I don’t have anywhere near all the answers, but here are a few lessons that I’ve learned throughout my life they’ve helped me live a more positive and fulfilling life.
1) Be the hero of your own story.
Whatever mistakes you’ve made up until now are off the table – the only thing that matters from this point on is how you move forward starting today.
Imagine you’re the main character in a video game, or you’re playing the starring role in the supremely mega fantastic movie called YOUR LIFE – act accordingly.
What would they do? What choices would they make?
Don’t wait around or expect anyone else to create your own success or happiness – that’s entirely yours to make.
The princess is in another castle and nobody is gonna save her but you (high five if you get this reference).
“Be your own hero, it’s cheaper than a movie ticket.” – Douglas Horton
Action step: Watch your favorite movie montage, video game scene or TV moment. Find out what drew you to it (was it the character’s intensity, confidence, charisma? What about their ability to handle a tough situation or stand up for themselves?) then apply it to your own life in any situation that you can.
2) Fail often. Fail better.
“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” – Henry Ford
Action step: Pick back up (or start) something that failure, or fear of it, kept you from pursuing.
3) Empty your mind
Whether your goal is to look like Hugh JACKED man or simply get rid of the extra fluff that has taken up residence on your body, odds are you’re holding on to some beliefs that do nothing more than hold you back.
It could be “knowing” that you have to eat x amount of meals a day, or “knowing” that if you eat certain foods you’ll never get the body that you want.
Open yourself to different possibilities. There are no absolutes, only options…and options are great because that means cake, and cake is AWESOME!
Action step: Identify at least one idea/belief that does nothing but hold you back or hinder your progress. Once you’ve done that, write down ways that you can act that run counter to those ideas. Give it time and do this for several weeks, taking note of any changes, positive or negative, that’ve occured.
Example: I must eat every 2 hours, despite it being a chore and my lifestyle beginning to suffer.
Action: For a month, increase the length of time between your meals and see how you respond.
4) Build momentum
Whatever your goal is, do whatever you have to do to get it, then do everything in your power to keep from losing it.
Unless of course you’re in a negative momentum spiral, then please feel free to stomp both feet into the ground Flintstone style to stop and get yourself on the right path.
Action step: Identify one thing, small or large, that you really want to accomplish. Decide on a first step then do it, no matter what. If you want to write a book but haven’t written anything since you came up with the idea, shut off your phone, go to a place where you can write and sit there until you’ve made headway on the project. This could be on the weekend or you may even have to call in sick from work.
Extreme? Yup, but the “OH HELL YEAH!” feeling you get from finally making progress far outweighs any monetary or time sacrifice you made to make it happen.
After this, keep going on a daily, or at the very least weekly, basis. It doesn’t matter how small; just DO NOT lose the momentum you’ve gained. Small progression is better than no progression.
5) Do the simple things every day
Smile and laugh every day.
Be positive and act positively as often as you can.
Pass up as many opportunities as possible to be a downer, asshat or general negative vibe bringer.
Action step: This one is easy – start with smiling and laughing and see where it takes you. Even if you don’ feel like it, this is one of those instances where faking it until you make it works wonders.
6) Death, defeat and life domination
The average life expectancy.
One of these days we’re going to die – and who knows then? This is the most empowering thing you will ever hear.
How many days, months or years have passed by without us having really lived them?
Doesn’t matter. Starting today, begin the process of doing more of what you love and what makes you happy vs what sucks and what drains you.
Tell the people close to you that you love ’em.
Reach out to and old friend you haven’t talked to in a while and see what’s up.
Start surrounding yourself with those who say “why not?” instead of only asking “why?”
Write down a list of big dreams and little dreams, no matter how lame they may seem, and start pursuing them ALL like a damn cheetah with a rocket pack attached to it.
One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted – do it now.
“You have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do. Act accordingly.” – Colin Wright
Action step: Whenever you screw up, take a step back and laugh. Seriously, laugh. Did you die? If you’re reading this then you’re still in the game. Revel in this fact and get back to being awesome because you never know when your time will come.
7) Find inspiration daily
Whatever you’re doing, a mega dose of inspiration can help keep you going, take it to the next level or transform it into something wild & completely different.
So find that inspiration.
The best part? It’s everywhere.
Read a book by your favorite author.
Get out and explore nature (watch out for rabid wildebeests).
Listen to a dope podcast or some awesome music.
Find someone who is doing great things and thank them, because if they can do it then it’s within your own powers of awesomeness to do it as well.
Do this and do it daily; first thing in the morning so that you set the awesome tone for your day.
Make yourself aware of what’s possible in this world and be surprised at how it starts to change your own life. “If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Action step: Do one of the above things on a daily basis, preferably first thing in the morning, or create your own inspirational ritual. For some it’s horseback riding and jigsaw puzzles, and for others it’s daily meditation.
Learn from your past, then let go
Spaceships don’t have rear-view mirrors for a reason (ok, several reasons).Treat your past experiences as the best teacher of all, but once you’re done, you’re done. Don’t look back and expect to learn something new from constantly analyzing or “re-taking” that same class over and over and over again. The same issues tend to keep popping up in life until the lesson is learned. If that’s happening, learn it once and for all and stop the cycle so you can moonwalk forward into the rest of your life.
“Going over your past is like sitting in a crap film and watching it over and over and over and over again expecting the ending to change, when it’s not. It’s not going to.” – Jules Murphy Wyman
Action step: Identify a moment from your past that’s still haunting you. Set aside some time to really analyze why it’s bothering you and extract as many possible positive takeaways or lessons that you can (there is always something, no matter how it may seem). Use those to improve your life from that point forward and put the past to rest.
This could range from anything to diet mishaps to romantic relationship mistakes.
9) Stop hiding
Be your unabashed self in all the best ways that you can. Take your own strengths and superpowers and amplify them.
By not doing it, you’re not only robbing the world of your awesomeness, but you’ll never be able to step out and realize your full potential.Don’t try to be someone else – they’ll always be better at it than you could ever dream of being. Life is way too short to be a half-ass version of something that’s already out there.
“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successfull personality and duplicate it.” – Bruce Lee
Action step: Seriously, you’re theshit.com*, so start by surrounding yourself with people with whom you can really be yourself with, online or in person. Gain confidence from these interactions. Sneak bits and pieces that you feel comfortable with into your daily life. Identify what’s awesome about you (asking friends or those close to you can help if you don’t have the slightest clue) and start amplifying it.
*Disclaimer: Don’t go to that site ha-ha. I can’t imagine anything good coming from it.
10) Be kind
Never underestimate the power of a smile, a kind gesture, sympathetic word or a listening ear – all of which are easy to give and cost you nothing. You never know what someone right next to you is going through, and if it will be the difference between a craptastic day and one filled with a little sunshine and hope.
“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.” – George Washington Carver
Action step: Be giving with your time, knowledge, money, kindness, connections or influence when you can. Give in such a way that the person who receives it can’t possibly return the favor.
Southbourne Positive Living Group (SPLG) meets on the last Wednesday of the month (excluding holidays).
Join a group of like-minded people and rediscover the purpose and meaning of your life.