I’m now living in Madrid, capital of Spain. I mentioned my plans to move out of London in my article ‘Confessions of a Mere Mortal’, so check that out if you want to know why I left.
I’ve only been in Madrid for a few days, but I’ve received a ton of messages from people wanting to know how I’m doing. I’m flattered that so many people are interested in my adventure. However I’m also little sad, because these messages give me the impression a lot of people don’t believe they can do what I’m doing.
Most messages I’ve received sound like this:
- I wish I could do what you’re doing.
- How could you just get up and leave London?
- Aren’t you worried about how everything will turn out?
- It’s always been my dream to live in another country, but I don’t have the courage.
I can relate. I know how scary it can be to wander off into the unknown, but at the same time I know it’s exciting. I know it’s daunting to approach a really big mountain, but I know reaching the top is rewarding. Just like you, I feel the emotions of fear and doubt. However I don’t allow them to control me.
I see human emotions as a system of feedback. Fear tells me I’m stepping into new territory, so I need to be a lot more alert. Doubt is an error checking emotion. Rarely are we one hundred percent certain about our decisions. There’s almost always an element of doubt. When we feel doubtful, we review our decisions, just to make sure they’re right for us. Emotions are a system of feedback.
So when I decided it was time to leave London, did I feel afraid? Did I feel doubtful? Absolutely, but I didn’t allow my emotions to control me. I had so many things going through my mind in the months leading up to my departure. What if I don’t find a job? What if I don’t like it there? What if my Spanish isn’t good enough? What if…? What if…? All of these questions share a theme: uncertainty. I’ve learned over the years that no matter how much I prepare I can never be certain of anything.
The hardest part of accomplishing anything in life is getting started. The anticipation of pain causes more suffering than actual pain. Set yourself free and get started.
In my case, getting started meant booking a plane ticket. I remember the moment clearly. I had just finished reading The Alchemist and I was about to get on the tube in London, but I stopped myself and in that moment decided I had to go on an adventure. I had to find a way to get started. I downloaded an app on my iPhone and booked a one way ticket out of London. The next step was selling my possessions. I remember thinking to myself: this isn’t so hard is it? All I had to do was get started.
I also remember thinking about learning Spanish for a long time. I kept telling myself I wasn’t smart enough, that I failed at German in school. And then I kept saying I would get started next week. Then one day I got fed up of my own excuses and I decided to learn five phrases. I found an online chat room and practiced using what I had learned:
¿De donde eres?
¿Cuantos años tienes?
¿Como has estado hoy?
How are you?
Where are you from?
How old are you?
How have you been today?
I remember typing those phrases to different people in chat rooms and thinking: ’Wow! I’m speaking Spanish. This isn’t so hard after all.”
The hardest part of doing anything you want in life Is getting started.
So my question for you is simple:
What could you start doing today to live that life you want full of adventure?