01 Jun Is There A Formula For Living Well?
“You Deserve To Live An Extraordinary Life!”
Recently I got a haircut from my friend and hair stylist, Jay. My guess is that a normal haircut takes about 20 minutes to complete. Not so for me and Jay! Our appointment is an experience in which we discuss, debate and ponder topics of life, possibility, and destiny. It is punctuated by frequent squirts of water from his spritzer while I take as many dabs with my towel to keep the water from dripping down my neck. I think the haircut ends when he runs out of water or my little towel is soaked.
Jay is a great hair stylist but he is also a superb musician. While he has made a good living in creating his hair and spa salon, his heart is in music. He frequently hums a tune he is working on while he snips and combs, or plays out an imaginary piano passage with his fingers. His dream, now that he is in his sixties, is to compose and publish his musical scores as well as to become a recording artist. I love it when he imagines his success and speaks with passion and joy about a famous singer belting out one of his songs, or he himself playing and singing one of his compositions.
In the old days when I first met Jay, I would play with him a bit by teasing, baiting, and bursting his bubble. As he started to dream out loud, he would reveal his self-doubt and worries about failure or that he was too old to start a new career. I grabbed the opportunity to yank him around by saying things like:
“You’re right, you are too old ….and you really aren’t that good looking!”
“Oh my God, Jay, imagine the shame and horror of no one clapping when you finish your song!”
“You do realize that you may lose all your customers, your other stylists will steal your business, and you will have to go live with your mother in assisted living!?”
Truth be told, I adore Jay. Sometimes I can’t resist the impulse to play with him. After one or two of these outrageous and unsupportive comments, he catches on and refocuses on his passion and love, ceasing his fearful and worried thinking. We then share our personal dreams, enjoy the conversations, and continue the spritzing and towel dabbing duet until the deed is done.
Last week, I looked a lot like the professor in “Back To The Future.” Two months in the hospital and rehab left my hair a mess, an unruly swirl of strands and towering spikes sorely in need of repair. Jay had a lot of work to do! We had plenty of time to talk about our passions and what we thought were the basic ingredients for living an extraordinary life. This is what we came up with…
LIFE SPIRIT AND PASSION
Something has to wake you up in the morning besides just getting up because you have to!
For Jay it is his music. For me, it is my love of being a therapist and success coach. Every day is an adventure, an unpredictable journey into personal exploration, dreams, fears and actions to take. It is living theatre and the best show in town. My clients and I are constantly exploring, discovering and creating new directions in life. Like Jay and his music, we are composing life scores.
Life can feel safe when there is predictability and routine. But that can also feel boring and stifling. By stretching yourself to do something different and straying from the well-worn patterns of daily life, you can create a new energy, a spark. I do it by writing these posts and authoring books. Lately, I have taken up painting and learning how to create something out of nothing on a blank canvas.
ADVENTURE AND COURAGE
It can be scary to take a chance. I think what Jay is doing is courageous! Here he is, a successful and established hair stylist, determined to become a musician as an old fart! He is scared but resolute. I know he will be successful because he has the balls to take action without any guarantee of success. That takes courage.
A successful life is replete with obstacles, mistakes, failures and stupid choices. Nobody does it just right! We are all making it up as we go! A key quality is the ability to bounce back and get back into the game ASAP. The longer you wait, the greater the chances for fear, hesitation and worried thinking to take over. This is the Wolf of Fear taking charge. If you instead reconnect with your passion, begin to take some action, and remind yourself of your purpose, then you have engaged the Wolf of Love as your ally and you begin to once again attract positive energy in your life.
Do you have any to add to this list? What do you think are the qualities that make for an extraordinary life?
I have to stop here… my wife Judy and I are going to Starbucks for some coffee and brunch. I guess I would add a fifth ingredient: having people to share your life with.
If you would like to learn more about How To Live An Extraordinary Life, check out my book “Navigating For Success”!