Happy Christmas to everyone. Hope everyone has a lovely Christmas and New Year whatever you get up to and wherever you are. I leave you for the holidays with this video by Alastair Humphreys about where would you rather be on Monday Morning. Don’t allow that Monday morning feeling last, thing of nicer places and doing what you want and work to that goal!
Estimated Reading Time: 10 minutes
Many of the regular readers know of Alastair Humphreys. Motivational speaker and the man who cycled around the world for four years, he has also written some great articles. One of which I will like to share with you today, as I thought it was fantastic. In it he talks about the idea of small steps giving you big changes in your life and your outlook of it. In the same way that you can get the same out of a microadventure as you can a full on around the world expedition.
In that same vein, interior designers always say start with your bedroom in redecorating, as it is the first thing you see and the last thing at night and because of this can have a huge effect on how you feel as you go to bed and wake up.
Here is an extract from Alastair’s post “8 tiny ways in which I’m improving my life” (original here). Additional bolding of words added:
First the list, then the explanations:
1. Time. If you get up a mere 10 minutes earlier each day, and go to bed 10 minutes later you will have created for yourself 5 extra days per year. That’s almost one extra year, gratis, in a lifetime. How much would you give for 5 extra days each year? You don’t need to pay: this is time for free. Time to be used. Free time!
2. Turn off your TV. Give this a try: do not turn on your TV for a day. Come home from work and use those evening hours to do something different, something creative. Once you’ve mastered a day without TV, try a week…
3. Have a shower. Sound advice indeed! But take a cold shower every day. It will save the planet, save you cash, and it feels great too! It sounds unpleasant, and the first step is pretty daunting. But once you’re in you realise it’s not so bad. And you feel so good once you have finished. Apart from being a great metaphor for much of what I try to do in life, a cold shower also sets you up well for the day. If you can endure something bad just moments after leaving your warm, cozy bed then the rest of the day will be a breeze in comparison! I’ve been doing this for a month or two now and reckon I have mastered it. I’ve now moved to showering outside under the hosepipe as my way of ramping up the challenge a bit, but I can appreciate that that may make me sound like a bit of a weirdo! Whether that will last into the winter remains to be seen…
4. Take a Photograph Everyday for a Year. I began doing this as my New Year’s Resolution for 2009. I started it to improve my photography skills. But I have come to value the challenge for the daily dollop of self-discipline it requires and because it forces me, however dull my day, to look around for something positive or interesting or beautiful. There is always something.
5. Run. Go for a run before breakfast. If you hate running go for a walk, or a bike ride. I find this a bit like the cold shower: when I wake up I don’t want to get out of my nice bed and go running. But I never ever regret it once I’ve done it. It doesn’t need to be long, just long enough to stir the blood, blow away the cobwebs, freshen you up, and remind you that you are alive and need to get on with life! If you don’t have time then just get off the Tube or bus one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way to work.
6. Read. Use the time you’ve saved by getting up 10 minutes earlier and by turning off your TV to read more. Most of us want to read more books. But by setting myself a quantifiable target (to read one book of fiction and one book of non-fiction every month) I have become more focused about getting stuck into all those books I want to read. Need some ideas of books to read? Try the 100 Greatest Adventure Books of all time for starters. Or one of my books!
7. Press ups. Another metaphor for my lessons from the road (think big, start small): if you do two press ups today, then three tomorrow (and so on), then eventually you’ll be able to do 100 consecutive press-ups… Sound interesting?
8. Pause. When I boil the kettle I used to do what most normal people do: see how many press ups I could do before the kettle clicked. (Waiting for toast to pop I would do sit ups, and I can do ten chin ups on my kitchen bar in the time the espresso machine takes to make a cup of coffee.)
But now I have a different tactic. Now when I am waiting for the kettle I take a seat, close my eyes, sit very still and just pause. I spend so much of my time rushing around that, to my surprise, I have come to really value these brief pinpricks of calm in my day. I try to empty my mind, but of course it continues racing on. Yet in the couple of minutes of quiet I feel my mind really starting to settle and to sift through the maelstrom for the good ideas, the important thoughts for the day.
If you like to read more from Alastair Humphreys, check out these other posts and his blog.
This is a short inspirational video. Its a talk, again by Alastair Humphreys about how to find adventure wherever you are, and why you should and do it. I love the comparisons in the video between the “worldly” images of Monks etc. to some guy off Junction 14 on the M25. Great short video
If you do not know of Alastair Humphreys, then watch his Do Lecture. Its amazing.
More on Alastair Humphreys:
Alastair Humphreys coined the idea of a “microadventure”, which is talks about in his Do Lecture. Its the idea of while you can’t always trek through Bhutan, you can have great adventures and good times with friends ANY weekend wherever you are in the world. This video shows what appears to be a great way of life. Very inspirational in the way its about just going and making the most of what you have. The video shows a very idealistic day paddling up the Pembrokeshire coast in search of a secluded beach to camp. Watching seals and dolphins, catching fish and crabs, cooking on a campfire and sleeping on the beach.
Music: Restless Feet – Danny and the Champions of the World
I first came across Alastair Humphreys from stumbling across the Do Lectures. The Do Lectures are basically a load of amazing people talking about great things they have done and what inspired them to do as such. This one by Alastair, who biked around the world for 4 years. He has also done many great, what he calls, “microadventures” like walking around the M25, and more recently Sea kayaking in Pembrokeshire. We both have met him, and he is a great guy. He has also completed the marathon des sables which my friend Will and his twin Jim are doing in 2012. I really like his ideas on taking a picture everyday, as it means you did something that was worth remembering. Also the idea of “when was the last time you did something new”.
Alastair has raced a yacht across the Atlantic Ocean and canoed 500 miles down the Yukon River as well as walking the length of the holy Kaveri river in India.
Alastair has published three books, with one more due by the end of 2009. (He has also written chapters for Lonely Planet’s ‘Flightless’ anthology, the Adventure Cycling Handbook, Stanorama and The Traveller’s Handbook. He ran the Marathon des Sables, finishing as one of the ten fastest Brits despite breaking his foot during the race. To fight off the wanderlust Alastair managed a sub-3-hour marathon, had a miserable time during the Original Mountain Marathon, the Devizes to Westminster 120-mile canoe marathon and another one during Tough Guy. Travelling round the World Cup in a camper van was much more fun.
After spending a year teaching 10-year-old boys in a school’s Special Needs department, Alastair is now training for the Bob Graham Round and preparing for SOUTH, the first unsupported return journey to the South Pole and the longest unsupported polar journey in history. In February 2009 he rowed to France with Major Phil Packer, a soldier paralysed in Iraq, as part of Phil’s attempt to raise £1million for Help for Heroes.