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
Awesome article. Can’t wait to see where the evolution of this thinking lands our society in the next couple of generations…
Mark Foo | TheBigDreamer.com says
Fabulous article! I especially like Be a part of something you believe in. That is especially true when it comes to choosing your career.
Being an introvert, many people think that I have no life because most of the times, I stay at home. However, their so-called of a ‘life’ is chilling out with friends, going on vacations whenever they get approval on their leave, retail ‘therapy’, among other non-productive activities.
Now I’m not saying those are bad. But I’m just wondering what makes these people think they are having a ‘life’ when they’re working 8-10 hours, 5-6 days a week, in a job in which they are absolutely passionless about or even a job they hate?
Have they ever thought about whether they spend more time working or chilling out or taking a vacation?
To me, since you spend almost a third, sometimes even more, of your life in your job and if you’re not involved in works you’re passionate about or believe in, you’re simply existing, not living.
J.Chu | SuccessRevolution.com says
This is the first time I’ve commented on your blog.
This great post attracted me, the list seems very complete to me.
I like the point of “Take full ownership of your actions”. For me this is the base of all points.
Our actions will make us to better or worse at living.
Tess The Bold Life says
I like your list. However, I want to add that people should have fun, laugh a lot and lighten up as well.
Thanks for the added insight guys. 😉 It’s much appreciated.
Well stated. Turning your passion into a means to make a living is the basis behind the idea of the 4-hour work week. If you love your work, then it isn’t really work, is it?
Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills says
Great reminders that make a huge difference in the quality of life. I think every single point on this list is important, thanks for sharing.
Fun for all ages. I liked it a lot. I think there is something about “do something you believe in.”
Great post, I couldn’t agree more.
I live my life by these principals they have served me well.
jeff merrow says
Awesome article! Well thought out.
Life does not expect us to be more than we were created capable of being, but it does expect us to try to be all that we were created capable of being.
Very inspiring….definitely worthy of passing on to friends!
Ian | Quantum Learning says
I went down the list and gave myself a point for all those I believe I’ve achieved – 11/20. Well it’s definitely moving up.
Spend time with those I love, build a loving home and leave time for spontaneous excursions are the ones that stood out as needing some attention in my life.
Stephen - Rat Race Trap says
Marc, this was fantastic! Great insight. I printing this one off and hanging it up by my computer. Well done, congratulations.
A great inspirational read.
I am passionate about living well and teaching others to embrace the quality of life!
Craig Ferguson says
Inspiring ideas. Thanks for sharing.
Sage advice. Now if there was a way to open up minds of young people to take notice of this advice.
Beautiful motivation on this page.
Catherine Cantieri, Sorted says
“How to live life” sounds like a very tall order, but I have to agree with all of these principles. There are a few extraordinary lives out there that have been lived by people who broke a few of these, and I certainly wouldn’t say that they were “living wrong.” But then, they’re extraordinary, which means they fall well out of the norm. Good food for thought!
Lot’s of positive vibes, good post.
Positively Present says
“Be here now” is great advice. There is such a huge difference between living and just existing. This is a great, inspiring post. Thanks!
As some of you have pointed out, there is no strict manual for how to live life. There are, however, certain general guidelines a person can adhere to that will help them make the best of the time they have left…. which is the primary intention of this short article.
Oh, and thanks for all the kind comments. We love reading them all. 😉
David Siteman Garland says
Sighhh…. sometimes I have that whole listening problem. Can you be a talker and still be awesome?
Nathalie Lussier says
I love these types of tidbit articles, and they always seem to resonate with me! But I must say… you could really get specific in some of these. Like “take care of your body” is vague.
How about exercise every day, eat 1 pound of green leafy vegetables, and get 7 hours of sleep. 😉 People would whine more, but at least they’d know they aren’t there yet!
I like that you chose to list “educate yourself until the day you die” first. If you buy into this one, I think a lot of the others will fall into line. As a barely above C student in college, the ‘yourself’ part resonates with me, because I would say that traditional education is needed, but not the best way to get it done (at least for some people).
