What’s on your walls right now? Who or what inspires your life—and why?
That was the question asked by Waylon Lewis. We would like to hear your story—and here’s mine.
There are several posters of shows we played with our band. There are guitar cases right next to the wall. And there is an artwork that looks like it doesn’t belong there—and a book in the bottom left corner.
Let me make sense of this.
The artwork was the first thing on this wall. Everything else came after that.
It’s not my artwork—it’s from my dead dad. My father died when I was 16. He always wanted me to find my passion and encouraged me to be different.
After he died, I took that as a challenge and made it my life goal. I didn’t want to end up living in a constant burnout as he did—I wanted to be an artist.
The posters of all these concerts are a sign that it somehow worked out. Looking at these posters makes me remember some of the most precious moments of my life. But they also make me think about the dark moments when I was in therapy.
I made so many mistakes in my life, but I am glad I did. These experiences shaped my personality, perspectives, and perseverance.
Just before the pandemic started, I published a book called The Dude Experience.
Let’s take a look at this picture again with that in mind.
So, what’s this book about? It’s about a method for well-being—my method for well-being. And it’s not only for men or dudes.
Actually, it’s an acronym: Doing, Understanding, Describing, Evolving.
This acronym is the core of everything I do. These are the four steps to creating what I call The Dude Experience.
When I started playing live music, I was a really bad musician. But that didn’t stop me. After 20 years of doing that, my skills improved. The same goes for my writing, teaching yoga, and being a human.
As a young man, I did a lot of silly things. But there are no regrets at all.
Instead of feeling like a failure, I prefer to look at these mistakes as life lessons.
The main lesson is that we shouldn’t belittle ourselves. If you want to become a writer, you need to write. If you want to be a musician, you got to play music. And if you want to learn something, you need to pick the best teachers available.
But how do we find helpful teachers and prevent ourselves from spending tons of money on questionable coaching packages?
Here’s an excerpt from the book:
Speaking up for ourselves gives others the chance to relate to our story. Offering a critique to a friend gives them the chance to discover unknown blindspots. Being kind and accepting to everything around us plays into the hands of those that want to keep the status quo.
That doesn’t mean that we have to question everything and lose our faith in humanity. As always, it is about balance.
One way to make sense of all the offerings around us might be to look at who is the one talking. When I looked at my yoga teachers, I saw a married couple that successfully built their yoga school together. Both of them looked healthy and seemed to be happy with life. The dude that taught me snowboarding obviously knew what he was doing. I saw him riding down the hill. It is always a good sign when someone teaches something that actually works out for him or her.
I wrote this book before the pandemic started and had no idea about the upcoming conspiracy drama within the yoga community. At that time, I was already concerned about the dynamic between yoga and marketing. I got upset about yoga teachers claiming that they could heal cancer.
Here is what I wrote:
Promoting lifestyle choices to enhance our well-being is one thing, but using people’s fear of death to make money off it? That’s where things get ugly.
If our Goddess retreat doesn’t have the outcome we desired or if the “DNA Booster” pills don’t work, that is one thing. In case the Mastermind workshop didn’t help us grow our business, we can try again. When it comes to life or death, there is no time to lose. There is no time to f**k around with untested approaches of people that haven’t seen the inside of a university building throughout their whole life.
And please don’t worry about this book being another method for well-being that is based on positive vibes only—it’s not. It’s actually the opposite of that.
Here is a quote from the book:
Life is up and down. In order to appreciate sunshine, we need to experience the rain. Coaching often takes a different approach to this issue. “Only good vibes” is a useful tool to shut down any form of criticism. Cults have been using this for centuries. Either you believe in what we are doing, or you are out.
This dynamic creates a lot of peer pressure on everyone in the community. Nobody wants to be the “toxic” person that gets excluded. As a consequence of this, there are a lot of people faking happiness to maintain their membership in this exclusive circle. One doesn’t say that they are lost anymore. Stating that we go through a deep transformation sounds so much more comforting. Just because things are working out in our life doesn’t mean we have the right to judge others by their ability to be in a good mood all day long.
And here is another lesson learned: there is no need for perfection.
I wrote this book as one of my first writing projects. It wasn’t a huge success at all—and I never expected that. This book was the starting point—just like the first concerts with my band or the first snowboarding attempts on a bunny slope.
We got to start somewhere, right?
And that’s the message of The Dude Experience: we need to do things in order to learn.
There is no point in holding ourselves back. There is no need to be good at something to enjoy doing it. But there is a good chance that our skills improve when we do what we love.
Back to the starting point of this article. What inspires you? What’s on your wall? Please share your story here.
And here’s the link to get the book. May it be of benefit.
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