I am a believer that everyone on this planet has 3 critical elements to their “being” and these elements are; mental, physical and spiritual. It is also my belief that it is quite rare to find the person who has achieved a harmony or balance with each of these critical life elements. In early 2011 I set out to learn a bit about the mental component of my life, an internal psychology experiment of sorts, which drove me to explore thoughts, actions, behaviours, fears, challenges and frustrations, so at the end of 9 months of writing, I was able to condense each month into a theme and then streamline those themes into articles that precede this post. Eight valuable life lessons that I hope to pass to my children and lessons that I hope you enjoyed reading over the last two months too.
I discovered something through this exercise that I now refer to as my “true north”, which is the internal compass that guides me through life. Although it isn’t a compass in the traditional sense of the word, it is a compass based around feelings and intuition and something that you have to look inward to find. Each of us will have our own bearings and our own direction in life, so I learned that “true north”, for me, motivates my soul and keeps me pushing through the challenges in life, helps to navigate my relationships and enables me to create impact on those around me (sometimes for the good and if I’m not careful, for the bad too).
I am closing my first “blog” book with a summary of last year’s monthly themes and I’ve recently started journaling on a new topic, so I can begin sharing my experiences with the second “critical element” of my life, the physical. I’m turning 40 in November and I want to work on finding ways to become sustainably healthy and to better manage the physical elements of my life, so I can prep myself for another 40 or 50 years on this planet (God willing).
To my kids…I hope you enjoy reading these lessons and I hope that I’m able to put these same lessons in motion more frequently in my own life too.
Chapter 1– Where it all comes from: For years I have been hyper-emotional and have been willing and able to show and share thoughts and introspection more comfortably than most people. It hit me in April of 2011 that hiding from this willingness to share feelings shouldn’t be accepted, so I decided to become even more open about my life experiences and I began using this “gift” to help other people become more comfortable with sharing (authentically) what they learn and experience while travelling through life.
Chapter 2– There’s a creature in the basement: Don’t enable fear to paralyze you from accomplishing something you have set out to accomplish in life. Expect situations, through life, that will create a fearful response and learn enough about yourself to be able to anticipate when those situations will “pop up” and be willing to continue pushing through life regardless of what comes at you. If you let fear paralyze you, you’ll struggle more than necessary.
Chapter 3– Everyone’s a genius: Our society puts labels on everyone and everything. We all learn at a different pace and in very different styles. Some of us are masters at the mechanical and others in the theoretical, so learn to appreciate the genius inside of you and don’t let others define what that genius is. You define it (by listening to your internal voice and acting on those things that inspire and motivate you every day). And if I jump down your throat about choices you make in the future, please remind me to read my own writing.
Chapter 4– Stand up and applaud: As we age (and gain more adult responsibility) I noticed I tend to forget to appreciate the little, miraculous, occurrences that happen all around us. We should “stand up” and applaud more often instead of looking down life’s road with frustration about what we might not have. Yes. I’m telling you to appreciate a sun set, the sound of rain, snowfall, the roof over your head, the food in your home. Those are things worth applauding. Don’t let the rest of the world convince you that money, titles, cars, status and “things” are worth praise.
Chapter 5– Don’t wait for the “right” time to do something: Don’t procrastinate. If you want to accomplish something, plan for it and go after it. It doesn’t help to expect time or other people to take care of our lives, we need to live our lives, appreciate our lives and respect that we have a finite amount of time on this planet. If you don’t like a job (move on), if you want to visit another country (book the travel), if you see someone in need (help them) and…if your family is close to you (spend time with them). Live your life with purpose.
Chapter 6- This stuff can kill you: Please don’t let the act of impressing other people, seeking the attention of other people or looking for approval from anyone else create stress in your life. This has been one of the most challenging aspects of my short life and I’m growing more certain that the stress created by hoping, chasing and seeking other people’s approval will lead to an early death (of sorts). Instead, be free to acknowledge learning curves, grow comfortable saying “I don’t know” and be willing to find and learn the answers to questions you might not know.
Chapter 7- A one way street: When it comes to interacting with other people. Love and respect people unconditionally. If you are willing to spend more time concerned about loving people versus correcting or fixing people, you’ll generate some really positive energy for all of those you come in contact with. Loving and caring should be something that we, as people, do without the expectation of receiving in return. If all of us do this, it would be a pretty comfortable world to live in (and I bet we’d end up receiving more in return that we thought we might).
Chapter 8 – Patience and Persistence: Probably the simplest lesson I learned over the last year. People, who exhibit patience and persistence, tend to be well balanced, comfortable and accomplished in life. Trust me and anyone else who tells you…life will throw enough at you that it can’t hurt to be willing to show patience through life and anytime you want to accomplish something, persistence comes in real handy too.