You have unlimited power over your mind – not outside events.
Realize this, and you will find strength.
These small changes in your daily routine will make a major difference in your life by helping you grow stronger and more capable in the long-run:
1. Make yourself somewhat uncomfortable.
You may feel comfortable bobbing around in the little lake that you’re used to, but if you don’t stretch your comfort zone and venture out into the adjoining waterways, you’ll never discover the beauty and immensity of the ocean – you will never even know it exists. Holding on to what’s comfortable may be the very reason you often feel like something is missing in your life.
Remember, just because you venture out into the world doesn’t mean you can’t return home whenever you want to. It’s okay to come back to where you started, but it’s not okay to never leave.
2. Work on substantial goals.
The worst thing you can do is set personal goals that are far lower than you are able to achieve. Settling for mediocrity when you know you are capable of doing better is reprehensible. Too many people don’t realize this until it’s too late. They think failure is the worst possible outcome of a goal. But the truth is, when a goal is set properly failure still brings you closer to success by teaching you lessons about what doesn’t work. Failure lets you move on, while mediocrity holds you back from reaching your full potential.
Life is short. If you catch yourself continuously succeeding but still feeling incomplete, it’s time to reevaluate your goals. It’s time to stop diminishing your soul by being run-of-the-mill with mediocre intentions when you have the opportunity to stretch yourself to your full potential. Pursue something so significant that even if you fail, you are better off for having tried. Read The Front Nine.
3. Nurture your self-worth.
The worst loneliness – the kind you can’t escape – is when you are uncomfortable with yourself. If you feel lonely when you’re alone, it’s time to start loving yourself more. As the Buddha so profoundly said, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
If you are not at peace with yourself, you will not be at peace in the company of others. They may distract you for awhile, but the truth will eventually reveal itself. Almost everything you do and think is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. You simply can’t outperform the limits you set. If you expect less of yourself, you will never rise to your full potential. You cannot withdraw any more from your potential than you think you’re worth.
4. Tell yourself the right story.
You tell yourself a story inside your head every day. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, you’re always reciting it. This story makes up a big part of who you are – you build much of your life from it.
You will either use this story to your advantage, or it will use you. This is why you have to tell yourself the right story. If you tell the right one, it will make you more alive, more human, more courageous, more passionate, and more loving. If you tell the wrong one, the exact opposite occurs. Obviously, you owe it to yourself to get the story right. Read 1,000 Little Things.
5. Chat with people who see things differently.
As Frank Zappa once said, “A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.” It’s okay to disagree with the ideas and opinions expressed by others, but that doesn’t give you the right to discredit their character simply because you don’t like what they’re saying. Learn to appreciate new and interesting perspectives when you encounter them, even if it means opening your mind beyond what you currently find comfortable.
Before it is too late, pay attention to those around you and find someone who, in your opinion, believes or understands certain things very strongly and very differently from your own perspectives, and just have a friendly, honest conversation with them. It will be a healthy, eye-opening experience for both of you.
6. Avoid those who hold you back.
As Gandhi once said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” It’s about making choices and taking actions that speak to your soul.
Don’t live a life of emotional poverty in which your happiness depends on the permission of another. Give yourself permission to follow the path that makes you happy. Realize that some people in your life will refuse to walk beside you as you embark on this journey; they simply won’t approve no matter what you say, and that’s okay.
Sometimes when you commit yourself to creating your own happiness, it clashes with the perceptions of others. Sometimes when you gain something great, you have to let go of something else. And sometimes this ‘something else’ is a relationship that only wants you to do what they want you to do. Read Emotional Vampires.
7. Cope effectively.
Every human being on Earth is part of a tragedy at some point. No one is immune. You never really know what’s coming – a small ripple in the water or a tidal wave. All you can really do is cope effectively so that when the big one comes, you can surf over it instead of drowning in its monstrosity.
The key is to remain positive, because honestly, if you can’t laugh a little when things don’t go exactly as planned, then you’re either dead or wishing you were… lose-lose. The bottom line is that, on some level or another, every event in your life is either good for you or it is bringing about what you need to deal with in order to create goodness in your future.
Life’s changes and evolutions are win-win. Life is self-correcting.
8. BE where you are while you’re there.
It’s the process of following your path that’s important, not the speed at which you progress down it. Happiness is found during the journey, not at the destination. Slow down so you can appreciate the forest for each of its trees. You have a better chance of truly seeing where you are when you stop spending every waking moment trying to get somewhere else.
You have the power to make your moments more enjoyable simply by realizing that where you are is as good as where you want to be. It’s not a matter of settling for less than you are capable of, or staying right where you are indefinitely. It’s about taking the time to celebrate the goodness surrounding you and how far you’ve come, rather than focusing exclusively of what’s still left to be done. Read The Power of Less.
