“There is some kind of a sweet innocence in being human – in not having to be just happy or just sad – in the nature of being able to be both broken and whole, at the same time.”
— C. JoyBell C.
Be present, let go of the past, don’t beat yourself up over what you did yesterday, and don’t try to be perfect. Just be a beautiful example of being human…
1. Live one day at a time.
No matter what’s happening, anyone can efficiently fight the battles of just one day. It’s only when you add the battles of those two abysmal eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that life gets overwhelmingly complicated. Realize that it’s not the experience of today that holds you back and drives you crazy, but the regret and resentment about something that happened yesterday or the fear and dread of what tomorrow might bring. It’s necessary, therefore, to let yourself live just one day at a time – just today – just right here, right now.
2. Be OK with not being OK all the time.
Bad things happen every day and to everyone at some point. The difference is in how people deal with it. So smile, let others know there is still hope. Be patient and tough, someday this pain will be useful to you. Those with the strength to succeed in the long run are the ones who lay a firm foundation of growth with the bricks that life has thrown at them. So don’t be afraid to fall apart for a little while, because when it happens, the situation will open an opportunity for you to grow and rebuild yourself into the brilliant person you are capable of being.
3. Earn the best days of your life.
Hard times are often blessings in disguise. Let go and let life strengthen you. No matter how much it hurts, hold your head up and keep going. This is an important lesson to remember when you’re having a rough day, a bad month, or a crappy year. Things will unquestionably change – you will not feel this way forever.
Truth be told, sometimes the hardest lessons to learn are the ones your spirit needs most. Your past was never a mistake if you learned from it. So take all the crazy experiences and lessons and place them in a box labeled “Thank You.” You simply can’t feel real happy unless you’ve felt heartache. You can’t have a sense of victory unless you know what it means to fail. You can’t know what it’s like to feel whole until you know what it’s like to feel completely shattered. And you can’t be rebirthed until you’ve passed on from who you used to be. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Adversity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
4. When your intuition begs you to listen, listen.
There will be a distinct few times in your life when all your instincts will tell you to do something – something that defies logic, upsets your plans, and seems completely crazy to others. When this happens, sit quietly and listen to your intuition. Let your instincts take over and ignore everything else. Ignore what you’re “supposed” to do, ignore the odds, ignore what everyone else wants you to do, and just go for it.
In life, if you don’t risk anything, you risk everything. And you can’t always wait for the perfect time. Sometimes you must dare to jump. Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage – just literally twenty seconds of uncomfortable bravery – and I promise you, something great will come of it.
5. Look within for the answers you seek.
Constantly checking your life against one of society’s prewritten stories of how things “should” be is a phony way of living. It’s sort of like renting your identity. Just be you. You are far more nuanced than anyone else’s narrative you try to fit yourself into, and more complex than society’s story of what “should” be happening.
The problem is that when you think you have to “look” for things in life like love, meaning, and inspiration, the “looking” implies that these things are somehow hiding behind some bushes somewhere, just waiting to be discovered. So you start asking yourself questions that lead you further and further outside yourself, which is not where the answers you seek live.
In life you have to create your own love, define your own meaning, and harbor your own inspiration. This process starts on the inside, not somewhere else. Much of this can be accomplished simply by asking yourself the right questions. Start with these:
- “Who am I?”
- “What do I need?”
- “How do I function best?”
- “What do I have to give?”
- “What’s the next step I can take right now?”
6. Dare to challenge the status quo.
The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. In a world filled with doubt, you must dare to dream. In a world filled with anger, you must dare to forgive. In a world filled with hate, you must dare to love. In a world filled with distrust, you must dare to believe. And once you do, you will find that power you once thought you lacked.
Never let anyone steal your dreams. Stay optimistic and focused. Being positive when negativity surrounds you is not naive, it’s leadership. Work hard in silence, do what you have to do, and ignore the drama and negativity surrounding you. Let your success be your noise. (Read Start: Punch Fear in the Face.)
