Introducing the “When In Doubt, Do Everything At Once” series on Taste Life Twice.
This series of “When In Doubt” posts will deal specifically with how to get happy when you feel like you’re drowning in more questions than answers. I have frequently been in dips like this, as you can see from many of my posts. Sometimes I work out a problem on the blog here with you, but often it is expressed in activity in another sphere. Here is where I’m showcasing those other activities, and how I deal with uncertainty every day.
Some of you may have heard of the term multipotentialite, a term entrepreneur Emilie Wapnick coined to describe people who have diverse interests across numerous domains and may be capable of success in many endeavors or professions (if you’re interested in joining the Puttytribe, check it out here*). As part of my journey to discover what work I want to do, I unconsciously adopted a multipod-type approach: “When In Doubt, Do Everything At Once.”
I don’t necessarily recommend this approach. I did it without thinking it through, and as a result, some projects have taken a lot longer than they might have. More mindful multipods will probably sequence, or schedule, or somehow smoosh their different activities. However, it’s good to learn my capacity for sustaining energy and attention on a given project: you never know until you try, right?
The first activity I will highlight is:
Travel to Foreign Places
You may recall my trip to Scotland last year, the one that I studied for and obsessed over for 6 months. It was awesome. Or the trip to Italy earlier this year, where I decided to plan as little as possible, and as a result, learned that that means you have to learn as you go, not necessarily the recipe for a relaxing vacation. Particularly in the Land of Striking Train Unions.
The latest trip was an attempt to inch closer to the fulcrum point between these two extremes. I conceived the idea for a road trip to Nova Scotia and knew I’d need to leave within the next two weeks. Outlook: feasible.
The experience of the road trip highlighted a few lessons that I’ve been mulling over.
To be flexible is a matter of control and attitude.
Those bursts of bright red in the Maine hills? Blueberry fields!
In choosing to take a car instead of a flight, I changed my experience completely. In a car, yes, you’re still speeding by the countryside, but at least you can see what you’re speeding past, and if you’re fast, stop on the side of the road for a picture. I was constantly pausing to snap photos and just kinda stare in wonder (see above- my favorite sight of the road trip).
Having a car also gives you much more flexibility to change your mind. You don’t like the look of the neighborhood you staked out for a hotel? Drive another 10 minutes; it’ll change. You’re starving but didn’t have time to pack snacks? Stop at the next rest stop (I got to see the variety of road types and rest stops in America, too– who knew?) Knowing you can change your mind about where you’re staying or where you’re going means you can pivot: always a useful superpower when confronted with adversity.
Disconnecting from the electronic tether is one of the most rewarding experiences today.
No work, no social meet-ups, no favors, no replying duties. While of course you love your friends and family, sometimes what you want to experience is the connection between you and the world. Not having to respond to someone about a party the next week while you’re in a strange steakhouse in a quaint New England town. Enjoy the steakhouse! Not worrying about a time to get together with umpteen folks with busy schedules while you’re darting through the rain to find the locals’ diner. Find the diner!
This is a very specific application of the credo, “Live in the moment.” Putting down that smartphone, that tablet, or whatever tool you’re stuck to, will probably help you change your pace and relax your mind.
Being alone with your thoughts makes room for all sorts of self-discovery and big-picture planning.
OK, so driving did take some attention, especially on those two-lane highways where passing was a competitive sport, but there was also plenty of time while driving on long stretches of hillside to muse about priorities, planning, inspiration ideas, and who I want to be, in general.
Sound familiar? Like something you did when you were, maybe, 8 years old? Well, we change. Why wouldn’t we expect our dreams to change? As my outlook on life has changed and my understanding of myself has grown, I find I really have to dig sometimes to figure out why I make some decisions. Why I prioritize, what the values are that dictate those decisions, how I know when it’s right to plunge into something. These are all big-picture ideas that don’t tend to come to you while you’re talking on the phone with your mom or clacking away on a report at work. Taking time to travel, and then settling in to just be with yourself, does help that self-discovery process.
Traveling somewhere foreign, where you’ve never been and you don’t use a map, is indeed a kind of exercise for your understanding and your mind. This is definitely one of the activities I cherish most and will be part of my life for as long as I can hack it.
Do you prioritize travel?
Do you often have the same main reason for your trip (I want to relax, I want to get into Nature, etc)?
Have you tried switching it up?
I’d love to hear your responses in the comments...
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