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Ep. 11 — How to have flexibility in your life

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David The Optimist owns the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of The Optimistic Perspective Podcast, with all rights reserved, as well as his right of publicity.

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Hello and welcome to the optimistic perspective podcast. I’m David the optimist and, in today’s episode, I’m going to talk about how to have flexibility in your life.

I wanted to record this episode because in my mind, through my actions and my way of doing things, the idea of flexibility (but I didn’t have exactly this term in my mind, it was just my actions and behaviors) was more connected to a weakness than a strength.

I believe being flexible is a great strength if you look at it in a positive way and you reframe the things that are happening around flexibility.

For me, this is more of a coping mechanism.

It seems it is my strength to adapt to things as I’m doing them instead of just taking time to think, prepare things, and create a well-developed strategy and so on. It seems that I’m not like that. I’m more of a person who starts doing things and then I adjust as I move on.

And it’s been frustrating, it’s been nasty, it’s been challenging because I really didn’t know what was going on. And I’m going to give you a few examples.

The first one, the obvious one, if you’ve been listening to my episodes, then you know that I used to write down the script for the episode and then read it out loud and then that was the episode.

But in the last few episodes, I haven’t done that. I think I changed it with the 7th episode of the podcast where I’m talking about letting go of the structure. That was me being flexible with the process of creating podcasts, with the process of creating episodes for the podcast.

And I really didn’t know what it was. I was just seeing that I have to change something because it really didn’t feel like I was doing something right. I don’t know how else to describe it. It was just a feeling there that hold me back in a way. And I decided to change from writing the script to just saying things out loud and also thinking about things as I speak and as I go through the episode, as I record it. And that’s an example.

Another example is about my morning routine.

Right now, my morning routine is not what it was one month ago. One month ago, I used to wake up at 6:45 or at 6:30, make some tea, then read, then meditate and then do some exercises or go for a run and then start my day.

That routine used to take three to four hours every single morning, from Monday to Friday. Right now, that’s not happening anymore.

And my morning routine, the current morning routine that I have, is that I wake up at 7 and 5 minutes (I don’t know why, it’s what works right now for me) and then, after I wake up, I read. I read for, I would say, one hour but it depends a lot.

After that, I don’t meditate. I don’t do exercises. I sometimes go for a run right after I read. And then I start my day.

There are a few changes in my morning routine. And the activities that I used to have in my morning routine now I are spread through the day.

I am going through all this flexibility because in one month and a half, at the end of April, I would I will leave to Japan for one month and then Italy for one week and then come back home.

I need to focus a bit more on learning Japanese, not that I want to speak as a native person, but just to understand it a bit and maybe be able to say out loud the basic things in Japan.

And this kind of new priority changed the way I look at my day. I’m not meditating in the first part of the day. I’m meditating in the second part of the day right before I go to sleep. If I go to sleep at, let’s say, 10 or 10:30, then I start meeting at around 9 or 9:30 because my meditation sessions are about 50 minutes long. I just feel like meditating right before going to sleep. I’ve been doing that for maybe two weeks now and it’s been great.

I also I don’t read as much in the morning because also I’m studying a bit about Japan. I am trying to understand Japan a bit better and trying to create a plan and prepare for the whole trip – that’s sometimes happening in the first part of the day.

But, at the same time, I discovered that all the readings that I did in the last 6 to 8 or 10 months (I don’t know exactly how much it is) was because I was focused on discovering the formula for optimism, which is still a priority, but is not as hot as it is Japan right now.

It feels like the stronger the priority is, the more intense the feeling I have is connected that priority, the more I will allocate things and resources and whatever around that priority. And I will kind of let go of everything else.

I’ve always been like that. And in the past, it was so frustrating. It is a bit frustrating right now, but right now I also realized that it is a way of being flexible to whatever is happening in my life and is more of a strength than a weakness.

