So many of us wish we were doing something else a lot of the time. In part, that is the human condition. But in part, it is because the world is changing and a lot of us haven’t yet figured out how to adapt. I thought I would tell you how I have dealt with the “wish I were doing something else” feeling, give you a concrete tip for healing that feeling for right now, and then remind you about a course I am teaching that might help you deal with it in the longer term, too. NOTE: The early bird discount for the How To Be Alive Master Class ends tonight. Click here to sign up.
How I Dealt With Constantly Wishing I Was Doing Something Else
Back in 2007, I woke up to the fact that I wasn’t living the life I wanted to live. I mean, I was an author of two history books, yes, and that, to me, was an amazing thing, but I felt disconnected from the world and my own life.
I worried that no one seemed to be talking about—much less doing anything about—climate change. Meanwhile, the way of life causing climate change didn’t seem to make people happy. In the US, 27% of us suffer from depression or major anxiety disorder. In the rest of the world, a billion people don’t even have access to clean drinking water. My work and life didn’t feel connected to those things and I wanted it to be.
In other worlds, I wished I was doing something else.
So, as you probably know, I launched the No Impact Man project, in which I lived with as little impact on our habitat as possible, and then wrote a book and made a film about it. Purportedly, it was an exercise in environmental living, but you know what it really was? An exercise in conscious living.
I took apart every choice in my life and put it back together again. What I have received in return is a hugely satisfying life in which I do what I love—write, speak, coach and consult—in ways where I get to feel that I am helping engage people in the problems I see in the world. I no longer wish I was doing something else.
These days, my work—including my most recent book How To Be Alive and the coming How To Be Alive Master Class—is about helping people like you live consciously, too, so you don’t have to always wish you were doing something else, either.
A Concrete Exercise That Will Transform Your Wishing You Could Do Something Else—Right Now
It is so simple, if you will trust me and me and try it. If you are at your desk at work, spontaneously ask a stressed or sad colleague if you could make or buy them a nice hot tea or coffee and then go get it. If you are at home alone, think of a friend or family member and pick up the phone and call them and say you just wanted to see how they were—no kvetching about your own life.
Just, whatever you are doing, turn it into an opportunity to do service. Email around an article on institutional racism to a bunch of friends you know care about it. Ask a few people if they would like to have dinner and discuss concrete steps you can take towards building the type of world you want.
What exactly you do doesn’t matter. Just change the situation where you wish you were doing something else into an opportunity to make your moment, minute or hour meaningful or purposeful. I promise you will stop feeling like you wish you were doing something else, at least for right now.
Changing Your Life In The Longer Term (Check Out My Course?)
How does that small action change your life in the long term, you might ask? It doesn’t. At least not if you stop there.
But if you consider that small act merely to be a momentary demonstration of your intention to make your life meaningful and purposeful, and you keep taking such small actions for as little as 15 minutes all day, your life will begin to change. You don’t have to take the dramatic steps I took in No Impact Man (unless, of course, you want to be a teacher of conscious living—like me—rather than just a happy participant in conscious living).
If you want support in living the meaningful, conscious life, I hope you will check out the How To Be Alive Master Class. It will help you:
- Identify the life you want to live
- Choose easy steps towards that life
- Find people who share your values
- Feel as though you are helping the world you care about.
But whether you take the course or not, remember to 1. Set your intention to live a conscious life every day; 2. Take small concrete actions that manifest that intention as I discussed above; and then 3. You will find you are actually living that conscious life.
PS Hurry! Hurry! The How To Be Alive Master Class starts in only ten days and the early bird discount ends TONIGHT.
PPS You get a free web-enabled version of How To Be Alive: A Guide To The Kind Of Happiness That Helps The World thrown in.