Be your best self

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.” – Oscar Wilde

We have a choice as to how we view the world, and we should learn to see the world as filled with limitless possibility and potential, and approach life with enthusiasm, wonder and awe.

How would you feel if you knew you that you had the power to change your life and your future – if you became aware that you can control what you think, what you feel, how you respond to things and what your ‘story’ is? Have you heard the saying ‘Change your story, change your life’? It’s all about what ‘role’ you choose to play in life, where you choose to focus your attention and what you’re prepared to do to create the life and future you truly desire.

What stops many of us from pursuing our goal of an incredible and successful life is our limiting beliefs, what we were brought up to believe and accept as true, our pre-determined thoughts, our ability to ‘settle’ for less (especially if we are ‘comfortable’ and we don’t have an absolute need to change our circumstances/life) and our limiting emotional or behavioural patterns.

Growth and contribution are the ultimate human needs. If we stop growing (as in personal growth) and don’t feel that we contribute, we become creatures of habit, and ultimately this is both unsatisfying and unrewarding. There is no fulfilment in remaining stagnant.

What is the point of life, if not to fill your days with enjoyment and satisfaction while spreading joy to others? The secret to living an amazing life is to realize that when you give you receive more in return; when you are kind to others, you shower yourself with love and joy; when you accomplish a task, you reward your mind and soul; and when you engage your passion, you are set free and you flourish.

Don’t be afraid to try something new. You don’t know what you’re missing until you’ve tried it. You may decide ‘never again’, but you also may think, ‘Why didn’t I try this before?’ and then do this new experience more than once. You won’t know which it is until you’ve tried it, so make the most of life and embrace the opportunities/experiences available to you (now I’m not talking about adrenaline-inducing activities here – unless that’s of interest to you!).

You are far more likely to regret the things you haven’t done than the things you have done.

If someone offers you an opportunity that is appealing to you, agree to do it and work out how later. Don’t second-guess yourself. You need to be ready to grasp the opportunity when it comes (often the ‘right opportunity’ comes at what we believe is the ‘wrong time’, so push through and you’ll be glad you did). Fake it until you make it!

If you are interested in travel, travel as much as you can, while you are still able (while you’re healthy and able-bodied).

I’m a firm believer that you need to experience the bad in order to appreciate the good and know how good you’ve got it without thinking that it might be ‘greener on the other side of the fence’ and risking losing what you have. Don’t take what you have for granted.

I want you to know how little it takes to make huge improvements in your life. Just think about what happens when you throw a pebble into a pond – it only takes one small pebble to create ripples that reach the edge of the pond, but you have to throw that pebble in order to make anything happen.

Find your true purpose in life (what brings you joy, empowers you and energizes you) to have a life filled with more meaning and more fulfillment. Utilize your individual source of strength and meaning, conquer your limitations and resolve inner conflicts (to prevent your mindset from wavering) in order to really thrive.

Use your character strengths (what you are naturally good at/what gifts you have) to pursue BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals).

Whether you know it or not, how you feel affects what happens to you (your attitude and emotions contribute to the kind of results you are going to get). Even when life is tough and negative things are happening, turn this around by changing how you feel by using gratitude (thinking of all of the positive things/people/events that you are thankful for), maintaining good posture (don’t slump, as this too affects how you feel) and putting on some music that you like and get your body moving. This will do wonders for your mood, and you will soon notice that good things start overtaking the bad.

Personally, I do what I believe is right and just. I want to help others, and I have the best of intentions. I sincerely care about people and want to help them in whatever way I can. It’s important to note that I don’t need to have people like me. I am not concerned with others’ opinions of me if it is not favorable. I do take on constructive criticism and I listen to others’ opinions, but if someone doesn’t like me or doesn’t like my approach, I am not worried. Try to remember that not everyone will like you, and you need to learn to be OK with that in order to flourish and not ‘suffer’.

It took me a long time to get to this point as I used to be a ‘people pleaser’. Now, however, I feel free as I don’t focus on this at all anymore, so that ‘burden’ has lifted. I am unable to control what others think, nor would I want to. I can only control what I do and say – and my response to what happens around me.

It’s important to have true passion in your relationship regardless of how long you’ve been together. Relationships require constant work, love and attention, but they are worth it. It’s like a plant that regularly needs water. Relationships require effort and compromise to continue to exist.

I’ve found the more effort I’ve put into a relationship, the more my partner appreciates me and is willing to also put in the effort. Think about what you’re willing to do for a person you’ve just started dating. In the beginning, you’ll do anything for them and take them out wherever it is that they desire. You show your best side to them, and you do anything to make them happy and impress them. However, after a while, when you’ve settled into the relationship, if your partner asks you, ‘Can you take out the rubbish?’ a common response might be, ‘Who do you think I am, your slave?’ Or if you are asked, ‘What are you cooking me for dinner tonight?’ your response might be, ‘You’re big enough to cook for yourself.’ Is that really the kind of relationship you want, and how you want to talk to each other? No one is satisfied in this kind of a situation, and it only breeds resentment and negativity.

Think about ‘who you are for the one that you love’ and what you’re prepared to do for them. Feeling and showing your love (through unexpected gestures and random acts of kindness) tends to breed love, happiness and appreciation.

Keep reigniting the passion in your love life. Don’t take your partner for granted. The more you try to please your partner and be their number one fan, cheering them on at whatever they undertake, the more they will appreciate you and want to do nice things in return.

Keep making an effort and try to make your partner feel special. Each day, do at least one special thing for your partner, whether it be giving a sincere compliment that you know your partner will appreciate, cooking their favourite meal, doing one of their chores for them before they get home from work, surprising them and taking them out on a date night or organising a get-together with their friends while you stay home and look after the children. They will be thankful that you did something for them, and absence makes the heart grow fonder, so when they return they will be grateful and loving, while you feel good about your ‘sacrifice’. So now you will both be in a happy, contented state of mind.

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