To improve your life… isn’t that what we all strive for?
A couple of weekends ago the damnedest thing (or should I say “the best thing that could have happened”) happened to me. Short of two pages into Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map, the very first words of the book stopped me dead on my tracks and made me question the life that I live. If you want to improve your life, it goes without saying that questioning everything is a must!
Danielle’s message wasn’t anything I had not heard before. She just so happened to have an uncanny way to drive the message home for me. And so I sat around for an entire weekend depressed out of my mind. I watched all of the Naruto episodes (yes, I still watch Anime at 28) that I know can make me cry, I re-scheduled one of my coaching calls, and I pretty much sat around in my PJs all day unable to get myself out of this funk.
The result of my soul-searching: I don’t want to spend one more minute or any more of my energy “hating” or “disliking” any aspect of my life. I realized that I’d rather spend my energy transforming my life.
It is very easy to focus on all that is wrong with our lives, but to find the real meaning behind everything, to improve your life, and to find the love that you seek you will have to shift your perception of the world. No excuses, no questions asked.
Ok, so how do you improve your life?
So, without further ado, if you are ready to transform and improve your life, here are 10 actionable items and shifts in perception that you can execute right now:
1. Be curious.
Everyone tells you that curiosity killed the cat, but no one ever seems to remember that Curiosity also landed on Mars on August 5th, 2012 and then went on to take the first ever selfie on Mars. Opportunity, the other rover launched on 2003, had been roaming Mars already when Curiosity came into the picture. Think about it, Curiosity and Opportunity.
Actionable tip: improving your life is going to take work and self-awareness. If you want opportunities, then you are going to have to activate your ability to be curious. Next time you find yourself going on a tangent of doom (i.e., “I don’t feel good enough so I am just not going to do anything, I am a failure after all”), stop yourself and be curious about your thoughts.
Ask yourself “why am I having these thoughts?” and pay attention to the answers.
The point is… If you want to see more opportunities you are going to have to be more curious.
2. Find the Silver Lining.
Let’s be real here: Life can be sucky. Your first true love breaking up with you, Ebola ravaging West Africa, and the ongoing problems in the Middle East. If you want to improve your life, then you are going to have to move on. Simple as that.
You have to keep in mind at all times that life is not a destination or a goal, life is a journey. And in order to keep things in perspective at all times you have to find the silver-lining to every situation–the good and the bad ones alike.
Actionable tip: Grieve, remember that this too shall pass, and focus on how this experience has helped you build your character
3. Its not all About Having Positive Thoughts.
I used to be one of these New Agey people who swore up and down that being positive was the key to happiness… and then I got real with myself and realized that there is a wealth of knowledge hiding underneath all of the shit and ugliness in this world.
In today’s world, happiness, joy and optimism have become nothing short of a band-aid you place on the ugly… and this is simply an unrealistic mindset.
Actionable tip: When shit hits the fan, it is ok to feel lame. Again, grieve, throw yourself a pitty party (when you allow yourself to feel the way you feel, the feelings typically lift), and just sit with the ugly until you are ready to get back up and re-align with your positive mindset again.
In other words: don’t force yourself to be eternally optimistic if it doesn’t feel right–you’re a human, not a saint.
4. Honor where you are at.
That means that when things are shitty and you are feeling sorry about yourself, you honor that. You don’t judge yourself based on how you or someone else thinks you should feel. Should is a dangerous word that is based on external rules and ideals.
If you are struggling in a relationship with yourself or your significant other, know that you are exactly where you are meant to be; if you are broke like a joke, know that you are exactly where you are meant to be; if you are experiencing self-doubt around your abilities to reach your goals, know that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
Actionable tip: Be mindful of where you are at and then realize that in this very moment you have the choice to engage in self-talk that is either self-serving or self-destructive. Which one will you engage?
Depending on your choice, you may just realize that when you are present and honor where you are at and who you are in this very moment, you have the opportunity to start over and change your reality.
5. Question EVERYTHING.
This is one of my absolute favorite things to do. I am a huge conspiracy theorist… but I am not talking about government conspiracies or historical conspiracies (although those can be interesting too), I am talking about the conspiracy which holds that the universe has to deliver nothing less than what you are ready to receive.
If your mind is open to receive new opportunities, then you shall receive; but if your mind is caught up in old beliefs about the world, then you will most likely continue experiencing the same story over and over again.
