For more on living remarkably in this “game” check out the following links.
If you have a problem with this, you should hire someone to slap you in the face.
Every time you say, “I can’t…”
See how long it takes for you to start trying stuff in order to avoid the slap.
How much different would things turn out for you if instead of every time you’re about to say “I can’t”, you said “I can’t…yet” instead?
Most people forget that they can still learn things after 22 years old. Guess what – it might be harder, but you can.
When we’re young, we’re pretty good at struggling through things like learning how to walk, read and not poop our pants without giving up immediately.
Somewhere around 18–22 or so (right about the time we finish schooling), we expect that we’re just supposed to be good at everything from here on out.
Instead of expecting to fail a few times as part of the learning process, we give up the first time we’re not perfect at something.
If you’re having issues with the whole process of learning something new, try these guidelines:
- You’re not allowed to say “you can’t” until you’ve tried.
- Back yourself up.
- Work on it.
- Get a team of friends or coaches to back you up.
- Keep going.
Most people don’t quit – they just give up too soon.
If you’re bored – you have a world of 193 countries, 7 continents, over 7 billion people and every adventure you could imagine waiting for you.
If you think you can’t, you need to shut up and give it a try. Don’t disqualify yourself from something before you even give yourself a chance to try it.
I’m eliminating those two phrases from my vocabulary. I hope you do too.
photo credit: martins.nunomiguel
Two others to banish: “I’m tired” and “I’ve been really busy!” !!
YES! Busy SUCKS. We are all busy. It’s priorities that count.
Laura Lou says
I had an “I can’t” hissy fit recently about a piece of postgrad coursework that was really difficult (advanced airframe structures anyone?). I had the drama, had a bit of a cry then got my shit together, took a cold shower and got back to working.
Sometimes you need to have the “I can’t do it” drama to get rid of built up angst, as long as the I can’t doesn’t stick
Well said. I fail quite regularly. Maybe I’ll fail at something 3 or 4 times and each time is a chance to figure out why I failed that time and what I need to change in myself to succeed next time.
P.S. Love the blog and email updates joel. Legend.
By the way, I’m 33 and still learning!
You are AWESOME.
One question (and I really hope you answer this one):
What if you are aware of these points, but you simply DON’T KNOW what could bring you excitement/joy/fulfillment etc….?
A huge problem with being stuck in a rut of boredom, apathy or depression is that it becomes harder and harder to find anything enticing to even TRY!
I love your blog so much. You are wise well beyond your years. Your thoughts on this are hugely appreciated!
Joel Runyon says
You don’t have to KNOW, you just have to try.
Find something that’s curious to you, that’s interesting and try it. If it doesn’t work, try again. Get used to experimenting with things and trying new things. Half the fun is in that anyways.
Tito Joe says
Got news for all you youngins. I am 56 years old and I STILL struggle and fail.
The good news…at least for me is….I dont give in. I learned a long time ago, that failure is just another opportunity to learn and get better.
Having said all this, I will admitt that the older you are the more OTHER folks will naysay what your trying to do. Phrases such as: Arent you a bit old for that? Dont you think its a bit late in life to be trying that, or learning this? Negative phrases ad naseum……
Hogwash. Age just means you have one more wonderful hurdle to use as motivation to get whatever it is your trying to do….DONE.
Thanks Joel for saying it. Now all you folks follow through.
Bill Perry says
When people say “Can’t” it really means “I don’t care enough about that to do it.”
Boredom, at the core, is apathy.
Thanks for the post, Joel.
Drew Meyers says
“I deserve it” –> instant punch
Articles like this is the reason I’m subscribed to your list Joel. Thanks! Writing this down into my commonplace book.
Oh, and this is a good habit to learn (or unlearn) using ‘the bracelet method’ (Tim ferriss no complaint experiment http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tim-ferriss/no-complaint-experiment_b_5610433.html)
Another boredom buster: pull yourself out of “It’s all about me” mode and think up ways you can work with/influence others to guide them to making their world a better place. There’s lots to challenge yourself with.
Kudos to you Joel, for this blog and what you’ve done to create it. You’ve been encouraging a 50+ person new to the health care field through the challenge of a nursing program. Can you imagine studying anatomy 30 years after your high school biology? Or being a student nurse with a supervisor in her 20s who thinks everyone over 40 is too old to be a student? I’ve completed it and plan to continue with school while working. I’ve also started backpacking in remote mountain areas. Incredible!
Ten years ago I would have said “Impossible”. Now I know better.