How to Stop Living Vicariously Through Others and Start Being Fucking Awesome

by Alexander Heyne · 4 comments

Most of us are on a quest to live fucking awesome lives. 

I think this is why the dude in the Dos Equis commercials inspires me so much. He’s the one everyone wants to sit down with and talk to. Why? He’s lived a fucking awesome life. He makes you look like a worm because he’s used his time doing extraordinary things and shitting on anything called “ordinary.”

Every single time I see it, I think “that guy is exactly who I want to be. That guy is the fucking man!”

The idea that he’s “the most interesting man in the world” is pretty closely aligned with a thing we often say here at Milk the Pigeon: striving to live a conversation-worthy life. 

You see, originally I planned to write something along the lines of “stop fucking living vicariously through other people.”  When I first started traveling and ditching reality I had friends and family say they wanted to hear all about my stories and stuff, so that they could live vicariously through me.

And instead of being flattered or eager to share, I just got pissed off. Why the hell would you want to constantly hear about other people’s stories but never have your own to share? It never made sense.

So I originally intended to write a badass intro guide on living a worthwhile, conversation-worthy meaningful life.

You know, how to be talking like the Dos Equis guy in a couple years:

  1. He lives vicariously through himself.
  2. He once taught a German shepherd to bark in Spanish.
  3. He never says something tastes like chicken – not even chicken.
  4. He’s been known to cure narcolepsy, just by walking into a room.
  5. He once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels.
  6. His beard alone has experienced more than a lesser man’s entire body.
  7. Even his enemies list him as their emergency contact number.
  8. He’s a lover, not a fighter, but he’s also a fighter, so don’t get any ideas.
  9. When it is raining, it is because he is thinking of something sad.
  10. His shirts never wrinkle.
  11. He is left-handed. And right-handed.

I originally wanted to help guide people in the direction of doing something awesome with their short time on earth.

Fortunately, I don’t have to be that creative because the guide was already written.

I googled “how to live vicariously through yourself” and lo and behold, an expertly written guide has already been written by Steve Kamb over at Nerdfitness. He literally got the words from my mouth and wrote an unbelievably awesome post.

There are also a couple other bits of ass kicking link love to get started building your legacy.

The creation of a conversation worthy life (Aka how to be fucking awesome)

#1 “How to Live Vicariously Through Yourself” by Steve Kamb over at Nerdfitness:

What it’s about: 

  • Stop saying “man I wish I could do that!”  You know what all people who live awesome lives do? They do something instead of just talking about doing something.
  • Why aren’t you your own hero? Seriously sit down and contemplate that question, why aren’t you your own hero?
  • Creating concrete steps to stop living through others and finally take up a challenge for yourself.

Read it because:

  • You think vicariously living through others is a really shitty way to live your life.

#2 “How to Change the World” By Corbett Barr over at Corbettbarr.com

What it’s about:

  • What’s your excuse for not “finding your thing” and getting on the path to doing something awesome and worthwhile?
  • Are you waiting for someone to say “it’s okay, go ahead we got your back!” to do what you really want to?  Stop waiting for permission.

Read it because:

  • You feel that thing inside you that says you were born to do bigger and better things, but you can’t figure out how to bring that to reality.

 #3 “A Brief Guide to Disproving Human Limits” by Scott Dinsmore over at Live Your Legend.

What it’s about:

  • The people who hugely impact the world have one trait in common: they push limits. When you do something you’ve never done before, when you do something that was previously impossible to you, your brain changes. The way you see the world and challenge totally changes.
  • Your limits never change if you don’t push them.

Read it because:

  • You see people like the big-name bloggers, athletes, famous writers and travelers doing amazing things with their time. They’re living lives you envy, they have influence and communities of people changing the world, and you want the same – but it all seems so far away and impossible. Those things aren’t impossible.

#4 “The Short and Sweet Guide to Being Fucking Awesome” By Julien Smith

What it’s about: 

  • People are always searching for purpose and for that “big thing” to do with their life. How about the goal of being fucking awesome?
  • What do you want from a person you date? A fucking awesome relationship. Job? Fucking awesome job. Life? Fucking awesome life. Vacation? Fucking awesome vacation.
  • Fucking awesome = a subjective measure. So it doesn’t matter what your friends are doing or what is going on around you: you define what is fucking awesome, and then you do it.

Read it because:

  • You’re tired of looking around and being awestruck by the awesome people in the world. You constantly ask yourself “Damnit! Why can’t I be one of them!?”

#5 “How to Find Your Passion (The Secret You Need to Hear)” by James Clear over at Passive Panda

What it’s about:

  • Many of us think we need to go out and “find” our passion, in other words, we think it’s intellectual work that will bring us closer to finding it.  In reality we need to experience new things in order to find out what our passion is – it can’t happen passively.

Read it because:

  • You’ve been struggling to find work you love, or find what you’re really passionate about so you can get a business going.  The truth is that rather than reading 50 books on passion and purpose, what you should be doing is experiencing as many new things as possible.  So instead of sticking in a job you hate and trying to ‘figure things out’, try something new. Start doing and stop thinking.

Being Fucking Awesome in a Nutshell

It always struck me as extremely painful that people will consciously, willingly say, “I envy your life.”