If you’re going to the same thing, then I would like to become aware of having this as a strength, not as a weakness. Because when I look at society and how society is delivering its messages, when it comes to being chaotic (if you look at it from an outside point of view, it looks chaotic what I’m doing – as in, one month I’m having this strict schedule and then next month is gone, it is not there anymore) it means that I don’t build habits or it means that I’m not consistent or whatever.

But if you also look from the big picture, as in two years from now, you look at whatever is going on right now, you will see that, “Hey, David did all these things and he was consistent with all these things”. But right now, I’m having all these shifts that it may look like I’m lacking consistency or I’m lacking some, I don’t know, name them whatever you want to name them (skills, strengths, whatever) that are getting in my way.

I’m saying that because that’s how I was looking at all these things.

Going back to all these changes, I would say that from a theoretical point of view (but it’s more than that) there are two things around flexibility or at least around the things that you want in life, because ultimately that’s what we’re going through.

We’re going through all these things and changes and whatever to get something out of it. And when it comes to that, there’s the journey and the destination. There’s nothing more.

You do something and you start to do something and that’s the journey. And you do it because you want to reach a certain point and that’s the destination.

But when you become too strict about the destination, you can’t be flexible in your journey.

I remember that last year I set myself a goal of traveling every month to a different city and a different country. And by the end of the year, I should have had a total of 10, 11, 12 different cities that I visited from 10, 11, 12 different countries.

It didn’t happen because something came up and eventually that’s how I got to do the Camino Santiago from Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela, which was around 750 kilometers of walking. It was crazy.

At the same time, I’m looking at this year and the plan that I have for Japan and Japan is part of what I want to do because I did the Camino last year. And on that Camino, I met someone from Japan and then I went on Reddit and found this plan, this traveling plan for Japan.

That helped me build this idea in my mind about Japan. And I knew for sure that I was going to Japan when I realized that Japan is not as expensive as I was thinking.

For sure, I want to travel. And for sure, I want to explore the world, I would say, as much as I can. But at the same time, if I went for my initial plan last year and visited all these different cities, for sure, I would have a different idea in my mind about traveling right now.

One of the reasons that I stopped last year was because the journey didn’t satisfy me anymore to reach that destination.

The journey as in going in every city for three to five days, one week, whatever, for a short period, and just exploring the city, mostly as a tourist, didn’t excite anymore. The journey wasn’t the right thing to do anymore.

Instead, I let go of that plan and went for a Camino de Santiago. It took me around 26 days to walk the 750 kilometers and it was mind-opening because it helped me understand a bit better what is the kind of traveling that I want to experience – that is exploring big parts of countries, not just being a tourist in a city.

That’s what brings me joy when it comes to traveling. I want to explore. I want to see different things, from different cities, from the same country, so I can make an idea. So I can have the big picture. So I can properly understand what’s going on with their culture, with their people and so on.

I wouldn’t have reached this idea if I kept traveling every month, last year, to a different city, five days per city.

What I’m trying to say is that this idea of suddenly changing things is a strength and not a weakness because if you realize that something is not working out anymore, then you should change it.

But in today’s society, we see that as a bad thing because if you change something, then it means that maybe you didn’t experience it enough. Or maybe you didn’t become consistent enough with it. Or maybe you didn’t build a habit yet out of whatever you’re doing.

I would for sure take into consideration all these things (consistency, habits, etc.) but at the same time, if something is not working out for you, then change it.

Change whatever you’re doing. Change something that’s small. Change something that’s big. Change whatever. Change until you feel like what you’re doing is the thing that you’re supposed to do. And it’s the thing that you want to do.

Because otherwise, if you stay with the same journey that you first set yourself, but you don’t feel is the journey that you want to do anymore, then the destination that you’re going to eventually reach won’t be the destination that you would want to reach.

I would make a bit of a shift with what I’m sharing with you, but it’s about the same thing.

In a way there’s a lot of unseen know-how all over the internet. There’s a lot of it.

For example, if you go on Google and search “how to make 1000 euros”, or how to make 10,000 euros, or how to become a millionaire, how to become rich, or whatever, there’s going to be a lot of content.

