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Man.The 14th Dalai Lama
Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.
Do you feel like you’re “sleep-walking” through life? Do you wish you had more freedom? Do you wish you had more adventure? Do you wish you had more time? Do you wish you had more love? Do you dread Monday mornings?
Are you still trying to figure out how to live life to the fullest? If so, you’re far from alone. the sad thing is that most people go through life having never really experienced what life has to offer.
What you need to understand is that everything holding you to a life you don’t want to live is a prison created by your own mind. That doesn’t mean you can just wish yourself into a new life, but it does mean that you can actively work towards living life to the fullest.
Reading this article, you’ll find ideas you can put into practice to make your life better.
Some of these ideas you’ll have heard before, some of them you’ll dismiss. Some of these ideas you’ll be able to put into practice right away, some of these might plant the seed for ideas you’ll put into practice for the future. Still others you’ll spend your lifetime working towards.
Without further ado, here are 45 ways to live life to the fullest:
- Create a bucket list and start checking things off. You will die one day, but before you do, experience as much of this world as you can.
- Set goals and write them down. Set goals by month, year, 5 year, and 10 year periods. Know what you want to achieve for each stretch of your life, and make sure to look back and see if you actually made the progress you wanted. This list will constantly evolve and you won’t reach every one of your goals, but writing your goals down will make it more likely that you will achieve them.
- Don’t live for others. Don’t choose your path in life based on the expectations set on you by others, whether its your parents, friends, or society in general.
- Live for others. Don’t let others choose your path for you, but don’t choose a path that will hurt those around you. Its easy to get caught up in your own life, but if you don’t take care of those you love, what is it all for in the end?
- Maintain an internal locus of control. There are 2 kinds of people, those who focus on what they can control, and those that focus on what they can’t. Don’t blame others for your own failure – there’s always someone out there who was dealt a worst hand that made more of it than you did.
- Don’t complain. If you’re not happy with something in your life, you can complain about it, or you can actively work to change it. Which one will you choose?
- Don’t be jealous. Not because its morally wrong, but because jealousy is a destructive emotion. Its also a symptom that you’re not living your life to the fullest – people who are fulfilled can celebrate other people’s success. People who aren’t fulfilled fill up their emotional void through negative emotions.
- Don’t be a crab in the bucket. You’ve heard the expression “crabs in the bucket” – its the tendency crabs have for pulling other crabs back down, right when they’re about to climb out. When you break from the norm, you’ll get pushback from your loved ones. Its not jealousy – they genuinely care for us. But people living the life society tells them to live get scared when they see others going for it. Even if they do it subconsciously, and even if it’s out of genuine concern – its still harmful. It creates a culture of conformity, mediocrity, and quiet desperation. Don’t be a crab in the bucket.
- It’s OK to fail. The only way to avoid failure is to not try anything. Don’t be afraid to fail…that’s how you succeed. Besides, it’s only really a failure if you stop trying.
- Overcome fear of failure by visualizing the worst case scenario. A great way to overcome fear of failure is to confront your worst possible nightmare. If you try it and fail, what is the worst thing that will happen? Write it down, then write down what it would take to get back to where you are now. 99.9% of the time, you’ll find that the worst case scenario isn’t nearly as scary as you thought it would be and the only thing holding you back is your own mindset. The .1% of the time where failure will push you past a point of no return (so basically, death or life altering physical harm) – those are you may want to reconsider.
- Don’t gossip. Sure it might make you feel better about yourself, for the moment. But it can have negative ramifications, both internally and externally.
- Ignore the things you can’t (or won’t) change. Ever notice how insanely emotional youtube comments are? People cling to their opinions like they’re a lifeline. Yet these are almost always opinions about things that have absolutely no effect on their daily lives. Yes, there are shitty things going on in the world. Unless you’re planning to do something about it, ignore it and focus on the things in your life that you can change.
