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My Personal Pillars; or My Ideal Unboring Self

August 7, 2015 — by Matt

This is part 3 in a 3-part introduction to this blog. After this article, content will (maybe?) be more subject-specific – but who’s to say, really.

In my first post I told my story, how I made a decision to banish complacency and inaction in my life and focus my energy on growth and my passions. In my second post I outlined the importance of defining the type of person you want to be by building your own personal pillars. These pillars are great guides not only for moving you toward your goals, but also for moving you away from distractions and focusing your energy.

So I guess it’s time to eat my own dog food. Here are my own personal pillars.

Why am I doing this again?

In case you don’t want to go back and read the first two articles, here’s the cliffs notes version:

  • I’ve followed a pretty traditional “safe route” path into adulthood.
  • I’ve recognized how easy it is let routine and complacency destroy people’s creativity, passion, and growth – and I don’t want it to happen to me (or any of you!)
  • So I started a blog to write about my own journey and hopefully start conversations with others finding their own path.
  • My journey starts with defining what is most important to the person I’d like to be – my own Personal Pillars.

My Personal Pillars

The following list are the items I’ve identified as my own personal pillars. This, like most things in life, should be viewed as a “first cut” – I’m sure as I learn, grow, and progress these will adjust accordingly. Some may drop off the list, some may be combined – but it’s important to start with something – because with something, you have enough to get started moving in a direction, even if it’s not where you ultimately end up.

The key word here is “personal” – not everyone’s pillars will be the same, nor will everyone’s definition of “unboring” (more on this in a future article). But without further ado, here are the pillars I’m using to define my ideal, “unboring” self.

Creativity

“Creativity is very important to me. I am the type of person that is always creating something or making some kind of art.”

Creative pursuits have been a passion of mine since I was a wee lad. I truly believe that we are all creative in our youth – some of us choose to focus on other things, some of us focusing on it inadvertently, and some (like me) fight to hold onto our creativity. This is listed first for a reason; for me, this is one of the main passions in my life that I want to drive my actions and shape my path.

Related Link: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/06/in-kindergarten-everyone-identified-as-an-artist/373659/

Freedom

“I am a person who is always driving toward freedom; the freedom to make my own decisions and shape my own path.”

One of the biggest pressures I (and probably others) feel pushing us back toward the safe path of inaction is our reliance on outside things – reliance on a paycheck, reliance on the employment of someone else, or our possessions being an anchor. Freedom is important as it opens up possibilities and eliminates barriers to taking action.

Freedom could mean financial freedom through the elimination of debt, physical freedom through the ability to travel or being location-independent, or freedom from the crippling desire for “more stuff”. I firmly believe that striving for “more freedom” is greatly superior to “more money” or “more stuff” and ultimately leads to “more happiness”.

Related Link: http://zenhabits.net/fear-to-free/

Exploration

“I am constantly exploring new things in order to learn about the world around me and about myself.”

When we’re children, curiosity drives our entire energy. There’s so much out there we haven’t explored, there’s so much about ourselves we haven’t developed – we spend most of our time trying, failing, learning, exploring, and asking “why”. The world is full of wonder, and we want to see it all.

When we become adults, a lot of us lose some of our curiosity. Why? Do we now know all there is to know? Have we amassed the worlds knowledge, tasted every experience? Of course not.

When we stop exploring, learning, and exercising our curiosity, we stop growing – and we might as well throw in the towel. It’s my goal to keep being curious and exploring that with which I am not knowledgeable – which, let’s face it, is mostly everything.

(Note: I could also call this pillar “curiosity” or “learning” or “wonder” – and I very well might change it later. For now, I’m sticking with “exploration”.)

Related Link: http://austinkleon.com/2015/06/14/to-be-a-teacher-and-remain-a-student/

Adventure

“Adventure is very important to me. Experiencing new places and cultures is a focus of my life.”

I was going to call this “travel” but then I realized it’s more than just visiting new places, it’s visiting new experiences. Also, this pillar may end up rolled into my “exploration” pillar, but for now it’s on its own.

As I wrote above, exploring new things and testing your boundaries is one of the surest ways to spark growth and avoid becoming boring. Testing those boundaries physically through travel or adventure is not only one of the best ways to test your comfort zone, but can help expand your worldview, cultivate empathy for others, and expose you to some of the most beautiful sights, sounds, and people the world has to offer.

Related Link: http://chrisguillebeau.com/category/travel/

Simplicity

“I focus on simplicity both in my life and in my problem-solving in order to focus on what is important.”

A few years back I stumbled upon the concept of minimalism – reducing the influences, activities, and possessions in your life to help focus only on what matters. I love the concept, but I’ve only been somewhat successful at implementing it. Also, the term “minimalism” often gets a bad wrap or it associated solely with design.

I want to focus my attempts at change on finding the simplest solution – and I want to simplify my life and my influences so that I can really concentrate on what is important – basically, the contents of this list. I anticipate a lot of the posts on this blog focusing on my attempts to simplify.

Read more about minimalism here: http://www.theminimalists.com/minimalism/

Risk

“I am not afraid to take risks. I know that through trial and error I learn and grow much faster than through taking the safe route.”

I grew up pretty risk averse. The safe route was encouraged, and the concept of “getting into trouble” or “learning by making mistakes” was not one that permeated my development. Since then I’ve come to realize that without risk, there is rarely change or growth. And often trying and failing a lot (and then iterating and trying again) is the best way progress or. Just like everyone else, I’m afraid of failure – so this will be one of the most difficult pillars by which to live.

Aversion to risk is one of the biggest characteristics of the “boring grownup” – and it’s one I’m working on banishing from my life. Articles in this category might include examples of my trial and failure, and what lessons and growth resulted.

Related Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/13/seven-reasons-why-risk-taking-leads-to-success_n_3749425.html

Onward!

So there you have it – my personal pillars. Not only will these help guide me on my journey to unboring, but they’ll also shape the content of this site – I’ll be using each of the above pillars as a category for future posts.

These are not the only things I believe are important. Kindness, Empathy, Mindfulness etc. are not on the list and are probably more important in life. But they don’t really fit what I’m writing about – at least right now.The items on the list now will likely change and adapt over time as I learn more, just as our goals and focuses might. But here’s the launch point.

Remember that everyone’s personal pillars may be different – you may (and should!) have a completely different ideal, unboring self that you’re building. So with that said – what are your personal pillars? What is most important to you?

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Matt

Simply on a quest to become unboring. Artist, Producer, part-time word-putter-together at BoringGrownups.com. SPIRAL SURFER. Chasing freedom. Only getting weirder.

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