Hi everybody. Dmitri Bilgere here with another tip on how you can be the leader you were born to be.
So today I want to talk about this idea of, “The best things in life are often things that we would not have ordered off the menu.” As we get older, we get to know ourselves better and we get to know what we like and what we don’t like, and we have more and more responsibilities. What starts to happen is the menu of options for what we’re open to in our lives starts to constrict. Right?
We all want to stay fresh and vibrant and growing. But it turns out that as you get to know yourself better and you get to know more of what you don’t like and what you do like, our focus starts to constrict. That menu becomes shorter and shorter of things we’re willing to pick from for what we care about in our lives. And that makes us stagnant. It actually does. It’s the downside of knowing yourself better: You become less and less able to discover new great things about yourself and you start to miss amazing opportunities for things that could give you a lot of growth and joy.
When we’re young and we don’t really know that much about ourselves, we’re more of a “yes” to everything. But we become more of a “no” and our menu gets smaller.
The thing I think that really helps us discover what it is that’s off the menu that would be great for us is love. I had a girlfriend once say to me, “So why do you love me?” And as I was struggling to answer that question, what I realized was with love we tend to think there are a bunch of reasons to love somebody, or a bunch of reasons to love some activity or some thing. And when enough of those reasons stack up it sort of flips over and you go, “Great. I love this person,” or, “I love this thing,” or, “I love this activity.”
But in my observation, life is actually the opposite of that. We’re often surprised by what we love and by who we love. And that love will often happen quickly. When I first saw the work that I do for a living—this Carpet Work, this deep, emotional, transformational work—I saw it on a men’s weekend and we weren’t far into it before I was saying, “Wow. This is what my life is about. I love this.” Or a friend of mine who’s a cinematographer, she said the first time she picked up a video camera it was the same thing. She was like, “This is what my life is about, right here.” She loved it.
And then later we come up with reasons to back up what we love or people we love. If you think about it, how often have you loved someone before you even spoke to them? Maybe you saw them around or at a party or who knows what, and you’re just like, if you’re honest with yourself, “Wow, my heart has love for that person. I don’t even know the reason my heart has love for that person. But it does.” And then, after the love is there, we start establishing reasons why we love that person.
And as I said at the beginning, as we get older our willingness to see those sort of new loves constricts. We know who we are, we know what we want, and we certainly know our list of responsibilities, so we’re going to focus on this narrow range of what we’re looking for or open to.
But what I want to suggest to you is that when love shows up like that—that unexpected love that sort of shows up before you even expect it to—maybe give that a little attention. I’m not saying turn your life upside down or break up your relationship.
For instance, my wife. We often look at each other and say, “Wow, I can’t believe I’m with you. You are not someone I would have ordered off the menu. If you’d asked me what I wanted it would not have been you.” But she’s still perfect for me. I’m perfect for her. Because when we first met and there was that little bit of line of love between our hearts, we were willing to pursue that. We were willing to give that some space. Maybe not even aggressively—just give it some space for that unexpected love.
Lots of things are like this. Hobbies are like this. Why do I love vintage computers? Because I love vintage computers. There’s no reason. I guess I could come up with reasons, but there really isn’t one. It’s just that the love is there. And as I explore it and say, “Wow, that love is there. I’m going to make some room for that in my life. Maybe I’m going to start a collection,” it brings joy that was not expected.
I love the saying that some of the best things in life are things you wouldn’t have thought to order off the menu. But in order for you to actually have the experience of those best things in life, you have to be willing to look away from the menu and notice, “Wow, I’m loving that person.” “Wow, I’m loving this situation.” “Wow, I’m loving this thing,” or, “this activity.”
You have to allow yourself to feel that spark that comes before there’s even a reason. And then let yourself, if it makes sense, make some room in your life to get to know that person, or to get to explore that activity.
And that’s how we keep growing and expanding. We keep staying fresh and alive as we age and get to know ourselves better. We still get to have these off-the-menu discoveries about who we really are, and that enables us to keep growing and become bigger.
So that’s my tip for today. I hope it helps you out to open yourself more to that unexpected love and get off the menu.
This is Dmitri Bilgere signing off. See you soon.