David Strittmatter

How to add more variety to life?

Variety is the spice of life


  • Variety comes at an expense – you shouldn’t add variety to things you don’t really like
  • Be the designer of your life
  • Be open to everybody
  • Get perspective – you need to sense what life has to offer

Dear friend,

Do you know what makes life so beautiful? I truly believe it’s the people, places, and activities life has to offer. Unfortunately, being limited by external or internal forces, far too many people aren’t able to live their life to the fullest and won’t get to know all those wonderful people, visit all those incredible places, or undertake all those thrilling activities.

In my view, being restricted not by external, but by internal limitations is even more tragic. People living in developed countries and enjoy economic freedom have so much more opportunity than people living in poverty in the disadvantaged regions of our world.

But why so many people don’t overcome their inner boundaries and make their life the best they can have? I think many lack perspective, courage, accountability, and creativity. Moreover and foremost, people become stuck in their rut (monotone daily routine).

To spice up your life and break the monotony of your life, I don’t want to tell you to give up on your routines. I do love routines as well. Without the daily monotonicity and structure, my life would be miserable; it’s become an integral part of my life. Yet, variety is one of those essential ingredients for a fulfilled life. You cannot live your life to the fullest without variety.

Just like everything in life, you need a healthy balance of both in order to get the most out of them. It’s like yin and yang, good and evil, and black and white. Neither should dominate your existence.

Actually, I am strongly convinced that variety is one of the most important determinants of our overall life satisfaction. We, humans, are hardwired to need a constant dose of novelty and freshness in our life. And when we lack it, life quickly becomes boring, stale and unfulfilling, often despite many other positive things that may happen in it. But, …

How can we add more variety to our lives?

Variety comes at an expense – you shouldn’t add variety to things you don’t really like

Repetition kills the excitement. Even fun and joy become predictable with repetition. Variety is the best cure against monotony and repetition. We are all creators of our own life. When it comes to routines, we should create a routine for everything that has to be done but isn’t exciting. Adding variety to brushing your teeth or commuting to work won’t make your life substantially better, however, adding variety to those activities comes at an unproportional expense. You shouldn’t add variety to things you don’t really like.

Think in terms of places, people and activities

Before writing this article, I was doing my research and found a great article about how we can conceptualize variety. According to Eduard Ezeanu, we can increase the variety when we think in terms of places, people, and activities. Eduard states that if you have a lot of variety in at least 2 out of these 3 categories, your life will be very fun and exciting.

A great example to illustrate this concept: You can live your whole life in one relatively small town and rarely visit any other places, but if you constantly meet new people and expand your social circle, plus you frequently try all sorts of new things (hobbies, sports, etc), your life will feel vibrant and you’ll be happy.

So, first of all, you should conduct a reality check: Do you regularly experience something new in at least 2 of those categories? In which areas do you have a lot of variety? Do your job, hobbies, and other activities fulfill you? Do you visit a lot of different places? Or are you in touch with a broad range of people?

If you lack variety, you first need to identify the areas not providing you with the needed excitement.

Be the designer of your life – activities

Your job doesn’t fulfill you? Get a new job! You are passionate about something and always dreamed about doing it? Do it! Learn that instrument, try that sport, write that book, shoot that video, visit that theater, help those people, sing that song,…

It takes a lot of courage to try out new things. Additionally, at first, the easy things seem difficult. Starting with a new hobby requires persistence. Once we got started and become good at something, the difficult things become easy. For instance, when I started with videography it took me 10 hours to create a video. Today, the same video would take me at most 1 hour. The same goes for running: I started with 4 kilometers in 35 minutes. Today I run about 9 kilometers in 45 minutes.

If you want to introduce more variety into your life by adding activities that excite you, you need to be patient and have the courage to try one more time.

Be open to everybody

Do you feel like you’re missing variety in your relationships and circle of friends?

First, you should analyze whether you just didn’t get to know enough people you value or you feel like you don’t have the time to harness this variety.

In the case of the former, you definitely need to be more open towards people. Most great friendships were established because of randomness. There is no blueprint for getting a large circle of great people around you. Yet, openness is key. You don’t have to actively search for people, but if you don’t get into touch with people, you won’t be able to lay the foundation for a relationship. Be open, be curious, ask questions that spark your interest. You don’t have to fake anything, just share your thoughts. The people who deserve a seat in your circle of friends will respond accordingly.

In the case of the latter, you might have the wrong priorities. There is almost nothing that is more important to me than the people I value most. You cannot live a happy life when you don’t have people you love around you.

Take the initiative to entertain, and invite friends or family over for dinner or something different. Create time and room for events with people you love. You don’t have to spend your whole free time with different people, but you should try to spend time with a variety of people before you fix your circle of friends.

Another great approach is to create variety for someone else. Surprise someone, just visit or call them. Show honest interest in people. It’s not about quantity, but quality.

Get perspective – you need to sense what life has to offer

What should you do if you lack variety with regard to places?

In my opinion, our world is incredibly beautiful, and we don’t have to travel far to see this beauty. To bring variety into your life, you should use the available opportunities before traveling around the world. Most of us don’t even really know the place where they live.

If you want to have variety and are short of time to travel, explore the city you live in: eat out in unknown restaurants, find your new favorite café, go for a long walk, say hello to your neighbors, explore the city at night, etc.

If you want to visit other countries and don’t have a lot of money, travel to countries that have a lower purchasing power. For instance, Eastern Europe offers amazing places to visit and at the same time, the price level is affordable.

Eventually, it’s about how open you are to these experiences and what you do with these opportunities.

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