"Pleasure is none, if not diversified."
One of the greatest causes of frustration I've encountered in my life is when I put too much weight on one aspect of my life. Whether it's a significant other, a job, or a goal, when you put all of your time, energy, and emotion into one thing, you're bound to be let down at some point. Why? Because one thing can't be your everything. There's a reason that the saying "don't put all of your eggs in one basket" has been around for so long -- it's great advice! As the author of What Happy Women Know wrote, "Your investment counselor would never tell you to invest all your money in a single stock -- nor should you invest all your emotional and creative energy in one person or thing. Instead, diversify, diversify, diversify!" Though I can't always say that I've done that in my own life, I recognize the importance of diversification and how diversifying your life can leave you feeling more fulfilled and less stressed. When you're not focused entirely on one thing, you take the pressure off and you don't feel the need to perfect every aspect of that thing (which is especially important if that "thing" happens to be a "person"). While I'm all for going for your dreams and putting lots of energy into things that matter to you, putting all of your energy towards one person or thing is not healthy.
It's not always easy to diversify the portfolio of your life, especially when you're dealing with things that can be pretty all-encompassing (like children or a very demanding job), but it is possible and it's definitely worth doing. At times it might seem not to make sense. For example, if you really want to achieve a goal, shouldn't you focus all of your energy in that area? No. If you put all of your time and attention in one area of your life two negative things will happen: (1) you'll smother and/or burn out in that area and (2) the other areas of your life will suffer, making you less productive in that area. We need diversification; we need to focus on friends/family/work/fun/etc. Though I'm not a scientist, I'm going to guess that the more you spread out your energy and develop it in different ways, the better you'll be at the things you really want to focus on. The more you diversify your life, the more you'll have to give to the areas that really need your attention. Though this is an area I also need some work on, I've come up with some ideas on how you can diversify your life -- starting today!
How To Diversify Your Life
Try new things. I love to stay at home, snuggled in my apartment, reading books and writing and playing with my dog. I love doing the things I love to do and there's certainly nothing wrong with that, but I also don't open myself up to new opportunities, to the chance to try new things. When I'm invited places, I'll often say no, creating a list in my mind of all of the reasons while it'll probably be a waste of time (yep, there's still some of that negative Eeyore lurking in there...). I love to do the things I love to do and I don't often consider the idea that there may be other things I love to do that I don't even know about... And how will I ever know about them if I don't seek them out (or at least accept opportunities when they come my way)? One of the best ways to diversify your life is to try new things. As my therapist said to me yesterday, "You can do anything once."
Meet new people. Meeting new people is easier than ever with the social media outlets we have these days. Of course, there are plenty of ways to meet new people in person (and doing so involves trying new things, joining or starting groups, or taking on tasks that push you out of your comfort zone), but there are also tons of great ways to meet people online too. Even though I've never met most of the people who read my blog, I feel as if I have met a ton of new people ever since I started writing here. Blogging is a great way to meet people. Also, as I just noted above, joining new groups or taking a class on something you're interested in is a great way to meet new people. Another great way? Be more open. When you meet new people, even in a random setting, consider it a chance to make new friends. You never know where you'll meet your next BFF!
Break out of routines. It's tempting (and easy) to do the same things, day after day after day. Most people find themselves in routines and, while these routines can be comforting at times, they don't necessarily allow us the opportunity to diversify our lives. A great way to create some diversity in your life is to change things up. Always come home and watch TV after work? Instead, invite a friend to dinner. Always stay out super late on the weekends? Try taking a nice off to relax. When you switch things up and break out of your routines, you're likely to find new ways to spend your time. If you're used to going out and instead you stay in, you may uncover things about yourself or your talents that you didn't know were there. By changing the way you do things occasionally, you're opening yourself up to new possibilities -- and new ways to diversify!
Explore new ideas. Not only is it important to diversify what you do, but it's also important to diversify what you think. By exploring new ideas (online, in books, via experiences), you're challenging your mind to think and learn about different things. When you learn about different things, you're likely to come across new ideas or ways of thinking that didn't occur to you before. No matter what you really want to focus on (your kids, your job, your spouse), by learning new ideas, you'll find ways to make those areas of your life better. In addition, you may uncover ideas you'd like to learn more about, passions you never knew you had, or inspiration sparking you to create changes in your life. New ideas are the gateway to diversifying your life. With new ideas in hand, you're likely to find (or create!) many exciting opportunities for yourself.
Visit unique places. We all have our favorites -- favorite restaurant, favorite store, favorite hang out -- and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that...as long as you change it up once and awhile. I find that I always go to the same places, do the same things, eat the same foods. I do these things because I like to do them, but in all of the repetition I'm probably missing out on some cool things I don't even know about. One of the best ways to diversify your life is to visit new places -- even new places in your own city or town. Ideally, it would be great if we could all travel around the world and see new sites all the time, but that's not always an option. For now, just try out a new restaurant or visit a new store. Even a small thing like going to a friend's house when s/he always comes to yours can create a diverse experience in your life.
Pick up a new hobby. Picking up a new hobby is a great way to diversify your life and to challenge yourself in new and interesting ways. When your life feels overwhelming and you feel like you don't have time to do what you need to do (let alone start something new!), consider the idea that a new hobby might help you better understand yourself and the things you want to focus on in your life. Picking up a new hobby is also a great way to meet new people and try out new things. Most people have something that they're passionate about or interested in, so go ahead and explore that more. Give yourself permission to take some time to do something new and different, something that will certainly diversify your life. I've recently decided that I'm going to look into digital scrapbooking and I'm looking forward to learning more about it. Pick something that interests you and diversify!
As you've probably recognized by now, diversifying your life's portfolio is pretty important and can have a very positive effect on your life in the long run. It's tempting to put all your eggs in one basket (especially if you really love or are excited about that basket), but it's a lot healthier and more productive to diversify your life. Life's too short to focus only on one thing! I'd love to hear more about your thoughts on diversifying your life...
Do you live a diverse life? If so, how do you do it?
What would you add to the list of ways to diversify your life portfolio?