Adventure mindset training
31 DAILY BOOSTERS FOR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT, MOTIVATION, COMMUNICATION AND LEADERSHIP
Do you need to boost your motivation, increase self determination, stress down or take tiny steps to make big changes? Every day in December 2018 I posted tips or challenges that will train your mindset for increased daily motivation and self inspiration, for more inner and outer smiles, to handle big decisions or life changes or to just make it easier to head out on an adventure. For that we really don’t need much and the training is simple - you just need to get it done!
Adventuring is all about self awareness, motivation, attitude, focus, engagement, leadership and self determination. That’s also exactly what you use at the office, free time, social life, family, relationships and in your private life - even if you might not know it. To be a good team player and leader of yourself you simply need to train your brain consistently and act upon it, and the tools we use can be compared to the ones used for leaders and mood managers in projects or among athletes - we kind of need both to make it possible. So no matter who you are, this will be a daily boost.
If you want to spread some love you can share your experience at
Cold water strengthener
Take a cold shower/dip/bucket or whatever suits you.
Just do it, shut off expectations, handle shock/instant pain.
Apart from all the physiological health benefits, doing something uncomfortable that shocks your body will always make you feel mentally stronger.
Eat a tiny breakfast, maybe just some fresh fruit and a coffee. After about 3-5hrs (or when hunger sets in, I usually do full days), head out for a walk/run/exercise/activity for 1-4 hrs (or full days here too). When you get back, don’t overcompensate or use food as a reward.
Find your inner energy that doesn’t come from food, practice patience, shift focus from behavioral triggers/wants to needs.
Learn to listen to your body, to handle hunger positively, to act on other sources of energy, to use your other resources (we have tons!!). For those who’re hangry, this is like a crash course in anger management and you’ll become mentally stronger as you learn to control your emotions differently. You’ll also find that you’ll feel physically light and strong since your stomach won’t be working with what you just ate (you might even feel you could go on forever).
Oxygen for life
• Exhale all air through your mouth.
• Inhale as much as possible through your nose on a count to four.
• Hold your breath for three to seven seconds.
• Exhale everything completely through your mouth on a count to eight.
• Repeat the cycle three times.
When I was e.g. working as a guide on Kilimanjaro, this is one of the tools we tought our guests to use at all times all six days. Up there it’s clear that if you get headache, nausea or feel exhausted, just breathe properly (practice 1 & 3) and in most cases the symptoms disappear. That’s just one example that speaks quite obviously about what oxygen does to the human body, also meaning what it does down at sea level, only we don’t notice it as clearly.
• Run at a pace where you can breathe through your nose easy, deep and controlled for at least 10 min or throughout your whole run. ⠀⠀
This helps you stay calm, focus and gain more energy during high intensity training, exhausting adventuring and challenging or nervous situations.
• Breathe deeply and fully through your nose as often as you can for a whole day.
You breathe more seldom and deeper which makes you more relaxed, controlled, focused, mindful about your energy and don’t waste but save your resources.
In addition to what’s already been mentioned, you also learn to stay calm in an “unusual” situation and control that which we take for granted, to use breathing as a tool and to adjust your movement mindfully according to your breath.
Recovery/precovery, inhaling a greater volume of oxygen and exhaling a greater volume of carbon dioxide will improve your stamina and endurance, maximize energy and feed your full human potential and capacity.
Wake up call
Alt 1: On the first signal of the alarm - get up.
Alt 2: Set the alarm at one hour earlier than usual, on the first signal of the alarm - get up.
Alt 3: Set the alarm at one hour earlier than usual, on the first signal of the alarm - get up, get dressed, get out for 30min and feel the silence, solitude and emptiness of a quiet city/village/environment that hasn’t yet woken up but slowly will as you’re there to observe it, totally free from outer and inner distractions.
Learn to take control of your feelings, to switch focus from body to brain, from negative to positive, from doing things last minute when you “have to” to when you decide to, to find motivational forces in a challenging situation and let those drive you instead of the challenge hindering you. Train the act of getting things done to reduce procrastination and stress, and become an expert motivational leader of your own challenges and emotions.
Snoozing can cause anxiety for those who think negative thoughts: “I don’t want to get up” / “I need to sleep more” / “I’m so tired” etc. Switching focus from the challenge to the motivational force, taking control of your feelings and turning them positive will help you get things done easier, you’ll feel strong, empowered and happy, save heaps of time (not only in the morning), engage positive habits, feel controlled and balanced, and you’ll see the world differently with increased time for presence. When you also get up an hour earlier (alt. 2) you’ll break a habit, relieve stress and procrastination, and you’ll feel you “save time” as the days “become longer”. Getting outside as well (alt. 3) and observing an empty world will let you’ll break habits, get new perspective, give space for thoughts, maybe watch a beautiful sunrise and hear the birds twittering, and you’ll feel that you already did something good today and it’s only 06:30 - that’s a perfect positive feeling that’ll set base for the rest of the day!
Mind your step
Don’t use elevators, escalators, cars, buses or other systems of transportation, efficiency, laziness or conveniences for a full day (or more), no matter what, how far or how many bags you carry. If you carry heavy things, think of your posture, facial expression, look up, see others, help others, smile and be thankful you have feet that can carry you, that you owe stuff you can carry and that you’re doing something that makes you sweat. Never forget!
Endurance, stamina, static muscle training, posture, patience, health, find energy when it’s heavy, lift your mental and physical exhaustion to higher levels and get free everyday training. You’ll also make new brain connections - instead of thinking heavy/long equals exhausting, you reconnect your brain to thinking heavy/long equals a fun challenge that makes you smile.
