A large part of our days are filled with monotonous, routine tasks.
Chores around the house, shopping, banking. Hardly the sort of stuff to get one’s heart pumping, with the adrenaline-spiking, pupil-dilating sort of excitement a lot of us could sorely benefit from.
But what if it could? What if we could make the ordinary, extraordinary?
Well I have great news, today you’re going to discover one of my favorite techniques for enjoying anything, and the 3 simple steps you can take to make it happen.
When I was growing up, I was an extremely picky eater. My palate consisted of cereal (which I usually ate 3x a day), some fruit, plenty of meat, eggs, nuts, and potato chips – as well as any other form of deep fried potato.
Long story short – dishes with multiple ingredients were basically out. And about half of the things we would classify as “food” today.
It seemed like I was locked out of the extreme ends of the “healthy food” spectrum. I didn’t enjoy toxic concoctions such as Coke or hot dogs, but nor did I consume much in terms of vegetables, with carrots being the notable exception due to their sweetness.
Hell. I didn’t eat pizza until I was 13, when the peer pressure became so much that I simply caved and ate it anyway.
But my favorite one: When I was around 8 years old, my grandfather had to bribe me with $5 to try rice.
Normally people avoid rice because it’s bland and boring. I, on the other hand, thought it was going to be gross.
It wasn’t until I was in university that I decided to get a handle on this – partially for social reasons partially for health reasons, and partially psychological – I didn’t want this limitation.
So I picked a target to pick as my new food passion, to obsess over and incessantly glorify: Corn.
With my family, I’d be melodramatic about how much I loved our fine yellow friend, while maintaining an underlying seriousness that was unwavering.
I loved corn.
And I made sure the world knew.
Of course, at the start I didn’t particularly enjoy it, but all the dramatic “mmmms” and consistent extolling of it’s virtues (“absolutely delectable with a bit of melted butter and salt”) changed my mind rather quickly.
In matter of weeks, corn became a legitimate favorite of mine.
Which was somewhat ironic, because after I read about the Paleo diet I basically stopped eating it.
But the floodgates had opened. I became more ambitious, adding broccoli and kale to my smorgasbord of innovative delicacies.
Now, I eat – quite literally, probably 5x as many foods as I used to – though I admit I haven’t made a complete list.
All because I changed the way I acted and ran my mind.
And the great part that making life easy and fun is…easy and fun!
Here are the 3 keys to succeeding with your new outlook.
1) Be Ridiculously Enthusiastic:
Positivity has been shown to improve our ability to learn, and apparently this doesn’t only apply to history facts or algebra. Forming new connections in the mind happens faster when we’re positive and engaged.
And positivity goes beyond thinking – it’s the way we use our voice (think: tone and pitch), hold our bodies, move, and so on. Thinking is important too, of course, but acting the part sends our minds the message that this is real, and our thoughts had best reflect the reality.
2) Be Silly…Almost:
I picked something that I would find internally amusing to fawn over. I mean really, who in their right mind would obsess over corn. I also did this with doing the dishes with Katia in our St. Petersburg apartment.
With the dishes it worked even better, because this is a chore that most people try to avoid. I got a lot of pleasure just from breaking the expectation that dishes = annoying and boring housework.
Sometimes I would sing while I cleaned them. And I remember telling Katia once, “you’re so sweet letting me play while you do all that work setting up the movie.”
Maybe it sound strange, but it works. I also love doing dishes.
3) Be consistent:
Once I chose a target, whether it was corn, broccoli, kale, or doing dishes, I was consistent with my message, both externally and internally.
I never told the world how much I loved corn while internally grumbling about how much it sucks.
That sort of incongruity will prevent the sort of rapid transformations I experienced.
Flossing may not be the most pleasant thing to do, but if you’re consistent about your message, you can say you love it, act as if you love it, and you will end up loving those 5 minutes before bed when you take care of your oral hygiene.
The point is, there are so many of these little activities and innocuous matters of taste that affect the quality of experience we have.
I think – why not try to enjoy everything. If I’m going to have to scrub the scum off the bathtub, repair a window, eat liver & onions (which I actually love, by the way), stand in long lines and do bureaucratic nonsense – then I figure I have the options of hating every minute or loving every minute.
Why not choose love?
The great thing is that you can develop this attitude as a habit and apply it anywhere – and the more you do it the easier it will become.
Expect it to be the most challenging the first time. Doubts are okay. Inaction isn’t.
Maybe you start like I did, with a fairly soft target. Corn was hardly a big stretch for my taste buds to accept as pleasant. For you that might mean a small activity like brushing your teeth or changing the bed sheets.
But a massive change in quality of a single, small activity has compound benefits, for your good mood will trickle in to your next endeavor, just as a bad or neutral mood would have, and make that experience better too.
This is, so far as I know, one of the fastest ways to make life easy and fun.
So pick your target, one activity that you want to turn into an irrational passion, and commit to making it an absurdly enjoyably part of your day.
Let me know what you chose in the comments below.