Want the hit list from a champion on how to handle life? Scott Sonnon shares 45 here
After the 1999 World Championships in Lithuania, I mapped out how I had hoped to grow as a person in the subsequent decade. Journaling every day showed me that we can improve our situation if we make ourselves aware by turning on the lights in the dark places where our addictions lurk. They can’t stay concealed if you journal, for illumination awakens our awareness.
Addictions crawled out of my pages: the usual suspects of sex, caffeine, alcohol, sugars, simple carbs, sleep, but also lesser known felons: procrastination, infatuation, self-righteousness, blame, envy, entitlement, narcissism. I had replaced old destructive addictions with new generative ones; which have the tendency to become just as destructive: dieting, weight loss, fat loss, muscle size, competitiveness, victories, achievements, recognition, fame, even success is an addiction.
I have discovered that only conscious living through deliberate behaviors and intentional attitudes can give me any hope of not mutating a new healthy choice into yet again another pattern of routine attachment.
This year, I’m 45, and in honor of those years of journaling since 2000, here are the 45 discoveries I’ve made:
1. Life doesn’t appear fair, but those who make the best of what they’re given, have the greatest quality of life.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step. The finish line is wrapped in fog, and most times we stop unknowingly… inches short.
3. Life is too short to waste time on haters. Keep going, and you’ll need new haters because the old ones will start to love you, because they secretly are cheering you on, as they want to know it is possible for them as well.
4. Surrender what ego wants to hide and be transparent, you become truly free. The hardest. Boy can we be blinded here, because it’s the ego looking at itself.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month, not merely financially, but mentally and emotionally as well. Let no debt go unpaid, even of you can only pay it forward to the next person. Invest in yourself by giving to others, rather than going into debt borrowing.
6. Don’t try to win every argument. Seek to understand the causes behind the others motivations. Empathy happens even in the most reluctant, like me.
7. Take the time to recover from the effort you expend. Growth happens only after the work, not during it. So take the time to reflect with gratitude. Ironic that the drive it takes to tackle a goal can become the challenge in appreciating its realization.
8. It’s okay to get angry. Let it out and then let it go. Be kind, but be honest.
9. Imagine who you want to become and adopt the attitude and behavior that future purer version of yourself would do. WWTRYD: What would the REAL you do?
10. When it comes to love, resistance is futile. It is the slowest dripping erosion, but it will create a Grand Canyon where apathy once stood tall.
11. Make peace with your past, so you don’t repeat it in the present. Forgiveness sets us free as much as those forgiven.
12. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. And if you suddenly had your own life exchanged with the one you so dreamed of living, you would beg for your own problems to be returned.
13. Doubt your superstitions but honor the intuition of your rituals.
14. If a habit has to be a secret, it can only cause you destruction. Live transparently and be free.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry. There’s a reason for everything, and it’s all for your betterment. It will be this or it will be something even better.
16. Take a deep exhale. It calms the mind and clears the goal, even in the greatest fog.
17. Suspend what isn’t useful, beautiful or joyous, and we find that everything we are doing is, except the attitudes about them which aren’t.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you, really does make you stronger. Unless you don’t recover from it, in which case it just takes longer to kill you. Recover. Heal. Grow.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. The second one is up to you and no one else. You weren’t responsible for a bad first childhood, but you are the second one.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer. Others say no to your dreams because they’ve been repeating no to themselves for so long they believe if.
21. Don’t save anything for a special occasion. There are no unspecial moments. We don’t realize it until our last one.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow. Unless going with the flow goes against your values. In which case, resist the current, and be the courageous one who changed the flow. Trust yourself to do something you haven’t done before. You will be afraid and have doubts because it’s the challenge you’ve been preparing for.
23. Be eccentric now. Your eccentricities are often the surface of your talents and gifts. Love being weird. Weird is awesome.
24. Waste not thy hour. Savor each succulent experience BEFORE its a memory. How easily we can be distracted from the preciousness of a simple hug, a kind deed, or a loving thought.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you. There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. Don’t wait for anyone or anything to bring it to you. No achievement will give it to you. Only your decision to be happy brings happiness.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In 10 years, will this matter?’
27. The first one to forgive is the happiest.
28. What other people think of you is none of your business. What you think of them is none of theirs, so keep it to yourself if its unkind.
29. Time heals almost everything. Give it some more. But help it along with care and attention.
30. However good or bad a situation is, it will change. Don’t be attached to either.
31. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does. Life’s too serious to take seriously.
32. Express gratitude for others while they walk with you. They won’t be there for long. Much shorter than we had imagined.
33. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now. Showing up is half of anything. If y feel unskilled and ARRIVE, you’re already half way ahead of everyone else.
34. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young. Relish your scars. Honor your teachers. Celebrate your children.
35. Your children get only one childhood. Realize what you’re about to say or do lasts their lifetime. Let them live with that lesson rather than against it.
36. All that truly matters in the end is that you had loved ferociously… Someone, something, and God.
37. Get outside every day. It is the first and best “playstation.” Take your shoes off. Get down on your hands and get back to basics.
38. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back quickly, so when your problems seem ominous remember that you’re uniquely designed to surpass the challenge, like no one else could.
39. Envy, hopelessness and dread are a waste of time. You already have all you need. Always.
40. The best is yet to come. Really.
41. No matter how you feel, get up, stand up and show up.
42. Yield. Trust the process. Then, kick ass daily.
43. Everything we now desire is just a substitute for our Higher Purpose. The faster that we dedicate all of our life in that more divine calling, the more we feel alive.
44. We can’t find bliss. We can’t follow it. We must lead it. And it can only be found in helping others. No matter how shiny the distraction may appear, help others, and the great gold will appear… in your heart.
45. All of the above is probably just blather, and next year I will do a better job of understanding and communicating, because if we do our jobs as humans, the following year, we will be different, and we will appreciate the mystery with a bit more clarity and ease than now. The learning process will never end.
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Photo Credit: Finish Line by Flickr/David Kusserow