A Guide to Living in the World

A memo to myself for when I forget the basics


Happiness is hard work. It is a choice, not a given or a guarantee. It requires a commitment to believing in yourself, your capabilities, and the endless possibilities ahead. It demands a belief that there is always a positive side to every incident. And once you achieve happiness, it requires focus to maintain your happiness amidst unpleasant people and/or situations.

Sometimes life is not fair. Sometimes people don’t treat us w
ith the respect we deserve. If a person that you show kindness and respect to doesn’t reciprocate, know that it is not about you. It’s something within them that is angry, fearful, discontented, or hurt.  If someone gets angry with you, it’s usually because they had set expectations, which known to you or not, you did not live up to. It is not your fault or responsibility if someone else was let down by their own expectations.

Anything that leads to success – both personal and professional – requires discipline, adaptability, and perseverance.  Discipline is something that we must each choose to introduce into our lives. If you want to see results, it means commitment, focus, and a desire to be better. It means a willingness to change directions and go with the flow. It means seeking plan B as often as plan A. Keep your eyes on your goal even when it seems beyond your reach.

We all have the same 24 hours each day. When people tell you they wish they had more time (like you do) or that they don’t have time for family, exercise, eating healthy, fun, friends, do not feel bad. Accept and know that you choose to use your 24 hours differently. Remember that a balanced life leads to a more productive, focused, loving, kind, and caring person. Know that choosing to take on multiple tasks/activities/responsibilities each day from a broad array leads to depth of character and the capacity to better accept and understand others.

Life is sometimes haphazard. A to B to C is a nice route to take, but is not always an option. Sometimes A leads to D which leads to L and back to B. Respect it all. Accept it all. Learn from it all. Know that whatever route you are on is the route you need to take to live your life. Then commit to live it instead of wishing or worrying it away. Often, the crooked paths in life are truly the best paths.

Surround yourself with emotionally healthy people. If people are negative or afraid or depressed and aim to pull you down, find the strength within you to walk away. Unless you are a trained therapist, it is not your job or responsibility to pull others out of their ruts. You can only take responsibility for yourself and work at your own well-being.

Treat others with respect and kindness. Remember that we are all in it together. While you may think that you are better than someone else, you are probably just like them on a basic level: you laugh, cry, love, fear, sleep, eat, work, and so on.  Karma is an interesting concept. Whether you believe in it or not, accept that it may be true. Acknowledge that what you do today may have repercussions in the future.  Kindness is always the best option. Treat others with the respect you wish to receive.

Don’t get too complacent or comfortable. Keep aspiring. Keep reaching for your goals. When people ask you why you would want to do something (with a sour face or unpleasant tone), smile, pause, and remind yourself never to be a nay -sayer. Accept that you can’t alter what others think, say, or do. Remind yourself to always applaud and respect others dreams with the same gusto that you respect and nurture your own dreams. Most importantly: dream and challenge others to do the same. And dream big while you are at it!

Don’t grow old before your time.  Every now and then, do something that you loved to do in your youth. Skip a good night’s sleep from time to time in favor of a night out on the town. Make time to laugh with great friends. Allow yourself to be silly –seriousness is fine, but not if you can’t laugh at yourself. Find a hobby or activity that invigorates you and book appointments with yourself to do it. Don’t get too strict or uptight with yourself; remember that flexibility starts in your mind.

Inspire others. Don’t just do and toot your own horn. Do and invite others to join you. Adopt a let’s- do- this- together attitude. Remind others that you believe in them, and even if they prove you wrong, give them a second chance. Helping others to uncover the greatness in themselves may help you to discover the greatness within yourself. Commit to aspire and inspire.

Get comfortable with the long road ahead. All great things take time. In this era of instantaneous feedback and interaction, take a deep breath when it comes to your dreams. Accept that the most worthwhile things in life happen in the exact amount of time that they need to happen.



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