"We've been invited to participate in this life, to be present, one to another, and that's all that's expected of us. Our successes may bring us personal joy, but our value as persons lies only in our being. It is not the things we accomplish that are important; it is the very act of living that is truly important."
"Amazing and wonderful things begin to happen as we believe in ourselves and celebrate the dignity of living every day. Stand in reverent respect before that which inspires you. Feel new strength and power; then, in the name of the highest and the holiest, get going."
Fifteen Ways to Get the Most Out of Life
My goal is to live life fully and completely. The following fifteen principles have helped me get the most out of life.
Be Responsible or Be a Victim
There are so many occasions when we would like to blame somebody (wife, children, parents, management) for our feelings. When we get frustrated, overworked, or angry, we want somebody else to take responsibility. This blaming and not taking responsibility keep us in the role of victim. When we accept the difficult message that our feelings are ours to deal with and no one else’s, self-improvement begins.
Remember the Power of Hope
We must admit life is often difficult and painful. But these facts do not describe all of life, and they do not determine how we respond to these trials. The sun rises warm and bright after a cold and dark night. The open, generous smile of a small child reaches into the soft part of us all. As Robert Frost said so well, “I always entertain great hopes.”
I Just Can’t
A wise counselor once told me that whenever he knew he had to say no he used the very effective phrase, “I just can’t,” which people accepted. If they persisted, he would say again, “I just can’t.” No explanations were needed. Another friend uses a similar phrase when she has to say no to something. She simply says, “Don’t go there.”
Take a Vacation Every Day
In Micronesian, there’s a word, “kukaro,” which has no corresponding word in English. When people say they are going to “kukaro,” they mean they are going to relax, sit around, hang out. They are being, not doing. What relaxing thing can you do today?
Notice What Bugs You
We often get so stressed by the silliest things. We can eliminate a great deal of stress from our lives by simply knowing what bugs us. We then learn not to sweat the small stuff.
Focus on Your Blessings
We are often so caught up in the pursuit of more -- more money, more toys, and more prestige -- that we forget about our many blessings. Think of the beauty of a sunrise or a sunset, or a walk by the river, or being with your best friend. What riches and blessings are with you this moment?
Pay close attention to each person and each activity that you encounter today. It’s not what we do today, but how we do it that counts.
Find a Way to Laugh Every Day
They say that people who laugh a lot live longer than do the sour-faced. When we laugh together, gratitude comes more easily, companionship thrives, and all praise is sincere. Laughter’s joy celebrates the moment we are living right now.
Every day I ask myself what have I learned. My best habit is that I am an avid reader. My goal is to take the time to gather moments and opportunities I too often discard and waste and weave them into something beautiful.
When we express love and kindness to others, we feel more love toward ourselves. We may not understand just how it works, but it does. Give to the world all you have, and the best will come back to you.
It’s just as important to know how to receive as it is to give. We must be humble enough to ask others for help and advice. Seeking a counselor at various times in my life has been both needed and enhancing.
Take Care of the Soul
In study after study, actively religious people are happier. They cope better with crises. For me, faith
provides a support community, a sense of life’s meaning, feeling of ultimate acceptance, a reason to focus beyond self, and a timeless perspective on life’s woes.
Get Rest and Exercise
The older I get the more I know the importance of both rest and exercise. It is so important to stay active. Do tai chi, the treadmill, walk the dog or whatever works to keep you mobile. Happy people live active, vigorous lives, yet reserve time for renewing sleep and solitude. Americans suffer from a growing national sleep debt, with resulting fatigue, diminished alertness and gloomy moods. One of my wife’s greatest gifts is that she had me do a sleep study that revealed that I had sleep apnea and needed a C-Pap machine which has helped me get better rest.
Life is about Change
Change happens. Our job is to remember that it is constant. How we react to change often helps determine whether it is positive or negative. Knowing that life can and does constantly change is a powerful tool. With this knowledge, you can participate in making changes in your life rather than simply waiting for life to happen. And when change does come, thisawareness allows you to respond to what comes at you more flexibly and with an open heart.
This Too Shall Pass
My favorite Scripture passage is, “And it came to pass.” It’s because all things do come to pass. If you feel it’s really critical to take care of a problem when you’re in a bad place, that problem will surely still be there when your mood improves. And the same things that seemed so urgent and awful will once again seem just fine and more manageable.
These 15 adjustments in your awareness can and will make a world of difference in the quality of your life.
I only wish they would teach us these realities in school.