Look at your To Do list right now. Does it make you smile?
Or consider a snapshot of yesterday… does the thought of repeating it make you shake with anticipation?
If it doesn’t then something is wrong.
It’s our birthright to be excited. Yet, we squander it to fulfill objectives and quotas with the promise of fulfillment later.
We turn the beautiful joy of moving our bodies into repetitive cycles on sweaty steel, heart rate tracking machines (ever see kids doing that?).
We turn love making into an event and make orgasm our singular focus.
We disfigure the joy of work into a chore by routinely following a boring set of tasks.
But instead of questioning our approach altogether, we strain ourselves to be more disciplined and focused. We create complicated systems, checklists and rewards for doing things we don’t really care about doing. We try to cover rotting walls with colorful wallpaper. And every time the corrosion starts to show underneath, we attempt to patch it up again.
On some level, we resist excitement. We think that art should involve struggle, accomplishments require sacrifice and goals take hard work. The reward comes later.
Sounds like bullshit to me.
My “fitness program” at five was riding a Big Wheel, climbing trees and seeing how high I could jump off the swing (the ultimate challenge). My regimen at fifteen was a mix of football after school, grueling wrestling practices (I’ve yet to experience any training as demanding as wrestling), and lifting weights in the gym. I always remember from a very young age having a desire to have superhero-like physical abilities. But it wasn’t until high school that my training started to become calculated and regimented. And it was around that time that I began to feel judgment and disappointment set in.
When I didn’t lift more weight than the week before or missed a training session, the Voice of Judgment would set in. Movement began ceasing to be a joy and more of a means to satisfy my ego.
After high school I tried going to gyms off and on but never found satisfaction in it. I would get excited about being “ripped” at first, then the luster would fade. A part of me that was stirring from hibernation knew that I was trying to compartmentalize fitness. It felt icky and unauthentic.
Regaining your joy involves burning the scripts
Now I see movement as not just a means to be strong — something that’s been a desire of mine since I was a superhero aspiring boy — but as a way to express joy and creativity. Jeet Kune Do helped me recapture that. MovNat has as well. Whether it’s moving our bodies or moving through life, being alive in this moment and remaining curious keeps our excitement alive.
Whenever we become molded to patterns we cement ourselves in them. We lose our ability to explore, wander and improvise.
Curiosity = openness. It is oxygen to excitement.
Boredom and drudgery is the result of wanting to memorize scripts and act out our lives knowing what’s coming in each act. Not knowing is terrifying. It’s also where opportunity and breakthroughs lay hidden in uncharted paths, waiting for us to spark a flame in our hearts and shed light on the unknown.
Following your excitement is both about choosing exciting paths, and the way you show up
Waking up excited isn’t just about embarking on blood circulating pursuits (though it goes a long way). It’s about the way you show up. One is external: challenging and breathtaking terrain. The other an inward self-possession: ready, present, openness.
Be deliberate about the contents of your actions. Then forget everything and be open to this moment, letting the beautiful flow of life carry you downstream toward your vision. Know that as you move along you may learn that what you thought you wanted will change. The original destination you envisioned is simply a direction. For your guidance system to work with precision it must be continually adjusting course.
The alchemy of excitement is one part deliberate will, and one part vulnerable fluidity.
The intention of following your excitement is worth striving toward. It’s happiness now. Not someday.
Waking up excited is about…
- Dying to the past
- Admitting what sucks… and having the courage to drop it
- Staleness and boredom — it creates the contrast and drive for us to renew our wonderment
- Outsourcing, omitting and automating what doesn’t excite us
- Childlike curiosity
- Standing on the edge
- Embracing beauty in the seemingly mundane
- Eating inspiration for breakfast
- Freshly minted ideas
- Looking at the old with newborn eyes
- A choice
Here’s to Heart Racing. Bright eyed wonderment. Excitement over certainty.
Have you ever squandered excitement in place of objectives and “self improving” goals? Share down below, then send this to someone that needs their pilot lit.
photo courtesy of jurvetson
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