Taco ‘Bout It: A Call To Action
by Taco Olmstead
photo by OwlEyesOnYou
I’m a pretty ordinary guy. I like to go to bed later than I should, sleep a little longer than I probably should. My indulgences are pretty simple, I enjoy drinking bourbon out of an old pasta jar, a walk by the river, a warm slice of bread with butter. The most complicated part of me is perhaps my musical taste but in the end, I like what sounds right to me. I’m just an ordinary guy that seeks out simple pleasures and I try to live a life of integrity.
I try to do more and take less. I’ve found this simple philosophy applies to just about every single aspect to the life I live. I don’t think there is any part of my life that this simple mantra cannot be applied. I could apply this to everything from the way I pack to the foods I eat and the best part of this mantra is there is always a value in the application.
My favorite part of this mantra however is the first half, “do more”. These two words are a call to action and our actions are the most powerful tools we have to live an effectual life. Without cause we have no effect and our “cause” requires action. Your cause need be little more than the simple notion of self improvement. To wake every day seeking a better you, a better self a better life.
I call this an action based life. A life spent in the pursuit of a greater good, and that greater good is essentially a better self. It is a life where you spend less time thinking “someday” and more time doing the here and now. We all have spent some time on Someday Isle, but it’s so much better living on Today Isle. Today, the grass is greener and the wine is sweeter because we really don’t know what is on the other side of the hill. So how do I live an action based life?
1. A long time ago I asked myself what I wanted from my life, what did I want to be remembered for? I had to distance myself from the notions of what others might expect of me and really ask myself what I wanted, what makes me happy? What are my strengths and weaknesses, what are my gifts? What did I want my life to be like next year? What about in two years? After all, it is my life and I am the only one to endure it. Once I decided what I really wanted, I worked backwards in my mind and created a path.
2. Be patient. As much as I wanted to reach the end goal in the here and now, life just doesn’t work like that. We often here people say we need to “manifest” our goals and dreams. Well, we already spent time thinking about what we wanted, now we have to take action to achieve those goals. Every action we take is another step closer, every obstacle we face is one less obstacle to overcome, every failure is one step closer to our success.
3. Baby steps. You don’t climb a mountain in one stride, it is a series of challenges that gets us out of the valley. So break your goal down into smaller goals. Remember this is a marathon and not a sprint and much like any long distance runner will tell you, the race is won in separate miles, not by focusing on the end. So celebrate the stepping stones along the way. With each mile marker passed you are that much closer to your end goal, even if that job waiting tables inspires a newfound hatred for your daily alarm clock, it is a means to an end.
4. Take the time to learn from others who came before you. Seek out mentors. None of us are as unique as we would like to think nor are any of the challenges we face, put simply, you’re not alone. Read up on those who came before you, read their blogs, sometimes you simply need to listen and learn how they overcame the obstacles you’re facing today.
5. Knowledge without application is useless. You’re mentors can give you the tools you need but you must be willing to use them. People have told you what you’re facing and how to deal with those problems now it is up to you to act. The difference between a wise man and a smart man is one learned the hard way while the other listened to those who came before him. I know from experience now that I’m not as smart as I once thought I was.
6. Maintain who you are along the way. While we should always be seeking out the wisdom of those who came before us, sometimes we do find our own way. There is no point in modeling yourself after another to achieve your goals because at that point you have simply become a clone of another. Often, by doing this, we lose sight of our own unique vision of our success and lose our way. So be authentic while learning from others, we all have our own style, our own flair, so do you.
7. Be willing to sacrifice. You will often be faced with the dilemma of sacrificing some fun to achieve the goals you are striving towards. That fun could be a show, an outing, even time on the Internet and Facebook. These things eat up our time for what is usually a very small return on the time invested. Time is the only thing in this life we truly own and it is the one thing we are constantly wasting, so stop! Take more time acting upon your goals and less time on the fear of missing out. It’s your life and yours alone, so you can either get out there and live a life moving towards your actual goal or get sidetracked by a fruitless prospect. There’s nothing wrong with having fun but the universe seeks balance.
8. Are the people around you a support team ? Don’t let friends enable you. A good friend is never scared to call you out on your bullshit, that’s what a good friend does. A good friend wants to see us moving closer towards our hopes and dreams. I always hate it when a good friend moved away, but when I know it is what’s best for their soul, it is a bittersweet victory.
9. Know when to have fun. There is a time in your day when you just need to stop. There is a time in every week when you need to take a break. There is a point when you can literally work yourself into an unproductive mode. When the monitor is blurred, when no food tastes right, when your muscles ache, you are no longer useful to yourself or those around you. When you no longer feel as passionate about your goals as you once did, take a vacation and remember why you’re living the life you have chosen. For me, it’s going to a show, taking a road trip, reconnecting with old friends, feeling a stream swirl around my legs in the crisp mountain air.
10. Take action. After its all said and done, after all of the considerations, after all of the advice, toil, vacations and contemplations, take action. After you read this, act on it. You have a cause now go be an effect.
Do more, take less. Love is an action word so let’s get busy…