How To Live The Good Life

How To Live The Good Life

Living the good life means different things to different people.  There is, however, a slightly ambiguous, mutual understanding.  “The good life” is the life that you would like to live broken down to its most basic form.  It deals with the simple pleasures that make you happy, the compassionate deeds you perform, the personal goals you strive to achieve, the relationships you nurture and the legacy you leave behind.  Sincere personal fulfillment is generally the collective end result.

“The good life” is also about appreciating all your time, not just your leisure time.  Far too many people get caught up in the mad rush of a corporate lifestyle and grow completely numb to the little moments, the simple building blocks of time that make life magical.  Time, after all, is the single greatest element of life.

This world, after all our science and sciences, is still a miracle; wonderful, magical and more, to whosoever will think of it.
– Thomas Carlyle

  1. Slow Down – Urgency and haste instantly diminish accuracy, awareness and happiness.  There is a big difference between getting things done and getting things done effectively.
  2. Appreciate Life’s Simple Pleasures – The best things in life are free.  From a quiet lakeside sunset to sleeping in on a rainy day, life’s greatest simple pleasures can only be purchased with mindful awareness.
  3. Foster and Nurture Relationships – A happy, fulfilling life is a life shared with family and friends.
  4. Be Self Sufficient – Freedom is the greatest gift.  Self sufficiency is the greatest freedom.
  5. Learn About Different Things – In life, a jack of all trades is far more equipped than a master of only one.  Combining the two is the key.
  6. Concentrate on Your Passions – True wealth comes naturally to those who are passionate about their endeavors.
  7. Travel to Distant Places – There are places in this world that will open your mind to realities you’ve never imagined in your wildest dreams.  These realities will inject your conscience with healthy, new perspectives.
  8. Talk to Strangers – Quite simply, this is how you will meet great people.
  9. Exercise Your 5 Senses – Sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.  Each provides a gateway to rewarding personal experiences.
  10. Use What You Have – Success is not the byproduct of limitless resources.  Success happens when you stretch the limits of the available resources.
  11. Assist Others – What goes around comes around.  Nuff said.
  12. Be Clear on Your Goals – You will never get where you want to go if you don’t know what you want.
  13. Make a Decision – Indecision is the leading cause of missed opportunity and wasted time.
  14. Practice General Time Management – Trying to achieve your goals without doing a little time planning is like sailing the open ocean without a compass and map.
  15. Leave Time for Spontaneous Excursions – Opportunity sometimes knocks at unexpected times.  Make sure you have enough flexibility in your schedule to respond accordingly.
  16. Educate Yourself on the Facts – Ignorance is only bliss in a vacuum.  In the real world you will eventually be confronted with the facts, and by then it may`be too late.  Be aware of reality, get your facts straight and make educated decisions.
  17. Think More, Talk Less – The more you think and the less you talk, the more you will learn and the less you will miss.
  18. Own Up to Your Actions – Either you own up to your actions or your actions will ultimately own you.
  19. Keep Your Promises – Not doing so guarantees loneliness and failure.
  20. Always Find the Positive Lesson – Every negative outcome holds a positive lesson.  Finding it is the key to greatness.
  21. Forget Perfection, Find SatisfactionPerfect is the enemy of good.  The idea of perfection is based primarily on personal opinion, circumstance and flexibility.  Instead of searching for perfection, find something that satisfies your needs.
  22. Eat Clean – Never doubt the old adage “you are what you eat”.
  23. Sleep Well – A tired mind is inefficient and unhappy.
  24. Laugh – Some of the most memorable moments in your life will be moments spent in laughter.
  25. Be Here Now – Right now is the only moment guaranteed to you.  Right now is life.  Don’t miss it.

Also, check out these best selling books for more life tips:

Photo by: notsogoodphotography

10 Business Creativity Tips for the Mind

Business Creativity Tips

The monotonous repetition and visual sameness found in the common office space could suck the creativity out of Picasso.  The environment you inhabit has a powerful affect on the way you think and feel.  If everything around you looks the same, your mind will eventually grow numb.  Likewise, if you do the same exact thing in the same exact way at the same exact location every day, you may very well think the same exact thoughts over and over again.

