“I promise to keep on living as though I expected to live forever. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up wrinkles the soul” (Douglas MacArthur). Through proper exercise, combined with embracing dreams, attitudes, principles, moral codes, life philosophies, and ideals we can feel young at any age. Doing the most challenging exercises in any work-out regimen first, allows the body to expend more glycogen (stored usable energy), while optimally completing each exercise routine. The same principle applies toward performing the most energy-consuming tasks prior to doing less strenuous responsibilities throughout the day.
“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself” (Franklin D. Roosevelt). Most of the time, fear is a byproduct because of thoughts entertained by our imagination, including death. If death is an ultimate fear and the worst thing that can happen, why be worried about what other people think about you? We all will die someday, which is inescapable. What truly matters is how we live each day. Isn’t staying true to yourself more important than wasting your invaluable time or thoughts on frivolous nonsense?
“Death is nothing to us, since when we are, death has not come, and when death has come, we are not” (Epicurus). Do not fear death. Comedian, film maker, writer, actor, and musician, Woody Allen, has remarked, “I’m not afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” Death can be a sweet reward by living abundantly, while spending that beautiful tangible and intangible wealth throughout. Demise clears a way for new, allowing greater good to triumph. Persevering through struggles with thoughtful reflection, permits growth and progress, which can be a wondrous upward lifecycle.
“You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough” (Mary Jane West). Let’s not take our gifts, talents, skills, abilities, or money with us to our grave. Don’t wander through life without meaning and purpose. Don’t measure success with society’s yardstick of success, power, status, money, and fame. Instead, focus on making a difference by impacting and influencing positive change in yourself, others, your community and country, as well as the world. People are influenced not by your social status, nearly as much as by how much you care about them. Show your family, friends and those around you how much you care by telling them, writing letters, and doing spontaneous acts of kindness for them. Show love in daily practices toward all humankind. Lead rather than manage people.
Additionally, happiness ensues through making one’s own decisions, not someone choosing for you. A young dog once thought happiness lived in his tail, thus choosing to chase his tail perpetually. He talked to an older dog about happiness being in his tail. This older dog said, “Everybody knows happiness is in the tail, but I don’t chase after mine. Wherever I go and whatever I do, my tail always follows.”
During a Kari Jobe concert a man spoke about a young boy he observed while on a missionary trip. The child kept tiptoeing up to a volunteer missionary lady and saying, “Hola,” with a great big universal smile spanning from ear-to-ear while giving her monstrous hugs. The boy would hold the woman tight in his arms, while grinning extremely wide, day in and day out. He said, “Hola,” hugged her, smiled enormously large, and darted away. The boy’s behavior began to seem peculiar. Later, the volunteer missionary man found out through a translator that the boy had been bounced from one home to another, over and over, throughout his young life. From the ages of four through twelve, the boy fought to stay alive, while transiently living alone on perilous streets in isolated regions of South America. Finally, the young boy found a home where he became loved unconditionally and consistently, which gave him stability and hope.
“…Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35 NIV). Nourishing our mind, body, spirit, and soul with truths and life-giving principles keeps our cups plentiful. Worry does not add life, peace, joy, health, wealth, love, or any good thing to anyone. Stop being anxious and let it go. Be grateful for everything, use it advantageously for good, and drive on. The road toward sunrises and sunsets are but one beautiful ride. Replace fault-finding with good-finding and change pessimism to optimism, therefore transforming your life.
“I am leaving you with a gift, peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 NLV). Moreover, the pain and suffering that child endured and overcame instilled strength, courage, resilience, and compassion into the depths of his soul. The boy cried when the volunteer lady had to leave because she reminded him of his new mom whom loved and cared for him dearly. The boy was immensely grateful.
Furthermore, through World Vision, a 13 year-old boy from Ghana in need of sanitary water, food, shelter, education, and hope is being sponsored. I am not asking anyone for donations to this cause, although start someplace by giving a portion of your money, time, talents, gifts, skills or abilities to a mission, vision, and purpose you believe to be worthy. Ideally, 80% or more of your monetary donation should go strictly toward the helpful cause and not to overhead, such as administration and marketing costs. Investigate and choose accordingly. Giving not only shows that we care, but creates an abundance mindset that we have more than enough. The character built through giving is infinitely more valuable than the act itself.
“Don’t be misled, you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant” (Galatians 6:7 NIV). God knows our heart’s genuine intentions, therefore let’s purify our love with sincere wholesome purpose. We truly do reap what we sow, thus sow seeds of greatness, today.