Photo by: Hartwig HKD
Aaron B. says
Really enjoyed reading these Marc – a solid collection of productive, strength-building habits. I really appreciate the way you explained each of them. #2 was a real wake-up call for me – I often aim too low. So there’s now something new on my daily hit-list thanks to you 🙂
Laura Fletcher says
Thank you so much for sharing these positive habits. I subscribed to your site only a few weeks ago, and I am so taken by the inspiring, practical advice you and Angel are providing.
I am 25 and at a big fork in the road, with my heart leading in one direction and many social pressures trying to drag me in the other. It’s great to feel supported by other people who have walked in my shoes and established good habits for overcoming fears and making life good.
Vruti Shah says
I strongly wish to move forward productively with the point number 6. Reading your posts gives me high spirits, but sometimes I stumble and find them difficult to implement… but I know I have to.
Really enjoyed this column and shared it with several friends. You touched, very eloquently, on the core things that matter most. Thanks for highlighting it like this.
Habits have made a comeback in my life! I was a bit sidetracked by such intense focus on positive thinking over the past few years, at the expense of positive doing on the big goals that mean something to me. Therefore, I’m taking #1 and #2 and implementing them immediately.
Your first point about stretching our comfort zones is such an important one.
Much of what holds us back in life can be traced back to the fear of moving past these comfort zones. We allow ourselves to get settled . . . then we get stuck.
But we’ll never progress until we learn to handle that fear. Pushing beyond our boundaries is vital if we ever wish to grow as individuals.
Dan Okafor says
Many thanks for all the wonderful inspirations you provide here. And come to think of it, you guys should be as popular as Napoleon Hill, though until i came across this site via twitter a few weeks back, i had never heard of you! I’m so pleasantly surprised!
Now for a question: The greatest threat to anyone’s corporate survival is lack of money. As an artist, i do paint beautiful pieces which always are admired but seldom bought. Please i need to annihiliate this crazy monster called ‘lack’, in the midst of enermous talent. What do i do to make admirers of my artworks put their hands into their purses and buy?!
I have been reading your articles for a really long time now, and every time i do i learn something new or see something that will make me smile. I just wanted to say thank you.:) have a wonderful week.
I agree with avoiding those who hold you back.
What if you live with people aka family who hold you back ? It takes courage to break away from the pack. It may not be easy; I’m speaking from experience. Your family could say to you, “Why do you want to move out of state? Who do you think you are to go off on your own? Who are you to pursue your dreams?”
Be prepared to deal with the backlash. But stay cool and move forward with your life. After all, it’s YOUR life.
If you’re inspired to move, then move. If you’re inspired to start your own business, figure out how and seek out those who can help you, and then start your own business.
You have this one life, right here, right now. Don’t waste it by giving in to the pressures of others who don’t understand your dreams or what’s in your heart. Take a risk. You’ll survive. Enjoy the journey.
Li-ling (BeHappyHQ) says
Thank you for your inspiring messages and an excellent list Marc (and Angel). It covered almost everything that I try to practice on a daily basis apart from one, that is to give thanks.
Constantly practising gratitude has only recently become a habit for me and it has changed my perspectives and my experiences so profoundly. I thoroughly recommend it every day.
Thank you – I needed hear this. I love the point about writing your own story.
I often have to remind myself of being in the present. My mind just wanders off when I’m doing certain tasks or when I’m just feeling a certain way. I try to remind myself of James Altucher’s words. He says everyone is time traveling, everywhere you look they’re either in the past or future. Why not be the only one in the present? I try everyday not to time travel and I look forward to the day where I become someone who is constantly in the present.
Wonderful reminders. Regarding telling yourself the right story… I once was listening and retelling a story that someone else had for me… but now I’m telling my story and my life is so much greater.
Thank you, Marc and Angel, for your wonderful insights! Number 6 is speaking to me today. My husband is not so supportive of the spiritual path that I am pursuing right now. He is an atheist and can be somewhat intolerant of people who are spiritual. I don’t think he intentionally tries to be unsupportive, but I think he can be a bit close minded in this respect. I am pretty strong and secure with myself, so usually this doesn’t bother me. However, this past weekend I started a class with a group of people who, like me, were exploring a more spiritual path. Unfortunately, when I told my husband about it, he made an unsupportive comment and I allowed him to make me feel bad for taking the next three Saturdays for myself and my own self-development. I really wish I would have had the courage at the time to say that he can keep his unsupportive comments to himself!
Reading this makes me feel like it is time that I address this issue with him in a more direct way and establish some boundaries. Although I do chat with people who see things differently often (#5), I have to say that in this instance, it was so nice spending my Saturday with like-minded people who didn’t think I was crazy for thinking the way I do! So, I would recommend that if you can’t completely avoid those who are holding you back, to find a support group so that you don’t feel alone.
