Being a wonderful father or mother, son or daughter, husband or wife, an individual living out a mission or calling versus working a job or having a profession, and becoming physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually fit, ensues through self-improvement. Growth and personal development are lifelong pursuits, which is why the persistent, relentless, courageous, and faithful individuals ascend higher than most. Winners are competing against themselves, while choosing to live without limitations, ceilings, or borders. Be boundless by embracing your true authentic self that produces real freedom and fulfillment. Remember, your opinion matters most and must guide your journey, not other people’s opinions about you. Be brave enough to believe in yourself and in the power of pursuing your dreams.
“I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts” (John Locke). Sometimes we need to get out of our own way, while striving for greatness. Do more and think less to avoid paralysis by analysis. Emotions are fleeting, while enduring habits are byproducts of the stuff we think and do every day that leads to success.
Furthermore, avoid making life-altering or rash decisions while physically ill, tired, stressed, or in emotional turmoil. Don’t become your worst enemy. Circumstances will likely be misrepresented and choices poorly managed. Wait until you are back in a peak mental state before critically deciding. This is especially true about becoming married and continuing or dissolving relationships, among myriads of other critical choices.
Prioritize what you want in major categories of your life. This includes relationships, parenting, education, spirituality, mindset, personal-growth, health, work, finances, and giving back to society and the world. List a minimum of five things you desire to achieve in each category during the upcoming one to five years. Following is an example of my desires. Make your goals relative to meeting your unique desires, needs, expectations, and standards set for yourself. Remember, this is about what you can do, not someone else, and not trying to change anyone, except you. Relationships can be many….
|Spouse||Say I love you upon awakening and departure, or more.||Perpetually date her as though we are first meeting.||Hug her daily and kiss her each night before bed, or more often.||Be fully present and engaged while listening.||Authentically care about and encourage her dreams.|
|Child||Say I love you and hug him two times daily, or more.||Read to him for 20 minutes daily, or more.||Together, play a game he enjoys twice weekly, or more.||Go someplace new once monthly, or more.||Ask and support what he is passionate about consistently.|
|Friend||Genuinely listen, love, and laugh.||Ask if he is upholding his moral codes?||Tell him I appreciate him.||Go on an adventure together.||Ask, “How can I help?”|
|Parenting||Teach the difference between right and wrong.||Show consistent unconditional love and acceptance.||Maintain boundaries backed with high standards or expectations, values, and principles.||Know his friends.||Tell him that he can come to me about anything at any time. Maintain trust and open communication.|
|Education||Write and publish a book to help people make positive life-producing choices.||Learn two new words, daily.||Step outside my comfort zone daily.||Read daily for at least 30 minutes.||Teach others what you learn through writing, speaking, and blogging.|
|Spiritual||Pray with a thankful heart throughout the day.||Live joyfully by being peaceful and grateful.||Engage with like-minded people offering hope and encouragement.||Read the Bible, devotionals or inspirational books daily.||Go off in nature for 20 plus minutes while meditating on its’ beauty at least twice weekly.|
|Mindset||Write for at least 10 minutes each day in a gratitude journal.||Self-reflect upon what is learned and done daily.||Listen to positive and inspiring podcasts, books or videos daily.||Read about uplifting stories of triumph daily.||Desire an abundance of health, wealth, love, and joy in the lives of everyone that comes my way.|
|Personal-growth||Be vulnerable by sharing life victories to help others.||Do what makes you uncomfortable, daily.||Read and write for 20 minutes or more, daily.||Read your goals and look at your vision boards three times daily.||Persevere by never, never, never, never, giving in or giving up on your passionate dreams.|
|Health||Exercise five times weekly, or more.||Eat mostly foods that are natural without synthetic fillers.||Be mindful of your thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and principles.||Ceaselessly, love and totally accept yourself, daily.||Know your triggers and maintain the rituals that minimize stressors and tempters, while maximizing the best version of yourself.|
|Work||Show empathy.||Help frequently.||Enhance my current skill-sets and knowledge.||Add more value by learning new skills.||Mentor and role model for others.|
|Finances||Pay yourself at least 10% first, no matter what.||Do not borrow money, except for your mortgage and education.||Focus on income as being the outcome.||Patiently be in it for the long term, while building assets and minimizing liabilities.||Think of ways to add more value to many.|
|Giving||Give free seminars and speaking events about enhancing quality of life.||Share my time generously with my family and friends.||Share monetary resources with causes I believe in.||Teach about health techniques to prevent pain and suffering, while maximizing energy and joy.||Give or create in yourself the tools necessary to offer more to your family and the world.|
“Strong reasons make strong actions” (William Shakespeare). Next, make a list of as many reasons why you want to accomplish those aims. The more whys in each category can make something on your list that was once number one priority, change to number three or four, while number two or five moves into the first place slot. Whichever target in each category has the most reasons why it is important and purpose-driven for you to achieve that objective, make it your number one priority and develop a single-minded focus on accomplishing those specific goals first. You can still do the others, just put more conscious effort into your primary focus.
