Be yourself. Trying to be anyone else is a waste of the person you are. Embrace that individual inside you that has ideas, strengths, and beauty like no one else. Be the person you know yourself to be — the best version of you — on your terms. And above all, be true to YOU — if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.
1. Get your priorities straight.
Twenty years from now it won’t really matter what shoes you wore today, how your hair looked, or what brand of jeans you bought. What will matter is how you loved, what you learned and how you applied this knowledge.
2. Take full responsibility for your progress.
If you really want good things in your life to happen, you have to make them happen yourself. You can’t sit around and hope that somebody else will help you; you have to make your own future and not think that your destiny is tied to the actions and choices of others. (Note: Our newest publication, “The Good Morning Journal”, is a great tool for daily progress-tracking and self-reflection.)
3. Know your worth.
When someone treats you like you’re just one of many options, help them narrow their choice by removing yourself from the equation. Sometimes you have to try not to care, no matter how much you do. Because sometimes you can mean almost nothing to someone who means so much to you. It’s not pride — it’s self-respect. Don’t expect to see positive changes in your life if you surround yourself with negative people. Don’t give part-time people a full-time position in your life. Know your value and what you have to offer.
4. Choose the right perspective.
Perspective is everything. When faced with long check-out lines, traffic jams, or waiting an hour past your appointment time, you have two choices: You can get frustrated and enraged, or you can view it as life’s way of giving you a guilt-free breather from rushing, and spend that time daydreaming, conversing, or watching the clouds. The first choice will raise your blood pressure. The second choice will raise your consciousness.
5. Don’t let old problems punish your present potential.
Learn to let go of things you can’t control. The next time you’re tempted to rant about a situation that you think ended unfairly, remind yourself of this: You’ll never kill off your anger by beating the story to death. So close your mouth, unclench your fists, and redirect your thoughts. When left untended, life’s little frustrations will slowly wither, and you’ll be left to live in peace as you grow toward a better future.
6. Choose the things that truly matter.
Some things just don’t matter much — like the kind of car you drive. How big of a deal is that in the grand scheme of life? Not a big deal at all. But lifting a person’s heart? Now that matters! The whole problem with most people is, they KNOW what matters, but they don’t CHOOSE it. They get distracted. They don’t put first things first. Don’t be one of them! The hardest and smartest way to live is choosing what truly matters, and pursuing it a little bit every day. (Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.)
7. Love who YOU are.
Let someone love you just the way you are — as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as unaccomplished as you think you are. Yes, let someone love you despite all of this, and let that someone be YOU.
8. Accept your strengths and weaknesses.
Be confident being YOU. We often waste too much time comparing ourselves to others, and wishing to be something we’re not. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses, and it is only when we accept everything we are, and aren’t, that we are able to become who we are truly capable of being.
9. Stand up for yourself.
You were born to be real, not to be perfect. You’re here to be YOU, not to be what someone else wants you to be. So stand up for yourself, look them in the eye when you must, and say, “Don’t judge me until you know me, don’t underestimate me until you challenge me fairly, and don’t talk about me until you’ve talked to me.”
10. Learn from others, and move on when you must.
You can’t expect to change people. Either you accept who they are, or you start living your life without them. And just because something ends, doesn’t mean it never should have been. You lived, you learned, you grew, and you moved on. Some people and situations come into your life as blessings, while others come into your life as lessons.
11. Be honest in your relationships.
How do you build credibility? It’s not rocket science. Be honest. Follow through. Honor your word. Say sorry. Listen. Be kind and respectful. And remember that when you’re in a healthy relationship, being faithful on a daily basis isn’t a sacrifice, it’s a joy. Seriously, do not underestimate the power of a loving touch, a kind word, or an honest compliment, all of which have the power to turn a life around.
12. Get comfortable with being a little uncomfortable.
Life as we know it can change in a blink of an eye. Unlikely friendships can blossom, important careers can be tossed aside, and a long lost hope can be rekindled. It might feel a little uncomfortable at times, but know that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. So if you’re feeling uncomfortable right now, know that the change taking place in your life is not an ending, but a new beginning. (Read The Power of Full Engagement.)
