Nobody can promise to fulfill all your dreams, but James Michael Sama has some real-world tips for the type of happiness you can actually achieve.
Part of being a consistent content creator is knowing where to find inspiration for new work. Sometimes it comes from a conversation, sometimes it comes from a movie, TV show, or book. In this case, it came from another article. An article I remember awhile back which discussed the perpetual promises of the media we choose to consume on a daily basis.
I am a subscriber to both GQ and Esquire Magazines. While this may sound like drinking both Coke and Pepsi, I do feel as though they are discernible in both writing styles and subject matters. Don’t make me pick a favorite. But, I digress…
Each month these magazines take up residence in the mailbox and burst forth with fantastic promises. Promises to allow you inside the mind of a supermodel while she tells you what she really wants. Promises to make this summer finally be the summer you get those abs you’ve always wanted. Promises to make you bigger, faster, stronger, and last longer in the bedroom. In just 30 seconds a day.
I’m not quite sure if we are really subscribing to the results that are promised, or if we are subscribing to the hope that the promises give us. I think there is comfort in knowing that we could make this type of progress. You know, if we really wanted to.
There is comfort in knowing that other people out there are struggling with the same things as us. The guy next to us in traffic had to loosen his belt a little more than he’d like this morning, too. He cringed when he filled up his gas tank. He wishes he’d approached that girl in line at the coffee shop.
If only he’d read that magazine…
There may be comfort in having “8-Minute Abs” pre-loaded into your computer, but comfort is not what you need. Comfort is not progress. Comfort is not results. Real life, actionable steps are what will really make a difference.
As Jim Rohn said, your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.
So, then, what are the 8 simple steps you should really implement if you want to live a good life?
1. Decide what you stand for, and stand for it.
As the old saying goes, “someone who stands for nothing will fall for anything.” Our view of the world governs how we act on a daily basis. Each decision we make, big or small, will alter the trajectory of our life, and it is important that these decisions are in line with our values. So, without these values, our choices will bring us all over the map and we will find it increasingly difficult to live a fulfilling life.
Perhaps even more important though – is making sure we remain flexible and open to new information. The world is constantly evolving around us and new information is being presented every day. There is no shame in changing your views after learning something new, it is the only way to learn and grow as an individual, and as a species.
2. Be willing to apologize.
People view apologies as a submissive action, like a dog who puts its tail between its legs. But in reality, does an apology not show strength more than weakness? It shows your ability to admit when you have done something wrong, which in turn shows willingness to learn from it. If you do something wrong and refuse to acknowledge it, you run the risk of destroying your relationship with the person who deserves your apology – which essentially means you value your ego over your friendships. Not a very desirable quality to have.
A mistake is only a mistake until we learn something from it, and then it becomes a lesson.
3. Develop patience.
If you are not already a patient person, it is an undervalued quality to possess. Considering how dynamic and challenging the world can be, someone without patience will constantly find themselves stressed out and on edge. This will in turn put stress on those around you and add tension to scenarios where it doesn’t have to be.
Remaining cool, calm, and collected is a sign of maturity.
4. Listen more than you speak.
If you need help developing this habit, just remember that you have two ears and one mouth, so you should listen twice as much as you speak. Not only will this give you the ability to absorb and learn more from the world and people around you, but it is also an important part of being a good friend or lover.
It is only when you listen that you take in new information and can more effectively speak on the topics at hand. Plus, everyone likes to be around somebody who actively listens and pays attention to what they say, it shows you have depth and character.
5. Always be respectful to those around you.
Real kindness is not something you give to people because of who they are, it’s something you give to people because of who you are. Whether you are on a date or just living everyday life, people are more apt to show respect to someone who shows it to them, in return.
Why should it be your responsibility to be the first one to add courtesy and respect into the interaction? Because that’s just the type of person you are, dammit.
6. Stay well groomed.
Regardless of what your style of choice is, there is a right and wrong way to pull it off. When you look better, you feel better, and when you feel better – you do better. Your appearance plays a big role in how others see you, and how you see yourself (literally). Get up, dress up, and show up.
7. Compliment others.
Being able to recognize greatness in others is a quality only outweighed by your ability to let them know you’ve recognized it. If we make it a habit to regularly compliment others, it becomes apparent how rarely positive qualities are actually acknowledged in today’s society.
As far as I know, nobody has ever actually felt worse about themselves after giving someone a genuine compliment. It is something that magnifies both of your happiness. Sometimes the best way to receive is to give.
8. Be the first one to make a move.
Whether it be in intimate situations or in your professional life, hesitation often leads to regret. Start small, and make a commitment to yourself to take action immediately after a situation presents itself. It could be anything from picking up a piece of trash from the ground, to going in for the first kiss. It is better to look back on memories of “oh wells” than it is to look back on “what ifs.”
Leaving actions that affect your life in the hands of others is just asking to be disappointed. Take control of your own life, and live it.
Originally appeared on James M. Sama’s blog
Photo: Flickr/Ahmed Sinan