5 ways to live life shaken, not stirred. (Part 2)

Are you shaking things up?

“If you could pick one rule to experience amazing things, I suggest: If it feels uncomfortable then you’re doing something right. When you’re uncomfortable, you’re growing.” Scott Dinsmore

Are you living a comfortable life?

A life that’s within your comfort zone? A life without much variety or challenge?

Is life becoming boring, monotonous and preventing you from growing further.

Why shake up your life?

I wrote my last post on why to shake up your life on purpose and encouraged you to get out of your comfort zone and take more risks. To take on more challenges and try more uncomfortable things.

One reason I suggested to purposefully shake up your life is to help you embrace the impermanent nature of things and changes that life brings your way.

In addition to embracing change, shaking up your life can inspire further self-development and growth. As my friend Adrienne says, having an adventure allows us to discover more about the world, each other, and ourselves.

As Live Off Your Passion author, Scott Dinsmore, says, “It takes courage to try new things. It takes courage to blaze your own trail.The crowd lives in comfort. An extraordinary life thrives in testing the limit.”

Shaking up your life and getting out of your comfort zone can also be fun, exciting and challenging all at the same time.

5 ways to live a life shaken, not stirred. How to take action and challenge yourself.

1. Determine why you want to shake up your life.

You can shake up your life due to simple boredom and blandness.

You can also do it to challenge yourself, overcome a fear, take on new challenges and grow as a person.

For example, you may be terrified of traveling alone and being uncomfortable outside of the city you live in and the language you know. So travel to overcome your fear.

You may be a terrible dancer because yo were never taught. Take lessons to show yourself you can improve and master a skill.

You hate writing because it requires you to express yourself. Start blogging so you can overcome your reservations.

Don’t have a midlife crisis or go jumping out of airplanes for no reason. Know why you’re shaking things up in your life.

2. Choose activities outside your comfort zone.

The idea here is to challenge yourself and grow as a person.

If you do activities that you’re already doing, you’re not giving yourself the opportunity to grow and develop.

If you love meeting people, you’re not challenging yourself by ‘forcing’ yourself to the company party.

If you practice silence every day of your life because of monastery rules, being silent out in public is no big deal.

If you think about an activity and it makes you feel uncertain, anxious, fearful or uncomfortable, that’s the activity you should pursue.

As Ali Luke suggests, the question to ask yourself is, “what makes you nervous” in life? Those are the things to do in order to test your comfort level and challenge yourself.

3. Do your research.

I decided to leave a comfortable job, friends and a place I was becoming comfortable with. A year before I did so, I started doing research.

I found out how much it would take financially to take a work “sabbatical”. I calculated how much it would take to live in different parts of Central and South America. I researched the various countries I was going to travel to and prioritized them

With the power of the internet, you can research anything today. No matter what it is. From starting an online bookstore to selling tea online, to traveling the world or pursuing an acting dream. There are bloggers, writers, and experts in the field showing you how to do what you want to do. Find out how much things cost, and evaluate the pros and cons before you shake up your life.

4. Plan ahead.

Before you leave for an around the world journey or try to become enlightened or launch your music career, have a plan.

Just like doing your research, a plan is important for your journey to shake up your life. If you don’t have a general idea of where you’re going and how you’re going to get there, you’re not going to get very far.

Figure out how many months or years you’re going to pursue your project or passion. Figure out how you’re going to get around and what kind of transport you’ll use.

If you’re going to need the support of friends and family, know when and who to ask.

If you’re going to move to become a ninja, you have to figure out how to save up to get to Japan, find a dojo and master you skill.

If you’re going to start a web design freelance business by returning to the motherland, the Philippines of course, have a plan on how you’re going to deal with the challenges of moving back and working there.

For me, it took planning but that’s why I can now share these Nicaraguan pics with you:)

A view of the city of Granada
A fountain in a lovely garden.
Colorful streets of Granada, Nicaragua

5. Evaluate your progress.

Once you start your journey to shake up your life, evaluate your progress regularly. If you set out to overcome a fear or grow as a person, check in and see how you’re doing.

Are you getting more comfortable in your adventure or less?

If you’ve nailed it and successfully become the person you wanted to be or overcame the obstacle you were facing, maybe it’s time to shake up some of the other areas in your life.

Consciously monitor the progress of your new activities and see if it’s making an improvement in your life and helping you become the person you’d like to be.

If you are the new ‘you’, great! If you’re not and you’re spending a lot of time on it, it could be time to move on.