I love lists, esp this one. So glad I happened across your place here. It’s right down my alley!
freelance writing queen says
What an excellent idea to have all these points in one place. I’ve heard of all over a period of time but to have them all in a single list is really helpful. I intend pinning them up so I can glance at them every now and then.
Fantastic!! Tweeting, stumbling, and spreading your message!
Doug Parker says
EXCELLENT!!! Well stated!
Nadia - Happy Lotus says
The list you wrote was absolutely wonderful. The one point you made which I feel is very important is to excel at what you do. I think people want so many things that they forget that in order to be a success (in any aspect of life), you have to be an expert and they only way to become an expert is by knowing all that there is to know and to sincerely care about all the little details. It truly does make a difference.
Amit Sodha says
“Listen More, Talk Less”
You actually see this said a lot these days but I have to admit I actually disagree with it. I say find a balance. Talk and listen equally. Let what you say be worthwhile, entertaining, educational and inspiring and on the same token listen with an open heart that sees the beauty in that conversation.
Loving all the points though, especially the last one…it’s the greatest lesson in life anyone can master!
Loving your posts as always.
Great list! A couple of my favorites are being a part of something you believe in and listen more and talk less. Good advice. I’d join with Tess and also say having fun and being light hearted, when appropiate of course, is very important! Thanks!
Ibrahim | ZenCollegeLife.com says
Fantastic. Too often we get caught up in the grind of daily life that we neglect “living” life. Time seems to move faster and faster, and if we don’t open our eyes we could all too soon find that we wasted too much of it.
Anyone who motivates people to open their eyes to experiencing life is doing those people a great justice. Thank you!
Be here now. – Right now is the only moment guaranteed to you. Right now is life. Don’t miss it.
That is by far my favorite life rule right now. When so much is happening in your life, and things could go one way or another, you just need to remember this.
I love the site, I often find myself writing very similar pieces and it’s always refreshing to read what you truly believe in.
Very true words. Great inspirational site!
Great list!! I tried to Stumble it, but it looks like it’s already on there 🙂
Perfect! You always write such inspiring posts. Thanks for helping others live better lives.
Ronak R. says
I’d, though, add things to this list..
– Be a child, show similar curiousity & simplicity towards life!
I’d like to put a quote / verse of my song (work-in-progress) here…
Life’s a journey, it trully is;
Now I know why they say this.
Leave the signs or follow the marks;
One day you’ll find who you really are!
Goddess Leonie | GoddessGuidebook.com says
Amen to all of this 🙂 Especially about honouring our elders. They are incredible, incredible souls with so much to teach and share.
Couldn’t agree more with all the items! Excellent article!
DREW WISE ONE says
Comprehensive and inspiring agenda that could be read every day with continuing value. And wonderful that you have the ability to prompt people to sit back, reflect, and see opportunity!
Dustin | sageprofit.com says
Nicely done. The one that challenges me most is the last one; Be Here Now.
As a small business owner, a husband/father, and a beginning blogger, I often find myself missing out on the moment at hand because my mind is somewhere else.
Living in the present moment is so important to not missing the life we’re trying so hard to build and enjoy!
Just want you to know that I really appreciated this post, thank you. 🙂
Munir Lodin says
Great post. I love all your post, and Do read them most of the time. They are all a value to life…
I like the “Listen more. Talk less.”
Some ppl just like to talk without listening to others.
Jonathan EnlightenYourDay.com says
Great post as always!
I was feeling a little down today at work. So I’m glad I could stop by and drained a little motivation out of your Site. Thanks
Tobin Hunt says
Although I agree with the truth of all the things you’ve mentioned, I think we have to be careful when seeing lists presented that we don’t view them as prerequisites for happiness. “If only I can do a, b & c, then I’ll be happy…” etc.
Or conversely we can easily judge ourselves for not meeting up to the standards. They’re just guidelines remember, spiritual materialism can be very tempting otherwise.
Everyone needs to read this!!! I love it. Makes me more ambitious and willing to live life to the ultimate.
Rusty - Fitness Black Book says
I really subscribe to the “live below your means”, philosophy. The funny thing is that even the fanciest car becomes a bit dull after a while. I’d rather meet amazing people and experience different cultures by traveling instead of investing in material things.