“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ―Howard Thurman
People are born and die every day but we remember only a few leaders including Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela. What made them stand out from others? What made them live beyond their lifetime? It is because they identified what made them come alive to provide meaning to their lives. They made an immense difference to the world without expecting anything from others.
Existing versus Living
“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” —Jack London
There is a thin line separating existing and living in this world. When you lead a scheduled life, you exist in this world like others. In contrast, when you lead an adventurous life by exploring and experimenting, you live in the world, unlike others. When you exist, you spend your time quantitatively whereas when you live, you invest your time qualitatively. When you exist, you emphasize the status quo whereas when you live, you emphasize the status quo ante. When you exist, you lead conventional life whereas when you live, you lead an unconventional life with highs and lows. When you exist, you live in your comfort zone whereas when you live, you live in your effective zone. When you exist, you remain with a fixed mindset whereas when you live, you remain with a growth mindset. When you exist, you don’t exploit your full potential whereas when you live, you exploit your full potential. When you exist, you make limited mistakes, learn limitedly, and remain as an ordinary person whereas when you live you make more mistakes, learn greatly, and excel as an extraordinary person and leader.
Life is a Circus
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ―Viktor E. Frankl
Life is full of peaks and valleys. Life is like a circus. Yet some people succumb to sadness and depression forgetting that there is another day to live and fight. Be optimistic when everything goes topsy-turvy in your life. Be stoic. Remain calm and composed when things are beyond your control. You must develop a positive attitude toward life by differentiating between what is under your control and what is not under your control. When you understand this fact, you develop the right perspective toward life and lead your life with purpose and meaning. Everything happens for a reason. All that happens for good. Believe in yourself. Convert every threat into an opportunity. There is always a silver lining over the dark cloud.
Live Your Life Optimally
“One moment can change a day, one day can change a life and one life can change the world.” ―Buddha
Optimal living is living your life fully at your best and your own terms without any regrets on your deathbed. It is utilizing the available resources especially your precious time every day to provide meaning to your life. Adopting optimal living helps work within the available resources to achieve the desired outcomes without blaming others. When you want to lead your life optimally you must take care of your health, exercise regularly, do meditation or yoga, stay hydrated, eat a balanced diet, limit alcohol and caffeine, and set ambitious but realistic goals.
To live optimally, you must embrace uncertainty. However, uncertainty is not appreciated by the majority of the individuals mostly because of the fear of the unknown. Most individuals think about what goes wrong rather than what goes right. Such a mindset worsens the scenario leading to mental stress and anxiety culminating with failures. In this high-tech world, we must accept the fact that uncertainty is a reality. At times uncertainty helps immensely by keeping you on the edge because you come out of your comfort zone. Higher the risk higher the return. Higher the uncertainty higher the success. When you believe in this, you take uncertainty in your stride and cope with it. Learn to live in the present instead of the future to overcome the fear of uncertainty.
Live Your Life on Your Own Terms
“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.” ―Joan of Arc
You are blessed with one life, and you must know how to lead your life as per your passions, principles, and philosophies. You must not be dictated by others. You must create your life the way you want in the early stage of your life to provide meaning to your life. You can also avoid regrets on your deathbed. Don’t worry excessively about what others think about you. You were not born to please others. You were born with a purpose. Understand this fact to follow your passions, principles, and philosophies. Don’t allow others to take a raid on you. Be assertive right from the beginning.
Living your life on your own terms doesn’t mean leading your life indifferently. It means leading your life mindfully with courage and convictions. You must respect others without allowing others to disrespect you. We brought nothing when we were born and we carry nothing when we leave this world. What we have under our control from birth to death is life.
Live Your Life Fully
“The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.” ―Oprah Winfrey
Trust in your gut and intuition. Believe in yourself. Don’t lose your confidence because of minor pinpricks. Focus on your inborn talents and gifts and leverage them effectively to live your life optimally in uncertain and tough times. Write a gratitude journal. Thank God for the talents and gifts provided to you and utilize them optimally. Most Nobel Prize winners ascribe their success to their mentors and teachers who identified their strengths and inspired them to dream big. Hence, become a mentor to make others come alive and make a difference. Life is short. So, make it sweet by living your life fully.
Life is a Train, not a Station
“Our life is a constant journey, from birth to death. The landscape changes, the people change, our needs change, but the train keeps moving. Life is the train, not the station.” ―Paulo Coelho
We often hear that life is a journey and we must enjoy every moment of it rather than worry about the destination. It is a fact that everyone intends to reach their destination, but they sacrifice their present moments by thinking about the future. In a similar context, life is a train, not a station. When you think of the only station you are confined to a particular moment of your life, not the life. The collection of stations becomes the process of the train journey complete. You don’t know when you will step down from the train forever.
You were born to your parents and you will be supported by them and your friends. You will meet strangers and known people at each station. Some will step down from the train while some will enter the train. Remember that you were born alone and die alone. Hence, do good to others; make others comfortable and happy; and make a difference to the world to leave your legacy to your next generations. Life is great!