Reach new levels of your strength base and alertness! Smiling and keeping walking/carrying when it’s heavy will train your positive mindset and increase your energy to make you generally stronger and happier. So take advantage of all those tiny everyday body motions - moving a little bit all the time throughout the whole day is way better, smarter, happier and healthier, than sitting still comfortably for a full day and then going to the gym for an hour. We all, each and everyone, still need to be active at least(!) 60min every day for general human public health reasons, and in addition to that staying moderately active throughout the day will make you feel real damn good, keep you alert, awake, on the go, you get things done... you’ll be kind of like an unstoppable machine with tons of positive energy. Some say it’s annoying, others say it’s contagious. Listen to the latter and just keep doing your thing that makes you smile for days and burst out like a unicorn. It’ll make you naturally high, just saying.
No matter the weather, get outside to a calm place, for one hour (or longer) to sit, stand still or do “nothing”, close your eyes and just let your mind and thoughts flow. If it’s cold, then make sure you bring clothes, sleeping bag, insulators, sitting pad, heaters, a thermos or Nalgene bottle with hot water to keep you warm (remember that the cold mainly comes from the ground). Just be. If you get restless, don’t get up or start moving. Just be. (My brain is constantly spinning so I use this kind of mental recovery and similar regularly to stay somewhat sane haha, and it’s something I realize I’ve practiced for feel-good my whole life. Mostly in terms of doing solo trips or having dedicated me-time for a month every year, 1-2 weeks solitude/silence every six months, shut off for an hour daily (usually when running in the mountains), and I lead myself into conscious micro silence and solitude states as often as I can.)
This is like a micro silent retreat. You’ll learn to communicate inwards and not feed yourself with inspiration or recover from impressions. Instead you’ll make your brain acclimatize to active thinking, controlled flow, and positive spirals. Get to know your inner thoughts that come to you when they’re allowed to take space, learn to know how they feel, learn to handle them, even the most uncomfortable thoughts, without distracting them with activities, insta, music, phone calls, tv or other. You’ll do something that you can’t predict - you never know what will happen this hour/period until you experience it. And you’ll learn to adjust to outer circumstances and appreciate that which you can’t fully control yourself (the weather and your thoughts).
Experience true mental silence. Recharge and recover from stress and noise, gain greater tolerance, inner peace, mental endurance and stamina, emotional balance, find (or remind yourself of) your own true inner joy that doesn’t come from external world full of activities. Release, reveal and recover from inner hidden thoughts that are there but you can’t see.
You can stand still, walk, run, dance, snowboard, eat... but whatever you do, don’t sit for a full day! If you really need to sit, sit on the floor or lean a bit against the wall. (Tip: if this is hard you can pretend someone never invented the chair, that you have a service job or that you’re out on an expedition. Gamification in your own mind works just as well as apps, commercials, gyms, etc.).
We have so many systems around us that allow us to act without thinking and solely by routine (perfunctory). We might not always feel or need to sit but we do it anyways due to vailability and since our schools, jobs or social cultures make or force us to. Our whole lives people and (rusty) rules have been telling us to sit down even when our bodies, minds, individual focus capabilities and general health have been screaming for active resting, keeping our “lazy levels” higher than what’s actually good for us. ⠀⠀
Firstly, you train to be more aware of your own choices and feelings and separate them from those who are external or there by routine. This allows you to gain a mindset to always think of the right choice for yourself first, which can be forgotten or hard since we live and exist in social worlds. Secondly, not sitting down for a full day will train your endurance, patience and let your body adjust to a new stronger level of comfort. You’ll become more alert, ready, focused, persistent, sharp and generally more active (and do I need to tell you this is self-confidence strengthening too?). And last but not least, it strengthens your posture significantly!
Thanks to open minded attitudes towards therapy and self development, we can get better than ever. But that also leads us to focus more on ourselves than ever, which makes us feel worse than ever - and so we have a never ending cycle.
Like every other balance in our lives, we also need social balance. So take this day to step out of your inner focus on yourself and invite other people into your mental space. What do they need? Want? Makes them happy? Is there something you can give to make them feel like you just gave a present? A phone call, help with the car, cook them dinner, listen to their problems, eye contact, a smile?
Learn to let go of self focus, self development and your (constant?) thoughts on how to find and make the best version of yourself. Feed your brain with the positive effects from helping others, becoming part of someone or something, and explore how beautiful and light you feel when you separate your feelings from your actions. Don’t judge (remember: this is not about you). If they tell you a story, give eye contact, truly listen and leave all your own values and opinions aside, without saying what you think or giving them an opinion of your own in return. Don’t judge or reply with a story from your own life - just listen to them and let them tell theirs. Get inspired, congratulate.
Togetherness and validation are part of the basic human needs in some sense. Being seen, listened to, understood, accepted, respected and given time is like giving someone a real boost of self confidence. This is how happiness and meaningfulness can be spread, how we learn to try new things, how we feel accepted despite our mistakes, dreams or whoever we are.
Go outside for an hour and open all your senses widely. Listen, see, touch, taste, smell nature. Observe temperature, movement, pain, balance, hunger, thirst. Don’t just run a specific distance, walk for a certain time or number of steps, transport yourself from a to b or use the ground as something you step on and the air as something you breathe - what color is the air you breathe and how does the ground feel on your toes?
Mindfulness knowledge and distraction recovery. Leave your thoughts for a bit and get to know nature in every sense like your soulmate or love. This will not only make you feel you got a new best friend, but it’ll also apply new connections in your brain while “walking the same distance” but with a new purpose. You’ll leave the inobservant one-man-show behind to see your surroundings and enter an act for two, learn about them, not take them for granted and learn a lot about yourself as a human being. This will make you more empathetic and stronger since you’ll train, feel, think and act better when you learn to listen to your body and mind in its surrounding contexts. Also you’ll see the world totally differently - in a very positive way.