13. Be who you were born to be.
Don’t get to the end of your life and find that you lived only the length of it; live the width of it as well. When it comes to living as a passionate, inspired human being, the only challenge greater than learning to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, is learning to walk a lifetime comfortably in your own. Follow your heart and take your brain with you. When you are truly comfortable in your own skin, not everyone will like you, but you won’t care about it one bit.
14. Never give up on yourself.
Strength shows not only in the ability to hold on, but in the ability to start over when you must. It is never too late to become what you might have been. Keep learning, adapting, and growing. You may not be there yet, but you are closer than you were yesterday. So keep going, and be low-key sometimes. You don’t need to put everything on social media. Silently progress and let your positive actions speak for themselves.
Afterthoughts on Making the Very Best of It
Do your best to live a life that moves, shakes, and makes you laugh out loud every day. Because you don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow even, and realize that your life is a collection of meetings and “somedays” and errands and receipts and empty promises.
Go ahead and sing out loud in the car with the windows down, and dance in your living room, and stay up late laughing, and paint your walls any color you want, and enjoy some sweet wine and chocolate cake. Yes, and go ahead and sleep in on clean white sheets, and throw parties, and paint, and write poetry, and read books so good they make you lose track of time. And just keep living and making God glad that he gave life to someone who loves and cherishes the gift…
- Think deeply.
- Speak gently.
- Love lots.
- Laugh often.
- Work hard.
- Give back.
- Expect less.
- Be present.
- Be kind.
- Be honest.
- Be true to yourself.
Now, it’s your turn…
Yes, it’s your turn to make the very best of it today!
But before you go we would love to hear from YOU.
Which point mentioned above resonates with you the most today?
Please leave Marc and me a comment below and let us know what you think of this essay. Your feedback is important to us. 🙂
Also, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign-up for our free newsletter to receive two new articles like this in your inbox each week.
Photo by: Johanna MacDonald
Thank you for this nice summary. Speaks to the authentic me today for sure. Thanks for your wonderful weekly emails and posts. And I’m looking forward to receiving your new guided morning journal too. Just ordered.
Jennifer White says
Comment for Marc and angel: what I want is to be alone and rest. Thku for challenging me to find me. I love to be alone. I find my mind and God and rejuvenate. I love quiet times – they cause me to worship. And I can’t take care of everything, but I can love God, which causes me to love others lavishly and love myself too. Thku
Oh how I can relate to all of these.
Look them in the eyes and say, “Don’t judge me until you know me, don’t underestimate me until you challenge me, and don’t talk about me until you’ve talked.
This hit home!!! I love it. Thank you so much for your amazing articles and emails, may God bless your work 🙂
Over the past 10-15 years – yes, I’ve been reading your work for that long – your blog has changed my life. I read one of your newest articles or emails every so often now just to remind myself of what I’ve learned and why. This post was a wonderful summary on many levels. Thank you.
I have read so many articles on your site, but this one is so special.
Number 3 “Know your worth” just resonated with me today. I found out I meant very little to someone who meant the world to me. And I walked away because I knew I deserved better. I was so sad and disappointed but reading your post just gave me hope. I’m me! And I am awesome, just the way I am. Thank you for this great post. Whenever I read your blog, it feels like you’ve written it just for me 🙂
Please keep it coming! 🙂
I really enjoyed this group of thoughts. As usual, I think of my own corollaries 🙂 Mine today is: Don’t limit yourself arbitrarily. If someone were to say to you “I don’t think you don’t should pursue that because you shouldn’t / wouldn’t be successful”, you would think I’m not going to let you limit me — I’ll do what I want! But we sometimes limit ourselves by saying the same things internally. You wouldn’t let someone else stop you, so don’t stop yourself from trying something new either.
