How to Reinvent Yourself and Finally Fulfill Your Wildest Childhood Dreams

by Anne Dorko

It’s hard to walk around in a haze, feeling like a semi-functional zombie. Work. Eat. Sleep. Work. Eat. Sl— when does it end? How did you get here? Is this all there is? Is this really your life now?

You’re not alone, and this is not a drill. You only get one life, time’s a wastin’. You want to reinvent yourself, but the trouble is knowing where to start. I invite you to talk a walk back through history with me. You need to remember who you really are.

Remember Your Childhood

When I was a kid, I never thought “When I’m a grown up, I want to be…”

Nope! I always thought in terms of, “I am…”

My childhood resumé ranged from cowboy, sword fighter, sword maker, pirate, ninja. Just about every epic thing you can imagine. I didn’t dream of becoming those things, I entered an alternate reality where I already was those things.

Now that I’m adult and I look back at those dreams, I realize how embarrassingly little my desires have changed.

It It’s not my fault pretending to be a pirate is so fun!

Only now, my metabolism weighs me down. Not to mention, escaping to alternate realities is generally frowned up or viewed as mental instability. Chasing people with fake swords stops being acceptable sometime during middle school.

I’m a goddamn adult! Isn’t there something in my power to do about this? There has to be some upsides to getting older, right?

As it turns out – Yes! There is a huge upside to being an adult.

I recently realized I can train in every skill or talent that ever made me want to be, say, a ninja. I can learn parkour to scale buildings and roadblocks that would inhibit any normal person. Or I can start my journey to becoming a pirate by learning sword play. Maybe I’ll learn to shoot and rope on a ranch somewhere Down Under to fulfill my dreams of being a cowboy.

I’m taking that realization and turning it into a reality. I am going to attain all the skills that ever made me think “Damn, that is cool.” And I want to am going to see the world while I’m at it.

I mean, don’t we all want that? Has the fire burned out for you? How cool would it be to say you can climb a freaking building wall and get to the roof, no ladder needed. Or know that you can sharpshoot a soda can from 100 yards. Or have trained in the art of defending yourself with a rapier in the courtyards of France.

That fire is still there for me. I still imagine myself scaling walls, flipping off rooftops, taking names and kicking ass. Preferably with my own theme song written by Hans Zimmer himself booming in the background.

The only way for this to become reality by focusing all my energy on making it happen. (Hans Zimmer, if you’re reading this, we have some talking to do.)

I’m not going to let the norm dictate my life, such as an office career. No, I’m going to make life’s so-called requirements fit around what I want in life.

Think about that for a minute.

Most people spend their entire lives trying to fit what’s important around the rest of it. You know, the stuff that we’re told is required to be a functional adult. A career. A mortgage. A lot of expensive stuff to show our status in life.

The only real rule is to become a self-supported human being, right? Why haven’t we been experimenting with the boundaries that around that principle? Who ever said that 9-5 at a desk was required for you to be taking your life seriously?

Let’s define our single principle to leading a life worth having.

The New Principle:

When you’re excited about life, everything is possible. The obvious solution is to always be excited.

Work has become a dirty term. “I have to go to work” is one of the most depressing things people say on a regular basis, but why is that?

Working should be the part of your life that makes you an income. Your life should be awesome all the way around, and work should be a part of that.

Are you ready to dissect how following this principle helps you become everything you wanted to be?

Reinvent Yourself From Scratch

It’s time to reinvent.

Close your eyes and go back in time to when you were just a kid. If you’re like me, there are a lot of arbitrary characters you saw yourself as. Other kids wanted to be a firefighter or a trainer at Sea World.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re afraid of fire, the dark, or the ocean.

In fact, it’s better if you are because facing your fears brings you out of the rut you’re digging your heels in right now. Nothing like the shock of pure adrenaline to wake you up.

Anne Dorko scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef I’m claustrophobic underwater and terrified of the ocean. Open water diving? Bring it on.

Put your fears aside, and tell me how you really saw yourself as a kid.

Were you climbing up brick walls and jumping through the trees? Looks like you fancied yourself a parkour artist or gymnast.

Did you see yourself swimming with dolphins and sharks? Looks like you fancied yourself a scuba diver.

Action Item: Go through the list and reinvent yourself as you’d be from your childhood perspective. Find a few real life skills that reflect those images.

It’s okay. I’ll wait while you compile your list. Don’t be shy, write everything down! Take your time.

Redefine Work as Play

Maybe you can’t quit your job right away, but you can start looking for your way out starting now.

There’s endless piles of information out there about making money in a way that works for you. Learning to automate your income (or at least part of it) opens up those doors. The idea that money could eventually become a non-issue is staggering, and honestly? It can feel like a gimmick.

Here’s the thing: Money is important, and it is possible to build a sustainable life without relying on the old 9-5. No gimmicks about it, only the truth that it takes a lot of work!

You don’t have to be hyper-intelligent to make it happen. You don’t need to have brilliant ideas. You don’t need to be crazy talented. You only need to learn the appropriate skills.

These skills involve:

  • Relentlessly working smarter, rather than harder
  • Learning how to market yourself and your products

It’s simple, but that doesn’t make it easy. Rinse & repeat until you’ve figured out the balance of each ingredient. The best part is that this can start right now, while you still have the security and comforts of a ‘normal’ life.

Action Item: Find at least 3 reliable resources on automating your income. Here is a great list to get you started.

Lead a Passionate Life

Putting off what you’ve always wanted to do just leads to hating your life.

It’s easy to hate your life when you’re not pursuing anything that makes you happy or inspired.

Whatever it is that interests you, there are a hundred Wikipedia articles, a thousand YouTube videos and a million of Google results for. You don’t need money to start learning from any of those sources.

You stop living when you stop participating, so get your head back into the game.

Action Item: Think about what your passions really are. How can you add one to your life, right now? All you need is one simple action. Something small and manageable.

All this said: It’s important to recognize that if you’re suffering from depression, it will take more than an “exciting life” to help. Please seek professional assistance.

Start Learning Something New

I don’t allow people to read my blog without doing something about what they’re reading.

Since you finished this post, start learning something you have been putting off. (If you want to be allowed to read future posts, that is. ?)

Don’t worry though, here’s what comes next.

Learn something new:

  1. Pick one thing to learn that you’ve been putting off.
  2. Tell at least three people you’re going to begin learning it, and ask them to keep you accountable.
  3. If you’re feeling brave (yes: you are brave), share what you’re going to learn.

Start automating your income:

  1. Spend one week reading up on the resources you wrote down earlier.
  2. Create a four to six week plan to get a simple side-project started.

Pro tip: Choose a project that requires less than $100 to start. 3. Immediately follow your damn plan.

What are you waiting for?

First published June 22, 2012

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