Opportunities are like sunrises — if we wait too long, we miss them.
Too often we waste our time waiting for the ideal path to appear. But it never does of course. Because we forget that paths are made by walking, not waiting. Let this be your wake-up call!
If we always sit around until we feel 100 percent ready for the journey, we will likely be sitting around for the rest of our lives. Most of the time we just have to get up and go for it. And no, we shouldn’t feel any more confident before we take the next step. Taking the next step is what gradually builds our confidence. Now is the time!
Yes, it’s finally time to admit that…
1. We often wait too long to explore the things that call to us.
The world isn’t really as it is, but as we see it, and we all see it differently. So if you spend all your free time following trends and doing what everyone else is doing, you’re missing out. Try things out for yourself — try many things. Explore! See what calls to your soul, or what entices you to step forward, and then go for it. Find out everything you can about it. Find other people who love it too. Don’t waste precious time pretending to like things just because other people do — don’t end up with a bunch of mismatched circumstances in your life. Enjoy what you enjoy, listen to your intuition, and you will end up with more circumstances in your life that make you feel alive.
2. We often wait too long to take meaningful action.
Some people wait all day for 5pm, all week for Friday, all year for the holidays, all their lives for happiness. Don’t be one of them! The world does not owe you a living; you owe the world a life. So stop daydreaming and start DOING things that matter. Take responsibility for your life today — take control! You are important and you are needed. It’s too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday. Someday is now; the somebody the world needs is YOU.
3. We often wait too long to trust ourselves with life’s challenges.
Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing. Every great success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there. So give yourself some extra credit along the way. Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can, and that sometimes it takes an overwhelming series of little breakdowns to have an undeniable breakthrough. When in doubt just take the next small step. Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Truly, there’s a time and place for everything and every step is necessary. Just do your best right now, and don’t force what’s not yet supposed to fit into your life. It will happen, when it’s time.
4. We often wait too long to appreciate what we have.
We often take for granted the very aspects of our lives that most deserve our presence and gratitude. How often do you pause to appreciate your health, your family, your home, or other seemingly stable fixtures in your life? Remember, nothing in life is fixed or guaranteed forever. Living in the present is a basic notion, but as with most simple things we often find a way to complicate it. So check yourself — there’s nothing complicated about learning to notice and appreciate your life as it’s happening.
5. We often wait too long to be kind to others.
When you grow older and you look back on your life, you will inevitably forget a lot of the stuff that seemed so important when you were young. You probably won’t remember what your high school GPA was. You will look at your old classmates on Facebook or Instagram (or some other social network) and wonder why you ever had a crush on that person. And you will have the toughest time remembering why you let certain people from your past get the best of you. But you will never forget the people who were genuinely kind — those who helped when you were hurt, and who loved you even when you felt unlovable. Be that person to others as often as possible. (And as you know, what goes around eventually comes around.)
6. We often wait too long to be kind to ourselves, also.
More likely than not, the first person who caught your eye wasn’t “the one.” And the second, third or fourth probably wasn’t either. You know why? It’s because YOU are the one! Seriously, in your own life it’s important to know how spectacular you are. You really have to look in the mirror and be kind, because what we see in the mirror is often what we see in the world. Our disappointment in others often reflects our disappointment in ourselves. Our acceptance of others often reflects our acceptance of ourselves. Our ability to see potential in others often reflects our ability to see potential in ourselves. Our patience with others often reflects our patience with ourselves. You get the idea — you’ve got to show yourself some love and kindness, first and foremost.
7. We often wait too long to embrace the truth.
Too many of us prefer gentle lies to hard truths. But make no mistake, in the end it’s better to be hurt by the truth than comforted by a lie. And lying is a cumulative process, so be careful. What starts as a small, seemingly innocent lie (possibly even with the intention of not hurting anyone) quickly spirals into an mounting false reality. We lie to one another, but even more so we lie to ourselves most often to protect our “oh so fragile” egos. We may even be inclined to lie to ourselves while reading this, not wanting to admit how often we have eluded the truth. (Note: Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the Relationships chapter of “1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently”.)
8. We often wait too long to create and uphold healthy boundaries.
Your mind is your private sanctuary; do not allow the negative beliefs of others to occupy it. Your skin is your barrier; do not allow others to get under it. Take good care of your personal boundaries and what you allow yourself to absorb from others. And if someone in your life is constantly being disrespectful‚ call them on it. If things don’t change, you need to limit the amount of time and influence they have in your life. We need people in our lives who challenge us respectfully, so we can see things from new perspectives, but we don’t need to be constantly torn down by those who don’t respect us. Bottom line: Distancing yourself from people who always give you negative vibes is self-care. Stepping back from situations where you feel unappreciated or disrespected is self-care. Choose to honor your feelings and boundaries, gracefully.
9. We often wait too long to close old chapters in our lives.
You’re going to mingle with a lot of people in your lifetime. You’re going to have first kisses you feel all the way down to your toes and think “Oh my gosh, I love him,” but really… you loved the kiss. You’re going to meet a friend you think you will know forever, but then something will change and you two will go your separate ways. You’re going to explore different parts of your life with different people who aren’t in it for the long haul, and that isn’t a bad thing. Life is a series of stories, and the way our stories intersect is remarkable. Sometimes people are in our lives for the whole story. Sometimes they are in just a short chapter or two. It takes a brave person to know when that chapter is over, and then to turn the page. Be brave. And remember that almost every “goodbye” you receive in life sets you up for a new “hello.”
10. We often wait too long to accept and flow with life.
Don’t stress over things you can’t change. Live simply. Love generously. Speak truthfully. Work diligently. And even if you fall short, keep going — keep growing. In the end, loving your life is about trusting your intuition, taking chances, losing and finding happiness, cherishing the memories, and learning through experience. It’s a long-term journey. You have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting every step of the way. Laugh at the confusion, live consciously in the moment, and enjoy your life as it unfolds. You might not end up exactly where you intended to go, but I promise you will eventually arrive precisely where you need to be.
Now, it’s your turn…
Yes, it’s your turn to stop waiting and start paying attention to the beauty and practicality of living a more intentional life. But before you go, please leave Angel and me a comment below and let us know what you think of this essay. Your feedback is important to us. 🙂
Which one of the points above resonated the most today?
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Photo by: Adam Lerner