How To Be Happy Without Becoming A Monk - 10 Things I Have Changed To Live A More Self-Directed Life
This is my small Christmas gift to you: Ten things I have changed in my life and which have provided me with an opportunity to live a richer, happier and more joyful life, one in which I feel gradually more and more in control of where I am going.
Tired of gifting you with new media tools that allow you to communicate and collaborate better, I have decided to share with you today, something special, something you can find only here.
It is my small Christmas gift to you and it is made up by ten little changes I have brought into my life and which have brought a tangible bit of more happiness and joy into my weekdays.
I had been thinking for a while about what Christmas gifts to share with you today and tomorrow, but nonetheless some good ideas brainstormed with my newsroom team, I have decided to go back to some spontaneous, heart-felt and passion-driven writing for these special two-days.
In this article, I have decided to share ten small personal things I have changed in my life and which have provided me with big, tangible results. These are not things I have learned in a self-improvement course or by reading a Stephen Covey's book. These are my own personal discoveries at which I have arrived at by doing my own homework.
Find some time and stop in your busy life to ask yourself too which things you could drop, eliminate, add and mix-in to make your life a happier one.
My solutions are only good as inspiration for some but may not be best for everyone out there. I am not advocating these as the medicine for all pains, I am just wanting to inspire you to take time and think with your own head what you could change in your life to make it a happier one.
Here's my own in-progress recipe.
1) Stop Being Dependent-Addicted to Old Media
Drop all time-wasting devices that you do not need anymore to realize your goals: phone, television, newspapers. They are the best distractors, time wasters and intruders into your life path, that the less you see them the better. I have put my mobile in perpetual silent mode and check on it a couple of times a day to see who is still searching for me in the old media world. My TV is long gone and I don't buy a newspaper since over 15 years.
2) Make Your Workspace a Wonderful Space
Find your own shrine where to work, think and do the things you love. If you are surrounded by people you don't like and your desk is inside a ugly, badly lit and cold place start thinking about finding an alternative to it. Once you have your own place, work on it and take care of it as a monk would do with a temple. Make it shine so that each time you get there, you are greeted and inspired by the very things you like most. And start from the lighting. A different light can deeply change how you perceive and feel inside a space.
3) Drop Your Fake Friends
There are way too many of them in this category and these are the people that are always sucking something from you but never share anything back. These are the people who are always lamenting and destructive and who have never have a word of love and compliment for someone else. These are the people you hear complaining and blaming such and such for ruining their lives or breaking their plans but never taking responsibility for it. Steer clear of them this year and less company is not always a bad thing. Try.
4) Give Something Great to Kids. Daily
It doesn't matter if they are your own or if they are someone's else kids. What counts is to tune in into their frequencies and to share with them something good, something they love to get from you: your attention and your willingness to play. Their ability to re-charge you and inject some true toxin-free positive energy in you is unmatched and their ability to let go is contagious. Get this disease asap.
Start listening more when someone else is talking to you. Don't just get into a race for who has the latest news or has downloaded the coolest toy last. Start listening for what often doesn't get to be said: pain, anger for something, need for help, confusion about where to go. The more you become an active listener to the real needs of your friends, the more your friends will be providing back with the energy, love and support you may need when you will be in difficulty.
6) Be a Talent Scout
Search for small, hard to find little flowers and help them bloom. No, you don't need to go searching in the grass for these. These are all around you under a human guise. These are the little heroes, the passionate workers and inventors who are all around you. Help these individuals, give them advice, share your skills and your experiences with them, and where you can, give them opportunities to do the things they like most.
7) Don't Blame Yourself
Use each and every opportunity, as well as any mistake you make, to learn something valuable and to move on. Don't blame yourself when you can learn and move on to the next opportunity immediately. Making yourself and others guilty is just a huge waste of time. Life is a learning park and when you take every instance of it to find what to change and improve in yourself, you get the highest kick life can provide you with.
8) Don't Give Up
If what you have been working on doesn't turn out to be the success you had hoped for, don't give up on it. You may have screwed the ingredients, or you may have cooked it too little, or you may have just forgot to get the right amount of water. In all cases, if you are after something important, something you badly want, do not give up as you stumble into the first set of obstacles. Change road, ask your peers, get elders advice, seek alternative solutions, look up to successful others, try again and again, but do get in some way or other to your chosen goal. Make it a life habit.
9) Have Serious, Professional Fun
Learn how to have fun and make it a serious sport. This is going to be one of the most desired skills a human can have, and as time goes on, one that will be increasingly more valuable. The age of consumerism and happiness generated by buying more and more packaged goods is about to see its downturn. Next stop is learning to have real fun, not the one served up by packed disco ballrooms or old-media stylized crowded movie theaters and stadiums. The new fun is done by sharing and performing with the people you love: your friends.
10) Don't Conform
I know this sounds a bit crazy, but in the end you really need not to conform if you want to fully realize yourself. Go after what makes YOU happy, and pursue it. Stop doing things you must do because others feel you should. Stop being together with people you don't feel you belong with. Stop living in a neighborhood that sucks if you are serious about changing your life. Most of all, stop thinking that I have got all the solutions and that you are not as good as I am. You are. You only need to stop listening to all those games happening around you, where you can never play your best moves. Don't fight the game, change it.
Originally written by Robin Good for MasterNewMedia and first published on December 24th 2008 as "How To Be Happy Without Becoming A Monk - 10 Things I Have Changed To Live A More Self-Directed Life"
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