So far I’ve done everything about practical things to do to bring a project to the world, and we will get back to that tomorrow, but for today I want to explore things we can do (or not do) that will impact the quality of life we actually live. In the quest to live a better life, these cannot be overlooked. Ignore these and you will not have a better life.
1. Make good choices. This one is overarching. It covers all the rest. Basically it involves thinking before you act. How will this choice effect the rest of my life? Will it move me forward or hold me back? Is this choice right or wrong? Will this help or hinder? Will this mess up my reputation or credibility? Asking these questions before we make choices will go miles toward helping you move forward.
2. Learn to say “no.” We are surrounded by countless opportunities to do good things, but not all of those good things move us forward into our life’s mission. Will doing this move me toward my dream or prove to be a distraction? Is this something the person asking truly needs me to do or is someone else better suited to help? Please note: This doesn’t let us off the hook from serving others, especially in an emergency, it’s meant only to help us focus our efforts. Stay on mission!
3. Let it go. The truth is, we all have baggage, wounds and hurts. Dwelling on these things serves to do nothing but keep us stuck and keep us out of a brighter future. Forgiveness is huge. It doesn’t let the offender off the hook so much as it releases you from the offense. Instead of re-experiencing the hurt every time you think of it, you are free to move forward. Seek healing for your wounds (sometimes the best way to do this is to help someone else).
4. We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Fear is another thing that holds us back. What if we fail? What if we make a mistake? What if? What if? What if? Fear has taken us off mission from the beginning of time and that needs to stop. Some fears are good and self preserving. I’m writing this next to a fifth story balcony. My fear keeps me from jumping off. That’s good fear. But most fear, and it’s ugly stepsister worry, is imagination misused. The key to overcoming fear and worry deals with retraining your imagination. Instead of asking “What if I fail?,” for example, ask the better question, “What if I succeed?” That could make all the difference.
5. Relationships are huge. Pay attention to them. One of the best aspects of a better life is the people with whom we share the journey. Do not ignore them on your way to your goal. Goals are temporary, people are forever. I spend a few years thinking when I reached my goals I could give my family everything they wanted. What they really wanted was me. This almost cost me everything that truly matters. Wise people learn from their mistakes, but really wise people lear from other people’s mistakes. Learn from mine put your vital relationships first. The other side of this is some relationships are toxic. Love everyone, but be careful who you allow to influence you.
6. Take care of yourself. You only have one body and one life and if you break your body, your goal won’t do you much good. Eat right, exercise and yes you do actually need to sleep.
7. Live by faith. This one is actually my number one and some might argue with it, but there is something bigger than us as individuals and principles that are larger than our goals. There is a greater good to be considered regardless of your view of religion. Live a life of faith, honor and integrity.
8. Enjoy the journey. Creating a better life is not always going to be fun or easy. It’s a lot of hard work, but the trials and struggles are part of the story that we create on the way. You might as well enjoy the ride. Joy is a choice. Make it.
9. Prioritize. Keep what’s most important most important.
10. Really live. St. Irenaeus once said “The glory of God is a man fully alive.” The definition of what it means to be fully alive varies from present person, but you know when you are and when you aren’t. We are trying to create a better life, and a big part of that is being fully alive.
I’m of the belief that the future belongs to those who create it. These ten things will help on that journey. There will be times where you will feel like you’re stuck. It’s usually one of these that will “unstick” us. Create through the stuck points and keep moving forward.
Create a better life.