Ever lay awake at night, wondering whether there is more to life? I do.
Ever wondered while commuting to work, whether life is more than just working and going home? I would, when I had a job.
Ever longed for more in life? I do. Every day.
Even today, after working for myself for four years, I feel life has much more to offer.
It does. What matters is how much we make of it.
Here are nine ways to get more out of life:
1. Try Something New
I don’t like traveling alone. It makes me nervous. I prefer traveling with others, but get bored quickly. As a result, I rarely travel outside my city.
But I spent half of last month traveling alone. I rode over almost eight hundred miles on my trusted motorbike. I visited two unknown places to meet people I didn’t know. I met prospective clients and enjoyed a mini vacation.
It felt empowering and liberating. Life is about new experiences.
‘New’ doesn’t mean doing something shocking. It can be as small as picking a new hobby in your spare time. And if you manage time well, it’s easy to find spare time. Instead of watching a movie or browsing social media for hours, cook a new dish. Or read a book outside your preferred genre.
2. Ask Questions
Ideas developed without digging deeper are destined to fail. People who believe they have all the answers, rarely experience progress.
The most interesting people I’ve ever met had one trait in common — inquisitiveness. They ask questions — to others and to themselves. Their questions might be silly, intelligent, unique, conventional, simple, discomforting or profound. But the questions, not the answers, keep them going.
When you were a child, you asked questions incessantly. Your curiosity knew no bounds. You must bring that habit back to life. The more questions you ask, the broader your horizons expand. And the better you get at what you do.
3. Do What You Love
The debate between ‘loving what you do’ and ‘doing what you love’ has always lingered. Society tells us we must love what we do. But the key to personal happiness is the opposite.
Loving what you do is nice. But when the novelty wears off, when their backs are against the wall, is when most people quit.
To tide over this, to continue when you feel like you have nothing left, you need perseverance. You can find it only when you do what you love.
Don’t waste your time living others’ definition of life. Do what you love. Only those who do what they love survive long enough to reap the rewards.
4. Help others
The starting point of happiness is shifting the focus from yourself, according to Rick Warren. If you only think about yourself, you’ll feel miserable, without knowing it. But if you focus on adding value in others’ lives, you‘ll feel happier from within.
Helping others is not a natural instinct. We are taught that nice guys finish last. But, as Adam Grant explains in Give and Take, the nice guys often finish first. It’s the selfish guys who eventually finish last. But a few of us are around to see karma being a bitch to them.
It’s also important to remember the line between helping others and pleasing them. Helping others gets easier with time, and feels good. Pleasing others becomes more difficult and self-restricting with time.
5. Don’t Worry About Results
The root cause of inaction is, and always has been, the fear of consequences. Fear limits us from getting more out of life.
Our brains are pre-wired to respond to negative events, words and behavior more quickly than to positive. This has probably been an evolutionary phenomenon. From our earliest beginnings, being aware of, and avoiding danger has been key in our species’ survival.
But this negativity also increases stress and impedes your ability to do better. And most of it stems from worrying about results.
Shift your focus from the result to the task. Give it your best and leave the rest to a force higher than yourself. This small shift in mindset will cascade into other aspects of your life.
Think less about consequences, and do more.
6. Slow Down
The Buridan’s donkey is well-known fable.
A donkey stood exactly halfway between hay and water. It couldn’t decide whether it was more hungry or thirsty. Eventually, the donkey died out of thirst and starvation.
Many people today don’t want the world to tell them what to do. Since they overestimate their ability to get results, they try ten things at once. As a result, “they go a millimeter in a million directions and ultimately get nothing done”, says Tim Ferriss.
Don’t be a donkey. Take tasks one at a time and finish them. That’s how you can become world class. That’s the secret to Ferriss’ success.
7. Be Grateful
Since the mind is preconditioned to focus on negativity, it ignores tiny positive events. Most people live unhappy lives because they overlook these tiny events.
The happiest people — those who enjoy living — are the most grateful. They are grateful for what most of us take for granted. Good health, family, friends, a job, tiny acts of random kindness… they search for things to be grateful for. As a result, they find them.
People who practice gratitude also believe in pronoia: the belief that the universe conspires to help them. Based on this belief, they give their best to whatever they do their best, and are grateful for what they receive.
Happy people don’t follow good habits on a whim. Their habits are a result of belief in a purpose larger than themselves.
Belief led every achiever you know to accomplish what she has. Belief led your parents to strive to give you a better life than they lived. Belief will lead you towards a purpose in life.
What do you believe in? Imbibe it deeply within yourself. As you walk the path towards your belief, you will discover how beautiful life is.
9. Live in the moment
Not in yesterday, not in tomorrow. Not the next moment. Live in The Now.
When the past occurred, it was The Now. When the future will occur, it will be The Now. The present moment is only what matters. Focus on the tiniest speck of time — The Now.
“When you regret the past or are anxious about the future,” writes James Altucher, “you are time traveling…… When mentally strong people find themselves time traveling, they take a step back and ask, ‘What can I do right now to help others?’ “
What can you do right now to make your life better?
Life rarely progresses the way you want it to. That makes it fun. If you knew how everything would unfolded, it wouldn’t be fun to live.
You may not agree. But it doesn’t matter. Life offers you two choices.
You can complain about how unfair life is, about how nothing goes your way, and be miserable. Or you can embrace the truth, and resolve to make the most of your life.
You can stay pissed at the lemons or deny their existence. Or, you can follow Jon Morrow’s advice. You can “grab a lemon and squeeze the shit out of the motherfucker.”
The decision is up to you. It always was. That’s the beauty of it.
What do you do to get the most out of your life?
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