post written by: Marc Chernoff

30 Ways To Live A Life Of Excellence


Excellent Life

30 Ways To Live A Life Of Excellence was written by Celestine.

I’ve always been passionate about living a life of excellence.  Setting goals, overcoming challenges, getting results, celebrating the victories - these make living so rich and worthwhile.

When I was in college I was on the Dean’s List - an honorary roll awarded only to top students - in every academic year I was there.  When I graduated I was selected from over 1,000 applicants to enter a Fortune 100 company - one of the top 100 companies in the world recognized by Fortune.  Then when I quit to pursue my passion a year and a half ago, I started The Personal Excellence Blog to share my best advice to achieve excellence in life.

In the last year and a half I also founded my training school where I coach and train others to achieve excellence.  Life has never been more rewarding.  That being said, I have determined that excellence itself is a way of life, not a destination.  While I’ve made some accomplishments, I’m nowhere near where I envision myself to be in the future.  There’s always room for personal growth.  Our potential is limitless, and it’s up to us to tap into it.

Here are my top 30 ways to live a life of excellence:

  1. Discover your purpose. – Our physical life started when we were born.  Our real life starts when we discover our purpose.  What is your purpose?  What is your mission statement for your life?  Mine is, “To touch others’ lives, help them achieve their highest potential and live their best lives.”  This one statement gives me clarity and focus on what to do, from my daily plans to my long-term goals.
  2. Follow your passion. – To do what you love is truly the only way to live.  Don’t just pursue as a hobby; turn it into your career.  I didn’t use to be a personal development blogger or a coach.  I was a marketing major and I was working in brand management as a career.  However, it wasn’t my passion.  So a year and a half ago, I quit my regular job to pursue my real passion.  Despite having no experience in the personal development industry, I slowly carved my niche in this area and established myself and my expertise.  Today I’m pursuing my passion as a career, and loving it.
  3. Set your goals. If you can have whatever you want, what would you like?  What are your biggest goals and dreams?  Set them.  The life I’m living today is a result of goals I set in the past.  If you don’t set any goals, it’s safe to say that you’ll be running in place for the foreseeable future.  Is that what you want?
  4. Create a life handbook. A life handbook is a concept I created where you have a book to write your life purpose, goals, dreams, plans, values, mottos, and other things that are important to you as you pursue your best life.  I started my life handbook in 2007 and it has been my #1 tool to living my life to the fullest.  Learn more about my life handbook and how to create yours.
  5. Have the right mindset. The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your thoughts.  If you think life sucks, life will indeed suck.  On the other hand, if you are set to live your best life, the paths will open up in front of you.  Maybe it’s all the ‘good triumphing over evil’ RPGs I’ve played since young, but I firmly believe that where there’s a will, there’s a way.  No one can stop you if you have the right mindset.
  6. Create your bucket list. A bucket list is a list of things to do before you die.  All of us are going to die one day.  What are all the things you want to do/see/say/experience before you die?  It can be seeing the world, living your dreams, going skydiving, falling in love, among countless others.  I created my bucket list last year with over 100 things, and every day I accomplish what’s on it and add new things I want to do.  Here’s a list of 101 Things To Do Before You Die for ideas on what to put in your bucket list.
  7. Get mentors. You have dreams and big visions, and there are people who have likely been there and done that.  Get them to mentor you.  It’ll definitely cut down the learning curve and ease your journey.  With a mentor, you can unlock your potential and achieve so much more.
  8. Stop worrying so much. The majority of our fears exist only in our head.  Get rid of them and spend the energy on something productive.
  9. Get closer with your parents. Many of us only have functional relationships with our family.  Some of us might even have estranged family relationships.  I know I used to have that, then I realized it was foolish.  Our parents went through a lot of hardship by bringing us up, and no one’s ever going to share a connection to us the way they do.  Today I’m much closer to my parents than I was in the past, and I’m grateful for that.
  10. Let go of negative friendships. If you have friends who discourage you and pull you down, it’s time to get rid of them.  Getting rid might be too harsh for some, so distancing is a good alternative.  I had several negative friends in the past, then I just reduced contact.  Instead of wasting time and energy resisting them, I was then able to focus my energy on people and things that make me happy.
  11. Surround yourself with positive people. Do you know you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with?  Your attitudes, beliefs, accomplishments and success are a function of the people you spend time around.  Think about the people who inspire you and spend more time with them.  You’ll be amazed at the effects they’ll have on you.
  12. Release your limits. They say the sky is the limit.  I disagree.  We are our own limits.  It’s then about releasing our limits so we can live our best lives.  What are you limiting yourself from doing?  Stop holding yourself back.  Go out and get what you want.
