My friend told me something which made me write this blog post. He said, that there are 6% things we know in our life, there are 14% things which we know that we don't know, but there are 80% things we don't know that we don't know. While we keep trying to know those 14% things we know that we don't know, we never even consider the remaining 80% things. Confused? Lets say you know how to use a smart phone or computer, that goes in the 6% things you know. But you don't know how to use repair your bike or car, that goes to 14% things you know that you don't know. Now, have you ever wondered how does AC work, or there are organisms in deep sea, which can survive without Oxygen only on Methane or there are 35,000 different species of spiders or body releases some 'feel good' hormones when you exercise?
So how do you expand your horizon to those 80% things, which we don't know that we don't know?
Here are 12 simple things you can do in 2016 to explore a small fraction of that 80%. Some of them will help you explore outside world while some of them will help you explore a new side of yourself.
There are 12 things for 12 months of 2016. You can do some of them, or all of them. You can do them one in each calendar month or all in one month, it's up to you. One thing I can assure you is most of them are simple, keeping our day to day busy lives in mind. You don't need to go to Himalaya or spend huge amount of money on an international trip. You can do them all in your normal life, but the only thing is you have to be more mindful about what you are doing and observe the impact.
1) List down things you have never done in your life.
Running a marathon, trekking, gardening, making a greeting card, stargazing, attending live concert, party all night, Yoga, Meditation, attend art festival, ......... and so on. I am sure there will be plenty.
Do at least one of them. If you don't know where to start, Google is your best friend. Nowadays most of the events, activities are available on Internet through websites, Facebook pages, Meetup groups etc.
2) Explore a new city/town/village, not like a tourist but like a local.India being a large country there are hundreds of cities and towns to visit. It doesn't have to be one of the city with tourist attraction. You don't even have to travel far, there might plenty on 1-2 hours drive away from your own city. When you visit this new place, look for local food, talk to local people, understand what is their life is like. Many times we take life and facilities so much for granted that we forget that there are tens of thousands of people who have different life, different problems and different life goals. It will widen your point of view.
If possible stay with the local family instead of staying in a hotel. This will take you even closer to their life. AirBnB can be a good place to start.
3) Remember your childhood?When you wanted to dance in rain or fly a kite or play in mud or wanted to learn something but couldn't due to lack of availability, budget or simply because your parents didn't allow you to. List down all such things you wanted to do as a child. It can be as simple as playing on the beach for as long as you want or learning horse riding or reading those comic books you weren't allowed to for the sake of study.
No matter how much we grow up, it is important to keep that child in us alive.
I assure you that this will give you huge amount of satisfaction and joy.
4) Learn a new skillWhen was the last time you learned something, not because it was needed (be it in your job or home front), but because you wanted to learn it? It can be a new language, pottery, dance, singing, fixing the fuse in your house, using screwdrivers, using gadgets, doing your own taxes or applying makeup. It can be any small or big skill. Our brain is a wonderful thing, nobody knows the maximum capacity of its abilities. It can store as much information as you go on gathering and sharpens with every new learning. I never heard of brain giving error message 'Memory full' or 'High resources utilisation, please close some applications to resume normal processing'. ;-)
5) FearList down all your fears. Maybe you are afraid of water, heights, cockroach, going to unknown locality, talking to a stranger, speaking in front of crowd, expressing your views in a meeting, or simply taking the rides in adventure park. Do at least one of them. Your confidence will increase ten fold when you do it.
6) 'Don't ......'How many times have you heard of 'Don't do this, what will people say?' or you stopped yourself from doing something fearing what will be the reaction of others? List down all those points, watching movie alone, dancing in streets, traveling alone, shout aloud, going for a night out with friends, wearing clothes you like or something else. Do at least one of them.
If you are still hesitant about reactions, do it at some different place or different city where nobody knows you. Being yourself is much easier with strangers than with people who know you.
If you don't have a single item on this list then I must congratulate you, for living your life on your own terms.
7) Are you uncomfortable visiting a particular place or event?
Sometimes its good be uncomfortable
But try and observe what exactly makes you uncomfortable about that place. You might uncover some hidden side of your personality.
8) Make a new friend
List down what you think about people from other gender, caste, religion, generation, age group,
class, or society status than yours. Make a friends from any of these (which is not already there in your current friend's list). Talk to this new friend of your often about various aspects of life, their culture, beliefs or problems or simply about bollywood movies, politics, hobbies or cricket. You will be amazed as some of your assumptions or prejudices about that particular group (caste, gender, religion, generation) melt away and you get a new perspective.
Many times we are prejudiced about many things in our life, on the basis of what we hear or what our family and friends tell us. It is only when we experience it ourselves that we come to know that these prejudices were false, and after all we all are human beings, with different approach to life. It will make you appreciate the differences in every individual better.
9) What is your holiday type?List down all the holidays you have been to in last 4-5 years. You will identify a pattern in it. Maybe you like being in a resort, doing nothing or you go for adventure activities or you go for international destinations only, or you only prefer visiting beaches.
This year go for a holiday different from your usual style. I wont tell you more as it is you, who will come back and tell me what was the experience like.
10) What is your dressing style?Open your wardrobe and have a look at all the clothes you have. Maybe you are person who likes only casual clothes, or formals or plain colours or turtle necks or particular colours, patterns. We all pick up a dressing style knowingly or unknowingly. At least one day of 2016, wear something different. Buy one such outfit or if you are not sure about buying, then borrow it from a friend.
Pay attention to how people respond and complement you on this change of attire (no matter how insignificant it looks to you).
11) Hangout differentlyWho are your everyday lunch, tea time, party, hangout or chat buddies? We all have a set group of colleagues, friends, neighbours with whom we usually hang around and chitchat with. If you observe carefully, you will realise that there are a particular set of topics which are discussed in this group.
For a change hang out with different group or go for lunch/tea with a different group. If it sounds too radical a change then try opening a completely new topic with the same group. You might find out a hidden interest or quality of one or more people from this group which otherwise you wouldn't have come to know.
12) Don't make a new year resolution.You heard me right. We all know that it hardly works. Whats the point of doing something which we know for sure wouldn't work.
Instead make a progress card. How past year has been, what was good and bad about it. What are the qualities you have improved upon, what were the highlights or achievements of the year, what mistakes you made, which you wouldn't like to repeat in the new year. Also make a list of qualities you would like to improve upon. Don't confuse the improvement list with your goals. You might have a certain goals in your mind for 2016 but this improvement list should list down what are qualities you need to improve to achieve those goals.
e.g. I would like to improve my fitness level, be more organised, be more disciplined, improve listening skills, negotiation skills, time management skills, social skills.
I have been always told to set specific goals with a set deadline, but this list is not about that. It is part of ongoing improvement program for you which may go on for years. Setting goals sometimes put pressure on you resulting in untimely give ups. This list will sit in your subconscious mind throughout the year and you will do minor things without even realising that you took those steps in line with your improvement plan, unconsciously. When you do a similar review next year, you will find out how these small things have contributed to the final result over a year.
So what are you waiting for? Get started on items from this list one by one and discover new things about life & yourself.
I wish you all the best and happy 2016. See newer version of you in a years time. Ciao.