“Why is it that I was not ready to die?” I wondered. I had come out of the accident with just minor pains. The kind that just required me to take total rest for the weekend, work from home for a week and read a thriller novel the following weekend. As I write this it’s a bright Monday morning feeling all fresh and back on my feet. That was a long week though. I could barely get myself to write an article last week. It’s also exactly one year since I lost my twin (my dad). Am not sure how I feel about that; it’s still hazy but I am forever grateful for being his daughter.
I saw death so close that day. The injuries were however more psychological than physical. If anything I still drove about 280Kms after the accident. I only got to think about it the following day when the taxi driver who helped me out called to check how I was doing. The common thought however was, “Why is it that I was not ready to die?”
I am happy with where I am in life but clearly I am not done yet. I still need to grace that conference as the key note speaker, I need to write another book, I need to visit that country, take that game drive, inspire another person; I need a legacy. These thoughts seemed to give me an answer until today morning. I was doing my usual morning read. It took discipline not to continue with my novel and pick a self-development book. Thriller novels are more interesting. It’s been a while since I read one; thanks to my resting I got to take on one. It was refreshing and intriguing, that explains why I am in the mood for storytelling today.
The morning read was The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. I picked it intentionally as a reminder to get back to my morning exercise after a week’s break. I however stumbled on a concept that I had missed before; “No man’s land” a concept referenced from Tony Robbins. At first I smiled. In my earlier life in healthcare I worked in a hospital with a space that we referred to as the no man’s land. It was an empty space between two hospital wards. We would however use the space to keep the patients who passed on as we waited for the mortuary attendants to come in and collect them.
The book refers to no man’s land as a place in life where “one is not really happy with their life but neither are they unhappy enough to do anything about it. They are not on a downward spiral but neither are they climbing new heights. It’s a place where people numb themselves to their dreams. They accept what is in front of them instead of driving to what they really want in life. Its complacency and status quo” My hospital analogy seemed to fit in pretty well. It’s a place where nothing much happens but it’s also a place that can transition you to zero growth or internal death. As the book noted that is where majority of the people are. They look okay because they are not necessarily unhappy but they are not chasing anything bigger.
My introspection has hence shifted from why I was not ready to die. I want to consistently check on myself to keep off the no man’s land. I need to be looking out for the next growth step. I need to always have a reason to live and live with excitement. I have found this achievable by;
- Picking a new hobby – Not only is a new hobby another way to add more joy and fun into your life, it can also make life feel more exciting with the new challenges you have to face. Plus, by breaking out of your comfort zone and achieving new goals, you will gain self-confidence and feel proud of yourself. My morning exercise, nature walk, hikes and road trips take the medal here.
- Take a new class, learn something new – Unlike taking up a new hobby, learning is all about progressing. The main benefit of this besides having a new skill set is a sense of fulfillment, pride, and satisfaction with yourself. This is part of my life, as a trainer every day is a learning day. My German class currently takes the medal though.
- Change Jobs/roles/industries – Your job should be something that you enjoy doing, something that you are good at, and something that gives you a sense of pride besides helping you pay bills. It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you are stuck in a job and there is no other way out. We often get scared of change. The unknown makes us feel insecure. This was life defining for me but despite that major change I am also always looking for new training/consultancy areas, sameness leads to boredom.
- Travel – The quickest way to get excited again is to travel. Travel opens your eyes and inspires your senses. Travel means experiencing, seeing, smelling, and hearing new things. The people you will meet, the places you will see, the food you will eat — all the things you get to do when you travel are the things that stay in your memories for a lifetime and get passed on from one generation to another. Create memories through experiences. Road trips are my weakness.
- End that relationship – The number of people I have met lately looking for a magic pill to reignite their life had something in common; Unfulfilling or toxic relationships. A relationship is meant to be full of love, understanding, passion, inspiration, and excitement. A good relationship should bring you higher, not lower. A good partner should make you feel better, not down. The most important decision in life is who you will spend your life with. They influence your feelings, energy, and interests. You have to ask yourself if you want to try to spice your life up with this person or you want to make a life-changing decision on your own.
“Life can feel pretty mundane and full of routines but It’s exciting to think that some of the best moments of our lives have not even happened yet.”