Let me ask you a question.
“Right now, are you living your dream life?”
I think the answer is NO.
A recent survey done by Gallup, an American analytics company known for conducting public opinion polls shows that 85% of the people in the world hate their jobs.
To put that in perspective, think about it this way.
Almost 9 out of 10 people you meet randomly on the street are probably going to rant about their work or their boss.
To be honest, I bet you can relate to this even without any statistics. I know I can.
So, the question is,
“How come so many people all over the world get it wrong? Is there any way that you and I can try to avoid the same fate?”
That’s what two Stanford Professors, Dave Evans and Bill Burnet were also thinking about. They thought about it so much that they eventually wrote a New York Times best-selling book called “Designing Your Life: How to build a well lived, joyful life?”
When I came across this book, it got me super excited because who doesn’t want to know about how to live their dream lives. However, I didn’t just read the book, I went ahead and applied what I read in my current real life.
In this post, I want to tell you about what I did to get a taste of my dream life and what I learned in the process.
The most important principle of designing your life is
“You can’t really know what you want, for sure, before you go ahead and experience it for real.”
Does this seem obvious to you?
It seemed to me when I first read it. Although, a deeper introspection also showed me the minuscule number of times I actually applied this principle before making life-changing decisions.
If I had applied this principle, God knows I definitely wouldn’t have pursued Engineering.
But we still shoot in the dark, don’t we? We make our assumptions and indulge in guesswork and quite frankly just hope for the best.
That’s got to stop.
You and I need to find ways to simulate experiences of the real thing before we go ahead and make big commitments.
The failure to do this is the only thing that’s stopping us from living our dream lives.
So, I decided to implement this advice in my own life.
When I think about my dream life, I see my myself as a travel vlogger with a massive following on YouTube, earning money and fan following by making travel videos about different countries and their cultures.
The question was, “How do I simulate this experience for myself?”
I know this has become the most cliched piece of advice ever but you know what, it works. That’s why it’s repeated over and over.
We are talking about designing our dream lives here. Unless and until you go ahead and do the real thing, I am afraid, you are just fooling yourself.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be smart and economical about the simulation. When you are in the process of just doing it, there is stuff that matters and there is stuff that shouldn’t matter. Here is a list of both.
I wanted to sample the life of a travel vlogger. But I didn’t have a YouTube Channel nor did I have any fancy camera gear like a Go Pro or a Drone. Also, before I forget to mention, I have zero video editing skills.
What I did have was my mobile phone, a cheap selfie stick, a lot of experience watching other travel vloggers and an “I don’t care, I have just got to try this” attitude.
For my simulated experience, I decided to vlog on Instagram Stories because that seemed like the most obvious option. It allowed me to get a taste of actual vlogging without the need for complex logistics.
Stop telling yourself that you are waiting for the right tools, the right occasion, the right people and the right circumstances. Work with what you have and just go for it.
In any activity that you do, there will be times when you are happy and engaged and there will be times when you are frustrated and bored.
Make a note of both.
While vlogging, the part that I loved the most was telling my audience about the local facts about the place, the people, the food and the culture. I loved the part about crafting the story narrative, deciding the camera angles and figuring out the best way to vlog about a place.
The times that drained me and made me feel miserable were when I had with the operational stuff of ensuring whether the phone battery is charged, there is enough storage space and so on.
When I observed the moments that made my energy and excitement levels rise and fall, I discovered the good, the bad and the ugly of travel vlogging.
The most obvious mistake we make when it comes to making important life decisions is the failure to hard test our assumptions.
You see, it’s easy to fall into the biases and thinking fallacies of our brain.
Before I actually did travel vlogging for real, I used to see all those successful travel vloggers on Youtube and think
“This is so awesome. I am so sure that I am going to love the day to day experience of traveling the world and sharing my stories.”
That was a dangerous assumption on my part.
It was after I stress tested it with real-life simulation, I realized the often ugly, boring and frustrating behind the scene realities of having a travel vlog.
Real-life simulations will show you what you are up against and help you decide whether to make a big commitment or not.
This is my favorite part.
While actually going along the day to day experiences of travel vlogging, I realized my lack of necessary skills, tools, and techniques. Thinking about this made me really excited.
And that’s a good thing. Because now you realize what you need to work on and where you need to improve.
The next time when you are thinking about a career change or a side hustle or anything else that’s a part of your dream life, try and find ways to have simulated experiences.
Make these experiences as real as possible. Don’t worry about all the things you don’t have. Work with the things you have and make a note about the good, the bad and the ugly.
Use these insights to hard test your previous assumptions. This will help you discover what you are up against and help you identify your gap areas.
If that makes you excited, work damn hard to bridge all the gap areas and become so good that they can’t ignore you.
If all goes well, you will find yourself in a place where you will just be doing work that keeps you happy and engaged, living your dream life.
All the best.