“Hey Ollin, I’ve recently lost my excitement for life and/or writing. What should I do?”
Is life not exciting for you at the moment?
Oh, then you must have skipped last week’s Charlie Rose where he interviewed a 90-year old Harvard biologist (who was wearing bug-eye spectacles and a bow tie) about the mating habits of South African fire ants. During the interview–you won’t believe this but–the table that usually separates Charlie from his guests was slightly less polished than it usually is, and there was a thrilling moment when the cloak of darkness which usually surrounds both Rose and his guests–making it seem as if they’re in the back room of an Amish funeral parlor–was briefly illuminated by a glare of light coming from the off-camera studio bathroom!!!
It was… Ah. Mah. Zhing. Oah mah gahd.
Nah, just kidding.
Sometimes both life and the writing process can lose a lot of their excitement, I know.
So what do you do when that happens?
(You don’t watch an episode of Charlie Rose, that’s for sure.)
You do this:
1. Do Something Bold
Have you ever said the following to someone else:
“Oh, I wish I could do that but I______.”
For example: “I wish I could run a marathon, but I’m too fat.” or “I wish I could finish my novel, but I’m too terrible of a writer,” or “I wish I had the courage to stand up to my mean aunt, but I’m too much of a coward.,” etc. etc.
Okay, now that you have lost excitement for life, you will no longer be saying that. Instead, you will be saying something different:
“Oh, I wish I could do that–and you know what? I’m going to be bold and do it.”
That’s right, you are going to start to commit to doing all the things you “wish” you could do.
This what is called “being bold,” and this will bring excitement back into your life.
“Oh, Ollin, but I could fail! I could look like a fool! I could lose! I could get hurt!”
Oh okay. Play it safe, then. Don’t be bold. Just keep doing what you’ve been doing.
But then don’t complain that your life is not exciting. Because one of the keys to making your life more exciting is going out and taking risks, and doing things, and trying to make dreams happen.
If you are not doing that, then you are not being bold. And if you aren’t being bold then–surprise, surprise–your life is going to remain pretty dull.
So do something bold today: commit yourself to doing something you “wish” you could always do, but never thought you were capable of.
2. Do Something New
What food have you never tried? What places have you not been to? What kind of people have you never met? What kind of languages have you never tried to learn?
What genre (or style) of writing have you never tried to write in?
What have you never done before that would be new to you?
Do that today. Do something new.
Everything new is always exciting.
3. Live a “Life of Plainness” for a Week
Believe it or not, your problem may not be that nothing exciting is happening in your life but that way too much excitement is happening.
For example: I just saw the new Superman movie over the weekend, and it was terrible. The entire movie was a succession of explosions and disaster-scenarios mean to excite me, the viewer; but after about the third or fourth explosion, I found each following explosion incredibly dull. Which shouldn’t make any sense, but that’s exactly what happened.
You see, too much stimulus can actually neutralize itself and create the opposite effect: instead of causing excitement in you it can cause dullness and indifference in you.
We, in today’s society, are uniquely susceptible to this kind of phenomenon: we are surrounded by so much stimulus that in order for us to find excitement once again, we have to retreat from it from time to time.
If you think “too much excitement” is the cause of your current lack of excitement, then my suggestion to you is to live “a life of plainness” for a week.
For instance: don’t go out to eat gourmet meals, instead eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner. Don’t watch a modern blockbuster movie, instead watch an old, black-and-white silent film. Don’t surf the internet, and instead, go try to learn how to actually surf a real wave on the beach. (Okay that’s not really being plain. That would just be awesome, but you get my point.)
A week of plainness will recalibrate your senses against the fast-paced modern world so that life can be exciting again.
4. Make a Choice to be Excited for No Reason
Probably the most exciting thing you will ever do is choose to be excited for no reason.
I know, it sounds kinda weird, but it actually works.
Try it: just make a choice, right now, to be excited for absolutely no reason.
As you try to do this, make yourself wonder: “Will I be able to make myself excited? How will everyone react to my excitement? Will they think I’m weird, or follow along…?”
Keep that line of questioning going and you will find that just wondering what will happen by choosing to be excited for no reason--will make you more excited!!!
(Sometimes life is only as exciting as we make it.)
5. Allow Yourself to be Unexcited for a While
“Your physical energy is also subject to cycles. It cannot always be at a peak. There will be times of low as well as high energy. There will be periods when you are highly active and creative, but there may also be times when everything seems stagnant, when it seems that you are not getting anywhere, not achieving anything.”
– Eckhart Tolle
If nothing else works on this list, and you are still unexcited, then maybe it’s because you are just in a phase in which life is just not exciting for you.
Life doesn’t always have to be exciting. In fact, it won’t always be exciting and that’s what makes all those moments when life is exciting… so exciting!
I know: that doesn’t sound very encouraging to someone who is not very excited at the moment, but what is encouraging is that, just like all of life cycles, this “cycle of dullness” is going to end.
Your sense of dullness will eventually lead you to a sense of excitement. (It is inevitable.)
So, just hold on a little longer while longer. You’ll get there sooner or later.
Now, if you’ll please excuse me, I’m going to finish watching this episode of Charlie Rose. It looks like Rose is finally about to wrap up a question he began to ask his guest about thirty minutes ago–no wait, never mind: he’s starting to go on a random tangent about an interview he once did with Margaret Thatcher.
It’s gonna be a little while longer….
Today’s Courage Exercise
This week, try all five ways to bring more excitement into your life and your writing and see what happens!!! How exciting!!!
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