“You can get a lot farther with a kind word and a gun than a kind word alone” (Al Capone). If a gun was held to your head or that of a family member and you were told you must stop a bad habit to prevent death, you could do it. That is called intrinsic motivation. We don’t want to coerce anyone, although we must sell ourselves in order to achieve our dreams. Desire the acquisition of dreams come true as badly as you crave the air you breathe. Dare to be original by being good and principled, while upholding steadfast concrete moral values and associate with people that sustain and reciprocate the like.
“The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision” (Helen Keller). Look for the good in people and ourselves, while desiring more abundance of health, wealth, love, and joy upon others. As an American author and speaker, Helen Keller became deaf and blind by 19 months of age and mute shortly thereafter because of a debilitating fever, yet she did not let that stop her from maintaining her vision and regaining her voice.¹¹ She was the first deaf and blind person to earn her Bachelor’s degree, in addition earning cum laude.¹² Helen Keller is a true inspiration to the world and a wonderful example for people with similar ailments. Now, people that are deaf and blind have infinitely more hope, knowing that success and true quality of living are possible through pure determination and unwavering faith. Many people acquiring various ailments and problems will not be the first nor the last, yet triumph through with resilience, courage, and a positive mental attitude. Don’t let negativity or seemingly unjust circumstances rob hope, joy, and love from your precious life.
”Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon” (Susan Ertz). Develop reasons or motivating factors that truly make you feel alive, driving you to get out of bed each day. Get really good at something. Live wisely and make that dash count by choosing to make a difference with your one and only precious life. Remember the loving kindness from those that have gone before you. Let their love live on—in you.
Witnessing firsthand and personally experiencing too many of those aforementioned harmful effects in my life manifests deep pain and empathy for people, which is a pivotal reason for choosing to help others. A dominant universal goal regarding all spiritual realms is to mitigate pain and suffering. Caring for individuals working as an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse constantly makes me question, “Is there something we as a community, society, nation, and global enterprise can do to help prevent these tragic fatalities?” Tears of compassion and frustration well up and trickle down an anguished face, while contemplating the horrors that families of these loved ones face and endure.
“I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized that I was somebody” (Lily Tomlin). Can such tragedies be averted? Young teenagers and adults are too often admitted for heroin overdoses with irreversible anoxic brain injuries, while ventilators keep their bodies alive as the brain swells, crushing parts of the cerebrum or spinal cord ending in brain death. All four extremities spastically and uncontrollably jerk up and down with both eyes transiently shooting open seemingly bulging from their skulls as their necrotic viscera pour out. Paralytics are administered because families do not need to witness such horror. Others drink themselves silly, which leads to irreversible pancreatitis or hepatic destruction, culminating in multisystem organ failure and subsequent death.
Even today, visualizing and feeling the glowing warmth, energy, kindness, and friendly smile radiating from a fellow high school classmate’s face 20 years later is poignantly palpable. His abundant energy, radiant countenance, joy, and ability to make others laugh was contagious. He made the tragic decision to try heroin one time, which ended his short life. Let’s decide to help others make better choices by making them for ourselves first.
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler” (Henry David Thoreau). People discover their potential from knowledge acquisition combined with practical application. We become forward growing the moment we develop the courage to acknowledge and admit our faults, while seeking solutions to our problems and taking massive immediate action toward solving the underlying harmful culprits. The more competent, confident, and autonomous we become at life equates to a good life at whatever we choose to do.
“Mishaps are like knives that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle” (James Russell Lowell). Applying temporary Band-Aids to cover our past wounds, mistakes, or feelings of self-inadequacy is futile and may even be deadly. Choose to allow mistakes to be advantageous, while seeking out good in them by becoming a good-finder.
Changing our perceptions and attitudes can be very helpful. If we become disillusioned by the shoes that we have on, just think about the person with no feet. A little different perspective can change our own personal world. Life is too short and precious to be stuck in the past or future. Focus on fully living today and each day.
“All things are difficult before they are easy” (Thomas Fuller). We become more fulfilled the sooner we recognize and accept the harmful self-inflicting problems we create within ourselves, while deciding to replace old destructive ways with positive forward moving and life-altering strategies. Paths toward healing manifest after recognizing a problem, accepting or owning the cause, and forgiving ourselves and others for partaking in immoral behaviors. We are ultimately accountable and responsible for where we are in life, period.