Take a moment to pause and remember who you truly are. Take the time to reflect on the things that have real and lasting meaning in your life.
Over the past decade, Angel and I have I paid more and more attention to the beauty and practicality of living a simpler life. A life uncluttered by most of the chaos people fill their lives with, leaving us with space for what truly matters. A life that isn’t constant busyness, worrying and stress, but instead contemplation, creation, and connection with people and projects we love.
By redefining our priorities, and building healthy rituals to back them up, we’ve literally been able to change our lives. And this is now a healthy practice we coach our course students though every single day as well.
Through our coaching, Angel and I have learned that the shift in mindset required for living a simpler, happier life is something many people struggle with. They become so accustomed to their lifestyle’s busyness, stress and drama that they actually identify with these disorders as being a part of who they are. This, of course, is not the truth.
The truth is, other animals make their livings by simply living, but as human beings we often associate “making a living” with working like crazy in the most hectic ways imaginable – filling nearly every waking minute of our lives with something that must be done. The busier we are and the more drama there is to chat about (online and offline) at the end of each day, the more “full” life seems… at least for a little while… until we crash and shatter ourselves.
If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed and stressed out a lot lately, it would be wise to rethink and rework your priorities.
This morning, after finishing up a call with a new course student who’s working diligently to simplify various aspects of her life and career, I’ve been reflecting on some of the key truths Angel and I live by, and subsequently pass on to our students, that have collectively had a profound impact on our lives. I’ve distilled these truths into twelve easy-to-digest quotations for you, in hopes that you may find value in them today…
- Overcommitting is the biggest mistake most people make against living a simpler life. It’s tempting to fill in every waking minute of the day with to-do list tasks or distractions. Don’t do this to yourself. Leave space.
- The quality of your life in the long run directly depends upon how you set and respect your priorities today. And priorities don’t get done automatically. You have to make time for what’s important to you: time with your significant other, time with your kids, time for creating, time for learning, time for exercise, etc. Push everything else aside to make time. By saying no to more things that sound slightly “exciting,” you get to say yes to more of what’s truly important.
- Changing the world – YOUR world – doesn’t require earth-shattering feats, but rather doing little things with great love. Think simple, not spectacular. For instance, the best portion of your life will likely be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with the people who matter to you. So be present! There are few joys in life that equal a good conversation, a good hug, a good smile, or a good friend.
- Sometimes life will not go as you planned. When this happens, breathe and remember that life’s richness often comes from its unpredictability. Every moment gives you a new beginning and a new ending. Be thankful to start from where you are now. Wishing for a different past will only waste your present. If you’re feeling down right now, each second that passes is another moment to turn it all around.
- Refill your bucket on a regular basis. That means catching up on sleep, making time for fun and laughter, eating healthy enough to maintain peak energy levels, and otherwise making time for recovery from the pressures of life’s unpredictability.
- Whenever you catch yourself thinking, “Things should be different right now,” take a deep breath. That’s not true and you know it. Because if it were true, things would be different right now. Stay present and focus on what you can create today. And tomorrow will reveal itself exactly as it should, just as yesterday already has.
- As long as you think that the cause of your problem is “out there” somewhere else – as long as you think that someone or something else is responsible for your aches and pains – your situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the victim role – that you’re suffering even in paradise. Don’t do this to yourself. Be your hero, not your victim.
- The fact of the matter is, we are often our own worst enemies – and the biggest challenges we face are our own negative thoughts and habits, and our refusal to admit what’s not working well. Recognizing what’s NOT working in your life can be painful, yet it’s the key to shaping the life you want. By eliminating what’s not working, you give yourself the space to refocus your attention on what IS working, and exploit it to the best of your ability.
- The mind is your battleground. It’s the place where the greatest conflict resides. It’s where half of the things you thought were going to happen, never did happen. But if you allow these thoughts to dwell in your mind, they will succeed in robbing you of peace, joy, and ultimately your life. You will think yourself into a nervous breakdown, into depression, and into defeat. Because you are what you think. And you can’t change anything if you can’t change your thinking. A beautiful day, and thus a beautiful life, always begins with a beautiful mindset. When you awake each morning, take a second to think about what a privilege it is to simply be alive and healthy. Breathe onto the bathroom mirror, just to see how amazing your breath looks. The moment you start acting like life is a blessing, I assure you it will start to feel like one.
- Frustration and stress come from the way you respond, not the way life is. Adjust your attitude, and the frustration and stress is gone. Remember this! Even if you have a good reason to be angry and resentful, don’t. Channel your energy into thoughts and actions that actually benefit your life. (Angel and I discuss this further in the “Happiness” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- Being positive doesn’t mean ignoring the negative. Being positive means overcoming the negative. There’s a big difference between the two. Regardless of what happens, the situation does not determine your response – YOU determine your response. And it never pays to get discouraged. Taking the next step and making positivity a way of life will help you restore your faith in yourself. Work through the challenges so you can gradually turn them into opportunities and blessings.
- The last six letters in the word “attraction” are “action.” If you want to attract positive changes into your life, you can’t only work on your internal world (your knowledge) – you must also take action (do something with your knowledge). And remember, you can’t lift 1,000 pounds all at once, but you can easily lift one pound 1,000 times. In repetition, your little actions have great power. You become highly skilled at whatever you do again and again. Every day offers you the opportunity to develop a ritual of success, regardless of how you personally define success. (Angel and I build tiny, life-changing rituals with our students in the “Goals and Growth” module of Getting Back to Happy.)
All details aside… I hope you will make a magnificent day out of today, that you will dream courageously and live mindfully, that you will create something small that didn’t exist before you took action, that you will love and be loved in return, and that you will find the strength to accept and grow from the challenges you can’t change. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and wisdom in this world), that you will, when you must, be wise with your priorities, and that you will always be extra kind to yourself and others.
Which point above resonated the most with you? And what else do you try to keep in mind to keep yourself on track? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and insights.
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Photo by: Léa Dubedout