Do you lie awake at night, wondering whether there is more to life? I do.
Ever wondered while commuting to work, whether life is more than just working and going home? I would, when I worked in the corporate.
Ever longed for more in life? I do. Every day.
Even today, after almost three years of working for myself, I feel life has much more to offer.
It does. What matters is how much we make of it.
Here are nine ways to get more out of life:
1. Try Something New
I don’t like traveling alone. It makes me nervous. I prefer traveling with others, but get bored quickly. As a result, I rarely travel outside my city.
But I spent most of last week traveling alone. I rode over a thousand kilometers (almost seven hundred miles) on my trusted motorbike. I visited two places I barely knew to meet people I didn’t know. One was to meet potential clients, and one was to enjoy a mini vacation.
It felt empowering and liberating.
Life is about new experiences.
‘New’ doesn’t have to be traveling or doing something shocking. It can be as small as picking a new hobby in your spare time. And it’s easy to find spare time if you manage your time well. Instead of watching a movie or browsing social media for hours, cook a new dish. Or read a book outside your preferred genre.
2. Ask Questions
Want to get better at what you do? Ask questions.
Ideas developed without digging deeper are bound to fail. People who believe they have all the answers rarely experience progress.
All interesting people I’ve met have one trait in common – inquisitiveness. They ask questions – to others and to themselves. Their questions might be silly, intelligent, unique, conventional, simple, discomforting or profound. But the questions, not the answers, keep them going.
When we were children, we asked questions incessantly. Our curiosity knew no bounds. The same holds true even today. The more questions we ask, the broader our horizons expand. And the better we get at what we do.
3. Do What You Love
The debate between ‘loving what you do’ and ‘doing what you love’ has always lingered. Society tells us we must love what we do. But the key to personal happiness is the opposite.
Loving what we do is nice. But when the novelty wears off, when their backs are against the wall, most people quit.
At such times, you need perseverance to continue. And you can find perseverance only when you do what you love.
Don’t waste your time living others’ definition of life. Do what you love. Only those who do what they love survive long enough to reap the rewards.
4. Help others
The starting point of happiness is shifting the focus from yourself, according to Rick Warren. If you only think about yourself, you will feel miserable, without knowing it. But if you focus on adding value in others’ lives, you will feel happier from within, without knowing why.
Helping others is not a natural instinct. We are taught that nice guys finish last. But, as Adam Grant explains in Give and Take, the nice guys often finish first. It’s the selfish guys who eventually finish last. But a few of us are around to see karma being a bitch to them.
But remember the line between helping others and pleasing them. Helping others gets easier with time, and feels good. Pleasing others becomes more difficult and self-restricting with time.
5. Don’t Worry About Results
The root cause of inaction is, and always has been, the fear of consequences. Fear stops most of us from making the most of our lives.
Our brains are pre-wired to respond to negative events, words and behavior more quickly than to positive. This has probably been an evolutionary phenomenon. From our earliest beginnings, being aware of, and avoiding danger has been key in our species’ survival.
But this negativity also increases stress and impedes your ability to do better. And most of it stems from worrying about results.
Shift your focus from the result to the task. Give it your best and leave the rest to a force higher than yourself. This small shift in mindset will cascade into other aspects of your life.
Think less about consequences, and do more.
6. Slow Down
The Buridan’s donkey is well-known fable.
A donkey stood exactly halfway between hay and water. It couldn’t decide whether it was more hungry or thirsty. Eventually, the donkey died out of thirst and starvation.
Many people today don’t want the world to tell them what to do. Since they overestimate their ability to get results, they try ten things at once. As a result, “they go a millimeter in a million directions and ultimately get nothing done”, says Tim Ferriss.
Don’t be a donkey. Take tasks one at a time and finish them. That’s how you can become world class. That’s the secret to Ferriss’ success.
7. Be Grateful
Since the mind is preconditioned to focus on negativity, it ignores tiny positive events.
The happiest people – those who enjoy living – are the most grateful. They are grateful for what most of us take for granted. Good health, family, friends, a job, tiny acts of random kindness… they search for things to be grateful for. As a result, they find them.
People who practice gratitude also believe in pronoia: the belief that the universe conspires to help them. Based on this belief, they give their best to whatever they do their best, and are grateful for what they receive.
Happy people don’t follow good habits on a whim. Their habits are a result of belief in a purpose larger than themselves.
Belief led every achiever you know to accomplish what she has. Belief led your parents to strive to give you a better life than they lived. Belief will lead you towards a purpose in life.
What do you believe in? Imbibe it deeply within yourself. As you walk the path towards your belief, you will discover how beautiful life is.
9. Live in the moment
Not in yesterday, not in tomorrow. Not the next moment. Live in The Now.
When the past occurred, it was The Now. When the future will occur, it will be The Now. The present moment is all that matters. Focus on just a tiny speck of time – The Now.
“When you regret the past or are anxious about the future,” writes James Altucher, “you are time traveling…… When mentally strong people find themselves time traveling, they take a step back and ask, ‘What can I do right now to help others?’ “
What can you do right now to make your life better?
Life rarely progresses how you want it to. That makes it fun. If you know how everything will unfold, where’s the fun in living?
You may not agree. But it doesn’t matter. Life offers you two choices.
You can complain about how unfair life is, about how nothing goes your way, and be miserable. Or you can embrace the truth, and resolve to make the most of your life.
You can stay pissed at the lemons or deny their existence. Or, you can follow Jon Morrow’s advice. You can “grab a lemon and squeeze the heck out of it.”
The decision is up to you. It always was. That’s the beauty of it.
What do you do to get the most out of your life?