How To Feel Alive Again

Does every day seem like Groundhog Day to you?

It’s not just you. Most of us keep repeating the same routine like automatons. We are technically alive, but it sure doesn’t feel like it.

To overcome this you must reintroduce an element of danger into your life. You must learn how to feel alive again.

In this article, we will explore the best options to do that.

Why You Don’t Feel Alive

There was a time when we all felt alive — as children.

There was just you and the world. And your mission was to explore it. For a while, every day was an adventure.

But gradually, over time, we got broken.

We were taught to sit still and listen. Study hard and get good grades. Get a degree and find a good job. Marry and have children of your own.

We turned from wild, little adventurers into hollow-eyed automatons. Now, every life decision is preordained by the social script. Every day looks exactly the same.

What is lost on the way is our readiness to take risks. As children, we were actively seeking out risks. We climbed trees, explored abandoned houses, and tried crazy stunts on our bicycles. As well-domesticated adults, we shy away from any risk.

There are two reasons for that:

  1. We have become too afraid to take a risk.
  2. We have become too lazy to take a risk.

Usually, it’s a mix of the two.

If you want to learn how to feel alive again, you must push back against these two vices. You must overcome the fear they instilled in you. You must conquer your laziness.

To feel alive again, you must take risks again.

To be clear, when I’m saying you should take a risk, I don’t mean you should try crack cocaine or go free soloing. Being reckless is not the same as taking calculated risks. But there needs to be some element of danger, even if it’s just in your mind. By overcoming this danger, this perceived threat to you, life will feel sweeter than before.

That is how risks work — they remind us of our mortality. They make us appreciate the life we have left.

9 Ways To Feel Alive Again

Here are nine activities that will teach you how to feel alive again.

1. Tell the Truth to Others

Most of the time, we don’t speak our mind.

To be seen as agreeable, we put on a show. We smile at somebody’s jokes, even though they are not funny. We remain silent when someone spouts nonsense.

This way, we reduce social friction. But we also abuse ourselves. We hide our true selves — our values, our ideas — from the world. Do this for long enough and a deadening effect sets in. We go through the social motions, but we are not involved anymore. It’s all an act.

The solution is to start telling the truth, even when it might lead to confrontation:

  • Tell your mother that you don’t appreciate her endless gossiping.
  • Tell your partner how you haven’t been enjoying the sex lately.
  • Tell your boss that their management style is a mess.

The key is to do it calmly. Explain the situation to them as if you were talking about a math problem.

When you finally start speaking your mind, it will pull you back into life. The game has suddenly become interesting again.

It is important to do this gradually. No one can go straight from being a notorious people pleaser to a fearless truth-sayer.

Start with 30 minutes a day. Set yourself a timer. During this interval, you must weigh every statement you make to another person. If it doesn’t ring true, don’t utter it.

Slowly expand those 30 minutes into one hour, then two hours, then three hours, etc., until it becomes your default state.

2. Tell the Truth to Yourself

We don’t just lie to others. We also lie to ourselves. We entertain self-delusions to make life easier for us.

Here are some examples of self-delusions that I am prone to:

  • I like to think of myself as highly self-aware. But the truth is, if I was as insightful as I like to think, I would have achieved much more in life than I have.
  • I like to think of myself as highly disciplined. But I know several people who are twice if not thrice as hard-working as I am.
  • I like to think that I am directed by certain principles. But often, I will backward rationalize the situation to fit with my principles.

To kill these delusions is painful. It will force you to see yourself as you truly are — the whole insecure, narcissistic mess.

But it will also wake you up.

Only when you stop curating your self, can it flourish — the productive impulses, the destructive impulses, and everything in between.

Having that range introduces an element of excitement. You are no longer this flat “nice” person. There is moral ambiguity. You become interesting to yourself again.

To start this process, get outside help. Consider working with a therapist or a coach. It is much easier for an outsider to identify these self-lies. Where you are blind to yourself, they will see right through you.

3. Quit Your Job

The number one reason why we feel dead inside is our 9-to-5 job.

Every day, you have to …

  • … wake up to the sound of an alarm.
  • … commute to work.
  • … sit in a gray cubicle
  • … do menial work.
  • … suffer your crazy boss.
  • … endure the office gossip.

Who wouldn’t go numb from a life like this?

As long as you are a corporate drone, you will never truly feel alive. All the fun hobbies in the world can’t make up for this misery. You must quit your job.

There are several options you have.

