A few years ago, I saw where I was headed in life. I saw myself working a boring job I didn’t like, tolerating a wife I didn’t like, and eating frozen dinners and watching mediocre TV every night. That vision was so miserable I vowed to do anything I could to make my life more interesting than that.
Fast forward a couple years, and I felt the worst I ever have. My life was better than that vision — I watched TV I liked and played video games I enjoyed in my free time, but most of my life was still boring and repetitive. I went to work and then went to a somewhat depressing, quiet commercial gym.
I set out to do what it took to make my life better, with the free time I did have outside of work. I was sick of staying at home browsing my phone or going on the computer.
And after a lot of struggle, you could say it worked. This last year of 2019 may have been the most interesting year of my life. Reflecting back, I did a lot of stuff even though it didn’t seem like it at the time. Despite the hurdles of a small budget and time, I had a lot of fun. Here’s some activities I did in the last year.
I became proficient at dancing salsa and bachata after a year’s worth of classes.
I went to a vintage car show.
I pulled a 7500 lb truck. I didn’t get too far, but I did get some distance. Thank you three years of CrossFit.
I sailed a boat for the first time through a harbor.
I got to an intermediate level of bachata and salsa dance. Unfortunately, I don’t have any videos the show you of my skills as I was dancing most of the time and felt it awkward to ask a stranger to record.
I did aerial tapestry yoga.
I took a few boxing classes.
I rekindled my skills in improv and took a few improv workshops, classes, and even attended a couple live shows.
I played dozens of escape rooms and ran hundreds of an escape rooms as a side job. It’s lots of fun for the most part. There are occasional screaming kids but that’s okay.
I was part of a modeling shoot.
I did archery.
I threw and caught my first boomerang. I didn’t even believe these things were real until I saw it with my own eyes.
I visited some museums I have never been to for the first time, including the Washington DC Portrait Gallery.
After years of consuming travel hacking advice, I went on my first solo travel to the other side of the world, the Philippines, an enriching and crazy adventure. I got to stand-up paddle board for the first time.
I got to visit these beautiful turquoise, white sand beaches I had dreamed about.
I decided to do a Tough Mudder on a whim the day off. (It was more a calculated decision given that I was volunteered, and volunteers get 80% off.)
I remixed a new Quentin Tarantino movie trailer with this song I had been wanting to do something with for years.
I watch The Game of Thrones finale with new friends in a decked-out house.
I tried a deep fried Oreo for the first time (from Popeyes. I missed my chance at a carnival, but I got another shot.).
I briefly met Mark Manson on his second book tour.
I was invited to be a judge for a big marketing competition for business undergraduate students at Johns Hopkins University.
I got to visit the Baltimore Ravens athlete locker room for a networking event.
I tried oysters for one of the first times at a five-star oyster joint.
I made it a good way through the Top 100 films of all time.
I met a Pokemon Go master.
I tried various new side hustles including a ton of buying a reselling online from thrift stores and garage sales, something I’m happy I tried rather than just watched others try. I’m still not good at it and still trying to figure it out.
I hit various PR wins at the gym over the last three years. I’ve been able to 5 rep my previous one-rep maxes for my squat and deadlift. I’ve also seen climbs in various other movements, including bent over row, good mornings, and bench press.
I took my first surf lesson and surfed in the surfing capital of the Philippines, Siargao.
I read dozens of books, including biographies, world history, business history and science, but that’s something I’ve been doing for years so it’s not as depressing for me, but to the average person, it’s still interesting.
One of my biggest achievements this year has been getting a few thank you emails and direct messages from followers. It’s one of the biggest reasons I do this, and it’s a huge sign that I’m doing something right and trending in the right direction since it beats having a ghost town of no responses in the comments or negative responses.
I’ve done so many other stuff that I can’t remember it all for you.
one of the best parts about all this is that I have done it on a budget and I’ve done it at a relaxed pace so that most of it wasn’t rushed. How was I able to do this? I mean, it’s impressive looking back, and I feel so proud and happy with myself giving that several years ago, I was in a dark place and really wanted to live in interesting, fulfilled, happy life, but had no idea how and it seemed like it was near impossible at the time.
Before I tell you, I will say that I’m still not completely there yet. I still have a lot to work on and turn to my own happiness and drilling on negativity. And there’s a lot more I can do to live a more interesting life. One day I want to work with celebrities and the entertainment industry a bit somehow. Plus, bucket list items are good to take off, but it’s important to take some time to ask yourself why you want these things rather than just go through the motions because they’re cool to do. A lot of people don’t take this extra time to thing and I just might honestly taking off cool things to do. Unfortunately, there’s an infinite amount of random things you can do, just check bucketlist.org.
