It is not length of life, but depth of life.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Because there is a big difference between living and merely existing…
- Educate yourself until the day you die. – The time and energy you invest in your education will change your life. You are a product of what you know. The more knowledge you acquire, the more control you have over your life.
- Take good care of your body. – Your body is the greatest tool you’ll ever own. It impacts every step you take and every move you make. Nourish it, exercise it, and rest it.
- Spend as much time as possible with the people you love. – Human beings are emotional creatures. Family and close friends makeup the core of your emotional support system. The more you nurture them, the more they will nurture you.
- Be a part of something you believe in. – This could be anything. Some people take an active role in their local city council, some find refuge in religious faith, some join social clubs supporting causes they believe in, and others find passion in their careers. In each case the psychological outcome is the same. They engage themselves in something they strongly believe in. This engagement brings happiness and meaning into their lives.
- Excel at what you do. – There’s no point in doing something if you aren’t going to do it right. Excel at your work and excel at your hobbies. Develop a reputation for yourself, a reputation for consistent excellence.
- Live below your means. – Live a comfortable life, not a wasteful one. Do not spend to impress others. Do not live life trying to fool yourself into thinking wealth is measured in material objects. Manage your money wisely so your money does not manage you. Always live well below your means.
- Be self-sufficient. – Freedom is the greatest gift. Self-sufficiency is the greatest freedom.
- Build a comfortable, loving household. – Home is where the heart is. Your home should be comfortable and lined with love. It should be a place that brings the whole family together.
- Always be honest with yourself and others. – Living a life of honesty creates peace of mind, and peace of mind is priceless.
- Respect elders. Respect minors. Respect everyone. – There are no boundaries or classes that define a group of people that deserve to be respected. Treat everyone with the same level of respect you would give to your grandfather and the same level of patience you would have with your baby brother.
- Mix it up. Try different things. – Seek as many new life experiences as possible and be sure to share them with the people you love. After all, your life’s story is simply a string of experiences. The more experiences you have, the more interesting your story gets.
- Take full ownership of your actions. – Either you own up to your actions or your actions will ultimately own you.
- Over-deliver on all your promises. – Some people habitually make promises they are just barely able to fulfill. They promise perfection and deliver mediocrity. If you want to boost your personal value, do the exact opposite. Slightly under-sell your capabilities so that you’re always able to over-deliver. It will seem to others like you’re habitually going above and beyond the call of duty.
- Listen more. Talk less. – The more you listen and the less you talk, the more you will learn and the less you will miss.
- Focus more on less. – Think in terms of Karate: A black belt seems far more impressive than a brown belt. But does a brown belt really seem any more impressive than a red belt? Probably not to most people. Remember that society elevates experts high onto a pedestal. Hard work matters, but not if it’s scattered in diverse directions. Focus on less and master it all.
- Exploit the resources you do have access to. – The average person is usually astonished when they see a physically handicap person show intense signs of emotional happiness. How could someone in such a restricted physical state be so happy? The answer rests in how they use the resources they do have. Stevie Wonder couldn’t see, so he exploited his sense of hearing into a passion for music, and he now has 25 Grammy Awards to prove it.
- Savor the natural joys of simple pleasures. – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the best things in life are free. They come in the form of simple pleasures and they appear right in front of you at various locations and arbitrary times. They are governed by Mother Nature and situational circumstance and captured by mindful awareness. It’s all about taking a moment to notice the orange and pink sunset reflecting off the pond water as you hold hands with someone you love. Noticing these moments and taking part in them regularly will bring unpredictable bursts of happiness into your life.
- Reflect on your goals and direction. – Not doing so is committing to wasteful misdirection. The process of self reflection helps maintain a conscious awareness of where you’ve been and where you intend to go, giving you the ability to realign your trajectory when necessary.
- Leave time for spontaneous excursions. – Sometimes opportunity knocks at unexpected times. Make sure you have enough flexibility in your schedule to respond accordingly.
- Be here now. – Right now is the only moment guaranteed to you. Right now is life. Don’t miss it.
Additional Reading Material and Sources:
- Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives
- The Life You Were Born to Live: A Guide to Finding Your Life Purpose
- The 4-Hour Workweek – Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere
Photo by: Shoothead