Another great post! Thanks for sharing the love.
@Vruti Shah: Remember, it’s all about taking one small baby step at a time. Keep stepping and you’ll get there eventually.
@Trveor: “Much of what holds us back in life can be traced back to the fear…” You got it. Spot on advice!
@Dan Okafor: It’s all about proper marketing. I read a book recently called Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World that I think you will find very useful.
@Amandah: Beautifully insightful. Thank you.
@Li-ling: No doubt. Gratitude is a game changer.
@Vincent: Have you read the book The Power of Now? If not, check it out – one of my personal favorites.
@Sonia: Thank you for sharing your story with us. Support groups are priceless, regardless of what you’re trying to do in life. They provide a solid foundation for change and growth, and allow you to interact with others who are dealing with the same issues.
@All: Thanks as always for leaving us your kind remarks. They truly inspire me. I’ll check back later tonight to read more… hopefully, assuming more comments are written for me to read. 🙂
Matt Palka says
After talking to friends, I find that being happy when you are alone is a big challenge. I always thought that it’s better to be alone than in bad company. I need to prioritize my own growth and find people that challenge me. I’be made it my goal to talk to at least one new person in college every day. It’s all about having a growth mindset. 🙂
As I read this, I couldn’t help but notice how #1 and #6 reinforce each other.
We may have a deep desire to go beyond our comfort zone and yet the people in our lives may be creating an environment that discourages this. We could also be using the relationships as an excuse because we don’t have the courage to expand.
If you break out of your comfort zone or expand a shift will occur in your relationships. You may find yourself feeling like the bad guy/gal just because you wanted to evolve.
At this point in my life, I recognize this and accept these shifts as part of the process. It feels good to grow but it is uncomfortable at times.
Your last point is fab…
It’s about taking the time to celebrate the goodness surrounding you and how far you’ve come, rather than focusing EXCLUSIVELY of what’s still left to be done, Time to keep this in mind.:)
Also, you had replied to my Question few posts back that I need to learn the art of balance in life and I had an outing the last weekend with friends following your advice after a long long time. It felt really great… thanks a lot man 🙂
Great! So inspiring in pursuing our goals in life… We are everything when we believe so, and when we dare to take joyful steps in the moment that will soon create a mountain of success for our being. In other words, we are here NOW and we’re gonna keep moving toward our dreams if we choose to.
Aaron Morton says
Good article Marc – one that I think most people can take at least one point from.
I like the one about talking to people with a different view to you. One of the things massively under-utilised in our abilities is the notion of critical thinking and that can be improved by being around people who have a different world view to you.
I am a coach and as a result have an interest in personal development. Its great to hear from my friends who think its rubbish because it allows me to see what I do from another perspective.
Michelle Dobbins says
Thanks for the reminders. I actually read one of your lists and found that I am actually doing everything on the list for once. I must be on the right track. Thanks for all your positive remindes. 🙂
Just began reading your blog. Thank you so much for your amazing words and advice. So many of these concepts resonate in all of us.
Mark Bosma says
I see far too many people around me get held up by others (as you describe in Habit #6) – and I’ve started to recognize that with some areas of my own life as well. It’s not easy to start implementing that habit, but I think it’s critical!
@Matt: Spending time with the right people makes all the difference in the world.
@sheila: Yep, most changes make us feel uneasy, but growth isn’t comfortable. You’re certainly on the right track.
@Gaurav: Glad to here you’re moving forward in a positive way. Good luck with the journey.
@Aaron: New perspectives educate and inspire – so vitally important. I’m glad you connected with this point.
@Michelle: Awesome! 😉
@Mark Bosma: Step by step, habits make impossible changes possible. Good luck to ya.
Jeannine Ryman says
I absolutely love this! Thank you so much for these inspirational words! I’ve shared it with several people. Keep it up!
Daniel Pacheco says
Marcus Aurelius quotation was all that was needed by me to fill my cup. The words of this wise roman emperor if practiced daily by me will make a difference in my daily habits.
What a great read, very thought provoking and some good advice. There are a certainly a few people I could pass this onto who would benefit from these wise words.
Debie Grace says
The last one is so true. I want to think in that way. I a putting it in my scrapbook for a reminder. Thank you very much! Your words are always inspiring 😉
Great post! I love it! Thank you very much indeed.
Enjoyed reading your post. Thank you for your inspiration.
Josiah I says
Thank you Marc and Angel for this exciting write up. From now on I will be very careful on my daily activities to be mindful and strong. I like this one “Happiness is found during the journey, not at the destination”