Full mental recovery and better understanding, respect, empathy, knowledge and problem solving. Leaving your self focus, everyday treadmill, perfunctory decision making and other mental routines for a bit to focus on something else will also make you recover from and get new energy to your thoughts. Just like exercising, your brain needs a rest. You’ll make better (right) decisions, not feel exhausted prior to a task, not feel tired “for no reason” etc. Watching tv or insta for rest e.g. will make you unconsciously constantly value other people, their thoughts, have quiet opinions, get influenced, get inspired on how to change yourself and so on (your head keeps spinning). Even tough they might be positive, that’s not mental recovery - that’s applying even more thoughts onto your life.
Break a habit
...like buying coffee out, overthinking, carrying a water bottle wherever you go, your reaction on a friend’s certain attributes, your way of planning your weeks, the vegetables you always choose, the things you do before you go to bed, the way you speak to your family, the time you eat or wake up every day, the spices you use, the streets or paths you walk, or just whatever it may be!
Just like fasting, this is a great reminder of what you do, how you do things and why you do them. You’ll become aware of your hidden routines and the way you live, and you might see things you like or don’t like but that “just happen” to be part of your life, as things tend to over time.
Get perspective. The human brain is smart enough to make life as easy as possible since the human being is lazy (wants to preserve energy), which is why creating habits become a natural action in life. But they could also become your worst enemy, why it’s important to step out of the efficiently spinning treadmill (ekorrhjul) every now and then and observe yourself objectively from the outside. And as for addictions, you need to fast completely from the habit and find new ways to “fill in the blanks” to be able change it. Don’t just do - learn what, how and why you do it. Choose what you like, remove what you don’t like. Reset, refresh, restart.
Nurturing sleep mode
Make the uncomfortable comfortable. Sleep on the too short/hard couch or straight on the floor. Head out for a night under the stars or in a bivvy, tent, snow cave or simply on the grass/snow in your garden. Sleep on the floor over night while waiting for the early morning train on your travel, or choose a seat instead of a bed for the night train. Don’t use mattresses or pillows, but use whatever you need to make it just about as comfortable required for you to be able fall asleep (insulator mats, blankets, clothes).
Like yesterday, this is also a reset practice. It will train your brain to not only sleep better, but also solve problems, find comfort in uncomfortable situations or places, make the best out of what you have, and become more flexible in your planning. Last but not least, sleeping on something you’re not used to or in a place where you don’t find comfort, will holistically and deeply remind you to not take things for granted and be grateful for the things you have. You were presented a bed and a pillow when you were born - but did you really (I mean really) need it? Also, the more you practice this, the better you’ll be at falling asleep as you learn to ease your thoughts from noise, light, habits, pain and other surrounding circumstances, and find comfort within yourself instead of needing a dead quiet and pitch black place (which can be stressful sometimes when you don’t have it).
Similar to yesterday’s breaking a habit on getting perspective, resetting the brain and the what/how/why reminder, this practice will nurture your habits and routines. You’ll become more tolerant, foster your thoughts in challenging situations, and the more you sleep uncomfortably, the easier it’ll be to travel or go outdoor camping (and you’ll learn to love it!!). This will also make you question things you have and why you have them - maybe you’ve just done something your whole life on social routine and not for yourself?
Into the unknown
Do something that scares you, makes you uncomfortable or get a bit anxious - like approaching a stranger, holding a speech, starting a company with a friend, giving something valuable away, taking a job you don’t feel perfect for, asking for help, going on a date, being new at something, and so on.
You develop courage by doing courageous acts. The brain can separate a dangerous situation from an uncomfortable situation, but the body can’t. Your body’s reaction on anxiety and stress is the same as if it was dangerous and those feelings are real and just as hard as if it was, even if the outcome is safe. This also goes the other way, meaning that the stress reaction is the same as when you’re excited and happy, so here you have a great opportunity to trigger your brain to feel differently on your reaction - from anxiety to excitement, from negativity stress to positive! As soon as you feel stress, apply a positive thought and you’ll adjust your brain’s triggers and make new connections among your mental models. If you get anxious prior to a task, think of it as an exciting practice, be proud that your trying something that scares the shit out of you, and then just do it. This will eventually make the outbound experience really positive. Tip: think of your stress as a skateboard where mistakes is an everyday thing - you’ll fall over and over again, but you are still super excited about riding that board and eventually you’ll make the trick. Simply - train to not think of consequences and/or let them stop you when they’re not even bad, to not think that every situation needs to be perfect before you do them, and to see trials and errors as a no biggie everyday thing.
Gain strength, courage, confidence and problem solving abilities. You become more productive, increase your creativity, get prepared for unexpected events and changes, and you’ll not only handle but actually like or even love trying new things and pushing those mental boundaries.
Turn your actions around for a full day. If you normally start with the left foot when you walk up the stairs, start with the right. If you see everyone is sitting down, stand up or sit on the floor. If you normally stand quiet by a bus stop, talk to the strangers and sit next to them. If you eat breakfast for breakfast and dinner for dinner, eat dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner. If it’s a norm to wear office wear, wear something distinct, explicit or functional. If you usually talk a lot, be quiet and listen. If it’s a norm to leave the last lussekatt because that’s what Swedes do, take the last one (or take it and give it to someone, but don’t leave it there).
Physical and mental coordination, patience, get personality perspective, get time perspective, discover your habits. By reflecting on your routines, efficiency, on how you do things and by turning them around, you open your mind and senses, give attention to your habits and feelings, and notice your own values. You’ll also understand that the things you miss today will come back to you tomorrow and the rest of the 364 days of the year/life if you want. A day is a long time if you relate it to seconds, a day is really short when relative to years - it’s just up to you to choose how you want to feel while waiting.
