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Living a Life of Quality

November 26, 2010 by  
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With age, and the experience of achieving great success, it has become glaringly clear that wealth, power, status, fame, possessions, etc. do not, by themselves, add anything significant to the actual quality of our lives. Yes, I find having wealth is nice and allows me to do many wonderful things such as travel (like I am right now!), and I do thoroughly enjoy many of my physical possessions like my new house and all the bits and pieces my wife has brought in to make it a home, but these things are not how I measure how well I live.

Most of what makes a life worth living is not to be bought or collected but can be found in the experiences you have, what you give to others, what you accept, and how you choose to look at the world. It’s those many small steps that make up the journey that determine the true importance of the destination, not the destination itself.

If your ‘destination’ is great wealth, gaining that wealth will only be important if you’ve lived well, struggled often, and celebrated your small successes along the way. This is why lottery winners almost always end up unhappy. There was no journey, no sense of success and no memories that made up the path to their wealth. The money just became a condition of their life, not something that engaged their sense of personal acheivement.

This idea brings together much of what I’ve been talking about these past few weeks. Live in the moment, because these moments are what your life is truly made of. Choose to be happy or your life will be made of many disappointing moments and thus your life will be disappointing. And don’t forget to look for joy in the wonderful act of giving to others, acts that will infuse your life with the kind of treasure that you could never buy or fabricate.

Go ahead and go for the wealth and the status and whatever else you dream of. Just remember to live a quality life along the way, and keep up your passion for living, not just for the future life you’re after.

Living a Life of Quality

November 19, 2010 by  
Filed under blog

With age, and the experience of achieving great success, it has become glaringly clear that wealth, power, status, fame, possessions, etc. do not, by themselves, add anything significant to the actual quality of our lives. Yes, I find having wealth is nice and allows me to do many wonderful things such as travel (like I am right now!), and I do thoroughly enjoy many of my physical possessions like my new house and all the bits and pieces my wife has brought in to make it a home, but these things are not how I measure how well I live.

Most of what makes a life worth living is not to be bought or collected but can be found in the experiences you have, what you give to others, what you accept, and how you choose to look at the world. It’s those many small steps that make up the journey that determine the true importance of the destination, not the destination itself.

If your ‘destination’ is great wealth, gaining that wealth will only be important if you’ve lived well, struggled often, and celebrated your small successes along the way. This is why lottery winners almost always end up unhappy. There was no journey, no sense of success and no memories that made up the path to their wealth. The money just became a condition of their life, not something that engaged their sense of personal acheivement.

This idea brings together much of what I’ve been talking about these past few weeks. Live in the moment, because these moments are what your life is truly made of. Choose to be happy or your life will be made of many disappointing moments and thus your life will be disappointing. And don’t forget to look for joy in the wonderful act of giving to others, acts that will infuse your life with the kind of treasure that you could never buy or fabricate.

Go ahead and go for the wealth and the status and whatever else you dream of. Just remember to live a quality life along the way, and keep up your passion for living, not just for the future life you’re after.

Happiness is a Choice

November 12, 2010 by  
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I got an email from a colleague about how things are going back in our part of the States. (I am in Bhutan right now–I’ll have to get to back to the experiences I’m having here on a later post). Apparently we got our first snow in my absence and this friend commented on the mixed reactions to the cold and the falling of the fluffy white stuff. As usual, there were a people who grumbled and scowled and there were others who lit up at the sight. Same weather, same basic experience. But for some it ruined their day while other people stopped to enjoy its beauty.

It was a perfect example of something I have been thinking about a lot lately. That is simply this: A person can make themselves happy or miserable, regardless of what is actually happening “outside” just by changing the contents of their consciousness. With such power over our circumstances, why are so many people miserable so often?

We all know people who can transform a hopeless situations into a challenge to be overcome, just through the force of their attitude. This ability to persevere despite obstacles and setbacks is one quality that people highly admire in others and justly so. It is probably the most important trait for not only succeeding in life but for enjoying it as well. Even your very perception of you as a successful person is based on how you choose to look at the experiences you have.

So, when the snow starts coming down, or the next difficult task looms before you, how will you choose to experience it?

Be Happy, Now

November 5, 2010 by  
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I have an issue with the statement, no pain no gain. Its not that I don’t believe you should have to struggle—the struggle is what makes the gain so much more worthwhile (see my blog post “The Biggest Rush …“) but it’s the idea that to reach a goal it must be painful, as if enjoying yourself means you’re goofing off and not trying hard enough. Our society glamorizes the painful struggle in popular media and although it makes great drama, it does not give us a realistic view of how we could, or should, live our lives and achieve our goals.

Chances are you will spend many hours and days if not weeks or more, working towards some major goal. Why would you choose to spend so much of your life suffering to reach a future goal? The path you walk to achieve your goal should have some level of regular, maybe even constant, enjoyment in it.

For instance, if you are flipping houses but hate every minute searching for the right property, fixing it up, and talking to buyers, why do it? If what you really enjoy is entertaining people, you can work towards amassing wealth doing that although it might take longer (but then again, it might not) but no matter how long it takes or what trials you go through getting your name out and getting those big gigs, you will, overall, enjoy what you’re doing and what your life is about.

Our society tends to focus too much on the end goal, even to the point of drilling into us that happiness is something that we reach in the future, or even in the next life. But happiness can and should be yours now. You can find great enjoyment and satisfaction in pushing yourself and being challenged in almost anything—it’s really up to you and how you look at a situation. But it’s also wise to find something that keeps your interest and makes you jump out of bed every morning, excited to jump back into the life you’ve made for yourself.

So save your “no pain, no gain” moments for those little jobs we must do to continue doing what we love. Like those few hours you need to prepare your taxes correctly. Or those last few reps at the gym. But don’t let it be about large chunks of your life and what you do every day. Be happy now. Enjoy the whole of your life not just what it will become.