Maya Angelou once said, "Don't make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you." In other words, let passion dictate the 86,400 seconds you share with the world each day. You can’t control the outcome, only the process.
Sometimes we wonder 00 for whom are we doing this for? And, I have one answer: You’re doing it for you.
Here are ten rules I try to live by:
1. Unplug. The wired world connects us in wonderful and unimaginable ways, but there’s a lot of to be said for the real world. You have to learn to let go. Set aside the phone and laptop and carve out quality time with the people who really matter to you. At the end of the day, they are the only definition of what’s real. Time is actually our greatest virtue. Cherish each of these real moments.
2. Keep learning. At 16, I dropped out of high school, but I never stopped learning. On the contrary, that’s when I learned how to learn. Feeding the brain is a strong component to happiness. Never rest on your laurels. Always look for ways to give more than what's expected of you. Challenge yourself. Open your mind and keep it open. And remember: There is nothing you can’t do. When others see obstacles, look for opportunities. Dream big. Hustle more.
3. Give back. There's a quirky bumper sticker that asks people to "practice random acts of kindness." And there’s some truth to this life lesson, as long as it comes from the heart. It reminds you of the blessings you have and what you should be grateful for, including all the basic things we take for granted. It also allows you to contribute to something greater than yourself. Whatever you believe in -- a higher power, the law of attraction or just karma -- this will further fuel your success.
4. Don't overthink things. It's alright not to know all the answers. The answers will come to you when you least expect them. Trust your gut. We are complicated creatures. That inexplicable feeling you get sometimes tends to be right fairly often. Try not to overanalyze it. Some mysterious Inner You is trying to help out by pointing you in the right direction. Remember that time heals almost everything. Give it time. I can summarize this lesson in three simple words, Life Goes On.
5. Be grateful for what you have. The only person in charge of your happiness is you. You don't own all the problems in the world. Count your blessings, not your problems. Be grateful, because if you’re reading this, you're already way ahead of billions others in this world. It doesn’t matter if the glass is half empty or half full; the only thing that matters is that you have a glass and you're responsible for what you pour into it. On the other hand, don't compare your life to others and don't judge them. You have no idea what their journey is all about. So when things go wrong, just take a deep breath and remind yourself of your greater purpose. Purpose isn’t defined by what you want to achieve, but what you want to live for to achieve happiness. It also eliminates all fears. And, if you live a life with purpose, you’ll never be bored.
6. Relationships are everything in life. You can always improve your connection to your loved ones. They teach us to become better people, to become the best possible version of ourselves and remind us what’s worth fighting for. They are also our biggest fans during our ups and supporters during our down moments.
7. Make piece with your past. Don't let it disturb your present. Own your mistakes. At the end of the day, every decision you make, even the bad ones, are your responsibility. Nobody wins when you start looking for someone to blame, so stop looking and keep moving. Forward movement is the key. You will have bad days and more than your fair share of failures. But, it’s really about getting back on your feet, dusting yourself off, and getting on with this business of living. That’s the Big Secret of Life. You fall down, you get up.
8. Stop worrying what people think of you. Live in such a way that if someone spoke badly of you, no one would believe it. Don’t succumb yourself to a world where you are constantly consumed with wondering what people think. What matters most is what you think of yourself and if you're projecting a life you are proud of.
9. Don't hold grudges. We all run into people in our lives who test us, use and disappoint us, but revenge doesn’t serve a purpose. At the end of the day, we are all characters of a complicated universe. Why complicate it further by letting vengeance devour your day. If you forgive, you learn and move on.
10. Be authentic. Too many people try to fake who they really are. At the end of the day, it’s about who the inner you is and what you contribute to society. Always surround yourself with people who want you to succeed. That seems simple on the surface, but until you get out there, in the real world, you will discover that most people are rooting for you to fail. Stay away from them. Authenticity is hard to find. But, when you do find it, hold on to it.