Thursday, January 03, 2008

Thirteen DOs to Swim Upstream

It was interesting (but by no means surprising) to inadvertently compare with the significant other last night how we are leaving our mark on the world. Not that we are martyrs; just 2 people who swim upstream. It was interesting that on a casual conversation which then turned to the subject of getting the most out of life and then passing that onto children... here were the strategies;

1. An extensive labyrinth of photos: what a better way to capture the exciting things you've seen first hand that life has to offer? What a great way to show people a different side of you (ie showing your kids that you weren't always their mom or dad?)
2. A list of goals before you die; updated regularly, on what you'd like to do to really live!
3. "where I've been/ what I've done" list - from cool adventures to cities you may have visited to the favorite beaches you've been to, write it down as if you were writing your personal memoires.
4. Creating a video for your best friends wedding where you share with the entire party how great that person is (and a little of why you are great in the process)
5. Taking the time to write a letter for your heartbroken girlfriend on why "Single is not a disease"
6. Writing your own personal inventory (or story of your life thus far) to gain better understanding of why you do the things you do, what holds you back, and what you might potentially be passionate and great at.
7. Writing a letter to your parent who you witness crashing and burning in an attempt to get them to turn their life around, and then sharing that letter with them in real time vs taking the easy way out and avoiding the difficult conversations.
8. Being there for a friend who is going through a difficult time you may or may not understand - but at least being there and listening; regardless of any advice you may or may not dispense.
9. Taking a fitness class geared towards a goal or goals you've set.
10. Planning an immediate frank discussion with your accountant, hair stylist, personal trainer, etc if they are not providing you with the service you are paying for (ie if they want to pass you of as a friend/client rather than a paying customer)
11. Planning in advance what you want to do this year/ quarter/ week/ day rather than taking what you're given.

So at a quick glance, 11 methods of swimming upstream that flowed from 1 conversation. The lessons here are that a) you don't have to do a 'big thing' (even though that is in you, trust us), and b) there are literally countless ways that you can swimupstream today and for the rest of your life.

The opportunities to swim upstream, as well as the reasons you should do so - are all around us. That is how a champion views the world.

A victim sees the excuses that are also unfortunately all around us, and they take every opportunity to procrastinate, justify, and rationalize their lack of action and stagnation within their comfort zone as a reflection of how the world 'screwed them' rather than just owning the problem and owning their lives.

That is the 12th method and probably the most important. Whether you are driving the train that is careening out of control, or you are championing the victory lap in your life - IT'S YOUR LIFE - you need to own it.. No one else NEEDS to care as much as you do. To be brutally honest as well (13th method), no one needs to feel sorry for you if you don't exercise your right to a better life. We here at swim upstream empathize with those less fortunate than us (because we know how good we have it and how lucky we are)...

... but we don't waste a second feeling sorry for victims. Life isn't fair, and it's never going to wait for you to swim upstream. The great news is - it will never limit the amount of cool things you can see and do either if you do decide to swim upstream. So exercise the power of choice that is the 12th swim upstream method... otherwise everyone else will move forward, and sadly for you the world will forget you.

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