I jolted out of a deep sleep at 1:30AM to both the sound of the earthquake notification app on my phone and Mexico City’s earthquake warning alarm that blared across the city.
I quickly grabbed a sweatshirt and ran down seven flights of stairs barefoot and into the middle of the street. The whole neighborhood was out there sharing worried, sleepy, and unsettled looks as we felt the ground sway beneath us.
Neighbor I barely knew reached out to my hand for comfort
The cranky neighbor I’d barely known reached out to grab my hand for comfort. I grabbed back.
I saw a mom holding an infant while someone else covered them with a blanket. A couple was calming down their frightened barking dogs. And a teenager looked annoyed that this earthquake had interrupted the recording of her new TikTok video.
Once the ground settled and all of us exhaled, we stood there for a moment – in our pajamas – waiting to see who’d go back inside their building first, as if that person knew something we didn’t.
We were all in it together – stripped of our egos
And I thought that it was incredible how we were all in it together for a moment – stripped of our egos, our titles, our pretenses.
It was jarring, beautiful, scary, and moving all at the same time. And it was such an important reminder of the humanity in all of us.
And the next day, something felt different on the block. More smiles were shared, more doors were held open for others, and more Amazon purchases were made for nicer pajamas. 🙂
Create small catalysts for change
It made me think, “why do we wait until these difficult moments to change something?”
It’s because life-changing moments are often few and far between, and the inertia of our daily routines is strong and steady.
We have to personally experience something different to see things differently.
But instead of waiting for something dramatic to happen, we can create small catalysts for change.
You can start now with light experiments based on everyday routines that you can start approaching slightly differently.
Try one of these actions this week (or make up your own):
1. Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand (i.e., if you always use your right hand, use your left). It’s harder than you think! We’re so used to our ways of doing things that we have no idea if we can do them differently.
2. Smile at a stranger: Take a walk and flash your pearly whites at someone. See how you change their mood or your own.
3. Leave a bigger tip: Do something nice for someone that gives you excellent service. You might make their day!
4. Find a new cafe: Do a quick Google maps search in your area and find a new place you didn’t even know existed.
5. Make a phone call: Call your best friend or a family member on the phone instead of texting them. Observe how you connect differently when you have a real-time conversation and can hear each other’s voices.
Some of these actions might make you feel uncomfortable, some might make you smile or laugh, and some, as small as they are, may make you consider something you never thought of before.
Sometimes, these changes in your routines might give you a burst of excitement, creativity, and perhaps even an entire perspective shift.
If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, frustrated by the daily grind, and looking for a way to make some meaningful changes, then I suggest you read my book, Remotivation: The Remote Worker’s Ultimate Guide to Life-Changing Fulfillment.