Problem solving, inner calmness, self value, dim/erase addictions if you have any. Practing doing/being different and finding your own ways will make you better at prioritizing your time and energy and listening to your body and mind, not just follow routines, norms and unwritten rules. You’ll become more flex as you’ll find it easier to do differently and do what’s right for you, let go of things and valuables, to not make them too big and too significant so that it’ll become hard and anxious to separate from them. It’ll be easier to make changes, reschedule, choose and make decisions. No, you don’t have to travel the world to “find yourself”, you just need to be stronger than social norms and be aware and mindful on the inside and out.
Lift and balance yourself
If you’re in a tight situation, stuck, stressed, injured, depressed or have things popping up in your life that just keep building - never down prioritize the things that make you feel good and let you catch your breath. No matter how much time you need to spend on solving a situation, never not replace one or a few hours with meaningful active recovery. Choose one thing - training, dancing, painting, snowboarding, cooking, music, reading, a friend, or whatever makes you feel present and holistically good that grabs your attention (and maybe even makes you lose track of time) - let that be your safe zone to keep inner balance.
Finding positive distraction and focus will train your brain to rest, recover and solve situations no matter how you feel. You’ll practice keeping that smile, not feeling sorry for yourself, overcome stress related apathy and gain mental strength to redesign your purpose to keep going. Find a good enough balance and recover, find ways to remain sane and stay above the surface when life doesn’t go your way. Like an everyday challenge, a trauma or a demanding adventure. Keep that routine - every day. Nothing is worth your time more than you doing something that makes you feel good! No one will ever thank you for not. And for the time you don’t spend on that thing (maybe to earn money?) you pay with your happiness and wellbeing.
Recover from stress, stay happy, keep life meaningful, remain patient. That truly meaningful thing or happy place that grabs your attention and makes you feel damn good, will work as your safe zone to happiness and it will keep you balanced even in tough situations. If you postpone or procrastinate that thing because life is too hectic, you’ll eventually feel meaninglessness or enter the negative spiral. If you keep it, it’ll eventually guide you to the lifestyle you want, need or dream of living. You always have time for one thing (or more). Always. Always. What else is meaningful, I mean really?
Plan something epic (and love the process)
Long term motivation, how do we find that? And why do some become Antarctica explorers or “rockstars” and others quit halfway? Of course timing, people, network, creativity, knowledge, experience, health, attitude, money i.a. are all factors of where in the process you start the journey towards a big goal. But those are also the parts you need to love working for to be able to do something long term - prioritizing, being patient, finding mini challenges within the big one, enjoying every “guitar lesson”, seeing the money/time you spend on it as an investment for the soul, getting education, needing 7 jobs, practicing every damn day, feeling great about practicing every damn day, selling stuff, not buying stuff, being honest to and trusting yourself, talking to people, asking for advice and help, quit doing things you don’t love doing and start doing things that which you do, and so on.
Take your long term goal, break it into reachable step-by-step actions (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly). What do you have and what do you need (SWOT, starting point)? Visualize the process and your daily prioritizations and sacrifices. Does it feel good in your gut? If not, can you do something to make it feel good - work on your attitude, redefine your goal, set a new goal?
Making your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time bound, exciting and routine bound (SMARTER) is a great and well used tool in maintaining motivation. This is the most well defined analysis and reflection of the process that you need to find out if you’ll love it (if you don’t feel it already). And what is the goal worth if you don’t?
Be smart in how you live and feel about your life. Which lifestyle fits you? Which actions make you bounce out of bed? What process do you need in your life to make you feel like a “rockstar” every damn day, so much that you don’t even need that long-term goal? This will make your sacrifices transform into positive prioritizations. You’ll do what you want/need and you feel it’s worth everything.
Visualize yourself as a five pointed star. At the top point you have self-actualization, and in the others you have self-esteem, social needs, freedom from fear and physiological needs. In cases of needs deprivation, people find motivation or desire to grow. For example, the longer a person goes without food, the more hungry they will be —> motivation to eat. ⠀⠀
Regarding self-growth (actualization), it’s easy to think one thing will make you happy. “If only...”. That’s not a false vision as people tend to state, that could actually be the case. If there’s something you really wish for it might be a good idea to prioritize it, make room for it and set that long term goal mentioned yesterday. However, it will not solely make you happy or “complete” if you don’t have the rest. (And maybe you’ll never even reach that goal). Why?
Making something a too big part of ones life can be a danger. Having a relationship or job of your dreams where you don’t really have room for yourself, or where you make that the most important thing in your life and sacrifice everything else, it also becomes really sensitive. Your health and satisfaction might depend on the changes in or health of your relationship or job. If there are problems at work you might take it personally and feel unsuccessful, low or even depressed. But if you keep making room for other important needs like training, self development, social activities, another passion, you won’t feel it would be the end of the world if the relationship or job doesn’t turn out the way you want.
Stronger mentality, lower stress, easier recovery process, increased self-growth, better life balance, continued happiness. You’ll be more open to changes and stay mentally and physiologically healthy when one important need tips over. Visualizing your needs will also make you aware of your lacks and desires, and you’ll feel more stable and secure with who you are, what you do, and why you do it - even when trauma hits you.
Do you feel satisfied with your star?
Dance like no one's watching
Dancing has always been a big part of my life. Not only was I on the way to New York after high school for elite dance education before life suddenly shut my body down for 8 years. It’s also been my way to recover, stress down, flow, not think, focus, get an instant high, my medicine, learn how my whole body feels and simply for daily active meditation, for as long as I can remember.
Wake up a little bit earlier than normal, maybe 15 min or whatever suits you (I usually get caught up in a high-flow and need more time). Before you start your day, put on your favorite music, close your eyes or maybe stand in front of a mirror, and let your full body listen and just move with the sound/melody/lyrics. Don’t judge - just move. Don’t think - just move. Sing along if you like, pretend you’re performing, go crazy, stay calm, do the ugly dance, bring out your best moves... as long as you’re moving your whole body and doing that which makes you feel damn good and without judging. (Alt. snowboard, surf, yoga etc.)
