Today’s Topic: Living a Better Life
Goal: Live a better life one day at a time
How: Mindset, daily effort
I’m a huge fan of personal development. Each day gives you the opportunity to become better.
“Each day provides its own gifts” -Marcus Aurelius
Each day you are given the opportunity to improve a skill, learn something new, or build your body. The daily gift of life shouldn’t be squandered. Show appreciation by using each day to improve yourself in some way.
Those looking to make positive changes in their life should start by adopting a “daily improvement” mindset.
Pick something you want to improve and actively improve it every day. If you can make yourself a little bit better every single day, you are pretty much guaranteed improvement over time. After awhile, your entire mindset on life will be more optimistic and forward-thinking.
Each day becomes a gift and a chance at becoming a better version of yourself.
Each bit of improvement will motivate you to do even more.
This cycle of improvement just so happens to be the secret of success. To achieve success you need positive forward action. No one attained fortune or fame by being lazy or complacent. They took their journey step by step and built heir house of success one brick at a time.
15 ways to be better at life
1. Observe without judgement.
See things with your eyes and not with your emotions, notions, or bias. The world looks quite different.
2. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth
Count each breath. Focus your mind on only your breath or the count. Do this 50-100 times. Great work…you have just meditated. It’s that simple.
3. Get daily Sun exposure
~15 mins a day is enough to produce your daily intake of vitamin d. Vitamin D is integral to health and weight loss. Plus being tan makes you more sexy (really it does).
4. Walk everywhere
You’ve heard this before sure but are you really doing it? Take the stairs, park at the end of the parking lot, walk out of the way on purpose, and so on.
5. Walk and Read
Hop on a treadmill (or stationary bike) set it to an incline, start moving, and bring a book. Train the mind and body simultaneously.
6. Take naps
Study after study points to the amazing benefits of napping. Sleep is integral to being a healthy human being.
7. Engage in sports or physical activity multiple times a week
We are made to play and compete. There are also great fat-loss and health implications of engaging in sporting type activities. Think of it exercise without exercising.
8. Enjoy a cheat meal once a week
My cheat meals remain gluten-Free 99% of the time (unless I’m in Chicago for deep dish pizza) but I do indulge once or twice a week at nice restaurants with full dessert included. It is now an integral part of my ‘balanced’ diet. Diets should be balanced, not perfect.
9. Listen more
Most people love to hear themselves talk and will often interrupt you to get their words in.
A integral tenant of great conversation (and winning friends and influencing people) is listening. That means to shut up and really hear what someone is saying. Try to understand, relate, analyze and not just consider what the next thing you can say is.
10. Smile more
Smiling has been scientifically proven to put you in a better mood and make you happier; hormones. The body can dictate what the brain thinks. You will notice that depressed, angry, and generally unpleasant people rarely smile. While on the flip side, happy people smile often and without effort.
11. Get up and move
We are made to move and we are doing it less and less in our society. Sitting is bad news bears and is prevalent more now than anytime in the history of man.
For desk sitters, I recommend setting a timer to take frequent stretch/walk breaks every 20 minutes. This will also rejuvenate your energy.
12. Help someone
Some of the greatest rewards in life come from helping and giving to others. Don’t be the selfish giver: one who thinks in terms of favors and equal exchange. Be a giver: one that gives to improve the lives of others; no receipt needed.
13. Take action. we live in a procrastinating, excuse-ridden society. We love to find reasons why we shouldn’t, can’t, or won’t do something.
- Want to learn how to salsa? Book a dance class for the weekend RIGHT NOW.
- Want to get in contact with an old friend? Send a letter or mail or text NOW.
- Want to get a new job? Dust off your resume NOW and start making inquiries.
- Want to lose weight? Put down that damn frappe and save yourself 350 calories NOW.
The only thing that matters in life is action; Intent is nothing.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions”
The people who create success (yes I said create) for their lives are the ones that act. They are the doers. They schedule the meeting, they make the phone calls, they create the spreadsheets, they put themselves in uncomfortable situations, they ask twice when once wasn’t enough, they do while others dream of doing.
14. Practice Deliberate Practice. According to Wikiepedia:
“One of Ericsson’s core findings is that how expert one becomes at a skill has more to do with how one practices than with merely performing a skill a large number of times. An expert breaks down the skills that are required to be expert and focuses on improving those skill chunks during practice or day-to-day activities, often paired with immediate coaching feedback. Another important feature of deliberate practice lies in continually practicing a skill at more challenging levels with the intention of mastering it”
An example of deliberate practice is playing a single line of music over and over until it is perfect. Or performing a single move countless times until muscle memory and proficiency reaches ‘expert level’
Sitting down to play the piano an hour a day or playing volleyball every weekend may improve your skills but it will not make you an expert/world-class. The best in any field become so by deliberating practicing.
They break down their skill or craft into actionable steps and then work on those over and over until mastered. Doing this for long periods of time is what creates world-class anything. Typically, this happens by accident over years of practicing or engaging in an activity. A way you can use this concept to your advantage is to engage in more deliberate practice. You will improve at a faster rate than those that merely engage in their activity.
15. Change your thinking.
Ask yourself these two questions every day:
1. What can you control?
2. What can you not control?
Number 1 is all that should matter and don’t waste a second on number 2
This is the premise of Stoic philosophy, of which I’m a devout follower/believer. You should not spend any energy on things that are outside of your control.
Things outside your control are:
- Randomness (fragile vs antifragile)
These often cause: despair, worry, dread, fear, stress, angst, aggression, speculation, prediction, etc.
Things within your control are:
- Your thoughts
- Your actions
You can eliminate pain and anguish by changing your thoughts. Focus on what you can do and only that. Spending time worrying about externals is a losing proposition.
A little bit each day
I hope you can take some useful and actionable steps towards bettering yourself. Remember that life is short, live it up!