There’s almost no end to popular sayings and advice to live by. Often the most profound life truths are summed up in what most would consider mundane platitudes and clichés. Irrespective of the banality, these messages can teach us essential lessons to help us live more meaningful and fulfilling lives if we follow their wisdom. Here are 15 truths to help you live your best life yet.
1. We create our lives with the choices we make.
“Everything in your life is a reflection of a choice you have made. If you want a different result, you can make a different choice.” Wise proverb
There are two schools of thought when it comes to control; number one: we have no control, and number two: we do. The problem with the former is that it strips us of our power of choice, while the latter option gives us unconditional access to paths of awe. When broken down, the distinctions in our lives comes down to what we choose.
These choices can come in different shapes and sizes. We may make choices about various topics such as our careers, our income, our friends, our environments, and our beliefs. Ultimately, though, what we choose to focus on at any time is what controls our lives and our destiny, and each new day is a new opportunity to choose how your life will unfold.
2. Your feelings are guideposts to your truth.
Abraham-Hicks has a wonderful philosophy: “Negative emotion always means the same thing, every single time; my thought or behavior is moving in opposition with who I really am and what I really want.” Consider this: caregivers of small children are guided by them by paying attention to their emotions, and pet owners can tell any range of emotions by the way their pet displays their feelings. You, too, know when something feels great or feels crappy. Be true to your feelings. They exist to show you the way.
3. If you want to be loved, first love yourself.
“You will be loved and respected only if you love and respect yourself.” Paulo Coelho
For many people, the task of loving themselves is a difficult one. Without forgiveness, broken relationships and disillusioned expectations sometimes create barriers to experiencing love. The truth is, no matter how much people may love you, unless you are able to love yourself, you will not be able to acknowledge or accept the love of others. Taketime to learn the truth of who you are: you are love.
4. You teach people how to treat you.
Tony Gaskins stated Life Truth #4 like this: “You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce.” I think this is a great metric when considering not only what we may be teaching others, but what we value for ourselves. Use this standard to take inventory for yourself and ask the question, “Is what I’m showing others what I wish to be conveyed?” If not, wouldn’t now be a perfect time to begin a new lesson?
5. Find purpose in all that you do.
There’s a quote that’s attributed to Mark Twain which I love: ”The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”
“Purpose” is a word whose meaning often eludes many people, but without it they may find themselves feeling lost and confused in life. And while “purpose in life” is a meaningful goal, in order to truly enjoy life’s intricate details, one must live each moment with purpose. This means giving complete attention to each task, each conversation, and each thought. This is the secret of the truly happy.
6. Spend more time looking for a solution than dwelling on the problem.
“You are not a problem solver, you are a solution finder.” Abraham Hicks
Our culture has assigned the title “problem solver” to someone who resolves issues. Unfortunately, many people spend so much energy considering the problem (“Why didn’t I get what I wanted?”; “How did this terrible thing happen”; etc.) that there’s little room to consider a solution. When addressing life, family, or relationship issues, ask yourself the question: “Will time spent considering the problem help me in this moment?” If not, find ways to shift your focus to improving things for the future.
7. We become what we behold.
There’s a reason why we have ratings on our movies, video games and albums: not everything is suitable for every audience. We believe this because we’ve read study after study about how impressionable we are (especially as children). If you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people and/or resources. If you want to be timely, study the habits of timely people. Visualization and focus on your loftiest goals will eventually lead you to become that.
8. Don’t take things so personally.
I always liked the saying, “What others think about me is none of my business.” This is not the same as someone who says, “I don’t care about your constructive criticism.” Let’s face it: we all have room for improvement, but a great way to drive yourself mad is to take every comment, criticism, or critique personally. People will reveal their characters to you based on their values and beliefs; you don’t have to make them yours.
9. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” George Bernard Shaw
If you spend any time at all studying business experts, they’ll all tell you the same thing: don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes, they attest, are the building blocks to massive success. Thomas Edison, when asked how he felt about his early failures with one of his inventions famously said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” If you adopt the philosophy of learning, you’ll only have lessons, not failures, to look back on.
10. Know that the sun is always shining behind the clouds.
I don’t always love flying—especially when the clouds are thick with rain. When the wind tosses the plane and the clouds create turbulence in the ascent, I often close my eyes and pray that I arrive at my destination safely (so far, so good.)
What I do love, however, is that no matter what the weather, once the plane clears the clouds the sky is calm, the clouds are peaceful, and the sun really is shining bright in the sky. I like to remember this truth on days when I’m feeling down or scared or things look like they might get ugly. No matter what clouds may be in your life, the same sun shines bright for you.
11. There is freedom in learning to be flexible in life.
“When you struggle against this moment, you’re actually struggling against the entire universe.” Deepak Chopra
Life is not predictable. Someone’s going to run late, some important item will be forgotten, something will be lost, and at the end of the day, the show will still go on. Those who learn to “go with the flow” enjoy more satisfaction in life than those who spend time lamenting about what “could have been.” Why struggle against the entire universe? Take a lesson from Leo Babauta and follow these practical steps for learning to go with the flow and being flexible. It could mean the difference between a great life and a stressful one.
12. Each day is precious. Cherish the time you have.
“Never pass up the chance to say ‘I love you’ because tomorrow is never promised.” Unknown
I’m nearly the age my mother was when she passed away twenty-eight years ago. While it doesn’t have the same affect on me now as it did when I was a child, I try to live every day in reflection of the fact that none of us is promised another day on earth. Even if you were to outlive Jeanne Calment, life is short. Cherish the time you have while you still can and fill it with every wonderful thing your heart desires. After all, isn’t that what life’s about in the end?
13. Build and maintain quality relationships.
“The quality of your life is in the quality of your relationships.” Tony Robbins
What’s life without other people to share it with? Relationships are what make life the possible, adventurous journey that it is. And any person who has lived a quality life will be quick to credit their relationships along the way. The good news? You probably already have people in your life who you love and cherish immensely. The great news? Today’s a great day to remind them how much they mean to you.
14. Do what you can to take care of your body.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” Jim Rohn
Cardiovascular diseases killed nearly 17 million people in 2011; that is 3 in every 10 deaths. Of these, 7 million people died of ischaemic heart disease and 6.2 million from stroke. Most contributing factors to disease are preventable, and benefits of taking care of one’s health not only directly improves your life, but your continued existence can serve as a support to your loved ones.
15. Stay curious and you’ll never be bored a day in your life.
Take a lesson from children: they’re always eager to play, eager to learn, and eager to do. Sadly, somewhere along the line many of us lose this sense of wonder and “grow up” and out of our natural state of curiosity. But when you’re able to maintain that sense of interest and intrigue, you are not only resistant to boredom, but you set a course for a life of bliss and improved mental ability. So what do you want to discover today?
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