- Change things. You can make a difference – once you stop dismissing yourself. Approach challenges with the mindset of “how am I going to accomplish this?” instead of “what can I possibly do?”. But if you’re not actually going to work to to change something, then see the point above. Time to put up or shut up.
- Take care of your body. Eat healthy when you can, get a good night’s sleep, and exercise. Your only connection with this world is through this fleshy meat vehicle we call our bodies. Take good care of it.
- Take care of your mind. Stop feeding it a constant stream of junk. A little downtime is alright, but don’t dedicate every free hour you have to watching realty TV, watching gossip blogs, checking sports scores, and doing other stuff that requires little mental energy. Even the news can rot your brain with its constant barrage of negativity and biased sensationalism.
- Plan for the future, but live in the present. A 25 year mortgage, retirement with full pension at 65, working hard for the bonus and putting off the big vacation until next year – while planning for the future is important, don’t sacrifice all of the present. Find a way to enjoy life as you work towards bigger and better things.
- Live consciously. We all get into ruts and routines we use to get through the day, but we only have a limited number of days on this earth. Don’t put life on auto-pilot – live consciously. Always ask yourself – why am I doing this? If you wake up too many mornings in a row without a good answer, then its time to make a change.
- Overcome your fears. We all have things in our lives, whether its our circumstances or personal flaws that are holding us back from doing thing we truly want to do. You can either accept it, rationalize it away, or face your fears. Which one will you choose?
- Improve your social skills. Some people are natural social butterflies. For those of us who aren’t, make an effort to improve your social skills. There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert and enjoying time alone, but don’t poor social skills hold you back when you need them. Improving your social skills will also help you in whatever line of work or business you choose.
- Do work you love. Not everyone gets to play football or in a rock band for a living, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find something you love waking up in the morning for. Keep looking for it, and don’t give up until you find it. Life is too short to fear Sunday evenings.
- Follow your effort. One of Marc Cuban’s keys to success is to follow your effort, not your passion. If you don’t have a passion for anything in particular, pick something and do it as best you can. Passion often comes from doing something well.
- Prepare to win. Another of Marc Cuban’s keys to success is that everyone has the desire to win, but very few are willing to do the work to prepare to win. If you care about winning, do the work.
- You don’t always have to win. On the other hand, life isn’t always about winning. No matter how strong you are, no matter how rich, no matter how beautiful, no matter how smart, no matter how talented, no matter how loveable, there will always be someone better than you. In the end, we all end up in the same place – wherever that place may be.
- Love your parents and cherish them. If they’re still around, give them all the love you’ve got. If you’ve been lucky enough to have loving parents, its easy to take them for granted because they’ve always been their for you. That won’t always be the case.
- Don’t confuse pleasure with happiness Pleasure comes from the quick-fixes that give us joy – shopping, alcohol, sex, listening to great music, seeing great beauty. Happiness comes from self-actualization and meaning. Pleasure is important to a happy life, but pleasure alone is not sufficient.
- Smile. If you smile, you will be happier.
- Improve your posture Did you know that your posture and body language not only shapes how people see you, but it also shapes how you feel about yourself? Watch this TED talk if you’re not convinced.
- Find the time for what you want to do. A lot of us constantly complain about not having enough time, or being too busy to do things we want to do/accomplish. What we need to realize is that we’re the ones putting ourselves in those situations in the first place. If you feel trapped in a job, are you actively taking steps to extricate yourself from the situation? If you are, then you shouldn’t waste time complaining. If you’re not, what are you complaining about?
- Don’t chase money for the sake of money. Having money is important in life, but only because it gives us the freedom to chase what we really want in life. You only get one life, and money is no good when you’re 6 feet in the ground.
- Overcome laziness. Do you have big goals and dreams? Do you stop short of taking steps to make changes because you’d rather watch TV? Do you quit after a few tries? A little procrastination here and there is natural, but if you look back year after year and don’t see any changes, you probably need to work on overcoming your laziness.
