Goethe famously wrote “One lives in this world but once…”
If that is the case, ask yourself, “What do I want my life to look like?” Then make it look that way. In making that journey, here are some provisions for your psychological backpack:
- Do not invite regret into your life. Instead, take chances, try new things, and take the path less traveled. Regret never dissipates, and second chances are rare.
- Beware of scripting your life…. Storytelling can trap us in other people’s scripts. Let life happen rather than forcing it to fit someone else’s idea of what a life should look like.
- Everything is temporary, good feelings, bad feelings, and feelings in between. Don’t like how you feel today? Hang tough, it will change.
- Failure is good, because it kicks us into new routines, keep setting the bar a little higher, and keep learning from those mistakes.
- Sleep. It’s the only miracle cure we have. Everything is a little easier with some rest under your belt.
- Stop saving for a rainy day. So many people spend so much time preparing for the future that they miss the miracle that is unfolding in front of them. Don’t be fiscally irresponsible but don’t let opportunities pass. Imagine waiting 10 years to take a trip, but then that day arrives and you are too ill to make the journey? Do it today.
- Do what you love and the rewards will come. They may not be financial, but it’s easy to live in a small house if you are living a life full of meaning and purpose.
- Spend a little time outdoors each day, it was what we were meant to do as a species.
- Pay attention to the cycles of nature – moonrises, sunsets, tides, and seasons. They matter.
- Put the smartphone down and lift your head up. Spend time with people. Look into their eyes when they talk, listen to their stories. Every person has within them a library of knowledge and fables, and if you listen, you will get a hell of an education. I have learned more from broken conversations with women around the world than I have from some of my professors at university.
- State your dreams out loud, once you do, you have made a promise to the universe and will be more likely to enact it. Dreams, like music, must be shared, but only with those ready to hear them.
- Don’t throw bad money after good. When something is done, walk away. Pointless persistence is lazy.
- Surround yourself with people who are advocates, who help your dreams take flight, who watch you make mistakes quietly, and who love you afterwards. Quietly split off from those who silence your dreams, clip your wings, and keep you on the ground.
- Travel. Each time you do, you open a chamber in your heart you did not know existed.
- Watch children play. Every baby is an existential scholar, more mindful and present than any Buddha.