What makes a great day? Most people I asked told me their immediate recipe for a perfect day. They wake up refreshed, their morning orange juice is cold and without pulp, every light was green on their drive to work, everybody was congenial to them, there was no line to get lunch and the girl got their order right, doors were opened automatically, parking spaces were right in front of the building, the sun is shining and the boss was in a good mood all day. In other words, a Disney movie.
Real life is hardly like this every day. If this is what it takes for you to be happy, then you can expect to be miserable for the better part of your life. The truly happy people in life all know that it isn’t the money in your pocket, the girl on your arm, the car that you drive or the home that you live in that constitutes real and enduring happiness. There may be certain creature comforts that we all enjoy, of course. However, it is the ability to adapt to changes in your environment, whether it is your living space, relationships or financial considerations that strengthens you and makes happiness, in any situation, a closer meaning to true happiness. Instead of resenting changes, embrace them, with both hands. It is those changes that insidiously re-direct us toward an even better solution or alternatives we otherwise would never have considered. Changes usually entails a struggle of some sort. To adjust and become adaptable to the changes will allow you to flow into it like water seeking a level. This is why sea turtles will live two hundred years and dinosaurs are extinct.
Would you like to have a great day, every day like I do? Here is a short list of life lessons that have served me well and I hope you will also consider in your quest for a better life.
- FIWN. The client backed out, the girl broke up with you, the deal went south. FIWN, which stands for “Forget It What’s Next?” Let it go and go after the next opportunity, there are millions of them out there. Regret over the past serves no one well.
- Be good to yourself. Sometimes you may be the only one that is going to take care of you. Everybody else has their own concerns and issues to deal with. Be your own best friend.
- Do not compare yourself with others. You are neither better than nor worse off than anyone else. You get what you work for, have coming to you or what you attract by the energy that you put out there. Everybody else does too. Envy no one that might be ahead of you in some way, why invite such negativity? Never look down on others who are not at your level of accomplishment. Lend a hand instead.
- Do not complain. In the words of Lou Holtz, “Never tell your problems to anyone. 20% don’t care and 80% are glad you have them.” I have a drawing with this quote on my wall, “Have you ever noticed that whenever you look for a solution you always find one but if you focus on your problems you always have them?” Focus on the solution and resolve of issues. Your brain will go to work to fill in those blanks and search out the answer for you.
- Move. Get out of your chair, out of the car, off of the couch and move. Your body tells your bran how to feel, not the other way around. Tight, tense, sore unused muscles need to be stretched and let your blood flow throughout your body. This is necessary for optimum physical as well as mental health. I used to have bad days at work. I decided to walk around the parking lot after lunch. The first lap I begin to feel a little better. The second lap I felt good and by the end of the third lap I was smiling and ready to face the balance of my day. I soon had a small team of co-workers joining me and we all began to notice our attitudes changed, our productivity increased and confused the boss, which was an extra bonus.
- Never give up. Tenacity is so rare it might be considered a super power by some. Anything worth starting is worth finishing. There will be challenges and struggles. If it were a cake walk, everybody would do it and we would all be retired millionaires by forty. The great ones, the ones who shape lives, society and the world are the ones who faced every challenge with the knowledge that it would work out somehow. Trust your abilities to either accomplish your goals or that you have the ability to find out how to accomplish them. With all of the public information in the entire world available at your fingertips with a three minute Google search, you have no excuse anymore.
- Respect everyone. In our project, Changes for New Hope (www.changesfornewhope.org) we have transformed lives literally by putting our core message in front of thousands of people. Haz lo Correcto-Do the Right Thing. (We are in Peru so it is in Spanish too) The second line says “Respect others, respect yourself” A simple sticky message that reminded people that how we treat others is a direct reflection of the goodness in our own hearts. What goes out from you comes back to you.
- March to your own drummer. That’s right. Be the oddball, the unconventional one, the one whose sanity everyone questions. If you follow the person in front of you, never have an original thought or idea, never take the path less traveled, then you can expect a life that is ordinary, mundane, and merely status quo. At the end of your life you will wonder what happened. Make your mark, be different, shine in the darkness of the ordinary. Everyone who had a life worth living and made a difference in the lives of others was considered an oddball until their ideas became the new way to understand life. Leave a footprint for others to follow.
Take this and run, my friends. Live large and live deliberately.
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