These are all very important, but the first one is really important “1.Get your priorities straight. – Twenty years from now it won’t really matter what shoes you wore today, how your hair looked, or what brand of jeans you bought. What will matter is how you loved, what you learned and how you applied this knowledge.”
How you loved will count in the end. By loving yourself first (minus the ego) you open the door for others to love you.
When we stop being who we are meant to be in this world, that is when we take from the world instead of giving back to it.
It is what is inside that really matters, like you say your shoes or clothing don’t matter, but it sure matters how you loved.
Let your light shine bright, the world is waiting to hear from the real you.
Thanks and blessing you both of you,
Thank you for this wonderful reminder of embracing my life on my terms. Also, great reminder to be myself and LOVE myself!
“Making God glad that He gave life to someone who loves and cherishes the gift.”
That sentence gave me a new perspective.
Really liked the “don’t talk about me until you’ve talked to me.” But what meant the most was making God glad.
Know your worth. That hit deep. As did being honest in relationships. Thanks so much. You brightened my day. 🙂
Nancy Jonat says
Thank you I needed that today. I was feeling a bit of my spark had fizzled and you reminded me to enjoy the time I have here on earth and let go just a little.
I am new to your posts and so grateful to have found you. Every message has so much meaning. Knowing your worth reminded me to let go of a relationship with a loved one that has dramatically changed and no longer healthy for me. It just causes me hurt, anger and confusion that I don’t want to carry around everyday any more. Time to let go.
Jamie Mondillo says
Your messages are sooo uplifting to me!! Thank you for generous thoughts and advice. ??
Your last line…”just keep living and making God glad that he gave life to someone who loves and cherishes the gift…”
I always learn/take away something from your posts but this one line today really got me! My life IS a gift and I need to live each day like it is- no matter what is going on in it. Thank you for sharing this wisdom with us!
I especially liked speak gently, love lots and laugh often. These could improve each day.
#9 and #10 are two that I need to live by more. I often have a hard time standing up for myself and also moving on. I tend to be a people pleaser and always think the best of everyone, letting their good qualities supersede the not so desirable ones.
It was enlightening to read all these human characteristics in such detail and the article reinforces a life well lived with dignity and grace.
Lady Faye says
Absolutely excellent. Keep it up. My inspiration for the day.
Hie Marc and Angel, On a beautiful Monday morning.. This is the most beautiful piece i have read. in fact, with the whirls of emotions that i have gone through the past months, this reading has elevated me in some kind of way. i feel fresh, acknowledged and understood. My mind is a busy place with many matters that weigh me down each time. After reading this, i can now see myself in a new way. Starting today, I will embrace my worth and make sure that i spread positive energy wherever i am. LOTS OF LOVE TO YOU MARC AND ANGEL!!!!!!
You always seem to send out an essay about something I am struggling with…. it is uncanny! 🙂 You are both the best!
Noah William Smith says
Hi Angel and Marc :-),
Hope you are well today.
Thank you for sharing your essay.
Two points resonated deeply with me today: Accept Your Strengths and Weaknesses (#8), and Never Give Up On Yourself (#14).
It is natural for every human being to have strengths and weaknesses, but weaknesses are often looked downed upon. I don’t like being pitied or judged, but I know some people are empathetic and resonate with my weaknesses. I see weaknesses as known skills shortages. For example, I am not able to fix a leaking toilet. Sure I want to fix it myself, but why frustrate myself with it given my lack of skills and knowledge in the area :-).
When it comes to interpersonal relationships, I believe it is a strength to be aware of one’s own weaknesses because my weaknesses are often my wife’s strengths. Each of us then gets our time to shine and help each other.
In terms of never giving up on oneself, I believe that 100%. You saved the best point for last :-). When life becomes too stressful, it is good to take a break. I enjoy 2-3 hours of quality time every day to reflect, write and connect with my wife. Especially on days when the world smacked me around like only a professional boxer can, I connect with my inner voice. That voice tells me to keep on going and do my best.
Keep up the excellent work and thanks again for sharing :-).
Noah William Smith