In the hit comedic movie Groundhog Day, Bill Murray’s character, Phil Conners, is caught up in a time warp, doomed to live the same day over and over until he gets it right. Hilarious as the ensuing mayhem may be on the big screen, it is a poignant and not too thinly veiled metaphor for how most of us live our own lives – mindlessly occupied with our own issues and concerns, stumbling through life (often over the toes of others) with little if any conscious direction or critical thought. In the end, we keep on running into the same scenarios and problems over and over – not because we’re caught in a time loop, but because we’re caught in a life-loop. We haven’t made the grade, so we can’t graduate beyond our current situation.
One of the solutions to this is to create what I call a “Groundhog Day” Proof Life. Think about it for a second. What if today (or any day lately) was the only day you got to live. Would that be okay with you, or would it be a wailing tragedy? There are 5 steps to creating a GD Proof Life, and I’ve outlined them below.
1. Quit playing “Someday My Prince Will Come” on your internal radio station.
Whether it’s the perfect mate, the perfect job or the perfect life, too many of us spend so much time in the imaginary future that we let our present fall to pieces around our feet. Why bother cleaning, when you don’t really belong where you currently live? How can you possibly have a great night out when your ideal date hasn’t shown up at the door? Who cares if you blow off your job – it’s not like you care, or anything. Stop it! As John Lennon sang, life is what happens when your making other plans. Don’t waste the life you have fantasizing about a life that doesn’t exist.
2. Get your house in order.
Now that you’re back in the present, get your act together and make what you do have work as well as it can for you. Design environments that support and uplift you by ditching anything that doesn’t and only replacing it when you’ve found something you love.
3. Pursue your dreams, not your “purpose.”
Yes, we all have a purpose in life (more than one, probably). But part of the game is that we don’t get to know what that purpose is, and spending all our time trying to find it often ends up taking the place of actually living our lives in a way that would allow us to serve this purpose if we did. We all know people who went off to “find themselves” and never came back – don’t be one of them. The best way to find yourself, and your purpose, is to live a life of passion and authenticity and let them find you.
4. Quality, not quantity.
Why live life at half-mast? You don’t get bonus points for choosing lots of cheap, nasty fast food instead of a moderate amount of gourmet cuisine, and neither does it gain you anything to fill your closet to overflowing with ill-fitting and poorly matched clothes instead of holding out for a modest assortment of exquisite ensembles. Greed and envy are not what I’m advocating, but life’s to short to sit on lumpy furniture and eat bad food.
5. Make it matter –