… is pretty much the theme of my story in this month’s Australian Cosmo.
It was inspired by a new(ish) friend of mine, who has a seemingly unsurpassed capacity to attract good things into her life. She’s always meeting interesting people (including actual and subcultural celebrities), being invited to cool parties (and European villas), and basically leading exactly the kind of life that lifestyle magazines always make me feel I could lead if only I had better shoes/clothes/lost 5 kilos/had a famous parent.
So I decided to find out what it would take to have that kind of life, by talking to women who do. And as I’ve hinted at in previous posts on this subject, the good news is that it doesn’t come down to better shoes/clothes/losing 5 kilos/having rich parents (although let’s face it, the last one would certainly help).
What it actually comes down to is possessing a few key personality traits. You’ve got to be extremely open to new experiences (meeting new people all the time, fearless when it comes to trying new things), be willing to take risks (throw yourself into unfamiliar situations) and you’ve got to like people (show interest in everyone you meet, don’t assume they’re creeps until proven otherwise, have a generally positive attitude).
Now, I’m not suggesting that everyone can have access to the kinds of insane opportunities and experiences my friend does. But it does strike me that if you use these general principles as a guide, you can inject your life with a whole lot more magic. It’s certainly more effective than buying a pair of shoes that are only going to hurt your feet.
One thing I will say, though, is that it requires energy - and lots of it. Naturally, I tried out my theories on my own life while I was writing the piece. And it worked. I went out clubbing in Camden by myself (one of my friend’s tips), entered a karaoke competition and had conversations with people I probably wouldn’t want to be friends with but who were fine to chat to for one night. I went to a “blog slam” where I wore my Kanye West glasses and sang Lady Gaga’s ‘Telephone’. I jumped on a train to regional France to spend a weekend at an artists’ salon with a bunch of people I’d never met before (who, it fortuitously turned out, were universally awesome).
I had a great time doing all these things, and they definitely made my life more “fabulous”. But honestly? I couldn’t do it every day. Nor, in that last case, could I afford to.
Being “fabulous” is great some of the time, but other times I just want to hang out at home with my internets and watch The X Factor, or have dinner with somebody I already know, or just do something that is more comfortable and less challenging*. And given that the last time I did the Five Factor Personality Test I scored a 93 (out of 100) on openness and an 86 on extroversion, I imagine that if I feel this way, the vast majority of other people will too.
My sense is that unless you’re one of those exceptional people who can naturally put themselves out there 24/7 (in which case your life is probably pretty amazing anyway), it’s probably best to use these tips as an occasional tool rather than an everyday way of life.
* That said, I have felt generally more anxious and exhausted since I moved to London a few months ago. Probably because almost everything I’m doing at the moment - from work, to making new friends, to even something as simple as purchasing new contact lenses - pushes me out of my comfort zone. It’s no wonder that the comfortable and familiar has become more appealing, since I have comparatively little access to it.
Elsewhere: The Big 5 Personality Test