How I Found Inspiration On A Vacation Beach In Tulum
Written by Dr. Larry
I just went on vacation in Tulum, Mexico, and it lit me up. God, I feel great. And made you this video in a moment of inspiration. I really hit on a lot of powerful themes for professional men to grow into more full and happy human beings. Light it up!
I thought being a doctor would make me happy. After spending decades in school, and now having an incredible career where you can truly help people and make a decent living, I realized, yes, I’m bleeding. Medicine is incredible. But it alone doesn’t give me the big life fulfillment that I’m after. It’s a solid piece.
And I figured this out after burning myself to the ground. Work more was my answer to everything. Bored? Work more. Sad after a breakup? Work more. Not sure what to do with your life? Work more. And why not? At work, I feel incredible, powerful, make a difference—and get paid well. And it makes the boss happy. The temptation to turn to work to solve these problems is not small.
But over time (years), I burnt out. Working too much, not enjoying it as much as I used to, got bored, was sometimes short with patients. I burnt out. Medicine had done all it could for me, but it wasn’t enough. And it wasn’t fair of me to expect my work to take the place of other important sources of joy in life.
So a few years ago, I started to learn about burnout. And realize that a key treatment for burnout is to schedule big vacations (like 2-4 weeks off) in advance so you have something to look forward to. Time away from work. Yes, it helps to get away to recharge so you can be better at work, but LIFE IS NOT ALL ABOUT WORK! It’s about living, and experience and exploring and connecting with people. And often, we have to get away to do this.
As I type this, I’m remembering there are other things that have held me back from traveling. I share this because maybe you have a similar experience or haven’t even thought about it. I hope it can help. For me, one was money. I was brought up to be a saver, like a squirrel storing nuts for the winter. But at some point, there is such a thing as too much savings. Life is not measured in the bank account, and nobody takes that with you when you die. Ought to spend some of that dough while you’re alive and able.
There’s also a deep seated deserving piece. I’m a single father. Sometimes I feel guilty about taking time off, like I should always being taking care of my daughter. Or feeling bad that I can take vacation when so many in the world cannot. As some level, this is about feeling worthy of happiness. That I deserve a vacation. Uncomfortable to admit that I sometimes don’t feel that way. But this is a core part of self esteem—believing that you deserve to be happy, and are willing to do something to make that happen.
So book that ticket.
August 2018, I went on an epic 10 day trip to Colombia—I hadn’t traveled like that since my daughter was born. I just felt so alive, and had so much fun. Helped me remember that work is good and important, but not everything.
TRAVELING ALONE. CONFRONTING MYSELF. REACHING OUTSIDE MYSELF.
I usually travel alone. I like to have my me time, go at my own pace, do what I want to do. I’m not going to lie, when I went to a beach resort in Tulum, I had moments of loneliness and feeling like a loser, times when I was too shy to reach out to meet people. Where negative voices in my head didn’t help. We will call that day 1. It was uncomfortable, distressing. Not a fun part of the trip. And it’s something that doesn’t happen when I’m with other people or home.
I value this chance to get out on my own and deal with that shit. And deal with it, I did.
I’ll talk more about courage in next week’s video, but for me, meeting new people is just about having the courage and right frame of mind to overcome the fear of rejection, of some random person at the beach not waving back, or being interested in talking more. A group of Spaniards mocked my street Mexican Spanish, and I definitely felt awkward talking to a group of ladies on the beach, totally bolted out of that conversation.
But I persisted, found friends, and conquered. And it opened up the life and experience I was hoping for. Connecting with people felt great, but so did the growth of being forced to be more social than normal to make friends. Felt awesome.
- Say hi and make friends with those who appear open to the same. At restaurant bar or tables, your hotel, beach lounge, pool, on excursions. Anywhere, really.
- Connect. Feel for the conversations and moments when you mutually connect with someone, shared excitement. I like to start just with where people are from, what brought them here, what they like. And as that goes, find out more about who they are, what’s important to them, and what they are passionate about. Getting to that level is the good stuff.
- Do it genuinely. Probably the most important part is just being genuinely interested in other people. And with those who you don’t vibe with, just letting it go.
- Invite them to do things. Go to dinner, get drinks, throw a frisbee, get a cabana, do an excursion.
- See them throughout the trip. Say hi again. Introduce them to your new friends.
I met some British fellows who work in DC, he gave me his insider odds on Beto O’Rourke winning the Democratic nominee, and how his military contracts under Trump have gone up. Or a Norwegian woman who recently volunteered working teaching English to poor children in Colombia, and was now traveling with her friend. Or my buddy recently separated, on vacation trying to figure out what’s next. Or my Oregon alum bros, who talked NCAA March Madness and shared buckets of beers in the middle of the day. Or the Mexican ladies who laughed at the don juan attempts to pick them up of the Spanish weenies.
On and on, and on. Courage is the virtue. Going through that fear to get to the life of you dreams. That’s what it took to get to mine. And damn it was a good one once I figured out how to do that, hit my stride.
What I really want to get across here, gent, is—there is a path for you to get what you really want out of life. You’re probably doing well in many areas. Shit, survival being a big one. You’re doing something right. But supercharging your energy with some urgency, and powering through whatever is holding you back, with courage. Seriously, what are we waiting for? You and me both. We will both be gone and dead one day. And so much of the silly shit in our heads won’t mean anything.
There is a way.
To your best. And to being the person and having a really kickass life.
Let’s get it together, gentleman.