by Chris Banescu –
There are many books and articles written about improving your life and achieving success. Often these resources cover common principles and truths you can apply for personal self-improvement, motivation, and inspiration. Others discuss pitfalls and problem areas in your life to watch out for and avoid. Listed below are ten important concepts to start practicing in order to improve your quality of life and get back on the road towards peace and happiness.
- Pursue a career you love and are passionate about. – When you love what you do, working hard is enjoyable and making sacrifices for what you’re passionate about is worthwhile. Hard work doesn’t feel hard when you devote yourself fully to it and really like doing it. Don’t settle on a career field you’re not passionate about, don’t feel comfortable in, or hold on to simply because you need the money. Do everything possible to leave a dysfunctional work environment. If you’re not sure what career to pursue, then try different things, read good books, educate yourself, and ask trusted mentors for feedback and advice. Continue searching for something that you’re really good at doing, others appreciate, and you would love to do for the rest of your life. Look diligently and follow your heart and you’ll eventually find it. If you catch yourself working hard and loving every minute of it, don’t stop; you’re on to something big.
- Maintain a healthy body and a rested mind. – Your health is your life! It is more important than wealth or success. Don’t sacrifice your health in pursuit of other goals. A tired mind and an unhealthy body are rarely conducive to productive and efficient work and excellent results. Don’t abuse your body and mind. Everything in moderation is key when it comes to eating and drinking. Eat healthy, wholesome, and balanced meals. Exercise regularly, both by lifting weights (strength training) and doing aerobic exercises that improve cardiovascular fitness. Get enough sleep every night and sufficient rest during the day. Even a short 15 minute nap or a brisk walk during the early afternoon can do wonders for your productivity for the remainder of the day.
- Control your negative emotions and overcome self-doubt. – Be aware of your emotional lows and negative self-talk. Take control of your negative emotions and focus on positives. We all have good and bad days. We all have emotional highs and lows. We all talk silently to ourselves, but we aren’t always conscious of what we’re saying or how it’s affecting us. Be careful on those low days to catch yourself and stop the slide. If you’re having an especially hard day and negative thoughts come flooding in, stop giving in to them and replace them with positive thoughts. Often attitudes are more important than facts. Understand that your own fears and self-doubt may be clouding your judgment and making you believe that things are much worse than they really are. A positive and confident attitude can infuse you with energy and optimism and help you deal with any difficult situations.
- Surround yourself with individuals of character, integrity, and optimism. – Cultivate and nurture relationships with people you respect and trust fully. Surround yourself with men and women who are ethical, intelligent, hard working, loving, and optimistic. Spend time with people of character and integrity. Your relationships should support, inspire, and help you, not hurt, demotivate, or anger you. Stay away from people who bring you down and are untrustworthy. Avoid immoral, egotistical, condescending, lazy, unethical, superficial, hypocritical, stingy, and pessimistic personalities.
- De-clutter your home and workspace and organize your life. – Clutter in your home or at work increases stress and reduces productivity. A cluttered and disorganized life negatively influences your peace of mind, efficiency, and productivity. A cluttered environment often leads to a cluttered mind and scattered focus. Clear the clutter and get organized. Complete the projects you’re currently working on before taking on new ones. Get rid of stuff you don’t use and properly organize and arrange the stuff that’s truly important and relevant. Immediately stop accumulating things that increase clutter. Then begin donating and throwing away items you don’t need. Organize and priorities the important things and key projects.
- Early to bed and early to rise. – Having enough time to rest and be prepared is critical. No one has ever achieved success by being lazy or tardy. Go to bed and get up at least 30 minutes earlier each day in order to have sufficient time and avoid rushing through your day. That extra half hour of time will help you start the day on the right foot, reduce stress, and reduce the likelihood of other unnecessary headaches or problems like being late for appointments, meetings, or important events.
- Stay on budget, reduce expenses, and avoid debt. – Always keep track of your income and expenses and prepare a yearly budget. Keep track of your budget monthly and stay on top of your expenses. You should always live well below your means and make sure your expenses are below your income. Don’t buy things on impulse. Don’t buy stuff you don’t really need. Don’t purchase items simply as “status symbols.” Don’t go into debt, except to purchase a home or car you really need. Make sure you can afford the home or automobile you want to buy. Pay off all your credit card debt. Pay all your monthly bills on time and avoid credit charges or late fees. Think through carefully on all significant purchases and triple check prices and options to insure you get the best deal possible for the long-term.
- Be proactive, reduce anxiety and subdue unreasonable fear. – Fear of dangerous things is good since it keeps us safe from harm. However, fear of imagined dangers, anxiety, and worries about things that haven’t happened yet can often depress us, overwhelm us, and paralyze us. “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy,” wrote Dale Carnegie. Take action, face your challenges, and overcome your fears. Don’t sit around and do nothing. Nothing can be changed by worrying about problems. Focus on constructive action and look for pragmatic and meaningful solutions. Progress can only be achieved one step at a time. Get moving!
- Stayed focused and find direction. – We are all familiar with the old cliché “Jack of all trades, master of none.” The more areas you focus on and the more scattered the direction of your life, the less likely you’ll be in achieving mastery and success in any one of them. This is often an occupational hazard of very smart and hard working individuals. Because they can do everything, they often do. However, this distracts them from doing the most important things. Thomas Edison was once asked: “What’s the first requisite for success?” Edison replied: “The ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem incessantly without growing weary.” He observed that many men work just as hard and as many hours as he did. The trouble is that they “do it about a great many things, and I do it about once. If they took the time in question and applies it in one direction, to one object, the would succeed.”
- Seek silence and a peaceful mind. – Everyone needs at least 15 minutes of complete silence each day to feel normal, unless you have a particularly stressful and difficult day, in which case you should dedicate at least 30 minutes of absolute quiet to rejuvenate your mind and soul. A good way to approach this was described by Norman Vincent Peale in his best-selling book “The Power of Positive Thinking.” “Go alone into the quietest place available to you and sit or lie down for fifteen minutes and practice the art of silence. Do not talk to anyone. Do not write. Do not read. Think as little as possible. Throw your mind into neutral. Conceive of your mind as quiescent, inactive. This will not be easy at first because thoughts are stirring up your mind, but practice will increase your efficiency. … When you have attained a quiescent state, then begin to listen for the deeper sounds of harmony and beauty and that of God that are to be found in the essence of silence.”