So, how did it feel?
Learn to act fully without judging, to let go of mental obstacles and to speak with your body. You’ll train to get a more colorful and creative expression, which helps you trust your body and communicate with others and yourself with confidence - and feel real good when you do. You’ll land in an active state of meditation and learn physical awareness.
Gain confidence in yourself, your goals, your dreams and find it easier to not take life too seriously quite instantly. Playing/moving/dancing is always a perfectly well-working tool to get an instant relief and increased body language, self esteem, body control, creativity, see patterns, problem solving, coordination and a GREAT start of the day. Your brain will feel like you already accomplished something good, which helps you feel amazing from the start. This will boost your ability to stay positive prior to all the following tasks or jobs that day and even do them better. Besides, now you have something amazing to look forward to every morning!
Like what you don't like
Do something you don’t like doing and try to enjoy it, like it or even love it. Like eating something untasty or poor, being cold or hungry, waiting in line, wearing a bad outfit, trying a sport that seems boring, hanging with someone who you find irritating, go on a date with someone who’s not your type, feeling exhausted, traffic, going to the doctor, and so on. Practice your fear, try to turn your thoughts around to actually smile and enjoy them.
Prepare for the unexpected things that happen in life by turning every obstacle into opportunity, and you’ll learn to differentiate between that which we can change and that which we can’t. This is like resetting yourself back to zero, to a “start form nothing”-base and the rest is bonus. Like hunger vs eating poor food, not affording clothes vs wearing bad ones, not having healthcare vs getting help. You’ll remind yourself of everything you have instead of focusing on everything you miss, lack or dream of. To some that’s all they focus on, and those people never feel fulfilled, enough and maybe even seem “spoiled”. If you let go of knowledge from experience, stay curious and open minded without judging the situation as a whole, you’ll learn to switch purpose when the unexpected happens. Train your open mindedness and learn that the things you haven’t liked a thousand times can still be likable if you choose to. Learn to act on separating your values and identity from life’s all situations and you’ll be a better friend, colleague and person in general.
Gain energy and positive attitudes in sudden life changes or in situations you can’t choose and just have to “suffer through”. Don’t suffer, don’t fly, don’t feel “it’s not you” - win new experiences and heaps of empathy. Make new connections in your brain to the things you once learned to dislike, and reconnect them with new positive mindset, experience, smell, sound, taste, vision, feeling, and you’ll see opportunities only.
If you choose to not be harmed then you won’t feel harmed, if you choose to not feel harmed then you haven’t been.
Take a new route
Wherever you’re heading or walking today, take a detour around new blocks or paths you haven’t been / rarely take / the longer ones. Don’t just take the shorter ones because they’re shorter, rather choose curiosity.
Step out of your routines and unconscious “efficiency spiral”, see something new, add to your physical activity that day (the small extra steps quickly add up!). Adding value to life (new paths, activities, people, self development) and subtracting addicting, less healthy and time consuming habits (tv, sugar, too much social media) - and starting with something as simple as just seeing a new street - will make your mind curious and inspire you to grow. Making small sustainable changes are likely to stay in your daily life for good. Besides, why always choose the shorter and more efficient way of transportation instead of the more surprising and healthy one more often, is it really that important to always rush? And life is ”all about the journey” (long term AND short term), isn’t it?
Make time memorable while gaining heaps of positivity. You’ll get out of feeling stuck and find that you wanna do more new things. As an instant result your self confidence will grow, you’ll feel refreshed, be curious about, crave and get ready for changes, you’ll develop and just feel fkn great while creating fun experiences that will make you remember your days in your daily life instead of just letting them pass. Difficult, long, new, unplanned, inspiring roads always lead to beautiful destinations - physically, mentally and emotionally.
Try something new (way above your comfort zone)
Do something you’re not in full control of. Like starting a new business, going to another country for a date, taking a job you have no experience of, having a fika with people you don’t know, inviting yourself to social activities with people who are like/unlike yourself, trying a new sport/activity where you might not know anyone, sell your best amateur photos to companies that might want them... the list is endless. See it as an inspirational challenge that will give you new ideas or simply just a fun time, the outcome itself is of no importance.
Let go of perfect - “when I know it perfectly and have the right cv, then I’ll apply”. You’ll learn that the only thing people care about is the result/experience, what you can accomplish and if you give them energy by being a good or fun friend around them. Not how many studies, jobs, trials and errors you have completed. By networking above(?) your skills you create tons of new opportunities even if you don’t see it, and even if you don’t get what you came for (or you will!) you definitely get something else. You might make new friends, get new inspiration, new jobs, heaps of confidence, create a memorable daily life, feel alive. And you’ll definitely learn about your hidden skills and what you’re actually capable of. You don’t need to hold the camera “right” to take awesome photos or wear the “right” outdoor clothes to be an outdoor person. You’ll find your way, let go of your expectations on yourself.
Everything is relative, every skill is subjective. Stop comparing things you know very little about! Just do what your gut tells you and do what you dream. If you don’t land in your dream, then you took a great leap closer to it. However, if your gut tells you you’ll be more confident if you study or take another job first, that’s a great way to go too. But trying heading for the top is by far the best crash course in what you have and what you need more training on, and you sure will gain self confidence, self awareness and self trust!
Find your flow
This is my favorite of all (and why I mostly feel “high on life” which sadly people tend to question quite often) - what makes a life worth living? Psychologists and philosophers have long stated that it’s about the finding the "optimal experience", that is finding pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring flow (“the zone”, the opposite is apathy). The zone is where your high skill level and high challenge level meet to give you energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. Most recognize it as complete absorption in what one does and a loss in sense of space and time.
