As each of us goes about living our lives, we have a choice on a daily basis to better ourselves, to improve the way we live, to become more knowledgeable and thus continually become the best version of ourselves. How does this happen though? How do we allow this perpetual motion of evolution to take place and allow the life we have today become better than what we had yesterday?
In a recent conversation, the term evolution was used and not in the how-did-the-world-come-to-be sort of sense, but with regards to individuals. For example, high school reunions are a great way to observe the evolution of individual people. Able to have the distance of ten or twenty years separating the last time you may have seen some of your peers, you immediately notice the physical and emotional evolution of those you once knew as teenagers. For some this evolution is drastic and very evident, and for others, it may be very limited and miniscule. However, evolving for the sake of self-improvement must be a conscious decision, and it’s not always an easy path, but it can lead to very positive outcomes.
So how does each one of us open ourselves up to evolving? Well, there are many ways, but at the root of each one of the ideas I will suggest today, it is all about being courageous enough to explore and experience life. Each person’s path and experiences will be different, but as long as you have at your core this willingness to, as Robin Williams’ character states in the film Dead Poet’s Society, suck the marrow out of life, you will always be evolving which means you will always be growing which means that life will continually become richer and something more treasured as each year passes.
Here are a few ways to forever evolve:
- Try new restaurants serving different cuisine – where you live and especially when you travel
- When traveling, explore the city, town or area’s culture. Ask questions of the locals, try anything once, listen to other people’s perspectives on life (which doesn’t mean you have to agree) and try to see why they came to this outlook
- Read different books and genres
- Accept and understand that all relationships and friendships and acquaintances aren’t meant to last forever. Instead, decide to look for the good, take away the lesson and apply these lessons to your life as you move forward. Be grateful instead of angry or devestated.
- Become an observer – take it all in all of the time: while waiting in line, while on the subway/MAX/bus/plane, while sitting in a park, while attending a festival/concert/farmer’s market, while sitting on your porch, while walking down the street, etc.
- Read articles in world/national news magazines and newspapers
- Be willing to try something new even if you don’t have a buddy to join you. Often when you are taking a lesson one-on-one, you are able to converse more with the instructor and gain more information and helpful techniques.
- Say yes to dancing
- Get up and belt a karaoke tune at least once in your life
- Choose to walk and travel by public transportation to open yourself up to new experiences
- Watch a foreign film
- Purchase a ticket to a play
- Say thank you. You’d be surprised where the conversation may lead.
- Read a classic novel – To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, War & Peace, Sense & Sensibility, Frankenstein, A Separate Peace, The Scarlet Letter, etc.
- Learn a new language and come to understand more about its culture. Ask why.
- Go see a matinee alone and just soak it in, reflect on what captured your attention and evoked emotions. Afterward, digest it and discern why these feelings occurred.
- Compliment someone on their clothing (something specific), work you appreciated by another, or good manners that caught you off guard.
- Cook in the kitchen with your mother, friend, sibling, significant other or anyone for that matter. How someone approaches the kitchen can reveal so much.
- Go listen to a stand-up comedian
- Visit a museum
- Update the details of your home decor (photos, accessories, etc). Does what you have currently displayed in your home reflect who you are now? If it doesn’t, tweak it asking yourself along the way what you value and what reveals glimpses into who you are now evolving into.
- Keep a journal and after experiences that affected you in some way, take notes or comment on how it made you feel and why if you can determine that. While it may not have value in the present moment, when you look back, you will be able to recognize a pattern of how you have evolved and what it exactly entails – the emotions it taps into and the cycle you follow.
- Acknowledge and accept that there will be moments when you are uncomfortable as you expose yourself to new knowledge and new people. Be patient with yourself and give yourself time to digest it.
- Find peace with the realization and accept that it is okay to not know how it will all work out. It will be possible that some of the experiences you immerse yourself into today will not reveal their true value until much farther down the road, but your life will always be richer because of the experience.
- Upon returning home after an extended absence take time to appreciate what is functioning well in your life. Then tweak or adjust anything (your attitude, your approach, your perceived strength, etc) that due to what you witnessed in your travels could enhance your life.