The greatest story ever told is the one you tell yourself.
You know, that little part of your brain that tells you what you can or cannot do. The one who scolds you when you eat too much, or puts a smile on your face when you do that extra 10 minutes on the treadmill. The monkey mind that helps you or hinders you – the seemingly bipolar one. The one you need to tame often because it’ll go off on its own to collect bananas if left unchained and next thing you know you’ve binged watched the entire series of Black Mirror over your only free weekend this month.
Your internal dialogue and the story you tell yourself – about your goals, your aspirations, your actions – is the most important part of you.
When setting my aspirations for who I want to become, creating habits and repetition is great for getting there. But the technique I’ve been using for most of my adult life and one I’ve found helps me the most, is to live your dreams as if they were real. Recently I discovered Ed Mylett, who articulated this perfectly – Touch the dream.
So when I was given the opportunity for free accomodation in Thailand, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to “touch the dream” of being a full time travel photographer on my own terms – to live through my own internal story of success in real life.
What would life be like as someone who travels and takes photographs for a living? What would a typical day look like from dawn to dusk of a person living this way? If perhaps being rich in money were less important than being rich in time and experience? My aspiration is to know the answers to that, and I’m working towards it everyday.
There’s something about the kinaesthetic association of experiencing your aspirations that; even if they’re just pretend, feel real. With enough exposure, you trick your mind and eventually, they do become real – as if some magnetic force wills it into existence.
So I couldn’t say no to taking this trip come Friday – a solo one – one where I get to live every day like I aspire to live one day. That doesn’t mean action-packed-do-something-at-all-hours-go-hard-out. As someone with more time on their hands, it means waking up, meditating, going for a run, maybe shoot a sunrise or a short adventure somewhere, come home and take a nap, write, maybe shoot again for sunset, edit, post and sleep early. Day-to-day stuff. Real stuff.
By living this story in real life, if even just a week, I know I’ll get closer to achieving it one day, because the more you touch your dream and get to know it, the more true your story becomes.