On a deeper level, we all aspire to have a good life. You have the power to do anything with your life. If you’re currently not living a good life, it doesn’t say anything about you, it probably means your way of thinking doesn’t serve you. I’ve never met a person who said, “I love to be miserable!” It doesn’t happen. And if it does, they need to open their eyes. Life is good. But we insist on making it bad for ourselves.
That’s one of the main lessons I’ve learned about living a good life. It’s all about perception. The way you look at life determines your actions. And your life is a summary of your actions.
So if you want to change your actions (and your life), simply change the way you look at life. Here are lessons that helped me to do that. I hope they will help you as much as they helped me.
- Show initiative—We’re such passive beings that it gives me a headache sometimes. I find myself looking at something instead of taking action. When a conflict arises in front of you at work, step in. Set an example. No matter what it is, be the first one who does something. Don’t hide behind other people. Come up with ideas, make suggestions, try new things—take the initiative. Be an originator. Not a follower.
- Focus on what you want (not on what you don’t want)—“I hope I don’t get sick!” “I hope I don’t lose my job!” “I hope she doesn’t leave me!” “I hope I don’t lose my money!” Stop focusing on what you don’t want! Focus on what you do want. That will put you in the right frame of mind to improve your life.
- Do it—We can’t just think something. We need to act on it. Even if you want to meditate daily, which is actually doing nothing for a few minutes, you still have to do it. You can’t just think good thoughts and assume your life will be better. One must always do.
- Be contrarian—And when you originate something, be unique in your actions. Often, that means you need to be contrarian. If you don’t, you simply become an originator, leader, or entrepreneur who follows the crowd. So many artists and creatives fall into this trap. They think they are original but in reality, they are just followers.
- Show up—Life is hard. And I like to hide in my apartment some days. “Screw it, I need a break!” But to live a good life, one can’t hide from anything. One must show up no matter what the circumstances are: Rain, sunshine, bad people, good people, pressure, accusations, pleasure, pain, praise, criticism, and so forth. Whatever it is, give it to me.
- Ignore pessimists—There are always naysayers wherever you go. Often, those naysayers are your friends, family, or even your spouse. They don’t know any better. Ignore them selectively. A pessimist is not necessarily a bad person.
- Quit things that don’t work (but don’t give up)—What’s with all the people who think you shouldn’t quit? Relax. Stop taking yourself so seriously. To live a good life, you must quit things all the time. If something doesn’t work, why try to destroy a concrete wall with your little hammer? Just quit. But no matter what happens, don’t give up trying to destroy that wall. Go and find a sledgehammer.
- Stay in shape—I like boxing and mixed martial arts. There are two types of fighters. Some of them go in “camp” to prepare for a fight. For three months, they eat well, train multiple times a day, and they watch film of their opponent. And then there are a few fighters who are in “camp” all the time. They don’t prepare. They are always ready. Live your life like the latter. Stay strong so you can take on any challenge life throws at you.
- Rest often—You can’t use up 100% of your energy all the time. To stay in shape, you must rest so you can recover. No one trains or works 18 hours a day (shoutout to the “hustle” culture; I don’t believe y’all). Be strategic about taking time to rest. Take small breaks throughout the day. And take longer breaks throughout the year.
- Remind yourself what you want—We’re forgetful beings. You can do all the right things for months and all of a sudden, you wake up, and think, “What should I do with my life!” You must remind yourself often of what a good life looks like to you. You can also surround yourself with people (online or offline) who remind you of the important things in life. That’s why I have a weekly newsletter. To remind myself (and everyone who’s subscribed) to stay on the path.
Honestly, living a good life is simple. But like many simple things, it’s hard to apply. I love it when people say, “Easier said than done.” That’s exactly the point. Thanks for stating the obvious, genius. Everything is easier said than done. So don’t just read or say it; do it!