Even though we all know that there’s no ultimate rulebook on how to live life, we’re looking for smart ideas that could make our lives easier and more enjoyable.
We want to avoid huge career mistakes, build meaningful relationships, save some money, and retire happily and healthily.
Yet, we often fail to see the obvious because we don’t want to.
Instead of facing painful truths, we prefer trusting in pleasurable lies because they make us feel more comfortable.
Instead of leading tough conversations with our partner, parents, kids, or boss, we choose to remain silent and hope that they’ll magically change their behavior.
And instead of eating more healthily and moving our bodies, we’re on the lookout for magic pills that’ll help us burn more fat.
But the truth is that life isn’t always meant to be easy. Sometimes, we need to face challenges in order to outgrow ourselves and find out what we really want.
Money can solve most of your problems
Money isn’t everything, but a lot of things in life are easier when you’re financially secure and good with money.
Contrary to common belief, new studies found that our wellbeing and quality of life do increase with a higher income.
Luckily, this doesn’t mean you need to be “rich.” You just need to have a healthy relationship with money and stop denying its importance in your life.
It’s true that you can’t buy most of the truly precious things in life, such as health and love. Yet, the truth is, it’s better to have a little money on the side if you face health issues, so you can actually afford to take care of your problems without worrying about the finances.
And as the child of an immigrant family, I can also attest that life is better when you don’t need to worry about travel costs when you want to visit family members in different places.
I don’t say that money is the be-all and end-all of a good life, but I encourage you to accept its importance as the first step to better managing your finances.
Sure, you can be happy and healthy without ever saving or investing a dime, but life is easier when you have a safety net you can rely on during tough times.
You won’t notice your chains if you don’t move
There’s a beautiful yet painful story about elephants in a circus that summarizes how most people live their lives being chained to tiny ropes:
As a man passed by elephants in a circus, he saw that the huge animals were only tied to a small rope. He wondered why they didn’t just break free and live a life in freedom as there were no cages or chains holding them back. The ropes were obviously provisional. There was no chance they could hold the animals back from moving around. So he asked one of the trainers responsible for the elephants.
The man told him: “We use the same rope to tie them when they’re young and small. At a young age, the rope is strong enough to hold them back from escaping. Over the years, they’re conditioned to believe that they can’t break free. So when they grow up, they don’t even try.”
Just like the elephants, most people are chained to wrong beliefs and minor matters that hold them back from living a life they truly enjoy. Instead, they choose to stay chained.
But the truth is, you’ll never know what you could have or create if you don’t dare to give it a try.
Those elephants could break free and enjoy a beautiful and rich life, but instead, they choose to stay chained to a tiny rope because they believe it’s not worth trying to escape.
Don’t make the same mistake.
Try new things and test your limits to see whether you’re chained to a reality that’s not yours.
You have one shot at creating a life you genuinely enjoy, so don’t let other anyone’s expectations or limitations hold you back from living your dreams.
Hard work puts you where good luck can find you
Those who fail to achieve their goals often believe that “successful” people are lucky while they themselves would deserve all the success but have bad luck.
They believe they deserve a promotion at their job, a 6-figure book deal, an audience of millions of people, an investment for their ground-breaking business idea, and so much more.
But the problem is they never ask for the promotion. And they never go the extra mile in their job.
They want to publish a book, but they didn’t even write the first page.
They want millions to listen to their voice but don’t dare to publish their work publicly.
They want an investment, but they’re not even able to articulate the value of their business idea.
They could be stuck in an elevator with an angel investor for more than 30 minutes but would probably still fail to convince him of their ground-breaking idea because they never prepared a solid pitch for the business.
Strangely enough, we often believe that our own success is based on our intelligence and brilliance, while other people’s wins are based on luck.
The truth, however, is a combination of both.
Being a little lucky will undoubtedly make your life easier. Yet, that’s only true if you’re ready to make use of that luck.
Being stuck with that investor won’t help if you didn’t do your homework first.
Meeting the greatest literary agent won’t help you if you don’t sit down and type words that will fill your book.
Instead of waiting for luck to find you, get up and look for it.
Do the work, talk to people, share your dreams and ideas, and make smart moves that might help you make use of the luck once you find it.
You are a mashup of what you‘re surrounded by
Most people widely underestimate the impact of the relationships, things, and content they’re surrounded by.
They engage in toxic relationships because they don’t dare to break up, live in cluttered homes full of stuff they don’t like or need, and constantly bombard their minds with negative news and ridiculous amounts of advertising.
Yet, the truth is that everything that’s part of your life shapes you in one way or the other.
It either adds to your happiness, or it makes you feel miserable.
It helps you work on your dreams or holds you back from achieving them.
By eliminating more of the things and people that are holding you back, you’ll be able to move forward with more clarity and ease.
Most people want you to be average
Even those who love you don’t want you to change for the better. They want you to stay exactly the same because that ensures everything stays the same for them.
If you’d suddenly be bold enough to fight for your dreams, strive for more, and work a little harder to create a life you love, they might need to deal with changes as well.
They might not be able to spend as much time with you as before.
They might not be able to talk about the same topics with you.
And they might be afraid you replace them with other people.
Most people don’t want change, so they also don’t want you to change.
They want a stable, boring, and predictable life, and as soon as you decide to do things differently, they’ll try to hold you back.
If you want to escape mediocrity, you’ll need to lead uncomfortable conversations to make sure nobody’s trying to sabotage your happiness because of their expectations of who you should be.
Comfort is the worst addiction in the world
Once you get comfortable being who you are and living the life you live, you won’t ever want to make a change.
You’ll want everything to stay exactly how it is because that’s how life is easiest for you. The bad news, however, is that we don’t grow in our comfort zones. And as Lou Holtz once said:
“In this world you’re either growing or you’re dying.”
Sure, living a safe life and avoiding changes is more comfortable, but it’s not rich.
It’s adventures, challenges, and changes that excite us and make our lives worth living.
What’s the point of spending decades doing the same things over and over again until you retire just to realize that you lack the energy to do anything exciting as soon as you finally have more time.
If you get too comfortable early on, you’ll struggle to discover the beauty and joy you’re surrounded by.
Life probably isn’t meant to be comfortable anyway — it’s meant to be full of experiences, ups and downs, failures, and mistakes. That’s how we learn, grow, and become who we’re meant to be.
Even though there’s no ultimate checklist to living a good and happy life, we’re all aware of dozens of small changes we could implement to live a little better every day.
But most of the time, we don’t feel like making a change. We want things to stay the same, and we don’t want to be challenged.
Yet these are the moments we need those challenges the most.
That’s when we discover a potential to outgrow ourselves and make changes that will ultimately help us be happier and healthier.
The bad news is that change isn’t always successful. Sometimes, you might find out that it was the wrong choice and that you ended up worse instead of better.
But the good news is that most of the time, you have one more try because most mistakes are reversible and life gives you many more opportunities.