This article is all about making the best of life and especially about the fine art of making the most out of any situation you find yourself in. There are so many human beings living on this planet, it never ceases to amaze me. I think humanity has exceeded the seven billion mark in 2011, which means there are seven billion individuals, from all kinds of different cultural backgrounds with very diverse professions, biographies, wishes, dreams but also burdens and privileges, living on earth right now. And yet, there are some who somehow seem to manage to make the most out of their lives, no matter the situation they find themselves in. I’m talking about the people who never cease to stand up again, no matter what life throws at them. On the other hand, there are vast amounts of people, who are not happy with their life at all.
Some are even deeply depressed about it, despite the fact that they have everything they ever needed in order to be happy in life. I’m not necessarily talking about the possession of huge amounts of money or having a lot of fancy tangibles (i.e. sports cars, mansions and jewelry); I’m talking about the basic foundations of a happy life: Health, Freedom and a Clear Mind. So, how does the aforementioned category of people manage to live their life to the fullest, even if they are (in many cases) by far less gifted than many others, or even lack one of the three foundations of a happy life?
My quick summary on how to make the best of life:
Accept the situation you find yourself in and use it as a foundation on which you can build the life you are dreaming of. Spend more time doing the things that you truly love to do, with the people you cherish. Value each moment of your life, appreciate it as a precious gift and remember that you never know how much time you have left. Don’t allow your life to be dominated by fear and worry, instead have the courage to take a risk. Learn to be happy with what you already have, instead of making your happiness dependent on external influences, such as wealth and material things. Have compassion for others and see if you can give something back, by creating a value for others. Allow your creativity to flow, see where it leads you and never allow excuses to stand between you and the life you aspire.
And now, the detailed version:
How to get the most out of life:
#1 Live life as if there is no tomorrow
Yes, I know. This is the kind of phrase everyone throws at you when looking for guidance on ways to make the best out of life. And most disregard this piece of advice as they associate a destructive lifestyle with it; a life at the limit that cannot be sustained for a long period.
But when looking at it more closely, the profound, hidden message becomes clear: spend more time doing the things you truly love, with the people you cherish. Value the moment, but don’t let it be ruined by worries about the future. Allow your creativity to flow, see where it leads you and do the things that make you happy.
Therefore, the advice to live life as if there is no tomorrow has not so much to do with an apocalyptic scenario where there are only a couple of hours left before everything collapses. Instead, it means to free yourself from all the man-made illusions about what life really should be, to remove all the things you don’t really need and to focus your attention on what really fulfills you.
And this is where “live as if there’s no tomorrow” comes in, as this kind of mindset makes it easier for you to dislodge the unnecessary. I was fortunate enough (that’s arguable of course) to experience a situation where my life was hanging by a thread for some months. And as tough as it was, it did one thing that made the experience very valuable: it erased all the illusions I had about life, at the stroke of a minute. All the illusions advertising, Hollywood, and society had talked me into believing were gone. And I could clearly see the things that were really important to me: Family, Friends, unconditional Love and making the most out of the moment. Anything else, from the past to the future, the material things and tangibles, money, fame, power, etc. was and still is an illusion to me.
My suggestion on making the most of it:
Live life as if there is no tomorrow, but plan as if you will live forever.
#2 Identify and get rid of the illusions in your life
What are these illusions that I’m talking about? In general, anything that does not contribute to your goal of making the best of life could be regarded as such an illusion. For me personally, these illusions consist of things that do not contribute to my personal growth or happiness, the things that simply don’t feel right to me anymore.
The identification of the illusions that surround you is something you will have to do on your own. Nobody else has the right to tell you what a valuable aspect of your life is and what the illusions are. But you can’t go wrong by searching for the struggles in your life that seemingly “won’t flow”, all the burdens you/society placed on your shoulders and the time-consumptive but ineffective activities. Ask yourself it the pursuit of fame and fortune – that is a heavily promoted burden many people place on their shoulders – accords to your goal of making the best of your life.
Unfortunately, most people will only be able to realize all the illusions they had striven for when it’s too late for them to make a change. Interestingly enough, most of the sad regrets of the dying sound as follows:
- I wish I hadn’t spend so much time working
- I wish I had stayed in contact with my friends/family
- I wish I had spend more time with my children
- I wish I hadn’t tried to please everyone
- I wish I’d had the courage to express what I was feeling
- I wish I had done the things that I wanted to do and not what others wanted me to do
It will take a lot of courage and much honesty towards oneself to see these illusions that have become a natural part of life. In any case, it’s a lot easier to live with these illusions, instead of exposing them for what they really are. The choice is yours!
Tip for making the best of it:
Ask yourself the question: “Does this activity/goal really have any value for me or does it prevent me from making the most out of my life?” Do the things that you would deeply regret if you wouldn’t do them!
#3 Acceptance, the groundwork for making the most of life
When looking at your life’s experiences, the way your parents raised you, your cultural background, education, (etc.), you will notice that you find yourself in a very individual life situation. Unfortunately, many factors have conditioned us to such a strong degree into believing that you’re a nothing if you’re not a superstar, billionaire, celebrity, powerful figure or politician. Therefore, many compare their lives with those of the “selected few” and take it as an excuse not to make the most out of their lives, along the lines: “First I have to get rich, and then I can live the life I really want to live!” Other excuses can sound as follows: “I’m in the worst situation of all. I was born in poverty/riches, with so many burdens on my shoulders. I have a responsibility towards my parents/siblings. I’m simply not this and simply not that, and never will be!”