The term is often used in sports psychology, meditation, music and design as a wished state for optimal performance. This is where you do by instinct, set your PB’s and feel real good. The flow state is also one of the reasons why I e.g. head out on solo adventures and love it.
So - whatever produces flow becomes it own reward.
Find an activity where you have:
1. a clear set of goals and progress (structure)
2. immediate feedback
3. good balance between high perceived challenges and skills
4. freedom from distractions
Train to find your state of effortless attention and full presence and make it part of your daily life. Find your flow and learn about your skills and challenges. Train persistence and achievement in activities, to lower anxiety during various activities and raise self-esteem.
Reach a level of high gratification from the experience, overcome challenges, reach your ultimate goals and gain a sense of life satisfaction overall. Learn to love challenges since you’ll stretchen your skills while feeling competence and efficacy. You’ll find focus, a sense of ecstasy, great inner clarity, know your skills are adequate to the task, loss of worries, serenity, timelessness, presence and intrinsic motivation. Also in a flow state your heart rate and blood pressure are decreased and the major facial muscles relaxed. And - you’ll find your ideal lifestyle.
When do you find flow?
I wish I was snowboarding today but bed caught me with a really bad flu 3 days ago. But I’ve actually been laying here feeling as though I’m dying with sos speed dial in my hand, while laughing at how I sound, look, feel, act and eat (no I’m neither high nor hallucinating). In times when everything fucks up, I fuck up or life fucks up, I step out of myself and look at the situation from the outside, feel grateful for the fact that I have a bed, a roof, clean water, health care and then I laugh at the whole irony of timing. And I always know it’s life and just a temporary state that I can’t just get rid of anyhow. It’s kind of an adventurer’s attitude out on the field. You can’t cry and feel sorry for yourself, well you can, but you have to find ways to keep going. And I’d want to do it happily!
Speaking of which...
Don’t complain for a full day, discomfort is temporary. Add a little extra if you want:
Alt. 1: Choose the most uncomfortable (sit vs stand, good vs bad food, elevator vs stairs).
Alt. 2: If you’re in an uncomfortable state already (sickness, challenge, uncertain relationship), pretend that it’s is your normal or that it’s a challenge you chose yourself.
Find gratitude within even the bad/challenging things. Like in a traffic jam to work, be grateful you have a car, a job to drive to and that you’re not the one in the incident (if so). If you’re not a very positive person already, you’ll find that there’s quite many times during the day that you complain by routine that you didn’t notice before. Maybe for social reasons and without debt. But even if it’s just for chitchatting, it can be unconsciously contagious.
You’ll see the world more positively. You’ll find gratitude, ways to solve problems, become comfortable in uncomfortable situations, and raise your level of tolerance. You’ll start to feel more love for yourself and others, and you’ll be a more attractive person to be around.
In adventuring, it’s not what you don’t have that takes you forward.
In life, it’s not what you don’t have that takes you forward.
Add a backpack with some extra 5-20 kilos and carry it all day or add it to your normal functional training/run. Adjust it properly, make sure you carry it right and make sure you hold a good posture all day. Do some squats or push-ups or dips every now and then throughout the day. If you go for a run the backpack is still with you, pretend it’s your weight and don’t take it off. (For inspiration, see the video in stories from when I was training for a month on skateboard around Iceland, apparently as the first woman in the world haha).
All these extra exercises or movements bring you functionality, strength, endurance and stamina that you don’t get if you don’t spend heaps of hours at one time in the gym with free weights. And if you’re training for an adventure you need to do what you will be doing and stay as near that physical tear as possible to not get injured and to be able to carry it through with a good mood! Keep in mind that out on the adventure you can’t lighten your load because you don’t feel like carrying it.
Whatever you do heavier than your usual will become super light and easy tomorrow. Your posture and core will tighten up and you’ll activate muscles you’ve never felt before. You’ll not only train physically, but you’ll learn to shut off that which makes your day tougher than normal, you learn to focus on your why’s and the right things to stay positive throughout the day, and with an extra load you’ll find that you’ll only focus on that which your energy needs. In that way you can find and eliminate meaningless things from your life, and focus on those that are right for you. ⠀⠀
This overload mental technique training can be used in other situations too - when you’re cold, hungry, exhausted, sick, mountain running, or whatever other challenging situation or training. There’s a secret formula to how much of this one should add too, but I’ll get back to you with it in an upcoming post hehe!
The 25/50/25 rule
This is a such a good one for everything you do in life to develop and stay motivated! Kinda like a xmas fairytale - it works like magic.
Find the right balance of the different challenge levels in your mental/physical/emotional training within any context (work, workouts, studies, relationships, passion, life). 25% of the time spent on the activity should be easy, 50% at your level and 24% challenging. This formula can be used from different perspectives: seen from years, months, days, during an activity/practice, or even within details of the activity.
25% easy - learning to perform (identify your skills, try new techniques with low risk, play with the activity and develop self confidence).
50% medium - strategy and mental strength (learn to perform under a little bit of pressure and how to handle it in your best way, raise your abilities to the next level).
25% hard - challenge your skills (learn to react, act at a higher pace and from a full movement/process/perspective, get an overview, identify untrained details).
It’s true what they say, train that which you want to learn. If you want to learn to jump high you need to jump high. But you won’t get there if you don’t keep your self-confidence, motivation, positivity and skill levels high. This varied focus of the development process also entertains the brain over time to never feel restless and to stay motivated (just think of the “flow” image I posted in stories three days ago w skills/challenges). Also, you’ll never have a bad day jumping cus you can just pretend it’s an “easy”-day and step down to play around on the bumps and take back your stolen self-confidence. Also, if you don’t have a split board, you can just add booting to you “challenging”-days instead of not going at all.
