Be empowered by your experiences everyday
Don't take life too seriously
- Behold the miracle of nature. The sunshine heals. The rain quenches. The earth provides solid ground to plant our feet firmly upon.
- Take a moment to appreciate the beauty around you. Take a peek out of your window. The world's creatures are busy at their life's work, just like you and me.
- If you feel bereft of love, find it in yourself to offer another that which you feel may be lacking. Love grows from inside of every heart. Pay the love forward. You'll get it back tenfold in good feelings alone.
- Don't let unhappy people rain on your parade. If someone tries to bring you down, let your light of truth and beauty shine upon them. Change begins with you.
- Remember that everything is temporary. Today's destructive storms are tomorrow's clear skies and sunshine that warms and illuminates everything it touches.
- Let your inner moral compass guide you. Children come into this world inherently kind. It's only after adults step in to confuse things that they begin to go astray.
- Open your mind to different people and radically different ways of doing things. Don't assume someone is wrong or unhappy because they aren't like you.
Life isn't for the Weak at Heart
- Life is really just a circle. Remember this as you put your energy into thinking one way or the other. Remember this, as you try to sway the minds of other people. It's all just going to come back around.
- Don't let anyone tell you that you can't or shouldn't do what you want to do, provided whatever it is makes you happy and doesn't hurt anyone.
- Treat others as you would want to be treated. This is the only rule that any religion ever needed.
- Pay attention to the real details, and be wary of propaganda. People always want us to think that their way is the better, safer way. Possibly, but at the expense of what or whom?
- Take care of yourself. If you don't, who will? Listen to your spirit when it's crying out for comfort, a change of scenery, creative replenishment, or to be nurtured by the soothing voice of a good friend.
Keep an Open Mind
- Practice listening. The older we grow, the more difficult it is for our minds to remain open and flexible to other opinions, new ways of doing things, different points of view.
- Shift perspectives when you get the opportunity. Try to see things through the eyes of another.
- Computers give us OCD. Get away from the blue screen. It's bad for your health. Instead, follow the sun. Hold your body upright, and take bold steps.
- Pay very little attention to anyone who tells you what to do with your body, mind, or your heart. You know best what is good for you – some people just haven't realized that yet. If you open your ears and your heart to those inner rhythms, they will lead you to heal.
- If you think you can stand – walk. If you think you can walk – run. If you think you can run – fly.
- Love doesn't always come from the places where we expect it to, and that's okay. Don't be afraid to seek out affection, friendship, commiseration and validation from whomever and wherever they can be sourced.
- If you feel like someone is taking advantage of you, don't think of it as a loss on your part or a crime on theirs. Think of it as a gift that you gave them which they and you both needed at the time. When you're ready to, you can always move on.
Empathy Goes a Long Way
- Give people space when they need it. Over-attending creates dependence. If you love someone, set them free.
- Live humanely. Be kind to people and animals. Take a close look at what's happening in the world around you, and how the helpless are being treated. If you don't care for what you discover, refuse to participate.
- Break free from unproductive cycles, especially in relationships. If you want something to change, do things differently.
- Some people don't know how to give because they were never taught how. If you encounter someone like this, it may be your job to enlighten them temporarily.
- Sometimes it takes people longer to understand us than we'd like. In fact, sometimes it takes half a lifetime. That's better than never.
- Cheering for yourself is a nice thing, but don't forget to be humble when the circumstances call for it. Sometimes, it's someone else who needs that pat on the back or recognition more than you. Take turns in the spotlight of life.
- Instead of saying NO to what you don't want, say YES to what you do want. Anti-bullying becomes pro kindness. Anti-hate becomes love.
- It is vitally important to look at the person in the eyes, not the person on the screen. Future generations are depending on us to keep real connections, not internet connections, alive.
Don't Read too Much into it
- If you need something, ask for it. If you don't want something, say no thank-you. If you're scared, it's okay to admit it. If you turn out to be wrong, it's not the end of the world.
- You can never be too busy or familiar to use basic manners and courtesy. Those little words, “please,” “thank you,” “I'm sorry,” “excuse me,” go a long way.
- If you give a gift to someone, whether it be a material gift, an emotional gift, or an intellectual gift… do not expect to receive something in return. If you do, bonus. But gifts can be turned inside out when guilt or expectation is attached.
- People say “associate UP” – or, make friends with people who are where you want to be in terms of success or happiness. Maybe so, but a mentor still needs a student in order to teach. You will play both roles at different times throughout your life.
- Don't think of people as “beneath” you intellectually or spiritually. They may be here to teach you an important life lesson, even if neither of you realize it while it's happening.
- If a child wants to tell you something, stop what you are doing and listen to him or her. Someday you'll be old, and you'll want someone who's younger and more in a hurry than you are to hear what you have to say.
- Delivery is everything. Observe others before speaking. What can you offer them that will allow them to better receive your message with an open mind?
- The best way to not get what you want is to not ask for it.
- Sometimes, doing things the long way can also be a fun way. When possible, cook from scratch. Knit a scarf. Build a wooden shelf. Write your life story to share with the world!
- Make yourself into rubber and learn to bounce back. Stop holding grudges, nursing old wounds, and overthinking things. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Don't stay angry. There's so much to live for… when we steep for too long we just deprive ourselves of joy.
- Some folks just don't understand, no matter what you do or say. If this bugs you, find some new people whom you can be yourself around.
- It's important to have a niche of like-minded souls to commune with. If you don't have this but want it, just follow your heart and do what you love. True friends will follow.
- Be like your dog. Live in the present moment. Always smile and wag your tail when someone walks through the door. Never pass up a belly rub, or an opportunity to play outside.
- If you need sleep, sleep. If you need food, eat. If you need to cry, let the tears flow. If you're feeling funny, find someone to giggle with. Listening to your inner rhythms is the key to happiness.
- Hard work heals the soul, and simple tasks are often the most satisfying. Don't think you're beyond digging holes or cleaning toilets.
- Go for a walk. You never know what you may encounter along the way that delights you, brings a new idea, or helps you find a friend.
- Reach beyond your circle. Make friends who are different from you- older, younger, and from unfamiliar backgrounds. Move outside of your comfort zone and experience new things. This is how we grow.
- Money is liquid and it flows through channels… into here, out of there. Anyone can bring wealth no matter their background or experience. Find ways to open the floodgates and welcome prosperity into your life.
- Take good care of your body. It's the only one you've got. If you want to be around for your children's children, think for the long term.
- Everyone's parents have things to teach. Take the best of the best from your mom and dad – and from your partner's parents, too, if you're married. Take other things they do, that don't serve you, and let them go. This is how families grow stronger through generations.
- Sometimes, it's best to say nothing. Sometimes, a smile or a look or a pat will do.
- Get to know yourself. If you don't know who you are, what you're good at, and what you need, you won't know how to make yourself happy.
- The first hug you ever got was from yourself, inside your mother's womb. You can hug yourself just like that, any time you need to feel safe and secure.
Reaching Your Potential, by Robert Steven Kaplan
From the July–August 2008 Issue
Harvard Business Review
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