Your creativity relies heavily on your attitude, and your attitude relies on your enthusiasm, motivation and positivity.  Trying to maintain a positive attitude in a monotonous business environment can be tough.  And if your creativity is stifled because your attitude sucks, your effective productivity rate will plunge as well.

So what can you do to spark your business-minded creativity at the office?  I love to play around with innovative ways of approaching life at work.  Not everyone gets a chance to escape the 9 to 5 office space environment, but that doesn’t mean they can’t escape the monotony by exploiting their creative edge within it.

Here are 10 business creativity tips to help you get your mind on track:

  1. Be a Visitor in Your Own Office – Sit in the guest chair on the opposite side of your desk for an hour or so.  It will give you a fresh visual perspective on the same old environment.  If you don’t have a guest chair or your own office, roll your work chair to a new location and bring your laptop and supplies with you.  Even the slightest change in your physical setting can stimulate your senses and your creativity.  Don’t be afraid to switch locations a few times a day.  It may sound strange, but it makes a world of difference.
  2. Rotate Your Artwork and Photographs – First things first, buy some artwork you like.  Also, frame a few photographs of the important people in your life and place them throughout your personal office space.  Rotate the wall art from wall to wall every two weeks.  Do the same with the photos.  Occasionally swap out the artwork and photos for new ones.  You could even exchange them with others you already have at your house.
  3. Get a Cool Chair (or Chairs) – Just like moving around, swapping that boring grey desk chair for a cool, comfortable Aeron or HAG Capisco can keep your senses refreshed and your creative edge alive.  If funds aren’t an issue, get both and switch it up every few hours.
  4. Re-purpose Unused Office Space – Poll your coworkers for the most creative (and applicable) use of the unused space.  How about a sitting area with comfortable chairs, a few live plants, some inspirational artwork and a dry erase board?  Make sure you get your superiors on board with the idea.  Sell them on the benefits of a creative work environment.
  5. Play Musical Chairs at Meetings – Break out of the foolish grade school habit of continually sitting in the same seat.  Sit next to different people, participate in their conversations and become more conscious of what each of them brings to the table.  They may surprise you and open your mind to new ideas.
  6. Write Down Every Idea – Simple ideas fuel creativity.  Write down everything and anything that crosses your mind, even the simple ideas that seem stupid.  A critical part of having a good idea is the act of capturing every idea you have.  Capturing other people’s ideas is also a beneficial practice.  Maintain an idea list and then mindfully sort through them at an alternate location and time.
  7. Take Short Stimulation Breaks – Read some quotes that inspire you.  Watch a motivational video clip.  Listen to one of your favorite tunes.  Or, you could create a small play space with some mind stimulating puzzles and games.
  8. Break Your Routines – Routines can serve a useful purpose, but they also close the door on creativity.  Small changes in your routines can lead to fresh, invigorating experiences and creative thought patterns.  For instance, instead of driving to work, take the bus or carpool.  Go out to lunch with different people.  Try new things.
  9. Mandate Personal Brainstorming Sessions – Brainstorming is essential to creative thinking.  Set enough time aside to brainstorm at least once a day.  Don’t stop until you have at least 10 points written down.  Add these points to the idea list I discussed above.
  10. Buy Fun Supplies – I’m certainly not an advocate of needless spending, but I do support the occasional creativity / productivity enhancing purchase.  Need some ideas?  How about a colorful set of dry erase markers, a calendar themed to your liking, a gigantic bulletin board, and an art-styled writing table?

A Sad, Familiar Tale of Procrastination

Stop Procrastinating and Avoid DistractionsHe has always dreamed of pursuing a career in computer hardware engineering.  “I want to design my own chipset”, he used to tell his Computer Science teacher in high school.  Now, as a junior enrolled at a reputable technical college, he finally has the chance to make his dream a reality.  Although he somewhat slacked his way through the two years of general education courses, he always knew he would have to be studious during his junior year when the core engineering classes started.

He wakes up every morning filled with excitement and positive intentions.  Studying is actually the first thing that crosses his mind.  “I’ve got to get that chapter read”, he tells himself.  But first he needs to grab some Starbucks and a muffin.  “Okay, now I’m ready.”