7. Work hard when hard work is required.
Beware of quick-fix solutions that simply worsen the problems they promise to solve. Obviously there’s nothing to be gained from a cure that’s worse than the disease. And there’s certainly nothing to be gained from a solution that merely masks or delays a problem without addressing its underlying cause. When there’s a real problem in your life, expect to do some real work.
Facing a challenge requires effort, and yet that effort is necessary only for a relatively short time. Running from the challenge requires ever-increasing effort that has no end. Truly eliminating the cause of the problem does indeed take more work than quickly fixing the symptoms. Yet once the difficult work is done to remove the problem, it’s gone for good. Do the required work to root out each problem at its core, and your efforts will always bring lasting returns.
8. Appreciate your blessings.
Life is “give and take.” Give thanks and take nothing for granted. Being happy doesn’t mean you have it all, it means you appreciate it all. So stop worrying and complaining all the time. Life is too short. Instead of focusing on how stressed you are, remember how blessed you are.
You’re blessed more than you likely realize. You have what many hope for.
The people and things you take for granted today may be the only ones you need tomorrow. Never be too busy to make time for that which matters most. Remember the good times, be strong during tough times, love always, laugh often, live honestly, and be thankful for each new day. Happiness never comes to those who don’t appreciate what they have. So be thankful today. Life isn’t perfect, it’s just pretty darn good.
9. Use your voice to support the truth.
Don’t hide your thoughts and feelings, especially when you can make a difference. Be brave. Speak your truth. There is no greater sadness than holding on to the honest words you never had the courage to speak. Say what needs to be said. Hiding how you really feel and trying to make everyone happy doesn’t make you nice, it just makes you a liar. You have to tell the truth, or eventually someone will tell it for you. Living a life of honesty creates peace of mind, and peace of mind is priceless. Period.
Bottom line: Never be dishonest and never put up with people who are.
10. Practice kindness with an open mind.
The more you judge, the less you see and love. Be compassionate and kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle. Everyone has a story hidden inside them that is equally as complex as your own; try to understand that people are not always as they seem. Be patient with them. Pay attention.
Everyone you meet has something important to teach you that may change your life. In fact, many of your greatest accomplishments in life will come when you are able to bless someone else while you are going through your own storm. So regardless of what’s going on in your life, be gentle and kind. Think before you speak and act. Always remember that the words and actions you choose can only be forgiven, not forgotten. You were made to make a difference, so embrace every opportunity to do so. No act of your kindness, no matter how tiny, will ever be wasted.
11. Nurture your important relationships.
Sooner or later, you just want to be around the people who make you smile. So every chance you get, spend time with those who help you love yourself more. One true friend in life who understands your tears and troubles is far more valuable than a hundred friends who only show up for your smiles and joys. Because a true friend accepts who you truly are, and also helps you become who you are capable of being.
Relationships like this require more than just finding the right person, they also require you to be the right person. So when someone believes in you enough to lift you up, try not to let them down. Actions often speak much louder than words. When you care about someone you have to act accordingly. They will be able to tell how you feel about them simply by the way you treat them over the long-term. (Read The 5 Love Languages.)
12. Let life guide you.
Life is often unpredictable. Some of the greatest moments in your life won’t necessarily be the things you do; they’ll be things that happen to you. That doesn’t mean you can’t take action to affect the outcome of your life. You have to take action, and you will. But don’t forget that on any day, you can step out the front door and your whole life can change in an instant – for better or worse.
To an extent, the universe has a plan that’s always in motion. A baby bird flaps its wings and it starts to hail – it’s a scary thought, but it happens and it’s part of life’s cycle. All these little components of Mother Nature, constantly working – sometimes forcing you to struggle, and sometimes making sure you end up exactly in the right place at the right time.
The floor is yours…
Which of the points above do you intend to work on this year? What else would you add to the list? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.
Photo by: Nattu