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Life Doesn’t Come With an Instruction Manual

 351/365 Books are like mirrors
Photo Credit: Iryna Yeroshko via Compfight

“We plan for the future, but don’t live in fear of it” – Jennifer Boykin

Despite what your local bookstore, Tony Robbins and all the self help books you’ve read tell you, life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Straight A’s in high school, famous college, all the checkboxes crossed off, and guess what?  Sometimes life doesn’t go according to plan.  And when you’re completely dependent on the instruction manual you’re left scratching your head wondering where it all went wrong.

You learn about life by living it, not reading about it

You don’t learn to surf by standing on the shore. You have to get in the water, take a few waves on the head and keep showing up until you can stand on the surfboard. For several years I thought my job here on the blog was to tell people how I think they should live their lives. But, what my recent talk at Pepperdine made me realize is that I can’t tell you how to live your life, just what I’ve learned from mine.  What applies to me may not apply to you. When you go out and live life you’ll have your own experiences which will result in your own lessons from the school of life. In the school of life we’re all students and teachers.

Draw Your Map as You Travel

If you’re unwilling to deviate from a straight and narrow path, you’ll cut off the possibility of interesting destinations. You can’t predict the future. I would have never guessed that I’d graduate into two recessions, become an avid surfer, and a corporate misfit.  When you want to take the scenic route through life, you’ll have to draw the map as you travel.

Your Intuition is Worth More than any Book

Intuition comes from experience. The way you learn to trust it is by ignoring it and having it come back to bite you in the ass. Oprah Winfrey once said “your feelings are a GPS system for life.” But it’s only when you end up at the wrong destination that you finally start paying attention to that GPS system we call your feelings or intuition. Every book will tell you this, but the authors have only learned it by failing to trust their intuition in the past. You become a better surfer by spending more time in the water.

The Knockout Punches, WIpeouts  and Battles Scars Make You Who You Are

I don’t trust people who paint themselves out not to be flawed. In a conversation with Jennifer Boykin, I heard her say “why not share your broken places, nobody else has that story?” We’ve all been punched in the face and on occasion taken a knockout punch from the game of life.  What makes that story so damn interesting is that you have the courage to get back up and keep fighting. If you don’t have any wounds or scars, then you haven’t stepped on the battlefield.

Social Scripts and the Life You think You’re Supposed to Want

My friend AJ Leon told me “there’s the life you live and the one you’re destined to lead.”

Social scripts cause us to ignore the life we’re destined to lead. We often get caught up in the life we think we’re supposed to want which isn’t too far off from the ego driven pursuit of a life that looks good on paper.  But for the first time in history an entire generation is questioning the social scripts that they’ve been force fed since birth. According to the American Dream, I’m supposed to want  a house with a white picket fence. Call me crazy, but I don’t think I ever want to own a house. Even in his book I was blind but now I see (highly recommended) James Altucher encourages people not to buy a house. Does that go completely against conventional wisdom? Yes. But conventional wisdom will lead to conventional results.

If you’re going to live your life by an instruction manual, why not write your own?   

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