Wait, what? You have the choice to do pretty much anything, and you consciously chose to envy someone else’s life?

You’d rather dick around and complain about life feeling meaningless and boring, than sit down and figure out how to write a better story?

And that’s the biggie – Creating an epic life comes down to one thing: writing a better story with your life.

All epic tales have the same basic principles that make them so influential and so powerful in the mind of the reader or viewer.

I’ll use the Alchemist as an example, because if you haven’t read it, you should, and also because it contains all of the part of an epic story.

Fucking awesome stories (Braveheart, the Alchemist, The Odyssey, etc) entail the following: 

1: A character who wants something.

If you’re going to create an epic tale with your life, where is your dragon to slay? Where’s your damsel in distress? What’s your mission? What’s your huge scary goal? What is it that you want so badly?

2: Getting that something must entail conflict or difficulty and the potential for failure.

Great, you said “get a new job” was your dragon to slay. Unfortunately that doesn’t quite make the cut. Getting a new job doesn’t count as entailing “conflict, difficulty and the potential for failure” (Well, unless you’re a 20 something living in the USA.. hehe.. I know i’m funny).

Think bigger.  You could easily stretch that statement and go get a job at McDonald’s and say “but it was haaaaaard!”

For fuck’s sake you’re writing the next Odyssey here! You’re odysseus on an epic journey ! What to you would be an epic goal? What goal can you find that you’ll obsess over day and night, fail 1, 2, 5, 10 times, but still keep going. What thing would be so mind-blowingly awesome to you that it’d be good enough to write in the pages of a book?

3: The story is not always enjoyable while it’s being acted out

Here’s a tough truth about life. Often the things we want the most and the best experiences of our lives are found in the toughest of situations.

Is the olympic swimmer saying “wow this is pretty cool being at the olympics, I’m having the time of my life!” while her lungs are exploding a moment before winning a gold medal?

Is a chess champion praising sweet baby Jesus and saying “life is great!!!” while contemplating the final moves to win a match and become world famous?

Is the virtuous knight casually going about his epic life sipping tea while kicking a dragon’s ass? Hell no! 

The character of most extraordinary people is forged during their biggest struggles.

If you’re having a good ‘ol time you probably need to step up your game to start being fucking awesome.

4: Very few are willingly to invest the work it takes to create an epic story and live a fucking awesome life.

Almost by definition not everyone can create an epic tale with their life.

Most people aren’t willing to go balls to the wall  and make the impossible their bitch.

Most people would rather live comfortably mediocre lives than sometimes uncomfortable, but always worthwhile, awesome lives.

The daily reminders of how not to live are everywhere – just look around you. Are the people you see on a daily basis, at the fundamental level, enjoying their time here?

Do you see people around you that actually care about the shit they do on a daily basis?

Do you see people around you that wouldn’t change anything if they were given unlimited resources?

The good news is that extraordinary people are almost never born that way – they are created through a life of deliberate and calculated risk and improvement.

 It’s time to stop living vicariously through others and start being fucking awesome

So what’s your epic quest? What dragon do you have to slay? For some that’s losing 5 pounds. For others it’s losing 50. Doesn’t matter, we all have our own quest — but that’s the point – you need your own quest. 

You yourself are the only judge of awesomeness. To you, an awesome story may not entail a million dollar business with Ferraris and strippers making you breakfast lunch and dinner. (Just sayin….)

Find out what would make your life awesome. Find out what, to you, means pushing it. Find out what, for you, puts you on the path for an epic quest.

Living vicariously through someone else will leave you feeling cheated on your deathbed saying “so when was I supposed to get a chance to write my story?”

Today, Monday July 30th, 2012 I give you your new scripture: Go forth and start being fucking awesome.  Write it on your wall, write it on your notebooks, write it on your iPhone, recite it before bed. Go forth and be fucking awesome. 

“Every man dies – not every man truly lives.” 

- William Wallace

Dos Equis Guy  / When I’m sad

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin August 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm

YES. Thank you. Now I have to go read all those guides!

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afheyne August 4, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Hahaha you’re welcome Erin!

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Mike August 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Boba Fett is clearly the awesomest Star Wars character, though I’m a little suspicious of the blogging echo chamber as our primary source of awesomeness. The Dos Equis guy was actually out doing awesome things, instead of reading bloggers who talk about doing awesome things. I think a lot of these folks talking about living epic lives have largely lived pretty ordinary ones. Just some scattered thoughts that are probably largely incoherent. Or I’m just feeling cantankerous. Nice post!

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afheyne August 7, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Mike – I couldn’t agree more, I’ve actually met some pretty well known bloggers and have be extremely disappointed by how average they just seem to be. That sounds harsh and judgmental – and I guess it is – but it’s one of those paradoxes of life that it’s always easier to talk than do. It’s like thanksgiving at my house – everyone has a million pieces of diet advice — yet they’re still over weight.

I don’t really have a good answer for you — the facts are that it’s easier to talk about living an epic life than actually living it. I think that if most of these bloggers spent 90% doing and 10% writing (obviously about stuff they’ve ALREADY done), it would be a very different place. The illusion is easy to have when you’re online, but when you meet people in person you see how they really are.

Long story short I agree, have seen this first hand myself, and it always comes down to putting your money where your mouth is.

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