Disclaimer: This is 100% a subjective list and it’s a reflection of my personal beliefs than anything else. Being human myself, I struggle with the things I’ve listed below and I’m constantly trying to live by them. However, when I’ve managed to apply these principles to any area of my life, it has shown amazing results.
This is my list of principles that I believe are worth sharing:
Enjoy the process
In other words, enjoy the journey. The goals we set are the destinations and the steps to get there is the road. The journey becomes fun when we truly enjoy the experience, and personally, my best travels experiences have been when I plan to enjoy the road as much as the destination. If the goal is to be fluent in a new language, the process of learning a word, forgetting and remembering should be fun. If the goal is to be healthier, the process of eating the less tasty vegetables instead of a burger and picking water over soda should be a reward in itself. If the goal is to be financially stable, the process of choosing not to spend and seeing the very tiny increase in your savings account every month should put a smile on your face even if you know you’re still months or years away from the target.
The reason it is important to enjoy the process is simple. If we achieve the goal and we hated the process, we’re going to regress just because we’ll stop doing the things that got us there in the first place. If you saved and invested your way to $1m and you stopped saving and investing, it’s only a matter of time before it’ll all run out. If you exercised and ate right to lose 10kg and you stop exercising and start eating the burgers and fries again, you’ll slowly gain all the lost kgs and some more.
The process isn’t always easy and it is sometimes painful. But once you somehow find a way to enjoy the process, you’re on the right track to achieve your goal and even better.
I believe no matter who we are, we keep accumulating mistakes as we grow older. Some big, some small. The wisdom of age is to learn to make fewer mistakes and allow others to learn from yours. One thing that has helped me learn to forgive myself more (I’m still learning this) is the belief that if I lived through the same day a million times over, I’ll make the same choices a million times over. This is because, at the time of making these decisions, I made a conscious choice given all the information I had at my disposal. If I go back in time to when I failed a test because I played video games instead of studying, I’d still play video games and not study because the result of that decision only came after that day and going back in time would also erase the consequences and any consciousness of the future. (Yes, I believe if time travel was real it’ll also wipe out our consciousness of the future and that would be the only way to prevent the grandfather paradox)
So on the one hand, we should all try to make the best choices at any given time. But when we do make mistakes, the best we can do is learn from it and forgive ourselves. If we repeat the mistakes several times over, we’re only human and it’s okay to forgive ourselves several times over and hope one day the lesson would stick. The more we forgive ourselves, the less emotional baggage we carry and the easier it is as well to forgive others since we’ll see them as humans also capable of mistakes.
Listen to your body
Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live — Jim Rohn
The human body knows how to give signals and hints on what’s going right or wrong with it. Physically or emotionally, it’s constantly giving us feedback. Are you tired and need some sleep to recharge? Your body would give you the signal. Are you hungry? We know the feeling. Are we happy or sad? It’s all chemicals in our bodies telling us something. Paying close attention to the body helps keep it in prime shape to accomplish more with the right frame of mind and helps us live longer as well.
This, of course, doesn’t mean pampering the body. This is where there’s a need for balance and the body does this perfectly well too. Choosing soda over water can be amazing in the short term but eventually, your body would start giving signals that water is better. The body is capable of amazing feats and it needs training too. So mold it the way you want, while paying close attention to its limits.
Eat well, sleep well, relax well and rev that body to its limits.
You have nothing to lose
“There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.” ― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
This quote from John Green’s book sums it all up. Are you worried if your business idea would succeed or fail? Or that you’ll get rejected if you asked for something? Or what is it you’re currently worried about? When we look at the bigger picture, we have nothing to lose. The thought that eventually no one would remember anything should be enough to get us out of our comfort zone and help us release our inhibitions. So like Nike’s famous trademark, Just Do It!
Truth is always worth it
From personal experience, there’s nothing as freeing as telling the truth always. No matter what the consequences of telling the truth might be, it is much better than living with the guilt of lying (at least if we’re to be good humans with a conscience). I’ve told several lies and sometimes even believed some of them in the past as a way to convince myself that it is the truth. But in the end, the freedom of opening up, telling the truth and being vulnerable has such a powerful psychological effect by freeing the mind of several doubts.
Without any excuses, tell the truth about everything. The more truthful we are, the less we have to hide, and the easier it is for us to free our minds to truly love and receive love because we’ll start to believe we deserve it.