In Chapter 8 of An Amateur’s Guide to the Pursuit of Happiness, I talk about the uncertainty that comes from taking risks and trying new things. While growth and change make us happy – and we often hear stories of people who discovered their passions by starting a new hobby – there is no guarantee that we’ll find our purpose at the end of every experiment.
And yet, happy people keep going. They risk looking foolish, wasting time, and spending money on projects that ultimately find an end in the donation box.
But where do you start? There are so many interests you could pursue!
The lottery game is a great way to uncover your next New Thing.
Give yourself 15 minutes to indulge in a fantasy. Imagine that you have just won the lottery, and you are suddenly free of all obligations and responsibilities. Anything that needs to get done can be handled by someone else, and all of your bills are paid.
How will you spend the day?
Make a list of all the things you’d do. Would you meander through town taking photos and then finally find the time for Photoshop? Would you hop on a plane and head to the beach? Maybe you’d renovate your wardrobe on day one, or remodel your bedroom. Let your imagination run wild and worry not about practicalities.
Give your mind room to roam.
When you’re done, put the list away and let the fantasy sit in the back of your mind for a bit. Then, later that evening or the next day, choose one thing on the list that you can fit into your existing life in a modified form.
Maybe you start scheduling time to pursue that photo hobby.
Maybe you clean out your closet or take on a wardrobe challenge.
Maybe you DIY yourself a new headboard.
Maybe you join the YMCA and start swimming every morning.
Playing the lottery game is a good way to get in tune with your heart’s desire. It helps to silence all the should voices in your head so that you can start to hear beyond what’s reasonable. Listen to your imagination and it will tell you what New Thing to try next.