March 9, 2016
Everybody wants a better life. Rarely is there an individual, at least in our American culture, that is completely content and satisfied with everything in their life. We always want more. More money, money recognition, more things, more freedom, more love, more time, and the list goes on. Our ego is what drives us to want more and more, and that’s not a bad thing. Just think of how life would be if our predecessors just settled for what was available to them instead of trying to grow and improve. Let’s take housing for example. I would much rather stay in a nice climate controlled home than sleeping under a tree any day. I don’t even like tent camping, and even a tent provides more shelter than what our ancestors had to work with. I like camping in a cabin with all of the comforts of home. Many outdoor enthusiasts don’t really even consider staying in a cabin camping, but my view is, if you stay overnight in a forest, you are pretty much camping.
Anyway all of this talk of contentedness and camping and ego, where does it all lead to? Here is my point: we want better lives, but we don’t always know how to improve our situation. Here are five ideas of what you can do today to improve your life:
1. Wake up early in the morning. Have you ever heard the saying, “Early to bed, early to rise, make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”? I get up early every morning, and have a set of routines that I go through that help to empower me throughout the day. I haven’t always done this, but the time that I have been doing it has helped me to feel more productive, alive, and focused than ever before. By waking up early and getting to work on yourself and improving, you can get very important activities accomplished before the rest of the world wakes up and starts placing demands on your time.
2. Exercise. I have been a competitive athlete for most of my life, and because of that physical training and exercise have been a huge part of my life. I haven’t competed in any sports now for a few years, but I continue to exercise daily. There is something about getting your heart pumping and blood flowing that helps your mind to be sharper, and your body to feel energized. The key here is to pick something you like doing and take breaks when you need to. It doesn’t do you any good to push so hard your first day at the gym that you never go back.
3. Read a book. I love reading. I remember as a child that I loved reading fiction. Some of my favorites were the Beverly Cleary series, How To Eat Fried Worms, and the stories about Bunnicula. Reading was how I would fall asleep at night. I wake up early every morning and read a book. In fact, right now I am actually reading several books at once. Some of them have shorter chapters so I read a chapter from those books and then have a main book that I am learning from. If you want to be successful in your field, you should definitely read. Learn all that you can. Think about what a great advantage it is to be able to take a lifetime of someone else’s learning and condense it into the few hours that it takes to read a book.
4. Take time to meditate. For a lot of people, they have this idea that if someone meditates that they are some crazy hippie granola type. This is not the case. Meditation is for everybody, and I think that all of the great spiritual leaders have practiced meditation in some form or another. Meditating allows your mind to come down from the stress and anxiety of the world and expand beyond what it currently is. Is there a perfect or a correct way of meditating? I don’t believe so. Meditation for me is just trying to relax and give my mind a chance to experience peacefulness. I have had amazing ideas and inspiration come to me when I quiet my mind and meditate. I do it for 10 mins a day. It’s not long, but it helps me to feel just a little bit better.
5. Focus on serving others. I think that we are all our number one fan. For most people we are definitely who we focus on the most. Even when tragedy strikes, it is easy to think more about how it affects your own life and schedule than others. For example, say that you are stuck in a traffic jam, and you’re late to an important meeting. What are some of the negative scripts and thoughts that run through your head? I know that there have been times when I finally get to see the wreck that caused the traffic jam I think, “Why are people slowing down just to look how bad this is?” I didn’t even take time to consider that five minutes from then I would be down the road and thinking about my appointment again and not thinking about how that accident may have changed people’s live significantly ranging from the financial cost to repair or replace their vehicle, not to mention the physical and emotional trauma that it could have caused as well. They will be thinking about that wreck for weeks or years, and I didn’t have time to think about it for 5 minutes.
However on the flip side, when you are able to serve people, and you see how appreciative they are or how happy they are to have received the help, it is one of the best feelings in the world. One of the reasons that I loved coaching wrestling was because you would see athletes train so hard, and by helping to guide and direct them and share strategies that work, it was great to see their hard work pay off. If you are going to pick just one of these things, serving others would definitely be the one to go with.
So there you have it. Hopefully you are able to apply any or all of these activities in your life and see the positive impact that it makes. These practices have made a huge difference in my life, and I guarantee that if you are able to do them as well that you will be happier. And really, I think when it all comes down to it, we all want to be happy.