The Value of Saying Yes
I’m on a road trip to Scotland with the boys this weekend, and so this week the newsletter is a guest post from Lili who emailed me with this thoughtful piece of writing.
Also, in case you missed it last week, I’m speaking at the Teachable online Teach What You Know summit (22nd-24th September) with a load of high-profile speakers, themed around entrepreneurship etc. You can register for the event here.
“There are so many more infinite possibilities for interesting things to happen when you’re the person who increases their surface area for serendipity than when you’re the person who stays in this little village all their life.”
These words from one of your recent videos (‘I’m moving to America’) have struck a chord and resonated with me for these past few days, and I find myself coming back to them time and again. You managed to put into clear words the muddy feelings and thoughts that have cluttered my mind since the end of last year.
I love my home town and I love my family but I can’t avoid feeling lonely or stuck in a routine from time to time. I too find myself wondering “Is that it?“, and with this hypothetical village being now reduced to our own bedrooms after lockdown, I know I have to actively do something to increase the surface area for serendipity.
A few years ago, I heard author David Eagleman say that the secret to a long life is to create different memories and life experiences, even if those experiences are something as simple as taking a different route to work. Apparently, our brains tend to mesh together similar memories. So if we always live in the same house, take the same route to work, work in the same office, eat the same kind of meals, etc. the brain will compartmentalise that as all kinda being the same day, and time will seem like it has passed a lot faster. If we add diversity to our daily lives however, we generate unique memories giving us the feeling that we lived longer.
After learning this, I started adding some novelty to my daily routine by simply walking into streets I’ve never been to. By doing so, I ended up discovering short-cuts, stores, and lovely places in my home town that I never knew existed! Not only did I create new memories, but I ended up ripping benefits that I’d never have, had I kept my regular routine.
I’ve changed my mindset and I try to say ‘yes’ to more stuff (especially things out of my comfort zone) regardless of how big or small the thing is: a workshop, a lecture, a concert, an art exhibition… We never know when a fortunate moment may strike and it’s always a lot more enjoyable than just slouching on the couch at night.
Even if nothing extraordinary ever happens in my life, I know that at least I made an effort to experience many different things. Because, as you mentioned, no one on their deathbed says “gee, I wish I haven’t lived so many enriching experiences!”
Lili from Portugal
Have a great week!
Quote of the Week
“If you want to love what you do, abandon the passion mindset (“what can the world offer me?”) and instead adopt the craftsman mindset (“what can I offer the world?”).” “Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love — is the sum of what you focus on.”
From So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport. Resurfaced using Readwise.