Here are a few folks I know who have shaken up their lives in different ways:

♦ Janet quit her job and move to the Philippines to start her own online freelance business.
Amy is a personal trainer who regularly challenges her clients to get out of their comfort zone with working out and life.
Wendy Irene strives to live a life of wellness and took on the Gunnar challenge, witth her husband, to lose weight.
Irving, or the wise Vizier, has embraced change in his life and blogs about the many lessons life’s taught him on his blog, Han of Harmony.
Penelope left the city, married a farmer and is raising two kids on a farm, while writing, blogging and helping young professionals manage their careers.
Milo, Therese and Izzy quit their jobs. Milo is now an international man  of copy and is trying to dominate the world . Therese helps you get unlost in life so you find your career path and Izzy is going to become a ninja.  (laugh at your own peril here)
Lori runs an engaging community blog and made a leap to publish her own e-book on kindle without going through traditional publishing channels.
Keith  started his own blog recently and is about to break some habits. (and takes us along for the ride)
Caroline, Meg, David & Maria are each shaking it up by traveling, taking on life and blogging about it.
Razwana has made a couple major job changes to London, then Paris and started a blog to help others find their ideal jobs.

Have you shaken up your life by doing something new, challenging or different? Please share your experiences in the comments below and what steps you took to shake things up.

31 Comments

  1. Hey Vishnu,

    Great practical advice for shaking up our lives. Sometimes there may be a desire to just jump, but without having at least a vague idea of a goal, and doing some planning and research it could go drastically wrong and you end up in a worse place than you started with. And worst of all, none of the learning is fun 🙂

    Here is a challenge for you. What advice do you have for when life gets shaken up for you and you don’t have a chance to do all of the above? 😉 Maybe a future post, eh?

    Keith

    PS – Thanks for the mention 🙂

    1. Hi Keith – yes, sometimes you just have to shake things up without thinking about it but it can have it’s consequences. And you’re right, none of the learning is fun. Let’s say you decide to hop on a plane and visit a country you’ve never been to. It would be horrible to find yourself the only one on the plane and land to find out that the country’s in an internal crisis:) or war. lol

      I’ve thought a little bit about being shaken up by life – I’m going to be writing extensively about that. Especially when life decides to play ball and shake you up instead. Thanks for the suggestion and dropping by.

  2. Sometimes it is not always viable to plan – life can throw curveballs your way that mean you only have time to react. In these situations, it is important to manage the panic, slow down and make time to plan (as you have mentioned). I know if I had done this during some of my experiences, they would have been richer and far less scary!

    Thank you for the mention, Vishnu – I am humbled.

    – Razwana

    1. Thanks for commenting Razwana and glad to have mentioned you – you’ve purposefully shaken life up several times.

      Yes, many times we actually don’t even have to try to shake life up:) Life can shake us up much more vigorously than we can ever want to shake life up:) Great tips on how to embrace unwanted change!

  3. Thanks for the head nod! I’m glad to be included in such fine company. It’s humbling to be living such a privileged life, but the truth is we all have it. It’s not hard to save up, live within your means, make a plan, and do it.

    We live in good times, and we have a lot at our fingertips. Definitely worth shaking it up a bit!

    Nice analogy. Oh, and Granada is one of my favorite spots. People. Places. It’s all gorgeous and charming.

    1. hi David – thanks for dropping by. You’re right – it’s not hard to shake things up in life but does taking action or doing:) Sometimes overcoming challenges and persistence to shake things up to get to the life you want to live.

      Glad you enjoyed Granada. It’s quickly becoming one of my favorite places of all time too! I’m especially enjoying the spirituality of this place and the people!

  4. Oh Vishnu, these advices are great. I think the only one I didn’t follow was number 4, I’m not a good planner and that has bad consequences sometimes but not always… Sometimes is good to improvise or go with the flow… but that’s just my experience. I agree that plan and organize things is positive, but not too much, let’s leave space for surprises! 😀

    Thanks for mentioning me, I feel flattered 🙂

    1. thanks Maria. Yeah, planning ahead is not always easiest. You probably have a general idea of what you want to do and then do it as you get going. We can’t plan for everything in life – maybe just have a general direction and plan as you go:)

      Spontaneity and surprises make life interesting! Glad to see you shaking life up big time!

  5. I’m terrified of shaking things up and trying new things. But getting stuck in a rut is worse. So I decided to look at it differently. Instead of making a change, I now don’t say no to opportunities when they come knocking simply because they’re outside my comfort zone.

    It led me to take a full time job simply because I’d gone into freelancing right from college and had never had a full time job. When the opportunity came up, I decided to go in for the interview at least.

    Things worked out, I got the job and learned a lot!

    Now that I’m back to freelancing, I’ve seen the positive impact that one experience has made so I’m never saying no to new experiences and opportunities if they come knocking on my door.

    1. That’s a good approach Samar – to accept opportunities as they come your way.

      You don’t have to go out there and shake up your life – you can embrace the positive shake-ups (and opportunities) that come your way. Not only did you learn a lot at that previous job but it probably makes you a better freelancer too?

      Thanks for your comment.

      1. Oh definitely! I now value my work, don’t feel guilty about my rates and am a lot more assertive in my business.

        Dealing with clients has gotten a lot easier too. Getting on the phone isn’t a big deal any more. I also no longer feel or act like a fumbling idiot when meeting prospective clients.