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant” (Robert Louis Stevenson). The art of living is sowing seeds of greatness, much more so than reaping. Let serving and giving be pivotal maps that direct decision-making. The byproducts of giving and helping others think, grow, and become their best is cosmically of greater value than monetary gains.
Disciplining our children is what we do for them through love, not to them as punishment. Children may fuss and complain now about not being able to stay out late, while other kids are doing it. American author and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, and other successful parents advocate to be enthusiastic and have an exciting home so other children desire to play there. Zig did this so he could see who his children were hanging out with and know what they were up to. Zig’s positive role modeling toward authentically being morally upright and doing good deeds, more so than just talking, allowed others to imitate that goodness observed.⁷ Walking the walk is much more influential and inspiring than only talking the talk. When our children become older, while not acquiring poor habits or succumbing to bad influences or harmful temptations, they will be grateful indeed. Don’t act or talk like someone you admire—be that person.
Moreover, teach kids they can accomplish incredible feats by removing the ‘t’ in can’t. Show them how to live by living and being the example. Teaching good money, moral, spiritual, relational, principal, health, and character habits will vastly improve long-term quality of life. No better instruction exists than children observing your consistent healthy, positive habits and lifestyle. Your kids will thank you for it, even if they don’t appreciate or know it yet.
“… Instruments of darkness tell us truths…. While you live, tell the truth, and shame the devil!” (William Shakespeare). Intentional evil in the world is a direct result regarding improper utilization or underdevelopment of our thoughts and minds, which is often caused by ignorance, fear, greed, or neglect. Unhealthy environments, people, and experiences during a person’s early years can condition poor behavior patterns, whereas bad decisions become his or her norm. That poor behavioral acquisition can be reconditioned into greatness and unconditional love, via the potent power of choice.
“If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love” (Maya Angelou). Additionally, truly and sincerely complement others frequently. Tell folks when you like their hairstyle, article of clothing, or smile. Encourage people with kind words. Say, “You will do great at anything you choose,” only if it is genuine and you actually mean it. See in others what they may not see in themselves. People can easily discern flattery from a genuine complement or remark of heartfelt appreciation. Give honest praise to people in public and private often. Sweet talk can cause more harm than good. Let’s remain blatantly honest, while thoughtfully considering another’s view and desires ahead of our own. Those are wonderful gifts we can give daily, which return additional rewards handsomely.
Furthermore, the best way to care for others is by taking care of ourselves first. No, this is not selfish. In contrast, taking care of ourselves first can be the most unselfish and beneficial thing we can do for others. If oxygen masks come down in an airplane and a man places oxygen on his helpless infant son before himself, subsequently passing out, he would be of no further service to anyone. The same is true regarding living healthy lives with appropriate nutrient and caloric intake, exercise, sleep, and total self-care so we can function optimally in order to give, do, and be our best.
“Don’t talk unless you can improve the silence” (Jorge Luis Borges). Daily, practice listening to people and talk only when asked a question. Give a succinct answer that does not provoke further queries. It has been said that God gave us two ears and one mouth, therefore let’s listen twice as much as we talk. We might learn a thing or two by having the mindset of being an eternal student of life, learning, progressing, and constantly growing through observation and listening.
Train yourself not to agree or disagree by shaking your head or making any verbal remarks during conversations, seminars, meetings, or sermons. This is more challenging than it sounds. Keep ethically upright personal opinions strong by not allowing others to influence or control your moral decision-making skills and abilities. Do not concern yourself with other peoples’ opinions (OPOs). Our own intrinsic opinions, beliefs, and convictions about ourselves, the universe, and all matter therein, matters most. Respecting and loving others begins by respecting and loving yourself.
“Thousands of candles can be lightened from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared” (Buddha). Never underestimate the vast glory and power of a soul on fire. One person has the influence and ability to change the world, sending ripples of greatness, inspiration, and love that bolsters the human condition worldwide.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to wake up each morning full of energy, gratitude, fulfillment, and financial freedom, while hanging out at the beach, surfing or scuba diving, going to the mountains to climb or hike, traveling the world, and living out the life you truly want and are able to live automatically with little effort exerted? You deserve and owe it to yourself to live the very best life possible. You were made for greatness, therefore it’s practically sinful to selfishly hold blessings of extreme and far-reaching magnitude and remarkable value for yourself by not sharing them with the world.