- Analyze your weaknesses. One of the hardest things for people to do is to be objective when it comes to their own weaknesses. We’re naturally inclined to rationalize away things we’re not good at, or believing that we’re better than we are. Once you can recognize your weaknesses and understand how they’re holding you back, you can take active steps to work on yourself.
- Constantly work on improving yourself. If you’re not doing something to improve yourself everyday, then you’re not going to reach your goals.
- Master the art of persuasion. Not to manipulate others, but so that you control your destiny
- Stop trying to please everyone Trying to please everyone is a great way to ensure you never do anything remarkable.
- Understand that personality traits aren’t static. While we all might have some natural inclinations and gifts based on genetics and the environment we were raised, everything is changeable. If you’re being held back by aspects of your personality, whether its laziness, social awkwardness, mediocre intelligence, know that these are all things that can be improved if you’re willing to work on them, instead of accepting them as immutable personality traits.
- Simplify. The less you need to be happy, the happier you’ll be.
- Surround yourself with the type of people you’d want to be. There’s a saying that you’re the average of your 5 closest friends. While this may not be a scientific fact, its a useful thought exercise. If you constantly spend time with negative people, you’ll become negative as well. If you spend time around people with no ambition, you’ll find your own dreams slipping away as well. On the other hand, surrounding yourself with awesome people who want the same things you want in life will set you up for success.
- Design your ideal life. Its easy to go through life on auto-pilot if you don’t know what you want. Your first step is to figure out what you want from life. Read the 4 hour work week by Tim Ferriss if you want a great framework for accomplishing this.
- Make a plan to attain your ideal life and execute. Nothing will be handed to you. If you wait around to “find your direction” in life, you’ll end up finding yourself on track for your exciting career at MegaCorp moving paper from one account to another. There’s no good reason to wander aimlessly through life once you’re out of college.
- Stop giving up. Have you ever heard the story (urban myth?) of the man who was lost in the desert? He was found half a mile from a large oasis city. The point of this story is to illustrate the danger of quitting. Things are always hard until they get better, but you’ll never know how close you came to achieving your goals if you quit before you see them all the way through.
- Block out haters. Constructive criticism is one thing, but know that if you’re out there trying to accomplish great things, you will attract haters who want to criticize for the sake of criticism. You’ll find haters frequently trolling message boards and Youtube comments. Don’t take their comments personally and don’t get sucked into flamewars.
- Accept constructive criticism. At the same times, haters can be good because sometimes they can be right. Haters show us our weakness. You’ll likely recognize a legitimate criticisms when you feel the sting of cognitive dissonance – you want to dismiss the thought because it comes from someone critical of you, but you can’t help but shake that pit in your stomach. Instead of burying that feeling, accept that you might be in the wrong, and work to improve yourself so you don’t make the same mistake in the future.
- Be the hero of your own movie. Does life feel shitty, joyless, hopeless? Do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut with no way out? You already know how to get out – be the hero of your own movie. Pretend you’re the hero character in a hollywood blockbuster. There’s a point in every movie where the hero is down and out, with seemingly no way out, yet he always finds a way to overcome the odds. Pretend you’re that hero, you’re in a tough spot, and its your job now to overcome the odds and come out on top – because its in the script. Pretend there’s a documentary crew following you around, and one day your kids will see what you’ve been doing. Do you want them to see a hero who overcomes the odds, or a loser who plays the victim? Last time I checked, the hero doesn’t overcome the odds by watching TV 5 hours a day. Do what needs to be done, no matter how hard it is.
- Eat, drink, and be merry. Incredible food, great company, and engrossing conversation – it doesn’t get much better than that, at least not in this lifetime. Cherish those moments of bliss and make them happen as frequently as possible.
- Remember that you’re going to die one day. Steve jobs talks about this in his now famous commencement speech at Stanford in 2005. To quote the Dalai Lama: “Do we live as though we will never die; then die never having lived?”