“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman
I recently stumbled upon this article called “the top five regrets of the dying” and was wondering how many people are using this as a checklist by which they’re shaping their life.
Here’s a quick overview;
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Case in point: In our pursuit of a better life for ourselves we often forget the things that are most important to us and we get stuck in a pattern of short-term thinking.
Life quality is comprised out of the way we choose to allocate our time.
We’re trapped in the endless duality between stoicism (sacrifice today for a better tomorrow) and epicureanism (savor today since tomorrow may never come) and it’s difficult to define what way of living is the “right way”.
Everyone is looking to maximize their life quality, right?
Happiness, fulfillment, purpose, health, dancing across the rainbow on our pink unicorns and so-forth..
But none of us is really sure how to approach this in an optimal way.
Introducing: The 80/20 YOLO-rule.
The 80/20 YOLO-Rule
It means you spend;
- 80% of your time in highly structured, constructive routine to work towards your goals (stoicism)
- 20% of your time in novel activities that “spike” you out of neural adaptation (epicureanism)
Here’s how this thing works;
The bulk of your time will go to habits that steadily increase your health, wealth, social life, mental health (building skills), build a legacy and give you a stronger mindset. (outer circle)
The undivided rest will go to breaking out of these constructive – yet routine – actions by introducing novelty in your life (energy)
Why 80% constructive routine?
Most of us have build routines over the years. But if you haven’t put any constructive thought into it, chances are they suck.
Here’s what the average life looks like;
- Wake up; drink coffee & cram in sugar
- Get to work (mostly, a good, comfortable and respected job)
- Come home & watch tv to “unwind”.
- Eat more high-sugar, high-fat foods
- Hang out at the bar with your 3-4 friends on the weekends rooting for the local soccer team (or watch more tv/series)
Give or take, that’s 90% of western countries.
Destructive habits like drinking, drugs, excessive pursuit of sex, video-games, tv, fastfood and so-forth.
We don’t indulge in success habits that could elevate our life to a higher level but dabble in instant gratification activities that only makes us feel good for a short time.
Set-up 80% of your life into structured habits that have been proven to increase your life quality in each of the areas above.
- Read x times a day and summarize what you read
- Go to the gym x days a week
- Cook healthy food in bulk twice a week
- Network one hour a day
- Keep in touch with good friends by using engagement and openness
- Wake up early and do a morning ritual
- Dress your best every single day
- Do meaningful work x hours a week
- Spend x hours a day in an activity you can lose yourself in
- Relax each evening with a passion/activity you enjoy (reward)
Why 20% YOLO?
As we age, the “spark” we had when we were younger gradually diminishes. We lose our wonder for the world and get trapped in “bad” routine (like I explained above).
We’re effectively becoming numb plant-zombies over time.
By continuously doing the same repetitive patterns we become habituated to our environment. We don’t “spike” anymore since we don’t register the different stimuli anymore, making our brains disengage from life. (and our subjective life-span shorter)
Even “good” routine can do this to our brains.
Point being: Do something of the beaten path once in a while. You’re not really living if you don’t feel alive once in a while.
We should actively pursue activities that disrupt our normal thinking to avoid “growing stale” or disengaging from life.
Engagement can be found in novelty mainly. Whether these are challenges, new locations, new skills, new people, fears we overcome and so-forth..
Novelty is exactly what we’ll use to fill up the remaining 20% of our time to take a refreshing break from our constructive routine.
I’ve found it’s especially comfort zone challenges that quickly do the trick (although excitement can be found in other activities)
What’s that? Want some examples?
- Shout in public
- Lie on the floor of a busy public space for ten seconds
- Talk to an attractive girl
- Do a handstand in the train station (if you can do one)
- Run around town half-naked
- Do public speaking
- Make a video, upload it to YouTube and publish it on your Facebook page
- Take a cold shower
- Destroy something with explosives
- Shave off all your hair (if you’re a man)
- Go for a run in the rain with very loud music
- Take off your shirt in a public space
- Write a bucket list and do one activity
- Go for a walk barefoot at night
- Tell a woman you just met you have a really really small penis
- Go for a nighttime swim in a river
- Do 10 push ups in a nightclub
- Knock at a random house and start a conversation
- Do a YES-Man challenge
Uh-uh, you’re feeling it right? That’s the adrenaline induced by the visualization of those activities.
Oooh the shame… the judgement…. the social rejection…
Do it regardless.
Do it for the sake of doing it.
It’s stimulating, it’s engaging and it’s exactly what we need once-in-a-while to get us out of auto-pilot.
In the end you’ll realize no-one really gives a shit about your actions. We’re all too invested in our-self to really care about what anyone else is doing.
OR you could just stay in your comfort zone, rotting away in your self-created mental cage with the rest of the plant-zombies. Since frankly, that’s the only two options you have;
- Overcome the bullshit in your head and have a chance at a great life
- Give in and let your surroundings grind you into the dirt
Difficult choice eh?
Need some more inspiration for breaking the pattern?
Create some mental contrast between these men and you;
In our daily encumbers we lose the bigger picture of what’s truly important to us. We fall into destructive routine that gets us nowhere.
This is my way of balancing stoicism vs epicureanism to maximize life quality.
Here’s what I want you to take away (and apply) from this article;
- Routinize 80% of your life in constructive habits that’ll actually get you somewhere in the long-term.
- Spend 20% of your life in novel activities that negate neural adaptation and make you feel alive.
- Track progress and highlights in a journal to create what Daniel Kahneman calls “memory happiness”.
If you think this post can help out anyone you know – don’t forget to share with your imaginary friends or send it in a mail to your mom. If you’re having more questions, be sure to leave them in the comment section below and I’ll get to you asap.