You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Over the years my dad has contributed some truly inspiring content to our blog. His two posts, 18 Things My Dad Was Right About and 10 Timeless Lessons from a Life Well Lived, were well received by the majority of you, and he absolutely loved reading the comments and emails you all sent to us in response to each post. Today I’m happy to report that your kindness has paid off. My dad was so inspired by your positive feedback that he surprised me this morning with a brand new post waiting in my email inbox.
The first line of his email read: “Marc and Angel, with an imminent 70th birthday on my mind, I wanted to share a few things with you today: 10 things I wish I knew when I was your age…”
1. Uncertainty is certain.
There is no antidote to uncertainty. Everything is always uncertain. There are infinite possibilities, which is what makes miracles possible. Life is about dealing with the question marks and making the best of them without any guarantees for what’s going to happen next.
Nobody on Earth knows how things will turn out for you, which is why you have to press forward every day on the heels of your intuition and passion. If you give it your all, sometimes amazing things happen, but they’ll rarely be precisely what you had expected. Read 1,000 Little Things.
2. Life is a circle.
Everything you do, everything you say, every choice you make, comes back around.
If you want to be rich, be generous. If you want to make friends, be friendly. If you want to be understood by others, take the time to truly understand them. If you want to be heard, listen.
If you want to live an interesting life, be interested the happenings around you. If you wish to truly learn and master a skill, study what you can and then teach someone else what you know.
If you long for peace, act in peace and harmony. If you want the world to change, start with the one in the mirror.
What you give is eventually what you get. Whatever it is you hope to achieve in this life, give it, nurture it, be it, and you will enjoy a lifetime filled with it many times over.
3. Discipline is the mother of all virtues.
Self-control is the chief element of discipline, and discipline is the chief element of bringing ideas to life. No matter how smart, skilled, or capable you are, nothing is possible or achievable without a disciplined mind.
Discipline is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, whether you want to or not at any given moment. It is the most important of all the virtues because without it, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. Read Getting Things Done.
4. You have full control of your fears.
Your fear is 100% dependent on YOU for its survival, and it is the only thing standing between you and your goals. Deal with your fears; don’t let them deal with you.
Have patience with the thoughts and concerns that remain unsolved in your heart. Don’t hide; live in question as you slowly uncover the answers you seek. Replace your fears with an understanding that settles them. Instead of wasting energy on avoiding what you don’t want, spend it on obtaining the knowledge you need to achieve what you do want.
5. Good friends are priceless.
Friends and acquaintances come and go, but good friends are hard to come by. You know who these people are. They’re the ones who are always there with you in spirit – the ones who leave footprints in your thoughts and dreams. They are the glue that binds a smile to your soul.
Hang on to them dearly. Reach out and make an effort to stay connected. Lend them a hand and let them lend one to you. Don’t get so busy or tired that you neglect their existence. Treat your good friends like royalty.
6. It’s impossible to love someone who doesn’t love himself or herself.
When someone doesn’t love who they are, they pretend to be someone else, and others end up falling in love with their mask, instead of who they really are. To keep the affection they keep pretending and performing behind this mask.
If you see these masked tendencies in someone you care about, confront them before it’s too late. Because if they lock themselves behind a mask for too long they will grow attached to it – it will become their comfort zone. They will begin to enjoy the imprisonment, and if you try removing their mask to remind them of the truth, they will feel like you’re robbing them of their dignity.
Bottom line: Self love is the greatest gift – to live and to teach. The best way to love someone is to help them love themselves. Read The 5 Love Languages.
7. It’s impossible to know exactly how another feels.
The hearts and minds of others are mysterious, dense forests, always, no matter how deep into them you venture.
Even if you have known a person for a hundred years, it is impossible to know exactly what they are feeling. You can’t feel something for them, or know exactly how their mind is processing something. You could invest every bit of your energy over the course of your entire life in an attempt to achieve this understanding, but in the end you will fall short.
What you can do is be a friend who listens, supports, and loves openly without judgment. Only then will you get a momentary, unfiltered glimpse into their soul.
8. Connecting with your purpose brings great results.
Don’t allow others to convince your heart what to do. Your heart already knows. Listen to it. Don’t let anyone else distinguish what is right or wrong for you. You’ve got to stand up for something specific, on your own two legs, or you will achieve nothing great in life.
Within you there is a formidable and undeniable sense of purpose. Success comes from making a solid and persistent connection to that purpose. When your intentions are supported by a ‘why’ that has meaning, you will find a way to bring them to life. Getting anything done is a matter of continuing to remember why you have chosen to do this thing in the first place.
In the end, focused and persistent effort always brings great achievement. When your efforts are driven by your purpose, you can keep these efforts going for as long as it takes to reach this achievement.
9. A positive vision makes a big difference.
Don’t just see things the way they are. Envision yourself in the place you want to be, skillfully doing what you are capable of doing. Envision yourself in this place living the life you desire. Allow yourself to dream in full color, and know with certainty, that this dream is achievable if you want it to be.
Envision the things you desire as being achievable and they will be. Envision yourself doing what your need to do, operating at your very best, and then hold that image firmly in your mind, day after day, moment by moment, as you step boldly in the direction of your vision.
Give this vision all you’ve got, mentally and physically, and you’ll be amazed at the energy and excellence that comes out of you in the long run. Read Learned Optimism.
10. Your journey is ultimately what you make of it.
There’s no such thing as perfect happiness, just as there’s no such thing as perfect despair. What does exist is a continuous series of imperfect moments filled with infinite possibilities and opportunities for you to interpret them and do with them as you please.
You can pave the road you travel with doubt and despair or hope and happiness. It’s your choice. Either way, you will eventually arrive at the same destination. The only question is: Do you want to arrive there with a frown or a smile?
Photo by: Hartwig HKD
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