  13. Believe in yourself. The majority of the times I’ve been able to achieve something is because I started out believing I could do it, rather than acquiring that belief after I achieved it.  If I didn’t think I could do it, I probably would never have succeeded.  My past experiences have taught me that all you need to have in order to succeed is to have a sense of self-belief - a sense that you can control your own future.  That’s all.
  14. Wake up early. I used to wake up late every day, like 9-10am.  I never thought much about waking up early until a couple of years ago.  After I switched to waking early at 5am, my days have been incredible.  I feel more productive, I get more done, I’m more eager to work to keep the momentum going.  It’s something you have to try yourself to know the difference.
  15. Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet just-starts a life of excellence.  What’s in your daily diet?  Junk?  Fast food?  Fried food?  Or healthy, nutritious food?  Fruits?  Vegetables?  I’ve been a vegan since 2008 and have been loving it.  While I tried it out as just a 30-day trial, I immediately saw the benefits of being a vegan and stayed the course ever since.  Also read: 9 Timeless Nutrition Tips for Any Age
  16. Exercise regularly. Aside from a regular gym routine, try other sports to spice it up your workouts.  Frisbee, badminton and swimming are some of my favorite sports.  These make exercising a lot more fun.
  17. Plan your days. Do you plan your days?  Did you wake up today knowing what you are supposed to do today?  If not, maybe it’s time you do.  Planning doesn’t have to be long and tedious, it can just be a 30 second process.  Every night, think about a few small things that you want to accomplish tomorrow and write them down.  When you wake up the next morning, review this list before you do anything else.
  18. Nurture those whom you love. The magical feeling of love.  The fluttering of your heart.  The internal smile you get when you think of those who you care for most.  It’s impossible to live a life of excellence without sharing quality time with those whom you love.
  19. Try something new. Routines stagnate us.  New experiences help us grow and they make life interesting.  Make an effort to try something new every week.  I get very invigorated whenever I’m doing something new.  It can be a whole new activity or just a small experience, such as talking to a stranger.
  20. Stop watching TV. Why stop watching TV?  The bulk of content on TV is consciousness lowering.  TV has been proven by research to be linked with lower life satisfaction.  TV ads motivate you spend more money frivolously.  TV wastes lots and lots of time.  I could go on forever.  I quit regular TV watching almost 5 years ago and never looked back.  I recently wrote an article on my blog called 10 Reasons To Stop Watching TV and found out a good number of my readers dropped TV in their lives as well.  Try it out for 21-days and see how you feel.  Be sure to read: Top 10 Reasons You Should Stop Watching TV  and 40 Positive Effects of a TV Free Week.
  21. Stop obsessing over the news. A lot of news today resonates with fear, guilt, shame and hate.  Depending on your news source, many are largely sensationalized and biased as well.  You don’t need to watch the news every day for an hour to know that there are car accidents, murders and wars out there.  Focus your energy on how you can address those problems instead.
  22. Don’t be trapped by dogma. Don’t feel compelled to follow others all the time.  Pave your own path.  Follow your heart.  Don’t fall into the trap of operating on everyone’s whim.  Listening is okay, but doing what everyone wants is simply unhealthy.  Execute the good feedback and follow your vision.
  23. Be compassionate. Show love and kindness to all the people around you.  Respect everyone.  They may not react in a kind way immediately, but they will notice and appreciate your kindness. To love is to be human.
  24. Smile more. It takes more muscles to frown than to smile.  So let’s smile more often.  :)
  25. Criticize less, appreciate more. Do you like overly critical people?  I’m sure you don’t.  They are a dread to be around.  So let’s be less critical.  Don’t stare so hard at what’s missing.  Learn to see and appreciate what’s there instead.
  26. Keep a journal to self-reflect. I had a paper journal for several years, but after I started The Personal Excellence Blog I use the blog as my journal.  By having a place to freely let out our thoughts and ponder over them, we get a lot more clarity about ourselves.  If you are not sure where to start with, try 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind, 20 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Every Sunday and check out the new site Thought Questions.
  27. Forgive those who hurt you. To forgive is to let go of a prisoner and to realize that the prisoner all along was you.  Don’t hold on to past hatred.  Let it go.  You’ll find new, wonderful things entering your life once you do.
  28. Enrich your mind great books. Books contain concentrated volumes of wisdom.  It’s not surprising then that most knowledgeable people are also very well-read.  Check out 40 Modern Nonfiction Books Everyone Should Read and 30 Books Everyone Should Read Before Their 30th Birthday.
  29. Coach someone. – There’s no better way to learn than to teach others.  Is there someone who can benefit from your help?  Offer to coach them for free.  It’ll be an enlightening experience for both of you.
  30. Meet new people. Most humans have a habit of stagnating in a small circle of friends.  But it doesn’t help us grow.  Get out there and meet new people.  You’ll be surprised at the lessons they will teach you and the new opportunities they will inject into your life.

