Reinvent Yourself Through Trying New Things
It seems increasingly accepted that time is constructed moment after moment, accumulating experiences that rock us and push us through circumstantial currents. German physics professor and scientist Georg Lichtenberg said that nothing makes us age more quickly than thinking incessantly about growing old.
When you think that it’s too late to do something, you legitimize the word “never” and kill opportunities and winds of change. Don’t assess opportunities based on the time you have left in the day, the week, or the rest of your life. Assess them based on the present moment.
“Take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves.”
Eternally pending things
You can always regret lost hours, wasted leisure time, and abandoned hobbies. It can cause a certain degree of anxiety and lead you to dwell on thoughts like “I shouldn’t have left that behind,” “what did that cost me?” or “when will I seize the moment?” On the other hand, unachievable goals can make you feel disappointed with yourself when you find that they’re outside your reach.
When you set goals, they tend to revolve around the integration of new activities into your life, which isn’t a bad idea. However, you can also look around at things you already do and try something out.
Work to improve it, broaden your view of it, and think more deeply about it. Maybe if you follow this seemingly more modest path, you’ll be enriched more than if you pursued goals that were outside of your short-term possibilities, no matter how attractive they seem at first.
“When we say that the past is always better, we’re condemning the future without knowing it.”
-Francisco de Quevedo-
Reinvent an everyday activity
You can get a lot more out of reinterpreting part of your day if you change the lens you’re looking through.
Growth often isn’t as far away as we think it is. In fact, simply by changing the perspective through which you view many parts of your daily life – relationships, behaviors, goals, etc. – you can make huge discoveries.
You can build an infinite number of skills if you change your approach. I’ll give you a personal experience as an example. During Christmastime, when I had a lot of free time on my hands, I decided to reinvent a part of myself. I focused on an activity that, up until that point, I had been doing automatically: cooking. With this change in perspective on an activity that I did mindlessly, I realized that I could add much more to my life than a rich and varied diet.
While cooking is motivating for some people, it can be a nightmare for others. We habitually reduce it to a tool for socializating, obtaining nutrients, and activating our taste buds. But behind all that, there are other possibilities that we haven’t even explored, and I was lucky enough to put some of them into practice and improve upon them.
Beyond the obvious
Behind every activity, there are hidden qualities that we can use to get the most out of every moment. In my particular case with cooking, I discovered a few of them:
- Creativity: An important part of cooking is change. Daring to imagine new dishes, cooking them, and trying them. It’s true that sometimes it’s better to stick to a specific recipe – especially with baking – but it’s part of the process. The process of creativity is not finished until you can’t find anyone that has tried it before. For example, you can be imaginative even when it comes to the presentation and decoration of the dish.
“Every week I have a disaster in my kitchen. The fire alarm goes off repeatedly. But it doesn’t stop me being adventurous.”
- Discipline: This is the other side of the coin. Precision and time are important elements in many tasks. For the result to be good, both elements must be controlled. Learning to measure and follow instructions and ordered steps is a form of discipline that will set a good foundation for your creativity.
- Patience: This involves both having patience with yourself and having patience with the task at hand. In order to be successful, it’s essential to respect the time it takes to both learn and perform the task. It’s easy for haste and the desire to finish to negatively influence the final result. Also, when cooking, just like any other leisure activity, it’s good for you to do it at a different rhythm than the one you use to face your daily obligations.
“I don’t have time to rush.”
- Memory: You could frame the task as a challenge. When you try to memorize recipes, proportions, and ingredients, you train and test both your short-term and long-term memory.
- Planning: this is an essential part of daily life. Knowing when, how, and what to do at all times will help you focus on the activity you’re doing instead of always going back to your mental agenda. Having a structured yet flexible schedule will free mental resources that you could put towards improving the experience of the activity you’re doing.
- Frustration tolerance: Failing. Practicing and failing again. Thinking that you don’t know or can’t do something is a demon that lurks behind every moment, every circumstance. In this discipline, you fail, you start again, and you potentially fail again. It all depends on whether you adjust your expectations, analyze your failures, and work to improve little by little.
I didn’t want to end without pointing out one last goal: disconnecting from the likely anxious rhythm of your daily routine. Being focused on something that pulls you in, that keeps you from thinking about anything else. Whether you choose to reinvent yourself through cooking, rearranging your furniture, or manually binding all the old books on your bookshelf…it doesn’t matter. Finding an activity that can help you change up your routine is fundamental for your well-being.
Look around, slow down, reinvent, fail, learn, and disconnect.