Free yourself from decisions
Try not to decide which noghurt to buy, to answer that message now or later, run to the top or not, have this or that for dinner, to move or stay... - just pick one and pretend alternatives never existed. Don’t overthink it, just do it. Since you’re most def choosing between good alternatives, either is gonna be good and most things you’re just never gonna know until you’re living the answer.
These are all highly consuming questions whether we notice it or not, everyone is making these tiny and huge decisions constantly. We think choices means freedom and with freedom you have welfare - BUT no one questions it. “Anything is possible, you can be what you want” they say. But when everything is possible, you decrease satisfaction which leads to choice paralysis. Why?
1. Regret - a “better” yet imagined alternative subtracts from satisfaction even if it was a good decision.
2. Comparison - how we value our choice depends on how and to which attractive attributes of the alternative we compare them.
3. Expectations - the more choices, the higher expectations of finding “perfect”. When you don’t have things to choose from, it’s possible to like what you have.
4. Self-blame - people blame themselves for making bad choices even if they’re good, this leads to a negative spiral (clinical depression has exploded). ⠀⠀
If you’re too preoccupied with your choices, you’ll soon start to include your identity, relationships and future in that decision. Will I still like this painting in an hour? In 5 years? This wall or that one? Will my bf like it? And suddenly your whole life hangs on the wall. Is one painting really worth all that energy?
learn to act on your instincts, spend your energy right, free yourself from anxiety, regret, self-blame and paralysis, increase value to the things you truly value and decrease value to that which you don’t, gain self confidence, save heaps of time, find gratitude in what you have, increase overall happiness.
And if you picked the “wrong” noghurt, just pick another one next time 🤷🏼♀️
A guest once said to me: “Have you ever heard of stoicism? I think that’s you.” I had no idea what that was, but as I started reading about it I realized that he was right. Maybe it’s my life’s early traumas that taught me this over night, maybe it was my elite athletism. But what I do know is that it’s the nr one mindset that has helped me through all obstacles in life, to accept everything, my absence of anger and irritation, and to stay happy even when I’m “almost dead” or lost everything I love, do or have.
Stoicism is simply hoping for what is just and preparing for what is unjust. It teaches the right state of mind in our unpredictable world, the development of self-control, virtue, happiness, fortitude and overcoming destructive emotions. To accept the moment as presented, to not allow oneself to be controlled by desires or fears.
ACTION & BRAIN TRAINING
1. Practice misfortune - eat little food, wear bad clothes, sleep on the floor.
2. Turn every obstacle upside down and create opportunities.
3. Overcome irrational, unhealthy and excessive desires and emotions.
4. Change perspective, take the view from above to change your value judgments on things.
5. Remind yourself that you’re dying, then you’ll never have a base thought, an excessive desire and not waste a second.
6. Differentiate between what we can change and what we can’t. If a train is delayed because of weather, no amount of yelling and irritation will end a snowstorm.
7. Negative visualization. Imagine worst case scenario, then nothing happens against your expectation.
8. Do not seek for things to happen the way you want them to, just wish that what happens happen the way it happens.
Life “is” hard, brutal, restricted, punishing, unfair and a deadly business. This is a “balm” to learn to relax, understand and accept, to not overreact on either positive or negative. You’ll be steadfast, strong, satisfied and in control of yourself. You’ll become better in your craft, better with yourself, with your friends, with your enemies and with people.
5s rule (Move your ass and your mind will follow)
When neuroscience says yay to no-brainer decision making: don’t think, just do! This is kinda like dropping food on the floor, within 5s it’s still eatable (according to your brain). So, similarly, as soon as you get an idea - act within 5s. After 5s your brain starts to think, analyze, reflect, compare and use logic to solve problems. “What if...?!” That can easily make you confused, anxious, procrastinate and even lead to paralysis. Learn to confront your stress, if it’s running then go for that run, if it’s texting someone then text that someone.
Humans tend to think too much about a situation or a challenge important to them, so much that they end up doing nothing. The more thoughts they put into it, the more important it becomes since more and more time, dreams, scenarios, possible solutions and analyzes are being spent on it which builds up a little world around ”a tiny phone call” (ref to the painting on the 25th about choices). That makes it really hard, scary and challenging - cus if it doesn’t work out, that whole little world that has been built up to become part of one’s identity crashes which might be a risk of feeling unsuccessful, failing, comparing... “There’s always a better/perfect decision”. So you end up doing nothing and/or feeling anxious.
Train to break a habit from getting an idea and thinking about doing it, to getting an idea and doing it. Learn to act on non-perfect, guts and instinct (your first true feelings of the experience you want). Strengthen your willpower, self confidence, presence, take control of your emotions and learn to lead yourself.
Feel the freedom of letting go of constant decision making, expectations and just getting things done. Get over procrastination, get rid of anxiety and break the cycle of letting stress lead you. You might even get rid of your fears, confusion, paralysis and other mental monsters since you act on instinct and make your mental preconceptions shut up.
Do it wrong (if that's your right)
As a metaphor: hold your camera “wrong” if it works best for you, apparently you can take amazing photos anyways and sell them to different brands who love them. People are always gonna be picking on you when you don’t do things “traditionally right” (their right). But you know what? In adventuring there is no right or wrong. There’s only survive or die, smile or cry, work or no work, go or no go. And whatever makes you survive, smile, work and go - DO JUST THAT! There has been people telling me to put the storm straps right, to wear outdoor pants, to... ok the list is gonna be endless. But what they don’t know is that I’ve lived with the outdoors since childhood and spent 500 nights in a tent the last 4 years in everything from dead calm to hell breaking loose in -20 to +30 degrees, and that I’m a certified adventurer and certified fjällguide and so on. “What do we think about the storm straps hahaha?” some wise-guy commented addressed to his friend when I posted a photo of my tent on a day when you def didn’t need them or wanted to spend your energy on extra useless work since I was out adventuring (not taking hipster adventure photos). “What?! Are YOU an outdoor person?” another one asked when I was the only one in a group of adventurers who wore tights when everyone else had outdoor pants (cus that’s what you always should wear as soon as you step outside if you’re a real adventurer, right?). Yes, I know exactly when I need my pants and when I need the most comfortable tights I have to use my energy right.
