Each morning is a brand new opportunity. What you do today is what matters most. Today is another chance to get it right.
We may not always love everything about our lives, but deep down we do love and appreciate the magic of life itself. Some part of us believes that everything and anything is possible.
Sadly, though, we don’t always believe these possibilities are within our reach, even when they are. The problem is we choose to believe otherwise. We choose to believe we are incapable of living our lives the way we want to live them, at our full potential. We choose to accept our reality as others have told us it has to be.
We don’t have to do this to ourselves – none of us do. We have a choice. We don’t have to be complacent. We don’t have to fall into line. Why not stir things up a bit and live by better rules?
It’s time to remind yourself of a few key truths – right now and every morning hereafter:
- Today can be great, but only if you make it so. – Why do we often feel so powerless? Because we convince ourselves that we are. We wait for things to be given to us – entitlements. But in life, there are no true entitlements, and the truth is that if you want something then you need to make it happen for yourself. You need to work for it. Whether or not today is a great day doesn’t depend on the weather. It doesn’t depend on your “mood” (that’s also within your control). It doesn’t depend on anyone else. If you want to have a pleasant and productive day then choose to have one. It’s all about your perception and what you choose to believe and do.
- There is a lot you CAN control. – There are plenty of things in life that are out of our control, but don’t let this fool you into believing that your life as a whole is out of your control. The reality is, the life you are living is almost entirely by your own design. You have made many little choices along the way that led you down the road you’re currently traveling. Saying that your life is out of your control is a copout – it’s what other people want you to believe so that they have an easier time getting you to do what they want you to do.
- You do not need anyone’s constant approval. – The need for approval is like an addiction. If you base all your actions on the approval of others, ultimately you find yourself running in place, sacrificing your own happiness. Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket. Learn how to say “no” to people and obligations that do not add value to your life. Your time on this planet is precious. As the saying goes, “What you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.” Don’t wait around for someone else to give you permission to live.
- Complaining is useless unless you can suggest a solution. – Do not be a constant complainer. It doesn’t help you and it certainly doesn’t help your relationships. If you do not like your current situation, work towards changing it, but don’t just sit around complaining about it. Complaining will only make others nearby not want to be around you. Be someone that looks at the positive aspects of situations. And if you do find a problem that needs to be addressed, be someone that suggests a solution. The bottom line is that you will never get to where you want to be by complaining about where you are now. Each step in your life is preparing you for the one that comes after it.
- Success is a lifestyle, not a result. – We all want to achieve success, but we need to remember that success in not a specific achievement. Success is not crossing over some arbitrary finishing line. It’s the ability to fight the good fight day in and day out. Success is strength – the strength to keep pushing and to keep living your life on your own terms. Success isn’t an end result. It’s a state of being. You don’t win success. You are a success every day.
- The fact that you haven’t given up is a success in itself. – It may give you little comfort to think about how you’re still waist deep in the struggle, but the truth is you are one of the strong people with the guts to keep at it. Many people give up before they even begin, but not you. No, you wake up every day and get things done. You crawl inch by inch against the current because you refuse to give up. You refuse to accept mediocrity. You refuse to listen to others when they tell you that you’re not good enough. You’re still in it, fighting the good fight. (Marc and I discuss this in detail in the “Goals and Success” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- In every tough situation, kindness must be attempted first. – People may make ugly comments. The airline carrier may lose your baggage. Another driver may cut you off in rush-hour traffic. These situations will happen daily. The question is: How are you going to respond? Although your first response, like many others, will be to get upset, why not try a different approach? Anger in these situations never solves problems. People are far more likely to respond aptly to kindness. And you can be kind and be firm at the same time. Get your point across without sacrificing your integrity. It’s the only response you will not regret later.
- Bullies and energy vampires are not worth worrying about. – We sometimes allow the wrong people to take up too much space in our heads and hearts. We meet energy vampires and bullies regularly – especially when we live in a big city or work in a large, cutthroat corporate environment. These individuals will try to get to you – they will try to influence you and become a part of your life because they find their own life to be mundane. They already poisoned their own lives and now they are looking to poison yours. Don’t let them get to you.
- If someone hurts you, don’t take it personally. – Truth be told, if someone hurts you, chances are, they have been hurt themselves. So do your best to never take anything too personally. Don’t let compliments get to your head and don’t let insults get to your heart. Most people can only give others what they have received themselves. All your actions and words should come from a place of love, but not everyone will be loving in return, and that’s OK. As Miguel Ruiz explained in his book The Four Agreements, when you do not take anything personally, you liberate yourself. You can open yourself to the world, freely, and not have to worry about the judgments of others.
- Your focused presence matters. – While modern technology can be life-changing in many beneficial ways, there is an aspect of this technology that greatly interferes with our lives and relationships. Do not be so addicted to a screen that you miss out on the opportunity to enjoy real life unfolding in front of you. Learn to disconnect. Learn to slow down. Give people your full and undivided attention. Do not seek mindless stimulation on a screen for no reasons, and refocus on nurturing real human connections.
- Good things in life end too soon when they aren’t appreciated.– This isn’t to say that appreciating what you have when you have it comes naturally – our minds tend to consider the possibility that the grass on the other side is greener. But we need to mindfully remind ourselves that life isn’t about constantly upgrading things. To live a happy, fulfilling life we have to learn to appreciate and love what we have. If you fall in love then do your sincere best to nurture your love. Don’t wait for things to end before you start appreciating them.
- Today is a blessing. – Think about how many people die every minute of every day and you’ll begin to realize that waking up in the morning is a blessing. We don’t live in a world of perpetual peace, but one laden with bouts of chaos. On top of this, accidents do happen and people get severely injured and die because of them. Getting another day to breathe, to experience life, and to do something meaningful is the greatest gift one can receive. Make today count!