Ben Johnson said it best, when he said life is short and we as human beings spend way too much time trying to figure out different ways to make our lives more enjoyable. He believed most of us confuse the meaning of being happy with seeking automatic pleasure; we would all benefit from learning to implement simple steps into our lives which are guarantee to provide us with more stability and inner joy vs external pleasure. I am not stating that seeking external activities to enhance our way of life is bad; what I would like, is for us to learn a few simple steps to increase the joy we get out of life whether or not we are doing something external.
- Don’t base your actions/decisions on your surroundings. One of the most liberating things in life is to learn to make decisions for our own lives without fearing what others will say or whether or not they will approve. Learn to look at situations from another angle, instead of questioning your decisions so much simply ask yourself “why not?” “what do I have to lose?”. If the answers to these questions aren’t going to harm or violate you and your growth, then perhaps taking a chance at whatever it is you are considering is your best choice. What’s important is for you to learn, is to honor your values and your beliefs whether or not your friends or family approve of them. Remember IT’S YOUR LIFE; your family and friends see life from their own perspective which is based on their experiences not yours. To keep yourself motivated keep reminding yourself “If I can dream it, then I have the capacity to achieve it!”
2. Spend more on life’s experiences than on material things. Our society has become a fast paced competitive environment. Everywhere we look there are countless examples of what the “ideal” life should be like. More and more we are being conditioned to believe our worth comes from material things; no wonder we are always unhappy. It would not matter if you go out and buy a brand new car, the joy of it would be fleeting at best. The moment you happen to come in contact with someone else who has a “better model”, you would lose the excitement and feel the need to compete; we live in a constant race, one which is sucking the life and joy out of us.
It is nice to be able to live in comfort, the problem however is that our society no longer seeks comfort, it seeks to outdo. The media spends billions trying to make us feel less than adequate if we don’t live a certain way. More and more people are less educated, less self actualized, instead focusing more on dressing the outside than the inside. I am not denying it feels good to get a compliment based on what one is wearing or what one has (as long as you have worked for it instead of taking it from others), the problem occurs when our clothes, image and possessions become our masters and we follow as willing slaves; ready to hurt, trespass, control others in order to achieve a false sense of success.
Our true self knows its worth and does not need external things to recognize its value. Our true self is best nurture by enjoying the moments which become our greatest memories; no one can take those as such they are priceless! Invest on those emotions and feelings full of intensity which lead you to enjoy your existence from the inside out. Such experiences plus self actualization over time will be more valuable than any gold you can buy. At the end of our days those are the things which will bring us peace and which would have made our time here memorable.
3. Try not to be critical of the appearance of others. Our society tries to sell us what is “beautiful” and “perfect”, we forget the very images they are trying to sell us are not real; very rarely do the people on those images actually look like as they are portrayed, yet we go out of our way trying to achieve something which does not exist. Having had the opportunity to work with photographers/models, I have a pretty good idea on how the industry works. These days there are countless programs out there which can make anyone look attractive but attractiveness goes deeper than that…“there is nothing more desirable; whether in a man or a woman; than someone who can show the rawness of his or her spirit and a mind as deep as the ocean waters”
Even if a person is physically attractive we should not base our first impression of who that person is, based on the exterior alone, specially if it’s someone you’ve just met. People are more than just looks or a photo on Facebook; keep in mind our thoughts and criticisms truly constitute who we are. Just like being overly friendly to others in public does not necessarily constitute such person is genuinely a good soul, the same logic applies to appearances. Even if the person was genuinely attractive, it does not mean such person has more value than a person who may be less physically attractive. In this life we can find a bit of everything: There are people who are attractive and are beautiful souls. There are people who are attractive yet ugly human beings. There are people who are less than fortunate looking and they are also ugly souls. Lastly there are those who may be less than fortunate looking but are genuinely exceptional souls; the trick lies on learning to see with our hearts vs our eyes.