Your first option is to turn your passion into your job. If you always dreamed of becoming a self-published sci-fi writer, do that. If you always wanted to be in the adult industry, start your OnlyFans account. When you love what you do, work stops feeling like work.

Your second option is to radically cut your expenses — think $700–$800. This will allow you to quit your 9 to 5 and only work odd jobs. Your days will be wide open again.

Do whatever it takes. Move to a smaller apartment in a cheaper city or a cheaper country. Get rid of your car and take the bike. Cook all of your meals at home.

Your third option is to go off-grid. You could buy a plot of land in rural Arizona, build a hut, and grow your own vegetables. Or you could become a voluntary hobo, stealth camp in public places, and dumpster dive.

It sounds radical, but there are plenty of people who have chosen this path and are happier for it. And you certainly won’t feel dead inside anymore; going off-grid will be the adventure of a lifetime.

There are many more variations to this. The digital nomad lifestyle. The FIRE movement (= Financial Independence, Retire Early). Commune life.

If all of this sounds scary to you — well, that’s the point. You got yourself a zombie life by following the trodden path. If you want to feel alive again, you’ll have to start doing unconventional things.

4. Follow Your Passion

We all have something that excites us more than anything else in the world.

Maybe it’s surfing.

Maybe it’s collecting rare coins.

Maybe it’s playing the drums in a death metal band.

Whatever it is — once you have found your “thing,” you will feel alive. You will wake up in the morning brimming with excitement. “Today I get to do my thing again!”

The problem — most of us haven’t found our thing yet. Most of us aren’t even looking. Here are some strategies to remedy that.

First, assume that your passion has already manifested itself in your past, starting in your childhood. For example, you might always have enjoyed playing with Legos and coming up with new designs. You might always have had a knack for visual thinking in school. And when you visit a new city, the first thing you check out are the monuments.

Surprise — you might want to look into architecture as a career.

It sounds trivial when I put it like this. But I cannot tell you how many highly intelligent people I have coached who were completely blind to themselves.

That is the trick here — talk to other people. Ask them, “What do you think I would enjoy doing more than anything else?” Where you are blind to yourself, an outsider will see right through you.

Second, keep in mind that passions can express themselves differently.

For example, my first love in life was the written word. I spent years of my childhood binge-reading.

Now, there are different directions I could have gone with that. I could have become an author. I could have become a journalist. I could have become an editor. But instead, I became a digital content creator.

Does that mean that these other options would not have made me happy? No. At least some of them would have been similarly interesting. Like I said — one passion, but different options to express it.

Third, you can combine different passions into a new passion.

If you have several things that you are excited about, you can merge them into a new, never-before-seen thing.

You don’t have to be the best at any of these things separately. But you have to be the best at melting them together. It’s like an elite triathlete who could never beat an Olympic swimmer or runner. But the Olympic athletes couldn’t beat the triathlete at their sport either.

This is what I am trying to do with this blog. I am taking all my different interests — my love for academic learning, my martial arts background, the dating coach thing — and combining them into a personal brand.

Fourth, to find your passion, you need to run tests.

You can’t come up with your passion on the drawing board. You need to develop different hypotheses and test them out.

For example, if you are thinking about turning your passion for tattoo art into your living, intern at a tattoo studio for six months. Afterward, you will know for sure if it was just an infatuation or not.

Understand that you will rarely get it right the first time. You’ll probably need to run five or six of these tests. That equals several years of trying different things out before you commit to something.

Most people will be too intimidated by this time frame to go through with it. They will feel like they are wasting time when everybody around them is already pursuing a successful career.

But what is so great about climbing the corporate ladder, when it leaves you dead on the inside? “Waste” some time. You will overtake your peers later.

5. Try Something New

When we feel dead inside, it is often due to routine.

To be clear — routines are not per se bad. Good habits are what make or break you.

But you must have conviction. If you have a strong “Why” for doing your habits, you’ll happily continue doing them. But if you are just reliving the same depressing day, then it’s time to mix things up. Here are some ideas.

Try a new hobby. Go wakeboarding. Take a calligraphy class. Get your geek on and try live action role-playing.

Eat something you have never eaten before. Savoring food is one of our prime sensual delights. Try a new recipe or check out an exotic restaurant.

Hang out with a new crowd. Put on some black clothes and go to a goth club. Go gallery hopping with a bunch of art students. Attend a tantra ritual with a couple of hippies.

Also, trying something new doesn’t have to be a major undertaking. It could simply be taking a new way to work, checking out a new section at the bookstore, or talking to a new person at the cafeteria.

6. Travel

One of the best ways to spice up your life is traveling.

