Today was an epic day.
I’m sure you’re wondering if I jumped out of some plane or ran a 5 million mile marathon or won the lottery or something to that effect. I do plan on doing some of those things in the near future, however, it wasn’t anything that extreme. Matter of fact it wasn’t anything extreme at all. Today was an epic day, not because I did anything unique or ultra-exciting or rare. It was epic simply because I was enjoying myself and was totally content with life.
This is what I define as an epic life:
“To be true to self and content with life.”
However, we’re conditioned from birth to do the complete opposite. Society tells us to be like the next person; to want what they want, drive what they drive, work where they work, live where they live, and like what they like. As a result, we end up losing ourselves in other people while chasing after more of what we really don’t want or need. This leaves us miserable, unhappy, and totally discontent. Life becomes an ongoing sad song, and all we want to do is change the tune.
Here’s my reality:
I’m not a millionaire (yet). I don’t have some sexy young lady on my arm. I’m only 24. I just graduated from college recently and I have debt like most graduates. And I don’t have the dream job college promises all of us. But what I do have is a peace of mind, a fully operating body, and lots of potential. That’s enough to be thankful for. And to be quite honest, that’s more than enough to be pumped about! I’m learning to really be true to myself and to be content with life. I like to call this “The small joys of an autonomous life”.
But where I am now didn’t just start over night. This started several years ago while I was still in college. While sitting in one of my marketing classes during my Sophomore year, I realized that I was in a class room full of students who were just a few years away from being forced into the rat race of the American Dream. And I was on my way to joining them. I decided while I was sitting in that seat that I was going to chart my own path. Explore my own passion. And embark on the adventure of my life. As most people would understand, this isn’t the kind of stuff that mom and dad like to hear. But I knew that chasing America’s Dream would only leave me discontent and bored out of my mind. So I took a life-detour. I decided to live an epic life.
Here are 5 ways I began living an epic life:
- I turned down the enticements of advertisements that constantly told me to buy more clothes and more shoes and load up on credit cards so I could fit in with all the other college students. I began to value saving money rather than spending it. This has resulted in me really enjoying the times when I do let myself go and spurge, try new things, go new places, and have fun. I’m able to buy what I REALLY want when I REALLY want it. I rarely suffer from buyer’s remorse because I limit major purchases to once every 6 months. I haven’t used a credit card in 2 years. I’ve learned to be content with what I have, plus my savings account looks pretty nice as a result.
- I gave up unnecessary leisure activities to really focus on things I was passionate about. Instead of wasting hours at the movies or hanging out with friends or checking my Facebook, I used that time to strategize and plan my future. This resulted in me creating my first business as a graphic and web designer. This became my main source of income and gave me the freedom to explore my passions further. Unlike my friends, I wasn’t forced to work a job while in college. I had more freedom than I could handle.
- I soaked up all the information I could around topics I found interesting. I used some of the money I was making from designing to buy books on idea development, social media, marketing and design. I read countless blogs from creatives, entrepreneurs, life-hackers, and designers. Learning from people I admired became a daily habit. I enjoyed listening to keynotes from Gary Vaynerchuk and learning how to manage a freelance business by reading blogs like FreelanceSwitch.com.
- I developed my own personal brand online and leveraged it to network and meet new people. This opened up more doors than I can even count. I attended conferences, worked with churches, joined teams, partnered with causes and did more than I ever would have imagined. I learned that the Internet is more than just a place to chat with your friends on Twitter and Facebook. There’s so much opportunity available online.
- I made it my mission to write and type everything I was thinking. Every time an idea would drop, I’d grab it and write it down. Every time I felt inspired, I’d jot down what I felt. I drafted documents with questions to better understand what I liked, what I valued, what I wanted to do, and who I wanted to be. I still do this today, but now I do all of my writing on my iPad (best device on the planet!). This has helped me to track and measure my thoughts. I’ve seen a lot of growth over the past few years because of this.
It is this mindset and these decisions that are preparing me for an epic life. Living an epic life is not all about doing a bunch of extreme things. I’m learning that the simple things tend to mean a lot more when you break free from the chaos and the noise. Just waking up out of the bed without an alarm clock blasting in your ear is something to be grateful for. Or having enough income to sustain yourself, help others, and save is what it truly means to be rich. Or having the freedom to take an idea and experiment with it is a dream come true.
I believe each of us can take steps toward a more epic life; a life that is true to oneself and filled with contentment.
It’s your life. It’s your choice to make it epic.