4. Do not pretend or invent stories about your life which are not true. Many people seem to think the only way to become an interesting person is not by actualizing but by forging stories about who they are. These people have been led by their hurts and upbringing, becoming very superficial; giving meaning and recognition to others only when they can get something from them. They tend to value people’s appearance or material achievements; due to their own lack of self worth they tend to create or embellish stories in order to make themselves look better. They will try to avoid self actualization because this requires to face one self, which is something most of us are very much afraid to do. We like to think we know ourselves but tend to look at the external to validate who we are.
People who are hurt like to put on walls; which is not the healthiest thing to do; I know first hand such walls were built to avoid continuously getting hurt, to keep others from seeing our emotional scars, our chaos, fury, fears. Such walls take work and time to get them to crumble down.
On the other hand, people who are superficial tend to put on masks, these masks keep others from seeing their insecurities and how empty they really are. They tend to fear criticism, not realizing everyone of us has insecurities in one way or another and there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with having fears, we are human beings. It takes courage to express our own fears and by expressing them we tend to overcome them; that which we resist controls us.
Let’s concentrate on being real with ourselves and others…so what if you have insecurities? Being authentic and transparent is about being honest about our own duality. We are all here to work on transcending our own duality, to deny this truth is to betray ourselves.
5. Stop complaining about not having enough time. Each one of us has the same “amount” of time a day. Life simply consists of prioritizing, keeping in mind the only thing we cannot escape is death. I am not saying this to scare anyone, rather I would like us to become aware of how important it is to remember to “live” life vs “survive” life. Prioritize what is most important in your life, what needs your immediate attention. Make a list and commit to tackle things one by one without obsessing over them. It does not all have to get done today!
Don’t be lazy but don’t drown on responsibilities either. Your biggest responsibility is your mental sanity and you cannot achieve that if you keep obsessing over every little thing. If you need help with things, don’t be afraid to ask for it.
6. Say yes to life. There is nothing wrong with finding our home comfortable and safe but when our routine has made us ecstatic it is damaging to our mental and physical health. If you lock yourself at home, you will lose an immense and beautiful world out there. We expose our true potential when we learn and when we dare to go out of our comfort zone. Do not be afraid to start a new activity, meet new people or visit new places; these will affect your life positively, helping you feel more alive and passionate.
7. Do not waste your time and energy on false friendships. It does not make any sense to surround ourselves with people who make our lives more difficult, who hurt us, use us, or simply want nothing to do with us; imagine how much energy is lost by doing this. There are billions of people out there, if you give yourself permission to be authentic, you will find your own tribe. How much better to be surrounded by people who resonate with us, encourage us, support us than by people who drain us. Do not waste your time and more importantly the energy you need to live life fully on those who have nothing good to contribute to your life, those who won’t challenge you to explore your full potential.
People tend to confuse acceptance with not caring enough or enabling someone on things which can be detrimental. To accept someone means to accept someone’s duality, their light and darkness. It means to be aware people have challenges to overcome and could benefit from someone who cares enough to point these things out and help guide forward. Life can become magical when you surround yourself by those who truly understand this concept therefore truly accepting you for who you are instead of simply enabling you. There is a saying “to get to the fruit of the tree you got to go out on a limb”, simply put “don’t expect magic without ups and downs/ self actualization”. Keep in mind true friendships are few; is not about quantity but quality.
8. Dare to follow your dreams. Do not be afraid to chase after your dreams no matter how crazy they may seem. Sometimes crazy is only extraordinary!
Much of what we enjoy these days is due to people who dared to believe in themselves when no one else would. It may take time, it may take some compromising and accepting not everything will happen exactly by the time you had it planned. Your dreams may change over the years and that’s okay because life is always changing; we are never the same person we were even a moment ago.
Maybe it took you time to discover your calling or maybe your responsibilities slowed your pace down. What is important is that you believe in yourself, prepare yourself and have the courage to take the first step towards your dream life!
“Life is a balance of holding on and letting Go.”