Henry Johnson is a 57-year-old husband, father of four, and CEO of a successful entertainment chain in the USA for which he gets to essentially act like a kid as part of his everyday job. The work he does is part of what makes millions of people happy every year. He holidays in beautiful destinations all over the world. He’s lived in at least 10 countries throughout Asia, Europe, South America and the USA. He did this by being a good person, taking chances in life and business, and looking for adventure wherever he went.
Eric Framer is a juggler, acrobat, programmer and writer who travels around the UK busking and playing shows, programming from time-to-time and working on his book. He’s 29, his life is full of adventure and he makes more than enough to live on and see the country. Before this he was working for a game development firm, but he saw it was going nowhere so he decided to make his life a little bit more interesting.
Emma Macintosh is a 23-year-old British programmer who went travelling around the world for 10 months after consulting for a while, creating open-source software, taking beautiful photographs and meeting interesting people. She then moved onto a job at a successful US startup and is now a sought-after speaker and writer.
All these people have something in common: they have inspiring stories. They put themselves into interesting situations and interesting things happened to them.
It’s easy to allow yourself to become cynical, and usually the process takes a very long time. Think of the last time you felt really, really inspired and optimistic about what you were doing. Was it a long time ago? Even if it wasn’t, you’ve probably been in a situation before where you’ve fallen into a trap of cynicism and pessimism. It happens to us all. I am, obviously, talking from experience: recent experience.
This leads to a mindset where, when you hear about great things people have done you dismiss them. You might mock them. You may even try to bring them down a peg or two (not to their face of course).
Instead of this, you could decide that you want to do great things, too. Don’t you think it’s more likely great stuff will happen that way? Isn’t it just better and more fulfilling to be optimistic and inspired?
I think so. I’m not suggesting you become an eternally optimistic ball of positivity and joy, and I’m not saying that positivity and inspiration will inevitably lead to success and happiness. I’m just suggesting that you remind yourself every now and then that there’s nothing wrong with allowing yourself to be inspired. Re-read some inspiring stories - truly inspiring stories - and try and look at them in a different light. Maybe it’ll lead to a happier, more interesting year for 2015.
Happy New Year!
Thank you @NatalieCHough and @JonFinerty for reading and critiquing drafts.
Heckle me on Twitter @basicallydan.