I recorded this video in 2015 after I had been in Europe for a few weeks, traveling, meeting some interesting people, being invited to speak at a couple of interesting workshops, conferences and interviews along the way, and was getting asked a lot: "How can you just get up and go?"
In this video, I talk about the idea of people aspiring to have "lazy days" after the super blast modes of working really hard, the costs associated with this approach, and how choosing your journey can set you free from being dependent on the outcomes of your choices to feel like you're living life on your own terms.
I've also included a substantially edited transcript of the video below, which is a little more coherent than my ramblings on camera.
Relatively coherent version of what I'm blabbering about in the video:
I'm freezing my ass off outside the Lazienki Royal Palace in Warsaw in Poland. For the past week, I've been traveling around here and have been really excited to just basically take off from Sydney for a while and travel around Europe, mostly around Poland, meeting some really interesting people, being invited to speak at a couple of really interesting workshops and conferences, and interview some really interesting and inspiring entrepreneurs along the way.
And one thing that I get asked a lot in my life is, and often it's by people who are not really in the entrepreneurial sphere, is how can you just get up and go like this? How do you just pick your life up and move? Either you must have a lot of money, or you must have a lot of planned and scheduled business to attend to, or you must just be super super flat out and busy with assignments.
In answering this question, I want to first talk about this idea of people aspiring to have lazy days, and people aspiring to have chill-out periods after having super blast-modes of working very hard.
I haven't worked too much in the corporate space, but when I have I’ve found that there's a very prolific culture that is very obvious, which everyone talks about, where you work nine to five or eight to seven depending on where you are, Monday to Friday, and then Wednesday comes along, which is sort of known as hump day, and when you get to Friday people start talking about "Yes, it's Friday! Weekend coming up, all right let's go out party!" And if you're slightly older, or maybe you're family oriented, your idea might be to spend your days off with family. In any case, that essentially becomes your goal for your experiential reprieve at the end of a working week.
I've never really personally liked the idea of work-life balance, at least the term itself. I've spoken to a lot of people who propagated it, and often people who advised me and said "Dev you should have more work life balance". Instead, I actually really like the idea of work-life integration.
That's really what I believe for myself, that my work should be very much integrated with my life. It's really much a part of my life that flows on, and instead of thinking about me working really hard and trying to figure out what I look forward to at the end of it, and which likely happens to be a day where I can just do absolutely nothing, I think of it as needing to ask myself consistently and constantly, “Am I choosing to do what I'm doing right now, so that I don't have to look forward to a day where essentially I can give myself the illusion that doing nothing is what I choose to do?”
“AND, having said, is everything else that I do leading up to that point not by choice but am I essentially a slave to my circumstances, a slave to my work, business, job, or whatever it is that I'm doing not by my own choosing?”
And it's occurred to me that the more and more I talk to people all around the world across different cultures and wherever they might be from - different ages, different experiences - it's so easy to get caught up in this trap of believing that if you're on a holiday, you're choosing your life. If you're working, you're not choosing your life.
But the fact is that you can choose your life doing whatever you're doing.
In fact I really believe this, and it might sound crazy to you, but you could be doing something that you don't even enjoy doing, and all you need to do is choose it, choose your position to be in that situation, and you can start enjoying it more. Or at the very least you can start relaxing and figuring out, realigning and reorienting your idea of what the peak experiences at the end of it are.
The peak experience that some people seek for is, when they go travel they want to go skydiving, or they want to do some rock climbing, or they want to enjoy a fantastic meal at a luxury restaurant that they've been looking forward to. Or maybe for some people it's just actually saving up a lot of money working and getting to a certain point where they can go and travel and so that whole experience is that peak experience.
The problem with this is not so much what you value as your peak experience, but that when your peak experiences become the main focus of your decisions, they also become the main focus of the value of everything that you're doing. You become so attached to the outcome of doing whatever it is that you're doing that you feel that your freedom can only be had when you reach that peak experience, and more often than not, your relaxation gets attached to this notion of not having to work.
For me my work is extremely relaxing. Even when it's stressful it's still relaxing. And I know that sounds very contradictory, but really what I mean by that is that even when I'm under pressure and working hard on a lot of things - it's not that I'm a workaholic and it's not that I'm a super Type A personality - I constantly realign and reorient myself to focus on my values, to remind myself that what I'm doing is by choice and everything has a cost associated with it.
Even chilling out and doing nothing has a cost associated with it; travelling has a cost associated with it; skydiving as a peak experience has a cost associated with it. And I think the reason that we forget to choose what it is that we're doing is because we forget that everything has a cost associated with it, and we forget that we've chosen to pay the price for what we want.
If you choose to eat crap you're choosing to let your body pay the price, and if you choose to go to the gym you can go to the gym and complain and moan and whine that you're not doing it by choice because your choice is actually on the other end of the rainbow so to speak, which may be getting super fit or being in a shape to partake in a particular competition, but again the problem is is that you believe the process towards that journey is not your choosing, the choice that you're making is only the freedom or the achievement of the accomplishment that you have at the end of the process.
If you start choosing the entire journey itself, you can choose to create more and more intermittent peak experiences for yourself that will act to remind you that you choose to be where you're at, and you choose to do what you're doing, and you simply choose to pay the price for the choices that you make.
You'll be a lot happier, you'll be in a lot more control, and best of all you'll be able to relax just like that, wherever you are. And I think that's really powerful in propelling you forward towards whatever peak experiences you want to choose.
But even more importantly, it allows you to have a much more fulfilling life; it allows you to be a lot more centered and balanced in whatever you do in life; and it allows you to have more fulfilling and nourishing relationships with people, because when things do go wrong around you, when things happen that are that genuinely are outside of your control, you know that you have that much more control over your life because whatever external factors are happening at least you're choosing to be in the very spot that you're in.
So back to the original question: how do I find myself on these adventures? I choose my journey, and I choose to go along with the current of life rather than against it, and it frees me from feeling dependent on the outcomes of my choices.