As I enter a new decade, I believe there are a number of lessons and insights I have gained that have completely changed my perspective on life. I’ve spent the last twenty years travelling to more than 100 countries, working with many thousands of people across a whole range of industries and reading more than 1,500 books. So, here, for you are just some thoughts that I hope will help you in your journey on planet earth. You may have heard of most of them but hearing isn’t the same as doing and sometimes we all need a reminder.
I have separated my thoughts into four sections:
- How to Live
- How to Win
- How to Be You
- How to Act
HOW TO LIVE
- Read, read, read… not the magazines that fast feed your senses with gossip or the papers that fill your soul with hopelessness. Read things that inspire you, educate you about the world and yourself, take you to faraway places and times and bring you to worlds of rich experiences.
- Travel wildly and wonderfully in whatever way you can. Experience the wonderment that comes with exploring the magnificent planet, captivating cultures and memorable experiences that you will take with you everywhere.
- Run or box or play or lift or squat or jump. Exercise regularly and fully. Whatever type works for you is fine… just do it and do something every day. Your body was born to be worked. Fitness is so, so important particularly as you get older. Don’t fuck about. Make this a priority.
- Sleep enough so that you feel refreshed, so that you feel energised, so that you feel good. Sleep is so essential to our bodies and yet with all the modern day distractions we have, it fails to be treated with as much care as other aspects of our life. Go to bed as early as you want and stay disciplined with your sleep. It’s not always possible to get a perfect night’s sleep but do your very best. It will make a big difference.
- Eat well. You know the difference between eating healthy and not. It’s not rocket science. You may have to experiment and eat different foods to see what works best with you but what you put into your body will determine how you function. Food has a big impact on your mood as well as your health. Eat healthy.
- Laugh a lot. Enjoy every single moment you can. Play as much as possible. Go for joy. Embrace everything fun. Let yourself savour all of the good times so that you make this experience on planet earth worthwhile and wonderful.
- Research, learn, get clear on what the situation is and what you want it to be. Dive into the questions you want an answer to. Focus and discover what you need. The internet has provided us with an incredible vault of knowledge. You have been given the key. Use it.
- Be kind to yourself. Stop being so hard on yourself. Work on your internal dialogue. Speak nicely to yourself. Savour achievements. Remind yourself of all you have to offer. Be proud of yourself and who you are. Love yourself.
- Stay in the moment. Enjoy the moments in the world as they go by far too quickly. Take time to simply appreciate what’s going on inside and outside of you. Look and listen to the beautiful world around you and the fascination that comes with noticing other people. Appreciate the richness of life.
- Get out of the wrong stuff. Know when and what to quit. Bad habits, bad circumstances, bad people and bad times. Learn when and how to walk away. Life is way too short to be doing stuff or spending time with people that bring you down. Moments are precious. Spend them wisely.
HOW TO WIN
- Think on purpose. Stop allowing automated patterns to determine your feelings and thoughts. Understand what you want to feel and think and create the kind of mind that makes you happier and more effective.
- Focus on what you want. When you have a problem focus on the solution. When you want to achieve something focus on what your goal is. Keep your brain trained on where you are going not where you don’t want to go.
- Embrace reality, challenges and change. Shit happens. The world doesn’t work the way we wish it would. Life is tough. Things get in the way. Things never stay the same. You have to learn to roll with it. You must learn to adapt and overcome. That is the key to surviving and thriving in this world.
- Believe in you and your possibilities. Believing in yourself and the possibilities of what you can do will play a part in determining whether or not you will succeed. Believing in yourself gives you an advantage. If you don’t, you set yourself up for failure. When you decide to go for something bet on yourself and remind yourself that you have achieved much before that didn’t seem quite possible.
- Raise your expectations and standards. Live by them. Don’t settle for mediocrity. Decide that you will lift yourself up and find your own limits. One life. One life where you get to find out what you are made of. Raise your standards and live by them. Don’t just set an example. Be an example.
- Give it your all and go for it. Pay the price and work for it. Success comes at a price. You must be prepared to make the necessary sacrifices if you want to succeed. You must give it 100%. You need to go for it with every fibre of your soul. Then you will know once and for all what you are able for.
- Accept what is and control the controllables. Life won’t change because you want it to. The world won’t get easier. People won’t always play nice. Accept what you have to deal with. This is the way it is. Some things won’t change. Accept it and control the controllables.