You’re probably going to spend months going through all that content and probably years reading all the books and whatever. And you may still not be rich.

That’s the seen know-how.

But at a more in-depth level, and I feel like nobody is talking about it, there’s an unseen know-how. And this unseen know-how is about how you feel about what you want to do.

Because if you feel like you want to make a million dollars, 10 million dollars, whatever, you feel like you want to become rich, but you don’t know what’s the feeling behind that. Then how are you going to do it?

If you’re not on the same frequency with that activity that you want to do, then how are you going to do it?

Something would feel wrong.

I know that society is toxic and it’s going to tell you “Yeah, it doesn’t matter how you feel you should still go for it” and sometimes that is good. But if you set yourself these big goals of “I want to become millionaire” or whatever you want to become or whatever you want to do, that is this big, huge, impossible goal, and for the next 10 years, you’re going to feel like shit going through everything and doing all the things to reach that point.

Then guess what? You’re still going to feel like shit after you reach that point.

I would say that you should change whatever you want to change if you feel like what you want to change is not the thing that feels like part of your life anymore.

Going back a bit to all these small things that I was changing and I’m still changing (I’ve always been like this, as I said, I’ve always changed a lot of things and adjusted things on the move), going back to all these things, I would say that’s a strength – to be able to change things and adjust the course as you move towards your destination.

I would I would add another point to whatever I shared with you until now.

As a recap, there are two things. There’s the journey and destination.

There’s another two things there. The know-how that you see and know-how that you don’t really see. As in, there are things that you get to learn and there are things that you get to kind of feel and sense. And I would go back to the example with money and becoming rich and the emotion connected to and the feeling connected to that kind of actions and that kind of goals.

And there’s also another two things. That is the way you act and how you feel. As in, I’m going to do this and while doing that, I’m going to feel whatever.

It works both as in I’m going to think about what I want to do and I’m going to think about how I want to feel and create an image around that. But it’s also simply going through the experience and doing something and then feeling another thing.

More than that, and I would like to stay on doing versus feeling and doing and feeling, how you feel is a way for you to anchor yourself in the world. And how you act is a way for you to create a visual representation of yourself in the world.

In your daily life, you both do things and you feel things, which means you both create a visual representation through your actions and then you create yourself some anchoring points in the world through the way you feel.

If you visited a certain city or if you met a certain person and you felt a certain way about the city or the person, then that feeling is going to be like a pin on a map in that specific city or around that specific person and the environment around that specific person.

You are creating different variants of yourself through the way you act and the way you feel in the world. There’s a variant of yourself from two years ago, there’s a variant of yourself from two months ago, there’s a variant of yourself from right now, there’s a variant of yourself from two months from now and so on.

There’s so many variants of yourself in this world and they are created on how you acted and felt in that specific moment.

I think that ties a lot into how to create flexibility around your life.

When you realize that all these small changes that you do in your life and all the destinations that you have in mind that are connected to all these journeys, in a way they create a pin that you put on a map at a specific point in time.

That’s how you become flexible.

Who you are right now is different than who you’re going to be 10 minutes from now, even though it may feel like it’s not going to be. It’s going to be different from who you are going to be 20 minutes from now, 2 hours from now, 20 days from now, one year from now and so on.

I would like to leave you with this for this episode: think about the way you want to act and the way you want to feel in the world and whenever you’re going to put another pin on the map, just think about the variant that you want to live there, the version of yourself that you want to live there and become flexible right now so you can become that version of yourself.

Thank you for listening. I hope you found value in today’s episode.

If you want to become more optimistic and learn what optimism is all about, join the Optimistic Tuesday Newsletter. Go to davidtheoptimist.com/newsletter and I’ll send you one newsletter every Tuesday, with insights about optimism.

To reach out to me, use the contact page on my website at davidtheoptimist.com.

To stay in touch, subscribe to The Optimistic Perspective Podcast or follow me on Instagram at davidtheoptimist.

Thank you for listening.

With love and optimism,
David

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