We were all created to live an adventure. To fully embrace the challenges life offers and finish our stories well. So why do most of us feel empty, depressed, and wanting more?
My friend, Ken Davis, just wrote an excellent book on the subject called (appropriately), Fully Alive.
In it, he talks about how he got into shape, reinvigorated his childlike awe with the world, and feels more alive at age 65 than he ever did.
So what's the secret? What's the solution to finding your way in the world and living more abundantly?
It's not what you think, and I can promise you: You're not gonna like it.
A simple, hard fact of life
If you look carefully, you will find people all around you who show few signs of life. They haven’t flatlined yet, but they stopped singing long ago. Rarely do their hearts race in excitement over the possibilities held by a new day. They lurch through the darkness like zombies, clinging to memories of what life used to be. But deep inside they long to live again.
The first step is accepting a simple, hard fact of life. What really makes us come alive? Is it money? Success? Fame? No, it's none of those. It's something better, something scarier.
Pain: that's how we begin to experience life. Struggle, strife, hardship. These are the ingredients for a life well lived (told you that you wouldn't like it).
Muscle is formed when you stretch your body beyond its normal limits. Strength is built when you push past your comfort zone. Courage is created in the face of danger. We are our most alive when we are least comfortable.
Ditching comfort for life
A comfortable life is not the path to being fully alive. It’s a ticket to boredom and despair.
—Ken Davis (Tweet this)
Despite decades of success and fame, Ken came to a painful realization not too long ago: his life was empty. This is coming from a guy who once was the opening act for Ray Charles — crazy, right?
So what was the reason for feeling so hollow inside? He was too comfortable. This man had built an existence around enjoyment and self-preservation, which is exactly where life goes to stagnate and die.
If you are going to check out of the land of the walking dead, you are going to have to give up your addiction to comfort and press into the hardship of life. It won't be easy, but it will be good.
Become a participant in your own life
In this upside-down world you have only two options. You can choose to stand helplessly, waiting for somebody else to take care of you, or you can analyze the situation and do something yourself.
If you've ever been stuck in a traffic jam or been coerced by a telemarketer, you've likely felt like a victim. At some point, you assumed your role as passive bystander, and you hated how it made you feel. But what choice did you have?
Isn't this the hand we've all been dealt? Life offers a raw deal, and we spend our lives trying to survive? No, there's more.
The real difference-makers in this world are those who step up and stand out. They lead by example, taking risks along the way and embracing failure for the teacher it is.
You can do the same, if you really want.
The cost of living fully
I know I'm ready for more life; I hope you are, too. But the real question is this: Are we prepared for the cost of life? Are we ready to live?
It's too easy to say “all you have to do is follow these three steps…” It's harder to choose to live — to accept that pain makes us grow, to ditch comfort for life, and choose to participate in our own stories.
The abundant life costs something, and that's the point. It's why those who are lucky enough to find it are so rich.
If you're ready to live life fully, check out Ken's book, which comes out this week.
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How do you live life fully alive? Share in the comments.