Stop the comparison, this will bring you nowhere! The point I want to make is that we all find ourselves in a variety of different situations that all come with diverse burdens, which are very difficult to compare with those of others. Therefore, we all will have to make the best out of our personal situation, but in our own, individual way. Therefore it is so important to come to terms with your particular situation and to accept it, instead of continuously comparing your life with others who seem to be better off. Unless you have the courage to compare your life with someone who makes the most of his life, despite living in a third world country, with no tangibles at all, you’re just creating an annoying illusion from false role models.
Tips for getting the best out of your situation:
Accept the situation you find yourself in. Accept your past and the events that made you become the person you are today. Have in mind that you’re in a unique situation that requires individual approaches to make the best out of your situation. Do not agonize yourself with false role models that are portrayed on television, but focus on the good and exciting things in your life.
#4 Make no excuses
Excuses prevent you from living the life you always wanted to live and especially from making the most of your life. I think that’s clear to everyone. Identify the excuses that stand between you and the life you aspire to live, take responsibility and avoid these excuses to the best of your degree the next time they come up.
#5 Have no fear of failure, don’t worry too much
It took me a long time to accept failure as what it is: an inevitable challenge that is a ubiquitous part of my life, from the past to the present. Failing can be painful and everyone could do without, but in the end it’s just an experience that helps you to do better in the future. Many of my biggest failures had opened my eyes to new possibilities and gave me the courage to start something new.
The only possible way to avoid any failure would be by not even trying, which is comparable – at least to me – with not having lived at all. Therefore, it’s so important to stop worrying about failure as the biggest failure of all, is the irreversible mistake of not having tried at all, which equals to not being able to make the most of your life.
How to make the best of life, without fearing failure:
Fear is a major aspect that keeps people from living their life to the fullest. No matter if it’s the fear of failure, or the fear to disappoint your beloved ones. In the end, you will have to ask yourself if you want to allow fear from preventing you of doing the things you would really like to do. Regret can be a lot more painful than fear itself.
#6 Value each moment, be conscious of its beauty
The past and the future are only existent within our thoughts. They are not within grasp (any longer / not yet), which means that the only tangible and influenceable aspect in your life is this very moment in the present. Hence it makes sense to value each moment and to make the most of it, right? The key to this is to be living in the moment, instead of “sleep-walking” through life from one sensory overload to the next one. The distraction with different kinds of stimuli, i.e. TV, internet, etc. will preclude you from being conscious about the beauty of the moment.
Living in the moment is an essential aspect of being able to make the most out of your life. It’s essential for being happy, as happiness is nothing you can just think about; you have to feel it. Happiness goes uninfluenced by the pleasure you had in the past or the joy you reckon to have in the future. The only happiness you can truly experience is the happiness you feel in the very moment. It does not depend on tangibles or wealth, but on your ability to be grateful for the things you already have.
How to make the best of it:
When living in the moment, full of gratitude for it, there is no question about what happened, what might happen or what could have been. Living in the moment means to accept the past as what it is: a bygone and not changeable experience that will only have an influence on your present life if you allow it to.
#7 Write your memoirs – from a future perspective
If a person writes his memoirs, they usually write about the past and the things they have experienced. Turn the tables and write the memoirs of your future – seen from the angle on how you were able to make the most out of your life! Doing so will assist you in defining what you really understand the concept of making the best in life. It also gives you the chance to create a strategy that you can embark on.
Write your memoirs from a future perspective, then live your life backwards.
#8 (Get to) know thyself
Know who you are and be comfortable with yourself. Explore what your heart wants and develop a relationship with yourself. After all, others might not have faith in you or trust you at all, but all you ever need is the faith in yourself. If you believe in yourself, no one else will be able to knock you off course. But, no one will believe in you if you don’t even believe in yourself; until you really get to know what you are capable of. Bring out your true self and be the person that you were meant to be, not the person others want you to be!
Explore your personality, identify your values and learn to stand in your own integrity. Deal with yourself and try to really get to know what you value in life and the things you appreciate. And have the courage to filter out personality traits, values or goals that aren’t truly yours, but were imposed upon you by society, television and so on.
#9 Take a risk and expand your limits
“If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got.” –
Living life to the fullest and getting the most out of it also implies that you have the courage to take a risk every once in a while. The convenience of the comfort zone is indisputable, but it also means that there is little to no progress in your life. Not to mention that it will be very difficult to make the best of life, without doing things you’ve never done before. Break free from the routines of your everyday life and introduce something new into your life from time to time. No one will ask you to suddenly turn into an adrenaline-junkie that base-jumps off from cliffs or the like. In fact, you won’t have to live your life to the limit just to make the most of it. For most people, exploring the depths of meditation, taking a new route to work, choosing another meal for lunch, researching an interesting topic could also mean a quite effective expansion of one’s boundaries.
Take an educated risk and test your limits! Then expand them.
#10 Do something good, give something back
This article was all about what YOU could do to make the most of YOUR life. So how could helping others benefit your life at all? It will certainly not bring you riches, fame or power so where is the rational point of doing it anyways? It is kind of contradictory that you cannot make the most of your life if you are not willing to give something back. By only taking what one can for oneself, there will always remain a gap within one’s heart that cannot be filled with wealth, luxury or other tangible things, but only with the smile and the gratefulness of a person whose life became a little bit easier through your work.
Be compassionate about other people’s concerns. Listen to them. Give back, by creating a value for others, or by volunteering. There are so many different ways of doing something good that many people can benefit from. You just have to be creative enough to discover these ways.
Create the solution to a person’s suffering and you will not only be remembered as the person who truly made the most of your life, but also as the one who enabled others to make the best out of their situation as well!
What are your tricks to make the most of your life?
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