In case you can’t get enough, here are some related posts:

Act now.  We only live once.  Let’s live our lives in excellence.

Celestine Chua writes at The Personal Excellence Blog, where she shares her best advice on how to achieve personal excellence and live your best life.  Get her RSS feed directly and add her on Twitter @celestinechua.  If you like this article, you will likely enjoy one of her top articles: 101 Things To Do Before You Die.

Photo by: Glacier Tim

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43 Comments

  • Good read, but…

    Why is it that everyone who has “discovered his/her purpose/passion/meaning-of-life” usually decides to do pretty much the same thing - something like “helping others grow?”

  • Beautiful article! I seriously love it, very motivating and inspiring.

  • I’m glad to see that you included healthy eating and exercise on your list. Not only do they improve your physical health, they have a profound impact on your emotional well being as well.

  • Great article! I totally agree with all these points!

  • Thanks so much Marc for this wonderful guest post opportunity :D It’s a pleasure to be able to reach out to Marc & Angel readers :) Please feel free to share your comments/feedback on this article too.

  • This is such a great list, Celestine. One of my favorites is forgiving others, which to me is a top key to moving forward emotionally. I was also pleased to see the bucket list here. What an awesome way to make sure you live life to the fullest.

  • Lovely article. Thanks for the morning inspiration.

  • An excellent post Celestine.

    I noticed I currently implement about 10 of these pointers and agree that there is always more room for growth. Personal Excellence is certainly a journey and not a destination and it is easier to embrace that once we accept that.

    Thanks for sharing

  • Nicely done. I’d have to admit that sometimes I get stuck on #21, because I’m one of those people who just has to know what’s going on in the world before I go to bed. I think 9/11/01 did that to me, because I wasn’t as obsessive beforehand.

  • Thanks Marc and Celestine for the very nice article. Number 8 is so true, if we worry, that will not change anything. Instead of worrying, we should focus on our goals.

  • Celestine, well thought out and you’ve clearly spent time observing life to write these. All good and sensible though wonder if 30 is too much? We have so much choice these days that we feel we have to give even more to people but I would have loved a handful of top excellence initiators.

    The Top 5 Keys to Existing in Excellence would have piqued my imagination as I confess after 10 I kinda stopped reading and just scanned. Still each to their own and you’ve created a fine resource for anyone excellence challenged to really make it happen.

  • @Celestine:

    I think each of your points on living a life of excellence are well thought out and spot on.

    Thank you for sharing this wisdom.

    You’re welcome to write additional guest articles for us anytime. ;-)

  • Many thanks guys for the effort in this article. It gave me some really good points. :)

  • I really disprove of the title of this article. The first thing I thought when I read “I’ve always been passionate about living a life of excellence” was “I haven’t!” and its because I go to a college preparatory school, where excellence = getting a good letter mark and, to me, making changes in yourself to please people in power. I hate that about the word “Excellence”. I suppose I just have a negative connotation to the word. I’VE always been passionate about living a life of fullness and happiness, mostly for those around me and those in need, but including myself. I find happiness much more important than “excellence”.

  • @Maxim - I think people who have found their passion and are truly happy, realize that true happiness is nothing unless shared with others.

  • Excellent post. :) Very positive. I agree with every point and I’d like to emphasis how important having a purpose is. Extremely.

  • @melinda - Excellence is as you define it to be :)

  • @Marc - You bet I will! :D Love all the insightful feedback M&A readers are giving, thanks a lot everyone for sharing your thoughts.

  • Hi Celestine,

    What a fantastic post! I smiled throughout the whole thing, as it was though your words mirror and echo what is precious to me. And as a Coach, this is precisely what I work on with my clients.

    Funny, I just wrote a blog post about “The Bucket List” movie and began to create my own this past weekend!

    I’ll be sharing this post with my network and signing up to subscribe to your blog. I’m excited to stay in touch!

    Best wishes to you for much continued joy and happiness.

    Warmly,
    Michelle

  • This is an awesome list. I also checked out Celestine’s blog and I am very impressed. Very good quality content and inspiring reading material.