        Not to mention how grateful I am to be working for myself now that I’ve experienced working a 9-5 job! 😀

        1. thanks for sharing Samar and glad to hear. a day job will ALWAYS make you appreciate freelancing more lol but i have enjoyed my day jobs in the past too and it’s helped me tremendously when working for myself.

  6. Vishnu, I really like how you started with “Determine why you want to shake up your life.” I think intention is really important and by asking yourself why you can discover what your true intention is. Thank you so much for sharing the Gunnar Challenge we’re doing! I can’t believe it is week 6 already.

    1. Hi Wendy – yeah, I think if the power to change is in our hands, we should have a reason to do it. Sometimes we don’t get that luxury. Life takes us on a roller coaster.

      I can’t believe you’re in week 6 either. Actually, I 150% can. Your persistence and determination have everything to do with it:)

  7. As I was going through the post, I kept thinking “yup, yup, yup, yup!” and then when I got to the plan part I was thought to myself “Man, I LOVE A GOOD PLAN!” and then low and behold you had a link back to my site. It made me smile. You are starting to get ninja on me and reading my mind Vishnu… kind of scary.

    Great post. I think the first step of figuring out “why” we want to shake up our lives is super powerful. I don’t think the reason has to be super detailed but there has to be some sense of purpose behind the actions.

    I also love the idea of doing new things that make me uncomfortable. The reason new things make me uncomfortable is because I do not understand them… Hence feeling discomfort. As I move from discomfort to comfort I am gaining new understanding which leads to new opportunities. And new opportunities can always lead to quit the “shake up”.

    1. Izzy – you’re the man with the plan so I think it’s natural that people check out your guidelines to becoming a ninja or pursuing their own dreams.

      You’ve definitely shaken life up in so many ways – again, a move to Japan, a dojo and ninja skills is definitely shaking it up! You did it to pursue a dream, I’m doing it to embrace change. Shaking life up without a reason could be fun but might put you behind bars or a mental hospital. lol

      Glad you’re embracing being uncomfortable. When you shake things up, as Scott points out, we grow as people.

    1. thanks Therese for dropping by. You’re definitely shaking things up in your life, work and blog! I could do a case study on you alone:)

  8. Great advice Vishnu, and now I can claim to have been compared to James Bond! (in a roundabout kind of way). Cheers for the mention!

    1. Sure, Milo, why not? You have a British accent, travel the world, have cool gadgets and are definitely shaking up your life.

  9. Thanks for the shout!!! 🙂 I am very blessed and happy to be living my dreams. I would like to say that I am very lucky but I think good things just happen when you put your mind to it. I think the best way to enjoy life is to live in a world that has been rattled up a bit!

    1. hi Meg – not only do good things happen when you put your mind to it but when you take risks and proactively shake things up. Glad to see you’re doing it and enjoy keeping up with your journey.

  10. An impressive list of movers and shakers! I will check out their blogs. And enjoyed the photos of Nicaragua. So much lovelier than when I was there in 1974 after an earthquake razed their capital city.

    1. They are indeed Galen. So glad I’ve got to know a lot of them:) and so many others who are shaking things up, taking on their fears, pursuing their dreams, etc.

      Granada is such a spiritual city – I’m loving every minute of being here. They’ve really been rebuilding the last few years. Thanks for your comment.

  11. I love how you planned out your adventure! Doesn’t that bring an edge of comfort and safety to the equation?

    May I be devil’s advocate? Maybe this is my resistance coming up? I just don’t see it as so black and white…if you are comfortable, you are not changing. Every moment of life gives us an opportunity to look at how we respond. The question in my mind is if we are open to looking regardless of whether we are standing still or on an adventure. Many great spiritual masters just stayed in a cave and looked at their own mind. They didn’t have to create new changes to transform. On the other hand, you can. It’s wonderful…but is it required?

  12. Great point Sandra! I think there’s a level of planning that’s required – probably the comfort level for each person. I made some plans on how to afford the adventure and take time off. But there’s no way I could plan traveling around Central America and the day to day happenings of life here. I planned the circumstances for adventure to happen:)

    Again, this is in my quest to embrace change in my life. But you’re right, no adventure needed. Heck, life’s shook me up more than any martini ever could:) And trying to deal with those changes has been an internal process – which I hope to discuss at length in future posts!

    Shaking life up is not required – just an option. You brought up a great point – thanks for your comment!!

  13. Vishnu, I love this post and not just because I get a mention 😉 I love how you give us practical tips for breaking out of our comfort zone but without letting all hell break loose. For someone who loves nothing more than writing a plan and evaluating my progress, this post was music to my ears/eyes? Thanks for the link 🙂

    1. Caroline – glad you enjoyed the post. You’ve already shaken up things quite a bit in your life so awaiting your ‘how to’ manifesto:) Finding the balance between shaking things up and trying to have some control is a delicate balance. And I haven’t even gotten to what happens when life decides to put you through an earthquake. More to come on that. Looking forward to your July updates!

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