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BEAN Headquarters Blog

How to Change Yourself (and the World) for the Better in 3 Hours
What’s a typical day like for you? If you are a typical young professional white collar cubicle dweller, then your weekday might look something like this.

6am-630am Alarm. Snooze. Alarm. Snooze.

630am-7am Actually wake up and head to the gym/park to work out.

7am-8am Sort of working out, but mostly staring at a screen or listening to music.

8am-815am Stand in annoyingly long line, waiting to get a damned cup of coffee and a damned bagel. Wolf the food down.

815am-845am Stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic and pounding the steering wheel in frustration.

845am-noon Email and meetings. Stare at a screen.

Noon-1245pm Stand in annoyingly long line, waiting to get a damned sandwich/salad/teriyaki. Wolf the food down.

1245pm-530pm Email and meetings. Stare at a screen.

530pm-6pm Stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic and pounding the steering wheel in frustration.

6pm-7pm Happy hour! Getting boozed up and nibble on tiny portions of food.

7pm-715pm Stand in annoying long line, waiting to get some damned take-out. Stumble home.

715pm-8pm Stare at a screen. Wolf the food down.

8pm-10pm Stare at a screen.

10pm-1030pm Sex? (In some form.)

1030pm-6am Dreaming about alarms, workout, line, food, commute, meetings, screen, line, food, meetings, screen, commute, booze, line, food, screen and sex (?).

If it’s a weekend, then subtract commute and expand booze, screen and food.

I am sure I am completely generalizing here (I am sure your real life has more booze in it), but this helps to illustrate my point. A few years out of school and our lives have the tendency to shrink in size and ambition. What happened?

Well, if you are not happy with this life, all you need to do is be willing to spend 3 hours on one or more of the following activities. If you ARE happy about this monotonous life, then you are a better person than me.

1. Spend 3 hours volunteering at a youth shelter/orphanage/soup kitchen

Do you think your life is boring and sucky? Well, by the simple fact that you have the resources, time and skills required read this blog post, your life is pretty sweet. Stop trying to keep up with the Kardashians and go help out people truly in need in the many youth shelters, orphanages, soup kitchens, etc.

2. Spend 3 hours meeting new people

Do all your friends work in the same field as you do? That's a sure sign that you need to expand your social circle. Go to a young professional happy hour/networking event that specifically does not target people in a certain profession. Re-learn how to talk like a human being instead of a jargon-spewing robot.

3. Spend 3 hours playing in a sports team

When was the last time you were a member of a sports team? Probably when you were in high school or earlier. Well, what are you waiting for? Go play some softball, football, soccer, dodge ball, kick ball, etc. It's a great way to work off the weight gained from greasy lunches and long commute. It's also a great way to make new cool friends.

4. Spend 3 hours at a charity fundraiser

Have you given to charity lately? I don't just mean sponsoring friends' charity runs or random happy hours with charity tie-in. You probably cannot even recall what the charities you were supporting are. Go to an actual event where you can soak in the story and the cause. Give, or don't give, not a huge deal. (But try to give.) The important thing is to see people who are passionately trying to improve the world by working on these causes (like Vittana).

5. Spend 3 hours at a lecture of some sort

When was the last time your work makes you go "WOH!"? Probably never, I am guessing. Work is good for gaining skills and experiences, but work usually doesn’t generate earth-shatteringly BIG ideas. There are so many smarty pants out there, next time they are in town, go to their lectures (or you can watch TED). You don't have to buy the book, but you can definitely still open up your mental horizon by soaking in the big ideas.

6. Spend 3 hours helping to build a nonprofit

What's the best way to add meaning to your paying job? Paradoxally, by getting another non-paying volunteering job at a nonprofit. Nothing make you feel better about your paying job by applying the management, finance, technical, marketing and operational skills gained their and apply it to a nonprofit (like BEAN) who is working to make the world a better place.

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