Over the last 12 months I have had a number of experiences that have changed the way I view the world. It started when I went to work at the commercial gym I’m working at because this was the first time in 3 years that I took a job that allowed me to become friends with the staff and I made the decision to become friends with them. The team is an eclectic group of individuals with experience loaded backgrounds. The consequence to introducing them into my life is that I have had to embrace diversity in a way that I haven’t been able to before and it has been mind changing.
Below are some of the lessons they and this experience have taught me:
Accept that your past will present itself as the present in the way you react and think about things. You cannot escape this. You can however observe yourself doing it and in fact, you NEED to be able to observe it happening in order for you to stop doing it. If you never see it happening, you’ll be living in the past through repeated patterns of action, emotion and thought.
Stop seeking approval from EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. When we search for other peoples approval, we are forfeiting control of our happiness and emotional state and are actually creating a dependency for another person; which is effectively a tax on our happiness given that we are no longer free to seek it out. Whatever good there is inside of your will not come out as freely and the person we are will never become actualized to the same extent. By seeking approval from other people, we are limiting ourselves to behaviors and actions that we know have worked in the past.
Stop being afraid of being wrong – if you are not prepared to be wrong you will never come up with anything original. Judgment kills creativity, personality and happiness. When we fear being wrong, we close off and most likely repeat a previous action that was safe or didn’t have a negative impact on us (one that wasn’t viewed as wrong).
When I am doing what I love, my passion makes me feel alive. You need to make time for the things you love or need to do. Keep in mind that these things are going to be different for other people. To boost happiness as much as possible, surround yourself with like-minded or like-actioning people at allow you to do what you love. You’ll both get a boost from each other and the synergy you create will be wonderful!
Do what you love as much as possible because one day you won’t be able to do it. I am very fortunate to still be healthy and to be as active as I like. But I know this won’t last forever. Wear and tear on the body, injury, changing goals and values will eventually limit the amount of movement that I can do, as it does for all people. I take 4 hour rides, squat and dead lift loads far greater than I will ever need to lift, and bounce around turning food into movement because I can. I am all too aware that I am on the trailing end of an over-active lifestyle and the knowledge that what I do with it will not be possible in the future.
“Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away“. That’s from a commencement speech Steve Job of Apple gave to the Stanford University graduating class of 2005. There are so many gems in the speech that everyone should read it a couple of times to gain some of his wisdom. But this comment is the one that I think is most fitting because it taps into the one thing that most of us know and fear, that one day in the future we will be obsolete and eventually we’ll be gone from the planet. Time really is running out for you, me and everyone. The species will continue, we’ll be replaced with other people who will achieve great things, waste their lives or some combination of the two. But time really is finite for us so you best better make the most of it because it will be gone very soon.
By embracing the diversity of human beings, by allowing their unique lessons in, we will find no surer way to happiness. Just make sure you do it now!