And doing these things may not make you feel fulfilled or happy in the long run, especially if you just doing them to do them or to impress someone else. I thought about this and learned from experience that if I have to choose between doing something simply because it will impress someone else but it doesn’t really fulfill me versus doing something that isn’t that isn’t as flashy but that was my long-term goals of freedom, wealth, happiness, fulfillment, relationships, and passion, I’m always going to choose the latter.
I did these things because I had the free time, there’s nothing else to do where I live, and I strive to do everything I can to make more out of my life.
That leads me to my first secret for how I did this. Time. You don’t have to cram all these things into 1 week or day after day. By having a relaxed timeline, you can do one thing a week or every two weeks while keeping a good budget and avoiding Breaking the Bank, plan it out so that unexpected hassles which do happen( like traffic and accidents and parking issues) don’t get in the way, and so you can find more stuff which happens throughout the year.
Don’t assume it’s not possible. Don’t assume there’s nothing to do when your talent. Almost every week, I’m on the lookout for new things on bulletin boards, Word of Mouth, and websites like meetup.com and eventbrite.com and Facebook events. If you ask around and you keep your eyes and ears open, you’ll often find events that are free or under twenty bucks. Some of the best ones require a little digging. I recently found out about ax throwing stores nearby and rubber bow and arrow paintball room that’s a 45-minute drive away.
I wouldn’t have found these if I didn’t come through all the events out there. You don’t have to be exhausted will do this everyday, but doing this every once in awhile pays off. I got to meet with a travel hacking points community around a website I follow called 10xtravel simply by finding the event on Eventbrite even though it was a big buried. Following Instagram and Facebook account pays off too. I’ve met if you top travel loggers like nomadic Matt, Alyssa Ramos, and Nadine sykora by hearing through social media that they were in the area for their book tour or speaking gig.
Be Patient and Roll with the Punches
Pictures of scene. After a Long Day’s Work, I drive into a nearby City for sailing League. It’s almost 90 degrees outside and I don’t want to use too much AC because I want to save money. I’m sweating gallons of water and my typical 30 minute commute turns into two hours because of a death metal rock band concerts happening in the same city. By the time I got there, all my team members were already in the water and the league was wrapping up. Would you have gotten mad or frustrated?
Well I didn’t. Because this stuff how time. Often times, I’ll driving our route to an event and something will other will happen with cancels the event or makes it much less fun than it appears. Now sometimes it’s a blast and even better than expected and I get a bunch of free goodies and even food that I wasn’t expecting. But sometimes, based on the people there, or some unexpected cancellation or traffic, I don’t make it in time. After it’s happened a while, I’ve learned that the wise thing to do is stay happy roll with the punches, make the most of what’s there.
That way, you’re not angry and bitter. You’re happy and enjoying life. I walked around the pier and took some photos of the city, enjoying the waves. Sometimes, I’ll find what’s nearby, like a museum and I end up having just as much fun or on some occasions, more fun. Sometimes there’s nothing to do and I go home. But I still trying do what I can. You live a less stressful life this way and you make the most of it.
I’ve also come to expect it sometimes. But I know the alternative is to just stay home and do something boring or mind-numbing like watching another season of a TV show. And I’ve done enough of that. Sometimes, and not always, I’d rather go out and risk the chance of nothing happening then stay inside. Another occasions, it’s important to rest and take a break from that exhaustion and expectation. So on top of setting my expectations low, I will also sometimes just stay in and watch that TV show just so I’m replenished mentally and physically.
As I’ve laid out, the Practical, physical, and Financial applications a bucket list hacking or within everyone’s reach. I did it and I didn’t break the bank doing it. Now the emotional and mindset is another part of it oh, and to some people, it will be tougher, but everyone can improve on this area too.
How did I get over the fear of being judged, ostracized, avoided, made fun of, getting hurt, not having fun, we’re not making friends when I went to these events? I didn’t. At least not completely, especially for some of the more daunting events. I felt the fear, and I built up slowly the courage to do it anyways because I saw the only other alternative, which ways to stay at home as a single professional adult, lonely, bored, and living an uninteresting life. I knew that alternative was the norm, lame, and predictable. I didn’t want it. For that lip sync battle where everyone else in the room was African-American, The event host and the ticket readers at the front of the venue were friendly, which gave me some confidence, but then I felt discouraged when it seemed like people were avoiding me because I was different or not initiating first you looking at me when I walked into that dark, crowded bar. I eventually got up the courage to talk to if you people, and the first group said the empty seats were taken near them. but then, the next group I talked to were very friendly and supportive to me.
