Coasting is so easy to do, which is why the vast majority of human beings lead mediocre lives. Living a satisfying, fulfilling and inspiring life, however, won’t happen without work on your part. If that’s what you want, it may mean shifting your perspective on a few key matters. Here are several hard-to-swallow truths you need to adopt if you want to live your best life.
Saying “yes” but thinking “no” is manipulative.
Developmental psychologist and life coach Sasha Heinz, Ph.D., in a interview posted on Goop, discusses the “disease to please,” which she describes as putting the needs of others before your own. Essentially, it causes resentment when you say “yes” outwardly, but inwardly are thinking “no.” Why would you do this? Heinz points out that the behavior is actually a form of manipulation, a way of trying to elicit people’s praise, acceptance and love. To help yourself break this destructive pattern, try to remember a time you agreed to do something you actually didn’t want to do. Now, picture what would have happened had you denied the request. Keep this in perspective: All those negative feelings you imagine would be directed toward yourself–displeasure, resentment or annoyance–are all emotions you’re already feeling toward the person who asked you for something.
Your good health isn’t going to happen without your participation.
High-achieving individuals generally understand that when your mind and body are functioning optimally, many things in life are better: your appearance, confidence, sex life, stamina, just to name a few. This means exercising every single day, banishing fast and junk food and enjoying everything you put in your mouth in moderation.
Crap-talking others is beneath you.
Donna Hicks, Ph.D., in her book Leading With Dignity: How to Create a Culture That Brings Out the Best in People, makes the point that many people try to connect with others by talking negatively about someone else. “Being critical and judgmental about others when they are not present can feel like a bonding experience and makes for engaging conversation, but it is harmful and undignified,” she writes. “If you want to create intimacy with others, speak the truth about yourself–and what is really happening in your inner world–and invite the other person to do the same.”
Stop working in a job you hate.
Maybe you screwed up when you were younger and didn’t get the degree or experiences which would have landed you on the path you now realize you want. It doesn’t matter. Regardless of your age or situation, it is always possible to start over. It just might mean taking the arduous road of going back to school or taking a pay cut to acquire the experience you need to move ahead in a different role. Take heart from the words of Theodore Roosevelt:
Nothing in the world is worth having or doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.
I’ve known several people who have earned college degrees in their 50s. These are the people who have what it takes to succeed, regardless of the timeline.
This is not a dress rehearsal.
You’ll find various iterations of this quote all over the internet, but in essence it’s a reminder that every second that you spend is one you can’t get back. As people get older, there’s a tendency to look in the rear-view mirror more than toward what’s coming next. It doesn’t have to be this way. Regardless of your age, be intentional about finding ways every day to make your show (your life) a fantastic one up until your last moment. At some point–sooner or later–it will be time for your curtain call.