- Be okay with being wrong, sad, hurt and scared. It’s okay if you feel shitty every once in a while. Being sad, hurt, scared or wrong is okay. It means you are human. It also makes you appreciate the good times more. Learn the lessons you must learn and don’t beat yourself up because you aren’t perfect.
- Get up. Bounce back. You will fail from time to time. You will feel like giving up. You will feel like quitting. Stop. You can and you must push through. Push through and keep going. Dust yourself off, pick yourself up and move forward. Go the distance. How you bounce back from adversity determines your character. You find out who you are by how you handle the tough times. You will get through it.
- Stay the course. Persist. You must continue to go after what you want. Keep learning and adapting and trying until you succeed. Success doesn’t come from always knowing what to do. It comes from persistently acting and learning and acting and learning and growing until you win.
HOW TO BE YOU
- Be vulnerable. Be okay with the fact that you’re not always okay. Be okay with letting the world see your flaws and weaknesses. It is a great strength to have the courage to let others get to see your imperfections.
- Be yourself authentically. Faking it so that people like you is a terrible idea as it requires so much effort and usually leads to self-disgust. Anyway they always figure it out. Better to show the world the real you. Show others where your passion lies and let them see you expressing yourself fully. Let them in.
- Speak honestly and keep your word. Lying takes too much effort and is bad for your own sense of self-worth. Be the kind of person who speaks the truth and do what you say you will do.
- Say what you mean. Get clear of what you are trying to say and be precise with your words. Make sure whatever you want to say, you say.
- Mean what you say. Follow through on your word. When you speak it, make sure you are willing to act in alignment with what you’ve said.
- Don’t take things personally. It’s so easy to take what others say and make it into a personal sleight or insult. Even if it is, taking it this way simply doesn’t serve you. Remember often what others say is about them not you. Their stuff.
- Say no and yes. Learn to say no to others. Remind yourself that every time you say no, you are saying yes to something else. Focus on getting better at saying yes and no to the right things.
- Accept gifts from others. Let others compliment you or give things to you. Accept them graciously and make them feel good for giving to you. It makes their gift all the more valued.
- Let the world see you. Avoid hiding your light. Get out there and meet people. Show your face. Let the world see you and know that you’re there. Make it different as a result of your existence.
- Learn from feedback. Keep learning from every mistake or every time you don’t get something perfect. There is so much information out there and the more you learn the better you’ll do. Listen to others feedback on you and let it help you develop your self-awareness.
HOW TO ACT
- Love deeply and fully. Love is truly what makes life worthwhile. Love others completely and openly and without fear. It is as much for you and your heart as it is for them.
- Bring joy to the world. Act cheerfully to others. Smile and make those you meet feel good around you. Make them feel welcome and appreciated.
- Find ways to work better with others. Everyone is different. You don’t have to be the same as someone to work well with them. Learn to appreciate the differences and the different type of people. Find ways to synergise and work well with them.
- Surround yourself with great people. The people you spend time around will influence your own mood and behaviour. Like the food you eat influences your mind and body, the people you spend time with affects your mind and soul. Spend time with those who make you feel better, happy, joyful and peaceful.
- Serve others. Be generous and give to others. Find ways to make other people’s lives easier and better. Focus on making a difference to the world.
- Be kind to others. The world doesn’t need everyone to be nice. It needs people to be kind. Kindness is caring about others and thinking of them as you make decisions in this world. It means breaking down the tribal mentality and seeing another human and being good to them because it is the right thing to do.
- Study people. Learn about them. Find out what makes them tick. Become a student of others. The more you learn the easier your life will be and the better you’ll do in general.
- Ask and listen. Ask questions and really listen to their answers. Often we’re too busy trying to get others to see us so we don’t really see them. Really take in the people you spend time with.
- Be open to others. When someone has the opposite perspective to you, try even harder to understand them. Avoid arguing and instead explore. Learn all you can about how they reached their conclusions and why they think as they do. Appreciate differences and embrace them.
- Let people be themselves. You do you. Far too often we get into judgement mode. It’s so easy to criticise others. Most of the time though we do this to avoid criticising ourselves. It is possible to do neither. Others will do as they will. As long as they don’t hurt others, let them be. Their choices are theirs. Focus on just doing your best.
So that is my tuppence worth as I hit forty. I know you will have heard many of these points from me and others before, but as I said it is one thing to hear these thoughts and another to act on them. These are my guiding thoughts as I enter my next decade! I hope that you find them useful and that they help us all live a happier and more peaceful life.