Question everything from your thoughts, beliefs, and reactions, and you may just realize that there is a place beyond thought and beyond belief where possibility resides.
Actionable tip: Next time you get mad at the person who cut you off in traffic, stop and ask yourself why you chose to react that way. OR, next time you judge someone else because of the way they dress, ask yourself why you are judging others.
6. Love Yourself.
I am a huge believer of the power of self-esteem and self-worth. If I could tell you about the one thing you can do to improve your life right now it is simply to love yourself more.
I am sure you’ve heard that quote “treat yourself the way you would treat someone you love”–to love yourself is exactly that.
Self-love is super important because when you love yourself you do not question your worth against the things that you have to do. You do not say things like “Who am I to think that I can make a difference in the world?” you simply know your value and you follow through.
Actionable tip: be kind to yourself, keep track of your mental chatter and notice when you are being judgmental of yourself or others; choose to put yourself first when appropriate.
7. Make it Happen.
If you want to improve your life then you better make it happen. It’s ok to sulk and have a pitty party for a minute or two, but you will eventually have to get back up and face life head on again. If you are unhappy with a certain aspect of your life, then you change it, no excuses, no questions asked.
Action tip: bring back some of that good ‘old curiosity to the table and stop the mental chatter about how sucky your life is right now and how the world is conspiring against you and blah blah blah. Then ask yourself what you can do today to improve your situation and listen for an answer. Trust me, the universe always delivers.
8. Re-Align Yourself.
The ego (or the mental chatter going on in your head at all times during the day) is a funny little guy because it likes to think that it is the only reality out there. Truth be told, the ego is only a small piece of your psychological and spiritual world.
To be identified as the things you own, the person you’ve become, and the achievements you’ve accomplished is only half the story. There is a greater reality that can only be accessed when you re-align yourself with that part of you that is closest to god, the universe, Shiva,… whatever you want to call it. The secret to transforming and improving your life is to tap into this reality.
Actionable tip: re-connect with your spirituality from time to time. Depending on what denomination you subscribe to, reconnecting with your spirituality can be as simple as going to church, taking a walk in nature or simply sitting in silence.
9. See the Big Picture.
Sometimes when we are caught up in how sucky life can be you forget to look at the big picture of your life. Seeing the big picture is similar to finding the silver lining but with a bang. It means that you make peace with the present for the sake of what you see in your future.
When we are focused on the big picture you can easily see how the job you hate can actually be easily re-framed into the skill that you needed to land your dream job in the future, or how the relationship that didn’t work out can actually be easily re-framed into the opportunity to love yourself more and put yourself first in relationships.
There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.
Actionable tip: remember that this too shall pass. You can also ask yourself “how can what I just experienced contribute to my spiritual and psychological growth?”
10. Life your Life from the Inside Out.
Without a shadow of a doubt I can tell you that to improve your life you are going to have to re-align with your greatest Self and live your life based on your inner-most values and principles. Danielle LaPorte calls it the Desire Map, and Neuropsychology calls it target states.
Whatever the name, living your life from the inside out means that you look beyond the external object of desire and find the intrinsic reward that this external object is triggering. For example, emotional eaters eat because it soothes their emotional states, and shopaholics spend all of their money shopping because it fulfills a particular emotional need.
The reason we seek external rewards is because we have been conditioned to look for approval, love, and wealth outside of ourselves by our culture and the media. In reality, the emotional states that any of these triggers activate within us are already within us and can accessed at any time.
Actionable tip: next time you have a specific desire in mind, ask yourself what it is you are trying to feel in response to this desire.
Do you want to travel to the beach because you want to relax? If so, do you really need to visit the beach right now to feel relaxed or can you evoke feelings of relaxation in this precise moment? I am not saying “don’t go to the beach to relax,” what I am saying is “don’t wait for the beach to deliver relaxation next month when you can be relaxed right now.”
Transforming and improving your life is going to depend on your commitment to follow through with these 10 simple shifts in perception. It all comes down to self-awareness and the desire to transform yourself from the inside out.
The important thing is to be kind to yourself, love yourself more, and keep your eye on the goal.
If you liked what you read subscribe to my newsletter below to receive yummy tips on developing a rockstar mindset straight to your inbox!
AND, if you too want to help transform this world one person at a time, please share this article so that others can benefit from its message and so they too can improve their life.
Thank you for reading and bestestest of wishes to you!