It took me over an hour to make up the decision to join the lip sync contest while I watched others. I mulled over the only other alternative in my mind, got encouragement from the two women I met who were friendly, saw others perform, understood that successful people push their comfort zone, and realize I had come all this way anyway so I might as well make the most of it rather than just sit here. All those factors combined to make me sign up and participate.
It didn’t happen instantly, and that’s okay. For some people, they’ll approach a woman in the first three seconds because they know the few will build up and they can do that. Sometimes I can too. But if you can’t, not All Is Lost. I mulled it over and it took a while, but I worked up the courage.
As far as fear of judgments or not being accepted, there are things you can do. Some people say that you’ll never see these people again so it doesn’t matter. And that sometimes is the case, but it doesn’t mean you should be a dick to people.
What I do is I go back to my alternative is. I can continue living how I have, but I know I wouldn’t be fully satisfied. Sometimes, opportunities happen because they will talk to you first and be friendly, but sometimes, especially for me since I am often invisible in a crowd, I have to initiate myself. Generally, you’ll find that people are friendly. If they aren’t, it’s okay. Don’t dwell on it, and you’ll soon find someone who is.
And remember you’re still alive and healthy. Don’t focus on rare situations that barely happen and forget all the hundreds of pleasant interactions. Keep in mind there could be many different reasons not related to you why someone doesn’t like you. Maybe they’re late. Maybe they’re just shy. Maybe they just don’t know how to respond to you or behave politely so they stay in their comfort zones or blurt out what they think.
But the point is, most of the time, especially if you’re starting out, you may feel like these strangers are going to attack you or you’ll be weird and awkward, but what ends up happening is that at least one of them is friendly and you have a lot of fun.
Do What It Takes
The first step is saying, “Yes” when you see an opportunity, something that people are scared to do, sometime for legit reasons, often because of a bad excuse or fear.
These activities are supposed to be fun and you should come with them with an attitude of joy, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to put in more work to make your dreams come true. Sometimes, my schedule was packed and I didn’t feel like I driving to an event. For example, I often go to prospect class after work for my health and to meet people. A few times, I went to a Brazilian jujitsu class Or a salsa class right after Even though I was exhausted. A couple people I knew who found out what I did looked at me with shock and maybe a little respect, commenting that they could never do that. Many other times, I have had to drive an hour or more to get to an event one way. And then I have to drive back. And sometimes, I have to do so knowing that the events could be canceled or I could miss it because traffic or parking is much worse than predicted, and being at peace with doing so.
If you wanted, you have to put in the time and make it work with your schedule. Not everything comes easy. If your strategic or lucky enough, you may be able to pick a spot in the middle of the city where your commute is very short. But that doesn’t work for everyone and even then, something steps you really want to go to aren’t always going to be convenient. Put in the work.
This attitude and mindset didn’t happen overnight. It took a couple years to work up to. There is a point not long ago where I didn’t drive more than 20 minutes away from an activity because I didn’t like inconvenience. But I slowly worked up to having more tolerance and going farther and out of my way because I was clear on what I wanted out of life, and I knew that doing more of the same thing wouldn’t get me there. I knew that the most interesting stuff and people were outside of a 15 mile radius.
There have been a few points of Burnout I’ve experienced while doing this, and have learned how to avoid that. Reference the tips I told you earlier. But also know this…
Make the Most Fun Out Of It Even When It Doesn’t Go As Planned
Let’s face it. Most people in commuting long distances. I don’t enjoy it particularly myself. I like fighting for parking spots. I don’t like sitting in a hot car with little to do.
I make the most of its with gratitude. I’m grateful to live in this country whether so many opportunities. I pay particular attention to all the hundreds of countries I could of been born and and how less fortunate I would been if I were born into those countries.
I listen to audiobooks and Jim out to music in the car. I used to save money by opting out of the air conditioning when it was hot, but I give myself these little joys to make the experience more pleasurable so I’m not burnt out. And I always, as mentioned, turned lemons into lemonade when the event I arrived at doesn’t go as planned. One time, I drove an hour and ½ to his speed dating event to find out it was canceled (they didn’t email me beforehand). I made the most of it and tour the area, asked locals what else was available to do and when I found that there was much, I played some Pokémon gold, took some cool pictures of the scenery which was beautiful, and bought a swimsuit that I had been meaning to buy.
Another time, I drove an hour into a city for a free premium dress shirt fitting event only to find out that the parking garage the company hosting the event recommended was closed as well as Many of the backup parking garage is I tried. It was a Sunday. I would’ve been on time for the appointments, but now I was half an hour late and I got the email that I was too late to attend the event.
