I used to work for an organisation that one of my dear friends referred to as the ‘land of the walking dead’. No one looked happy. No one. People wandered the corridors looking lost, in their grey corporate suits, shuffling papers for 8 – 10 hours a day. They sat in their cramped little cubicles, at their grey desks barely speaking to each other, heads down, bum up, endlessly typing up yet another corporate policy. I’m sure you could see their spirits slowly being sucked out through their ears and up into the air conditioning. Even the staff room which was located at the bottom of the building was referred to as ‘the dungeon’.
It was hard to imagine anything better when you were surrounded by this level of living death. I have often wondered, if I hadn’t had some amazing friends on the outside, how would I have escaped? I’m not sure I would have realised what kind of culture I was working in every day if not for them.
Realising that you are born to fly, not endlessly walk the corporate corridors, is the first step. Working out your dream and purpose is the next. Once you realise that you have a dream to manifest, the next steps are all about being brave and vulnerable.
Most people go back to being grey. It’s safe and they may not like it, but it’s predictable and they know this way of life well. No surprises. No putting yourself out there and above all no risk of failure! They may be part of the living dead, but there’s a level of certainty about it – and its true that we need a level of certainty in our lives. But not everything in our life should be certain. If we don’t have uncertainty as well, we wither and fade. Never being vulnerable or failing or making mistakes doesn’t protect us in the end, it makes us empty and will finally kill us, or at least kill our spirit.
For a very few, finding our passion and realising our dream becomes such a driving force in our life that we are willing to risk it all. (A bit similar to how we feel when we fall in love or lust!) We are prepared to do almost anything. We are prepared to put ourselves out there. To become vulnerable. To fall over and pick ourselves up again as many times as we have to. To make mistakes. Lots and lots of mistakes. Nothing will stop us realising our dreams and living a life of purpose!
But what if you are in the ‘certainty’ community and you would really like to escape the walking dead? You just don’t know how and it all seems too big and hard and so overwhelming!
Why not trial it for 30 days?
Here’s the thing: You can change anything. Add anything. Delete anything from your life. Change any behaviour you like in just 30 days. This concept was first thought up by Steve Pavlina, who is an awesome blogger on personal development. His idea was based on the 30 day trial, which most of us would be familiar with when buying software products or anything off the shopping channels. Do steak knives for a 30 day trial sound familiar?
Recent research tells us if you introduce small sustainable changes into your life, they have a much better success rate and are much more likely to stick.
So the process is pretty straight forward.
If you are a little anxious about change you can start with something fairly simple and small. In an earlier blog I spoke about taking on a planking challenge for 30 days and achieving five minutes by the end of the challenge. Another one of my recent 30 day trials was all about adding more raw food to my diet. I really wanted to eat better and after lots of reading up on the benefits of eating fresh raw food, I decided to give it a go.
The trick is that instead of thinking that you will change this for the rest of your life, which seems paramount to climbing Mount Everest, you just think, I’m just doing this for 30 days. If you don’t like it you can stop after 30 days, or you can add another 30 days.
So for me, I decided to make it even simpler. Every day, for the next 30 days, I would make one of my meals 51% raw. You may want to add a juice, walk in the mornings for 20 minutes, mediate, write a gratitude list every morning, stop drinking coffee, write a hundred words, learn a new word in another language, write a love letter to your partner every day, drink water, do a headstand, stop smoking, make your lunch for work, go to the gym, read a chapter of a book, hula hoop for 10 minutes every afternoon, read the newspaper, get up half an hour earlier every day, cook a new dish…the list goes on.
I’m up to eating two meals a day that are 51% raw, and I add a fresh vegetable juice every two days. Every time I add something, I tell myself, “It’s just for 30 days”, but I find that the 30 days is usually just long enough for the new behaviour to become routine.
Practice with something small. You may like to do a few trials. Remember you can add as well as delete. Add something positive to your life! Don’t just stop something. Test the water!
Over the past year I have changed quite a few things in my life with a 30 day trial. Every now and then I get to the end of the trial and think, well that was a great experience, but I don’t want to keep going with this.
As Matt Cutts said in his TED Talk: “Thirty days will pass whether you like it or not, so why don’t you try something new. Think of something you have always wanted to do and give it a shot!”