I am not talking about staying at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun. I am talking about long-term travel, i.e., immersing yourself in a new culture.

This will wake you up to new, different ways of looking at the world. For example, certain things we value in the West will be less than important in places like South America, Africa, or SEA. Punctuality is an example. Vice versa, these cultures will place much more emphasis on other aspects, like showing hospitality or helping a friend out.

Also, simply spending time in a new environment will revitalize you. There will be new sensory data coming your way — different backdrops, different people, different food. This alone will make you feel alive.

Finally, long-term travel will present you with new challenges.

For example, I was once stranded in a sketchy neighborhood in London late at night; my Airbnb host had given me the wrong address and didn’t pick up his phone. Fortunately, a Pakistani street vendor took me in and even cooked me dinner until my host finally called me back.

Small (and big) adventures like this happen all the time while traveling. And when they do, it will pull you into the moment. You will no longer feel dead inside.

7. Start a Martial Art

Another great tool for feeling more alive is martial arts. When you do full-contact sparring, you have no headspace to feel depressed. It’s either punish or get punished. You don’t even get a say in it. It’s an inbuilt, primal instinct. Once fists start flying, you wake up. Trust me, it works every single time.

That’s why martial arts lend themselves to flow states so easily. All there is is this confrontation. Everything else stops mattering. Suddenly, you are one with yourself.

When these flow states happen, it’s one of the most wonderful feelings in the world. Even though you are moving fast, everything feels like it is happening in slow motion. You see everything coming and you choose perfectly adequate responses. It’s dynamic meditation.

Note that this only works with “alive” martial arts like Muay Thai, wrestling, or BJJ. Only if there is a real risk of getting hurt will your mind catapult itself to this extraordinary level of awareness.

8. Talk to Strangers

If I could pick only one strategy from this article to make you feel alive again, it would be this one — learn to talk to attractive strangers.

Putting yourself out there comes with real risks. What if you get rejected? Your delicate ego won’t like that too much. But that rejection will also wake you up. It will make you realize that we are all players in the sexual marketplace. And to win big, you must take big risks. It’s a thrill.

Talking to strangers also presents an interesting challenge. To charm other people, you need to be quick on your feet. You need to read them correctly, and you need to come up with the right response on the spot.

This requires you to be fully present. As soon as you open your mouth to talk to a stranger, it’s on. You must perform, or risk making a fool of yourself.

But most importantly, charming someone feels intoxicating. When you meet an attractive stranger who reciprocates, you will be on cloud nine. It feels like being high on cocaine.

To implement this, it’s important to start small. Take baby steps, or you might give in to your approach anxiety. Here is a good progression:

  • Week 1–2: Every time you leave the house, make eye contact with a stranger and smile at them.
  • Week 2–3: Same as before, but also say “Hi.”
  • Week 3–4: Walk up to a stranger each day and compliment them. “Hey, I know it’s a bit unusual, but I just noticed you walking by and thought you looked really attractive. Have a great day.”
  • Week 5–6: Ask a follow-up question to keep the conversation going. For example, “You don’t sound like you are from around here. If I had to guess, I would say you are from X. Am I right?”

I know less than three percent of people reading this article will try this. But those few who do will never feel dead again. They are in for some crazy adventures.

9. Spend Time in Nature

When you spend a lot of time in nature, it is impossible to feel dead inside. Nature is life. But if you spend little time in nature, you are more likely to feel depressed.

I always noticed this about people who, by profession, had to spend a lot of time outside. Since I grew up in rural Germany, there were lots of these people around — farmers, animal trainers, huntsmen, etc. I cannot recall any of them ever saying, “I feel dead inside.”

But my friends with office jobs? At some point, they all experienced burnout.

The obvious solution is to switch jobs. Go from an indoor-centric to an outdoor-centric activity. For example, I knew someone who worked for an international IT consultancy, got fed up with it, and became a landscaper. She seemed much happier for it.

If you don’t want to change jobs, you should at least counterbalance your indoor time with outdoor time. Here are some ideas:

  • Instead of commuting to work, take your bike.
  • During your lunch break, get take-out food and sit on a park bench. If there is grass, take your shoes off and walk around barefoot for a few minutes.
  • Each day after work, go for a walk, even if it’s just for half an hour.
  • Do your workouts outside, e.g., in your backyard. This works well with a minimalist bodyweight routine.
  • Each weekend, have an outing. Go hiking with your friends. Go on a camping trip.

Every extra minute you spend outside will revitalize you. Nature will teach you how to feel alive again.

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