I still make the most of it by taking pictures with people out front of an anime convention that I noticed was happening nearby. I didn’t have a ticket to get in but there is a good amount of people flowing through the front. In addition, I had a chicken sandwich from a five star rated restaurant nearby. And I toured this massive Apple Store nearby.
I have no expectations of making the events I go to. I hope that I do and I plan accordingly that I get there on time and have the event. But I am at peace if things go wrong and I cannot make it for some reason. I used to get very first when that happened but not anymore.
How To Be More Interesting
Why are some people interesting? They do interesting things.
That doesn’t always mean they’re climbing mountains or sailing yachts. That can mean they’ve written something interesting, worked with interesting people, faced big challenges, or read interesting stories and data from a book.
With one step at a time, you can have more fun in life by doing more fun things. You can question your excuses for why it can’t be done — because often, they’re just excuses.
I started this last year acknowledging I was limited by budget. Of course, there were stuff I wanted to do that I couldn’t — I want to work with Will Smith, visit the Maldives, and be in a hit music video. But I achieved a lot of fond memories nonetheless. Plus, even some of those “big” dreams could be achievable in the distant future if I work towards them. I could start working on my music production skills, for example.
As Malcolm Gladwell says, interesting people usually have interesting friends. Once you start and build momentum, things will get easier. Interesting activities will lead you to interesting people which may lead you to more interesting activities and people and so forth.
Years ago, everyone kept referencing the Most Interesting Man in the World commercial.
It was fun to see how an imaginary man like that would be, but it’s within your power to make your life riveting and exciting. It may not be as a cool as his, but it doesn’t have to be for you to live a fulfilling life.
Do new things for yourself and your own enjoyment rather than other people’s opinions. I partially done this for others, and I’ve been surprised at the lack of velocity and impact on how people see me. Well I do get more comments about it, people don’t show any significant sign that they’re impressed or see me as a much better person than they did before. Also, they don’t show a ton of Interest based on how many questions they ask about what I’ve done. They may ask one or two questions, and many don’t ask a single question and only comment that it was cool.
That isn’t to take away from the events. The most fulfillment I’ve gotten from doing these in terms of impacting other people is that one person told me it was inspiring to them to see me do all these cool things and trending upwards since it inspired him to do better. And people do tell me that they saw me do something and mention it’s cool. But nothing much beyond that, which is a little disappointing.
That’s why I recommend just doing these because you really want to do then, even if you do them alone, and no one else wants to do them with you, and no one finds out about them. That was my philosophy for dining in this five star Indian restaurant I’ve been wanting to go to and meeting Matt Kepnes, a millionaire travel blogger find one of the top travel blogs, at his book tour. I didn’t ask Matt for a picture because I didn’t sense it was the right thing to do at the time when I talk to him and even though I could have probably gotten it if I pushed, it would have just made me look like I was showing off or it was more of an experience then it actually was 2 people who saw it on social media, which is misleading and too focused on the opinions of others.
Your results may differ depending on where you live. Maybe in your city or town, the culture is different and people would really be impressed by that and show it, and you may get a big kick out of that. But my big point is just keep in mind that one of your goal should be fulfillments rather than checking off a bunch of random things on your list. As far as how to do these things, I’ve laid it out for you and shown that it’s possible for anyone financially and physically even with a limited budget. Once you master your mindset, and employee patience, hope, and a biased towards pushing your comfort zone, you can be like me, and do stuff that most people may never do in their life.
My journey is far from over, and I still have a lot to work on. Most of life is not like any of the adventures I’ve mentioned. They’re moderately boring and routine. I work and go to the gym. These highlights occur usually on the weekends or evenings. I’m still working on making my better.
After all I’ve done, I’ve learned that I don’t want high-adrenaline activities like skydiving for my interesting, dream life. The activities that spark buzz or approval from others aren’t necessarily as enjoyable for me as the things that I enjoy for myself, like learning how to throw a boomerang for the first time.
A side benefit to doing all these activities is that I’ve been able to test many different things to see if I am passionate about them. I’ve learned that many things I’ve tried, like jiu jitsu or salsa, are things I’d enjoy once in a blue moon but not as a career. And that’s totally fine. Now, I know.
I want a life where I tap dance out of bed everyday because I love what I do. Some people find that joy through a career in painting or managing people. I’m still young and exploring what those things are for me.
Maybe you think any of what I’ve said is just a far-off dream for you since most people tolerate their jobs. True. Most people do tolerate their work rather than love it. But I know it’s possible even though it’s difficult. Will Smith is one person who has made it happen. Oprah is another. I’m excited for what the next years hold, and I know it’ll require work and thought on my part to make it happen.