He sits down at his dorm room desk and cracks open the book “Modern Computer Hardware Design”.  The phone rings.  It’s Jane, a good friend he met in his sophomore English class.  “Lunch, today?  Yeah, I could do that.  How’s noon sound?  Perfect.  See you then.”  Before he sits back down to read he remembers that he skipped his workout yesterday.  “A quick workout will only take 45 minutes and it will energize my mind and prepare me for a couple hours of diligent studying”, he thinks to himself.  He puts on his sneakers, grabs his iPod and heads over to the campus gym. 

When he returns from the gym, he takes a shower and is again ready to start reading.  Page one: “Welcome to the exciting world of computer hardware design.  This book is divided into…”  “Ah, crap!  I forgot to email my mother those photos I promised her.  Heck, it will only take a second.”  He quickly opens up his laptop and logs into Gmail.  Before he has time to send the email he gets an IM from an old high school buddy, Greg, who he hasn’t spoken to in six months.  After a forty-five minute chat session, he fires the email off to his mother and returns to the book.

He glances up at the wall clock and realizes he only has about thirty minutes before he has to leave to meet Jane for lunch.  “Jeez, it will be pointless to get into the groove of a focused study session for just thirty measly minutes”, he thinks out loud.  He convinces himself that it would be in his best interest to save the reading for after lunch.  So logs into Facebook, replies to a few messages from his friends and then heads off to meet Jane.

Once he returns from lunch an hour and a half later, he feels exhausted.  The post-meal grogginess is kicking in hard.  “All I need is another round of Starbucks and I’ll be ready”, he thinks to himself.  He heads out to grab it. 

As he sits back down at his desk with his coffee he repeats the word “focus” over and over as a mantra to himself.  He cracks the book back open.  Page one: “Welcome to the exciting world of computer hardware design.  This book is divided into…”  But then…  His neighbor knocks on his door.  “Turn on the Local 6 news channel.  The college apartment complex down the street is on fire”, his neighbor says.  Again, he puts down the book and then clicks on the television.  This should only take a second…

Yeah… right…

Procrastination is a deadly, cyclical virus.

Stop Procrastination 101

  • Plan, Prioritize and Dedicate Time  – Make a bulleted list of the things you need to accomplish, denote the next action you need to take for each bullet point, prioritize based on due dates, and dedicate a window of time for getting each bullet point done.  Once you have your plan setup, do NOT deviate from it unless a real emergency occurs.
  • Disconnect Yourself – Go to the library or another quiet location where nobody can disrupt and distract you.  Leave your cell phone and internet connection behind.
  • Start Early, Finish Early – The gym, along with everything else you’d rather be doing, must wait.  Get the important tasks done first thing in the morning when your mind is fresh.  Once the weight is lifted, the rest of the day is yours.

The 3 Pillars of Creativity

The 3 Pillars of CreativityCreativity is not just for artists and poets. Everybody has the potential to exercise creativity, to innovate new ways of accomplishing things that will ultimately make life easier and more gratifying. Creativity magnifies the quality and effectiveness of your natural talents, creating an elevated rate of success by injecting a greater sense of passion and fortitude into whatever you do.

Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
– Franklin D. Roosevelt

Acts of creativity can be found in every facet of life. We are surrounded by the byproducts of creative ideas, both big and small. And the small acts of creativity are no less important than the big ones. In fact, the more creative you are with the small things in your life, the more creative you will likely be with the big things.

Remember, creativity is a mindset, not an accomplishment. The creative mindset is basically an everlasting devotion to approaching various problems and circumstances in innovative ways. Three core traits sit at the foundation of creativity: awareness, confidence and enthusiasm. I consider these to be the three pillars of creativity.

Awareness

Awareness is an absolute necessity. Creativity cannot be practically applied until a certain level of fundamental knowledge is gathered about the current situation or problem at hand. Creativity actually relies on both sides of the brain, the creative right side and the logical left side. The first steps the brain takes when tackling a creative venture are actually governed by logic, not creativity. The logical left side of your brain analyzes the situation and all the known facts, defines the problem that must be solved and then hands the data over to the creative right side of your brain. Without this logical information review process, creativity will drown in misdirection.

Confidence

Creative ventures step into the unknown, slowly moving in directions no one has gone before. Any journey into the unknown holds a certain level of inherent risk. Most people are scared to accept this risk, which effectively squashes all their creative ideas before they have a chance to develop them.  Creativity can also be hindered by the frustration of initial failure or third-party ridicule. Confidence is the key. If you have confidence in yourself and your ideas, you will be far more willing to accept calculated risks, take creative chances and thwart off all the other stress factors attempting to restrain your creative edge.

Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm is the lifeblood of creativity. It is vital because creativity only blossoms when you are passionate and enthusiastic about what you are doing. It’s nearly impossible to pioneer creative solutions for something you have absolutely no interest in. However, when your mind is stimulated by a fundamental curiosity and interest in the subject matter, your creativity will run rampant and your motivation will skyrocket.

Conclusion: When the mind is aware of the circumstances, confident in its abilities and enthusiastic about the material, creative ideas may flourish into ground-breaking, sensible solutions.

17 Drug-Free Ways to Stay Awake

Drug-Free Ways to Stay AwakeStaying awake is easy… 5 shots of espresso and 2 lines of cocaine is all you need.  You’ll certainly be wide awake and wired, but you may also die from a heart attack a few hours later.  In all seriousness, conquering drowsiness before it overwhelms your mind can be quite a challenge without the help of drugs.

So the big question is:  What are some healthy, drug-free ways to stay awake when you must?  Let’s take a look at 17 possibilities.

  1. Crank Up the AC – Warm, stuffy environments accelerate mental fatigue.  If you need to stay awake in a lecture hall or meeting room find an open seat under an AC vent.
  2. Cold Water – Splash some on your face and the pulse area of your wrists.  Drinking an ice-cold glass of water can also help to wake you up, and if you drink enough of it you’ll be up on your feet using the restroom every 30 minutes as well.
  3. Fasting at Mealtime – The human body expends a great deal of energy during the digestion process.  This can create a great deal of fatigue when you are trying to stay awake.  Fasting is a great way to avoid this natural fatigue.  As long as you are drinking enough water, fasting for a meal or two is also a healthy way to detoxify your cells and rejuvenate organs.
  4. Light Exercise Breaks – Take a break and take a walk or do a couple jumping jacks to get your blood moving.  Even the slightest bit of exercise can act as a healthy way to energize your mind and body.
  5. Chew Sugar-Free Peppermint Gum – It won’t rot your teeth and it will generate just enough physical activity to keep you awake.  Strong peppermint flavors seem to work best for me… there’s just something about that refreshing minty taste.
  6. Write – The idea is to keep your mind busy.  If you are attending a lecture or business meeting, write down everything that is said.  If you are simply trying to stay awake, create a detailed to-do list for the week or plan out your perfect weekend getaway.
  7. A Good Laugh – Watch a funny video clip or read your favorite comic strip.  A good chuckle will stimulate your mind and help you to stay awake a little while longer.
  8. Inspirational and Motivational Material – Sometimes all you need is a little pep talk.  Watch a video clip that inspires you.
  9. Music – If it’s not too much of a distraction, listening to fast beat music can be a great way to keep your mind awake.
  10. Tickle the Top of Your Mouth Cavity – Obviously, you’ll want to do this with your tongue.  Rub your tongue against the top front area of your mouth cavity.  It feels a little weird, but it does give you a quick, irritating nerve jolt that can actually help to keep you awake.
  11. Turn On All the Lights – Darkness promotes sleepiness.  Turn on every light in the room.
  12. Hangout with a Friend – It’s so much easier to stay awake when you have someone else to interact with.
  13. Play Video Games – First-person shooters, fast paced driving games, or online RPGs like the great World of Warcraft are sure to keep you wide awake.
  14. Go Outdoors – Getting some fresh air outdoors is always a good way to rouse your senses.
  15. Pull Down on Your Earlobes – This may sound strange, but pulling down on your earlobes can help you stay awake and alert when you’re feeling drowsy.  Just try it.
  16. Nutritious Low Carb Snacks – Low carb fruits such as raspberries, apples, oranges, and grapefruits are great energy boosters.  Heaping scoops of spicy salsa on a few small crackers is another goodie.  Stay away from meats, breads and dairy products.
  17. Get Enough Sleep When You Can – This one should be obvious.  The best way to stay awake is to be well rested.  If you get enough sleep on a regular basis it will be much easier for you to stay awake or pull an all-nighter when you absolutely must.

Check out these books for more natural ways to stay awake: