I have just finished an inspirational read, “The Happiness of Pursuit,” packed with life lessons from Chris Guillebeau. This New York Times best selling author has filled the book with great advice, interesting life stories and a punch of ambition. The general theme is about ordinary people taking on individual challenges that test their beliefs and inner strength, all to pursue a dream. From overland journeys to vows of silence, this book channels the human desire to test ourselves to achieve and find meaning in life. If, like me, you are the sort of person that has a list of life goals and you are looking for your next quest, you will love reading these life lessons from Chris Guillebeau.
One thing I love about this book is the emphasis on listening to your own heart and not being afraid of going alone. We should be proud to be unique and different and rather than following the crowd, true happiness comes from just being yourself. Sometimes people can disapprove of the choices you make in life, but as long as you are being true to your own desires, it is okay to be different. So my favourite of the lessons from Chris Guillebeau is to be proud to be yourself.
Lesson number two is to be brave and make bold choices. We have all been in the situation where someone says, “oh I wish I could do that” or “I’ve always wanted to go there,” but they never do. Well the truth is that often the things that give us the best memories and the truest joy in life are preceded by an element of fear and the unknown. So if there is something you want to achieve in life, be bold and take a leap of faith.
Life does not come with a rulebook – in the fact the only limits are the ones we place upon ourselves. Imagine your wildest dream and then strip away all the reasons you think you can’t achieve your dream to the few barriers that are really stopping you. Perhaps they are financial or physical? Can you train or save for your dream? You may not be able to achieve your dream tomorrow but if you work hard maybe there is a way to make it come true!
In the book Chris talks of how he has traveled to every single country in the world – an amazing feat. As a traveler myself, I am both jealous and awed by his achievement. Although the book discusses many different themes of quest, the desire to see the world crops up frequently for many people. A physical journey can also provide food for the soul. So if you are looking for inspiration, travel could be the answer you are looking for.
The greater your challenge, the bigger the feeling of accomplishment of achieving your goal. Imagine dedicating a year of life to learning a new language – fully immersing yourself in the culture, and not using your mother tongue for 365 days. This is an extreme challenge but the reward at the end is huge – the chance to be bilingual. Life is what you make of it; the more you put in, the more you can get out.
If you are looking for a cause or a challenge to focus your attention, then the best place to start is to think about what matters to you. There is no formula for following your heart; you just need to go with your instinct. You could dedicate your life to medical research, protest against war, learn to fly an aeroplane or volunteer once a week for life. Only you can know what to look for.
Quests aren’t just for crazy people, they are for everyone. Don’t be put off or daunted by extreme challenges. If you wish you could run a marathon but feel sickened by the enormity of the task, then start by setting a smaller goal, like signing up for a 5k run. Quests are supposed to be fun! So to get yourself going, pick manageable goals, each time upping your level of difficulty.
I simply loved reading “The Happiness of Pursuit” and got some great life lessons from Chris Guillebeau. I have already signed up to do a triathlon, having been inspired by his words. In many ways I haven’t done this book its due justice as it was such a powerful and emotive read. If you are looking for a challenge or want to shake up your life I would really recommend this book, it’s amazing to learn what people can and have achieved. One person in the book walked from coast to coast in America – does this sound like your next challenge?
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