18 Life Principles For Optimal Living

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We all have a set of principles we abide by. Ask any person about their values and beliefs and they’ll respond according to what’s important to them. I’ve noticed a central theme in my advice since first writing about: personal development, motivation and success. For the uninitiated, it can be s

“It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.” – Alfred Adler

We all have a set of principles we abide by. Ask any person about their values and beliefs and they’ll respond according to what’s important to them.

I’ve noticed a central theme in my advice since first writing about: personal development, motivation and success. For the uninitiated, it can be summarised in the following eighteen points.

They are in no particular order and I urge you to identify with those you resonate with and incorporate them into your life.

Love More: Not just people or things, but yourself. Many of life’s problems result from a lack of self-love. To love more means to connect with the deeper intelligence that guides your being. You are the embodiment of love, irrespective of whether you’re hurt or betrayed. Set aside those feelings and know that you are the ocean swimming in a sea of love. Drown yourself in it.

Be Vigilant With Your Thoughts: Be mindful of your thoughts and don’t let them consume you. Do you think uplifting thoughts or are they filled with self-doubt and pessimism? Do you look for the silver lining in situations or do you consider what could go wrong? Do you have a fixed or growth-mindset? Despite people’s beliefs, our thoughts are not fixed. They’re shaped by being aware of them and not believing everything you think.

Practise Mindfulness: Bring your thoughts to the forefront of your mind and resist being a victim to unconscious behaviours. Mindfulness invites you to bring your attention to what’s taking place in your life instead of reliving past events. It means connecting with the present moment instead of being a victim to the past.

Regular Personal Development: Immerse yourself in inspiring material that encourages you to become someone of character. If we don’t shower, brush our teeth or exercise, we fall victim to destructive habits and pay the price as illness. People claim since they can’t see the benefits of personal development, everything is fine. I enjoy the quote from the late motivational speaker Zig Ziglar who said, “People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing – that's why we recommend it daily.

Attitude Is Everything: Your attitude is more important than your outlook because it influences how you show up in life. How is a positive attitude developed? By overcoming life’s obstacles rather than retreating from them. As you approach life with courage, you overcome your fears that once crippled you.

Be Of Service To Others: We all have a purpose, some discover it early in life while sadly, others die with a song in their heart. You can be of service to others in the smallest way through your thoughts, words and actions. You needn’t lend your time to charities to be of service although it’s helpful. Give of your time and resources by enriching other people’s lives. Even sending peaceful thoughts to another person is a step in the right direction.

Character Is More Important Than Reputation: Your reputation can be destroyed in moments, while character takes a lifetime to build. Consider celebrities involved in scandals, who squander their character and reputation. Be mindful of who you’re becoming. Don’t forsake this for a reputation that lasts a fraction of the time to build good character.

Let Go Of Worry, Fear And Anxiety: Have you noticed what you worry about rarely happens? We’re notorious for fabricating stories to protect us in case such events transpire. Yet, if we continue down this path, we will attract these circumstances because of the energy devoted to it. Replace negativity with enriching thoughts that bring you closer to the life you wish to live.

“You can’t cross a sea by merely staring into the water.” — Rabindranath Tagore

Make Peace With The Past: I devoted an entire book to this titled, Reconstructing The Past To Create A Remarkable Future. To create this future we need to heal the past, to avoid excess baggage. You’ve heard it said, the past is a figment of your imagination and no longer exists. Reliving the past derails a bright future because your mind is stuck dwelling on something no longer relevant.

Happiness Comes From Within: The biggest fraud sold to mankind is that happiness is attained via: success, fame, wealth or a suitable partner. Yet, one need only look to people who have these things and are still unfulfilled, sometimes depressed. If you’re unhappy and gain wealth, you’ll continue to be unhappy because having more of these things amplifies what is lacking.

Surround Yourself With Great People: Especially those who bring out the best in you. If we lack self-esteem, we attract like-minded people. They are likely to notice the disowned parts within us we disapprove of. The other person will then reflect this through their interaction with us and we retaliate to prove them wrong. Surround yourself with people who see your greater qualities and don’t take you for granted.

Be Here And Now: Stop worrying about the future until it arrives. We worry about circumstances and miss out on the aliveness of the present moment. The future never arrives as we expect, so it’s pointless to worry about something that exists as thoughts. It’s wise to have: goals, dreams and ambitions. Yet, if we’re not aligned with the motivation to accomplish these things, when they arrive it will not be as we expect. This is how a midlife crisis ensues because our vision of the future does not match reality.

Practice Gratitude: Gratitude means to appreciate what you have in your life instead of what is lacking. We can focus on the negative or positive and either way we’re right. One brings unfavourable circumstances while the other carries positive aspects. Be grateful for the smallest things because somewhere, someone is longing for what you take for granted.

Forgive Yourself And Others: Forgiveness is a doorway to heal the past. Many people forgive others yet they’re unable to forgive themselves. I invite you to start with yourself first. Forgive yourself completely and open the window for love to heal. Remember, forgiveness does not mean to forget, it means to see the past in a new light.

Practice Acceptance And Detachment: Acceptance means not resisting what’s taking place in your life. Irrespective whether it’s an unfortunate situation, it can pave the way for something wonderful to transpire. Detachment means to distance ourselves from a desired outcome and allow circumstances to play out until the complete picture has emerged. Only then do we realise everything that takes place unfolds as it should, for our greater purpose.

Honour Your Feelings: Medical doctors now realise the harmful effects of toxic emotions which can lead to illness. Perhaps you were told not to express your emotions, apparent in cultures where it’s viewed as a sign of weakness. To connect with your emotions invites you to honour your feelings and express them in a healthy way. This doesn't mean acting on your feelings of anger. Rather, investigate what the anger is seeking to represent.

Discover And Live Your Purpose: People who live their purpose lead healthier and robust lives. They’re happy pursuing that which makes their spirit come alive. There’s a purpose within you waiting to reveal itself. Dependent on your age, you may have realised it or are still discovering it. The key is to experiment until you find a purpose that resonates with you. Your purpose will bring joy to your life and those you serve.

Be Kind To Everyone You Meet: We’re often unaware how tough some people are doing it, until we get an insight in to their story. Don’t judge people like an oil painting because there’s greater depth to a person than you realise. We don’t get an impression of them until we really know them or walk in their shoes. Assume the best in everyone until they prove otherwise. Be kind and withhold judgement since that only defines you as a critic.

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