I find that variety is one of those key ingredients of a happy life that we don’t talk much about. We talk about money, success, relationships, but when it comes to variety, all we have to say is: “Oh yeah, variety matters as well”.
No, it doesn’t just matter, okay? It matters a lot.
I believe that variety is one of the most important determinants of our overall life satisfaction. We humans are hardwired to need a constant dose of novelty and freshness in our life. And when we lack it, life quickly becomes boring, stale and unfulfilling, often despite many other positive things that may happen in it.
Working as a coach, I quickly noticed that we frequently make choices that bring success, relationships, financial security or a sense of stability in our lives, but at the cost of variety. Like, for example, the choice to buy a house and live in one place your entire life, when you could be travelling and experiencing new places and new cultures on a regular basis.
And it’s fine to sacrifice novelty sometimes. The problem is that many of us sacrifice it too often, in too many ways. And we hope that what we get in return will be worth it, but in the end, it seldom is.
With this in mind, I want to share with you some practical, tried and tested ideas for adding more variety in your life and spicing it up, which you can begin applying as soon as you’re done reading this.
Think In Terms Of Places, People and Activities
I divide the aspects of life where diversity applies in 3 major categories: places, people and activities.
Places refers to the locations where you live, work and perform your activities. People refers to the individuals you interact with, both in your personal and professional life. And activities refers to the things you do.
I have this empirically confirmed theory that if you have a lot of variety in at least 2 out of these 3 categories, your life will be very fun and exciting. So you can have a small degree of variety in one category; if you have a lot in the other two it doesn’t matter that much.
For instance, you can live your whole life in one relatively small town and rarely visit any other places, but if you constantly meet new people and expand your social circle, plus you frequently try all sorts of new things (hobbies, sports, etc), your life will feel vibrant and you’ll be happy.
Have a look at these 3 main categories. Do you experience a good dose of novelty regularly in at least 2 of them?
If the answer is ‘no’, know that this is the most common answer. Nevertheless, it’s a sign that you need to consider making some changes in your life. To pick one or two of these categories and see how you can add more variety in them.
It’s Crucial To Plan Variety into Your Life
It is often said that what doesn’t get planned doesn’t get done. This is very true with respect to variety as well. It’s not enough to just realize you need more variety in life and decide to add it.
In order to actually experience more variety, it’s key to plan it into your life. Otherwise you’ll instinctively get back to doing the same old things, in the same old ways, and your life will obviously feel unexciting.
Do you set weekly, monthly or yearly goals for yourself? Well, when you do so, make sure you take your desire for novelty into account and set goals that will create lots of it, in terms of places, people or activities.
Do you decide each day how you’re gonna spend it? When you do so, think about variety again and see how you can add a generous dose of it. For example, when you think about dinner, consider going to a new place, or trying a new dish, or eating with people you never ate dinner with before.
It’s these small and big decisions that effectively make your life more adventurous and fun.
Learn To Be a Risk-Taker
When you pick a specific way to add variety to your life and you start thinking about implementing it, a surge of anxiety may go through your body. All of a sudden you’ll be fearful and hesitant, and tempted to stick with the old and familiar.
You see, novelty entails fun and excitement, but it also entails risk and uncertainty. And your mind wants you to avoid the latter.
Fortunately, most of the time, new things aren’t particularly risky, especially if you take some precautions, so it’s well worth taking the risks. Unfortunately, often your mind will overstate the risks and make trying small new experiences seem downright dangerous.
This is why many people dread doing new activities, going to new places or meeting new people. And they end up missing out on a lot on life because of irrational fear.
So it’s chief to become aware that, usually, the perceived risks are much higher than in reality, and to be willing to push out of your comfort zone and try new experiences even if they scare you. And the end of the day, I promise you that it will be worth it. You’ll have lots of fun and you’ll also become more comfortable with taking risks.
This is how you spice up your life. Remember that life is short and live every minute of it to the fullest. Don’t fall into routine and apathy. There’s a huge world out there, filled with fun, novelty and adventure, and it’s just waiting for you to discover it.
Eduard Ezeanu coaches shy guys who seek to understand how to be friendly and confident, and he helps them expand their social life in order to find more fulfillment. He also writes on his blog, People Skills Decoded, on a regular basis.