Wear a combo from hell if that’s what you get/have/want and let people make fun of you - either laugh with them or don’t give a shit. The most important thing is that you’re still doing it. Just learn to spend your energy right, get self confidence and withstand picky know-it-all’s (puckon).
You’ll learn your way of doing things, listen to you inner energy, follow your own path and reach your dreams without feeling useless, inexperienced or as though everything needs to be militarily “perfect” when it doesn’t have to be.
Accept your conditions
This is a night I’ll always remember - it’s all in the dead parts of my toes haha. It was -15, it was quiet and crispy, the air was full of glittering ice crystals and the light was purely amazing. I could not resist it. One of the most romantic things I know is doing something that requires hard physical work for hours, a balanced mental state that keeps your laughter floating on top, and tons of heat systems that keep you alive hehe. When any dinner turns into food porn and when watching the sunrise makes you the happiest person on earth. When the simplest things make any hour golden. Always unbeatable, never gets old. I slept 220 nights outside last year for 220 very good reasons, and some experiences are just worth everything - even toes.
If I look at my previous serious toe problem I just shouldn’t have been there in the first place. But I’ve learnt when to go, when to kill a toe, when to say no, and how to handle my physical, mental and emotional status. But none will ever make me not do what I love, I just keep keep finding solutions to step out of every freezer with all my body parts intact. So now I’ve learnt to bring a sauna for my feet hehe.
ACTION & BRAIN TRAINING
Don’t say “I can’t do it”. Say “I can’t do it this way, but maybe in another way”. And if the weather is terrible and the odds are against you, tell yourself “this is a perfect start for me” and get going. If you have one leg and want to run, run with your crutches (been there). If you want to become a photographer but can’t afford it, take photos with your phone and become one anyways (yep, been there too). Accept your conditions, find a solution, start somewhere, and just follow your passion. The rest will fall into place accordingly.
Become an expert problem solver. If you start with one thing, the brain will automatically be searching for more solutions to even more obstacles in your daily life. At least one thing is for certain: no one will ever fix your problem for you. It’s only you, your brain, your actions and your decision to if you want it in your life or not.
Get rid of self-pity
Don’t feel sorry for yourself at any time whatsoever throughout the day, no matter your situation (yes, I’ve gone through a bit too many big life traumas so I know how hard it can be, but it’s still no excuse). Self pity is our worst enemy and it won’t take you anywhere ever than deeper down the self-dug pit. It’ll take your power away and it makes you unable to see the next opportunity, and you can’t succeed at anything if you are miserable with yourself and your work as it completely spoils any chance of being able to see possibilities as they appear. What you focus on grows - is it negative, then you’ll grow negative. It really is that simple.
If you feel any sort of self pity today, let go. Try to shift focus from your problems to your solutions and happy places in life. Stop comparing yourself to a “norm situation” or someone else’s. Don’t even talk about how you feel since it keeps you focusing on the problem, instead talk about the solutions and possibilities and ask people for help - but only regarding your opportunities! They want to be your friend and fellow human, but they don’t want to be your therapist.
Let go, zoom out, focus on gratitude, visualize your ideal state or a person who expresses just that, enter that feeling like you’re playing a role and act that role during the whole day. You can feel self pity again tomorrow, but most likely after a day you’ll find that you don’t want to feel that tomorrow. And there you go!
Learn to find new ways of handling self pity and whining, to control your emotions and separate them from your actions. Out there you can’t feel sorry for yourself if you get injured or if the weather turns bad - you need to fix it and keep going, rather positively and happily, right? You don’t need to do what you feel, but you’ll most likely feel what you’re doing.
You’ll get new tools in finding opportunities and you won’t feel pity and push yourself down as often. Reach a state of relief and feel strong, self confident and eager on stepping straight into the more positive future.
Make, create and take opportunities
When I was 13 I started dreaming of Antarctica and a life as an adventurer. I never told anyone even though I worked for it daily and trained hard physically and mentally (stoically)... Until I was 29 and called Ola Skinnarmo whose adventures I’d been following since those early teens, and invited myself to a meeting.
A year later, still confused, I left my job as a design engineer to live on the streets, to refresh, reset my brain and start over from nothing - to gain freedom from decisions and to only add value. I was too curious and passionate to not get depressed from spending all my time in an office even at a job I loved, and I was so relieved and ready for my “street adventure”. But that next day there was Ola offering me my dream job as an expedition guide. I was already working as an adventurer, but if I wouldn’t have called him I’d probably still struggle a bit to fix my lifestyle. His experiences matched my Antarctica dreams so if I hadn’t taken the train to Sthlm solely to have a chat with him for ideas on how to form my lifestyle, he wouldn’t have known I wanted it so bad and he would never have called me a year later when he found out I’d quit my job. A few highly eventful years (as you’ve seen) have passed and now I’ve set up a plan that will bring me down there myself!
This is just one example of what networking, visualizing yourself in your role models, talking about your ideas, proposing opportunities, creating work, and grabbing and hanging with the people and things who give you the right inspiration and energy can do.
ACTION & BRAIN TRAINING
Team is everything. Catch your inspiration, find your crew and give of your own energy to the people who live or do what you do (friend, partner, colleague, influencer, role model). Meet new people, make new friends, talk about ideas, plan work together. You need to take that step forward cus they won’t come to you automatically.
Some will work, some won’t, some stay, some don’t. But eventually, the right person and the right timing is yours. And that’s dang beautiful!