    I definitely appreciated point #8. I just did a video blog today about not worrying so much about what people think of you. This really hit home for me. Great job.

  • I plan to start working on this list the moment I get home! :)

  • Wow, that sure is a whole lot to digest. A lot of good information, if not somewhat overwhelming. I know in my life I need to approach my personal development as a sort of step-by-step thing. I know myself to well to try to do all 30 things in my life at the same time. I’d try, end up barely doing 10 of them, and in the end I’d be in the same place I was before.

    I was hoping you might give some clarification for those of us who don’t know what our life passion/purpose is. It’s hard to make a career out of my purpose if I haven’t figure it out yet. Sure, “helping out people” is a noble thing, but unless I have something distinct and better compared to all the other information out there, should I really try to sell my take on personal development? Kinda seems disingenuous…

  • I like the fact that you listed discovering your purpose at the top of your list. I’m convinced that the greatest need of the human heart is to find meaning and purpose for their lives. Unfortunately, the world is full of so many who are simply going through the motions of their lives pretending that their story will get better on it own, and that it doesn’t end. Of course, there is an expiration date, and time can run out. So today is a great day to begin to get serious about finding one’s purpose, and if it’s know, to go after it wholeheartedly.

  • This is a great post. However, I think 30 ways to live a life of excellence seems to be a little not enough but this is a great start for everyone.

    I strongly believe the first step we have to achieve is to live a conscience life and once we achieve that we will start to see the importance of personal growth in ourselves. Therefore, when you feel that you are growing each and every day, you will definitely have more ways to live a life of excellence.

    Cheer
    Javier

  • What a great blog post, very positive and uplifting. I definitely intend to read more of this blog - you can never stop improving yourself and tips always help!

  • Hey Celestine, 22 is my favourite and I always say to others to forge their own path.

    A beautiful post!

  • Thanks guys, I love the lists you come up with. Very easy to read and quite insightful.

  • Great post.

    I have my bucket list, and I use 43 things to help manage some of my goals.

    I love when you guys do list, I wish the number wasn’t so high at moments because they can be overwhelming to try to manage at times.

    Thanks though.

  • Awesome list!

  • Great list! I was just working on my bucket list the other day!

  • I really like the idea of a life Handbook. I am hopping over to that post to find out what it is all about. This is an awesome list!

  • Why do you think so many people decided to “quit” their job over the past two years and travel the world? Do you think people really quit, or got laid off or couldn’t hack it in the work place since the economy was so bad?

  • Nice list but I am not too satisfied with the stop watching TV approach. The television can actually be a great source of information and can be highly productive if used properly. Watching the right channels can go a long way in updating your information. Just like anything else, you have to be on the right track though !

  • This list is an excellent reminder for me. I see many comments about it being “too much”, and am reminded of what I tell my sons, who are 2, 4, and 8. “How do you eat an elephant?” - 1 bite at a time. I noticed a friend on facebook today, who said, “Plan the work, and work the plan”. This is an excellent plan. And just a Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither will all things on this list come to fruition all at once. It’s late, I can’t sleep, and this was much better than the fiction I normally read. Now to see if I can talk the wife into losing the TV!

    Good days to all, and thank you Miss Celestine!

  • Is there anything else left to add after reading all the above comments? I often speak on motivational subjects and my favorite subject (or shall I say the one in great demand) is EXCELLENCE AS A WAY OF LIFE. I must have given a dozen or more presentations on this theme. But your beautiful article has awakened and inspired me immensely. I want to improve myself as well as in my motivational talks, in the context of the your 30 ways to live a life of excellence. I have begun to feel that ‘to live a life of excellence’ is a better theme to motivate than ‘excellence as a way of life’ Many many thanks, Celestine Chua.

    Professor Bharat Sant
    Hyderabad, India

  • I love your website. I am feeling really down these days and this reminded me of all the things that make me happy. Thanks!

  • I loved this post, and your blog is also very, very good! Keep up with the good work !

  • I personally liked two of these suggestions: wake up early, and nurture the ones you love. These are two things I am working on this year, in order to live a life of excellence. Love this blog, Marc and Angel, and love your work, Celes!

  • An inspiring list… and eye opening too, thanks.

  • Thanks Celestine
    This is very inspiring and very good food for thought and action.

  • I personally liked it very much its very usefull for me

  • Thanks so much for this.

  • Like #29. Coach, mentor or guide someone is really a refreshing experience. The feeling is extremely satisfying when that someone gain some new insights.

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