I read an article on success in life and wanted to share some wisdom. If you think about it everything we do in life is a choice and everything we don’t do is also a choice. In MBA school they teach you opportunity cost with trade-offs per limited time & resources. If you do path A it can come at the cost of not being able to do path B which may be the better path.
Every day we choose things that move us closer to our goal or don't move us closer to the life we want. If the quality of our lives is shaped by the choices we make, and those we don’t make, then the secret of making wise choices is to live by core principles. A lot has been written about the principles for a meaningful and happy life for centuries. Ray Dalio, billionaire investor and hedge fund manager said, “Principles are fundamental truths that serve as the foundations for behavior that gets you what you want out of life. They can be applied again and again in similar situations to help you achieve your goals.”
These are a few you can use to refine your personal principles. The most important thing is that you develop your own principles and know them clearly to live by. Ray writes “Think for yourself to decide 1) what you want 2) what is true and 3) what you should do to achieve #1 in light of #2. ” Understanding and following these underlying principles is key to living your best life. I hope this helps you.
Don’t spend your life preparing for life.
Charles Darwin once said, “A man who dares to waste an hour of time has not discovered the value of his life.” Life is too short if you spend it meaningfully and do what gives you a sense of accomplishment. Life is too long if you spend all your time worrying about the unpredictable future or the regrets of the past. But, only a few people consciously choose to live in the present every day. The future can provide hope, and the past can provide closure but focus on either one obsessively can be hurtful to your mental and emotional well being. In her collection of essays, The Writing Life, Annie Dillard explains: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days.... it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living. Each day is the same, so you remember the series afterwards as a blurred and powerful pattern.”
Accept your imperfection and vulnerabilities.
Humans are flawed. Perfection is beyond us so accept and be ok with not being perfect. However, it does not hurt to strive for it. As the saying goes, "Shoot for the moon for even if you miss you will fall among the stars!" We are all at times scared, unsure, regretful, longing and living with mistakes. This recognition should inspire compassion for ourselves and others. When you’re willing to be seen as someone who has flaws, you’re telling yourself being human who errors isn’t something to be ashamed of rather an opportunity to learn and do better next time. If you are constantly worried about your vulnerabilities or dwelling on them, chances are you're paying too much attention to negative information. Take action on it to improve vs. dwelling.
The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists rather rewards people who get things done and make progress. It’s easier to play to your strengths than wasting time on your imperfections. No matter how many mistakes you make, or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of people who spend most of their time making excuses because of their weaknesses.
Give yourself time to wonder what’s possible and to make moves in that direction. The alternative to perfection isn’t failure, it’s to make your peace with the idea that you are ‘good enough’ and a work in progress. Then take action to be your best! Fall seven times, stand up eight!
Life is not elsewhere; it is, fully and properly, here and now
We can’t change the past and we certainly can’t predict the future. The only thing within your control is today. The only important moment is the present moment that is why it's called a gift. For anyone who is worried about the future, Seneca, a Roman stoic philosopher advises, “Everyone hustles his life along and is troubled by a longing for the future and weariness of the present. But the man who … organizes every day as though it were his last, neither longs for nor fears the next day… Nothing can be taken from this life, and you can only add to it as if giving to a man who is already full and satisfied food which he does not want but can hold. So you must not think a man has lived long because he has white hair and wrinkles: he has not lived long, just existed long. For suppose you should think that a man had had a long voyage who had been caught in a raging storm as he left the harbour, and carried hither and thither and driven round and round in a circle by the rage of opposing winds? He did not have a long voyage, just a long tossing about.”
There is no substitute for persistence
How persistent are you about pursuing what you really want? One of the secrets of success is learning to keep moving despite your doubts. There is probably no better example of persistence than the story of Abraham Lincoln. He failed in business at 21, lost a legislative race at age 22, failed in business again at 24, and lost a congressional race when he was 34. At 45 he lost a senatorial race. He failed in an attempt to become Vice President at 47. But he was finally elected President of the United States at age 52. Lincoln never quit. Every failure was a stepping stone until he finally assumed the highest office in America. Don’t give up too soon. As long as you are still actively trying after every failure, you have not failed yet.
Give up the desire to be liked and accepted by all
People’s opinions of you are not who you are. Eric Hoffer, a moral and social philosopher once said, “A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business.”
It is human nature to want to be accepted, hence the pursuit of conformity. But you can make a conscious effort to stop caring what others think so much; to let yourself free. It’s a skill that can be practiced like any other skill. Once you understand how to let go, you will see the world from an entirely different perspective. The key to the good life is about what’s important to your growth, career and total well being in loving yourself and neighbor. When you stop caring so much about what people think, your self-confidence will blossom and you can be more your authentic self. You’ll start believing in yourself and what you can offer the world, without letting outside influences stop you or sway your decisions.
Life isn’t linear: not everything goes as planned
You won’t achieve every goal. But it’s important to make plans and move toward them upward and onward anyways. Spend just as much time learning what to do when things inevitably stray off your path as you do to create the plan in the first place. Your best strategy when making a plan is to make contingency plans for when life will not unfold according to plan.
Don’t approach life with expectations of how things should or shouldn’t be. Don’t get attached to a plan on how things should or shouldn’t work. It’s alright to have goals, but you don’t have to be set on a particular outcome — adapt when necessary.
Stop worrying about things you can’t control
We all as human beings tend to stress about things we can do nothing about — the past, the future, people’s perception of us, their decisions, thoughts, their happiness, success, and every natural change around us. When you spend your time in “what if” mode, wishing things had been different, you stop making progress. We can only prepare ourselves today for what’s ahead. The only thing you have control over is your thoughts, decisions, attitude, and reactions. When you understand what’s within your control, life becomes easier to handle.v
You can influence people and circumstances but you can’t force change in others. If you find yourself worrying about things you can’t control, focus on changing your behavior. By putting your effort on what you can impact, you can make a bigger difference.
I hope this life principles are helpful to you. Keep the faith. Believe. And try, try again. Upward and onward. Wishing you the best, God Bless, Keith Washo
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Keith Washo, Sales and Marketing Exec & Published Author, From Silicon Valley To Research Triangle Park
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