Painting The Picture Of Your Ideal Day
This is one of those lifestyle brain exercises, where you start dumping your thoughts on a piece of paper. The writing prompt is: “What would your ideal day look like?”. The point is to write without censoring yourself. But then also go back and read over your thoughts and see if what you wrote, is in fact, what you want or are they ideas beaten into you based on your upbringing and societal pressures.
It’s important to just write without a break (or type). Once you stop, pause, think, that’s when your subconscious mind gets muted by your more-filtered conscious mind.
Don’t be afraid for the ideas to be silly at first, or outlandish. What matters is that you just write.
Get detailed, focus on your location, the people around you, what you look like, what the weather is, what you’re eating, what you’re thinking, where you’re working etc.
I’m not going to post my own free-flowing thoughts here because nobody needs to know the detail of my twisted mind, but I am going to share a PG-13 version of it at some point. It’s perhaps better for you to write your own before you even read mine.
The Purpose Of This Exercise
We didn’t become physicians because we were wild and creative, because we chose an unconventional path. Many think that of us but the reality is that we followed one of the most regulated and well-established career paths. In fact, being a physician can be so structured that we may lose our creativity and free spirit if we don’t constantly try to reconnect to it.
Many of us are finding ourselves living lives which we didn’t entirely design for ourselves. Not always bad lives, but maybe not exactly what we had in mind. We blame some of it on not having enough time to do exactly what we want, some of it on our partners, some on our kids, and the rest we chalk up to “it’s just the way it’s done”.
Retiring before age 40 is unconventional, choosing to not eat animal flesh is unconventional, quitting medicine, not having a car, moving off the grid or downsizing our lives by living outside of the US are all non-traditional concepts.
By thinking outside of the walls of our perceived possibilities and just letting our imagination go a little wild, we can reconnect with what really matters to us. In that process, we may find that we simply have no desire to put in the effort to make major changes or maybe the opposite will be true – perhaps this highly structured lifestyle isn’t what we want.
Do The Exercise With Your Family
I think this is an awesome exercise to do with a partner or with family members. Do it with 6-year-olds, shit, the things they come up with is absolutely incredible.
The second part of the exercise, going over the various thoughts and seeing if that’s actually what you want, is really helpful. After you complete this step you can share it with your partner and go over your thoughts together. May not work very well if your partner is the criticizing type – but perhaps you can call a criticization-truce for this exercise.
The Fear Of Something Far Out There
Both for ourselves and our partners, it can be a bit intimidating if our “ideal” lives are totally different from what we’re doing. As if the human mind/body can’t dream about one thing and live another – that’s silly. Of course we can work a 50-hour week and still dream of spending our days of working on a small homestead.
What’s matters is to determine how strong that desire is, and if it really keeps coming up, then we are doing a disservice to ourselves and others by constantly suppressing it.
Learning to connect with our subconscious mind. Only in the past 1.5 years have I learnt that I am far more successful at solving problems when I stop thinking about them. Especially those problems that want to nest in my mind before I go to bed.
We have to suppress our subconscious so much in modern societies that it’s really hard to, once again, reconnect with it. I find that the purpose of doing it is that I am simply a more pleasant human being, when I am externally doing the things that my internal subconscious mind desires.
Bridging Your Perfect Day With Your Actual Life
I’ve shared my ideal day on this blog before. It’s waking up whenever I want, having no employer or boss telling me when and how I have to perform a certain task. Being able to outline my day on my own terms. Prepare my own meals, learn something new, read a book and write something.
And though I am in a fortunate position that I could stop generating any income and still have plenty of money to live off of, I see the need to continue working as a physician.
I am bridging my perfect day with my actual day by not working for an employer who values income more than the physician/patient interaction and by drastically cutting down my hours of work.
I am also bridging this gap by structuring the majority of my days around what brings me joy and pleasure and not around generating income or being a slave to my possessions.
I have used this exercise to know what kind of life makes me happiest, and I am working towards that lifestyle. Financial independence happens to be that end-goal. In that process, I am having to constantly remind myself that the journey is as important as the destination.