A young man recently asked me for advice. He wanted to know for someone just starting out how best to live life. When I thought about it, two things occurred to me. First, I felt very honored by the request because I’ve never been asked this before and I understood how genuinely important it was. Second, I realized that the advice I was going to offer this young man, for the most part, would be the same advice I would offer just about anybody, as they are the principles that have become the guiding light for how I live my life … and I’m almost 60.
I think it’s very important to have guiding principles [values] to help us navigate our way through life. It’s like using a map to sail the open seas. It helps keep us on course.
With that in mind, this is my advice:
- Live joyfully in the present moment [if you do nothing else on this list, do this]. In my experience, living in the present moment is living in euphoria. No worries. No regrets. Just experience … without judgment.
- Live in conscious awareness [there isn’t enough room in this blog to explain this appropriately, but know that the kingdom and power of God lies within you and remember that there is a divine plan greater than yours].
- Live in a alignment with the principle that the most important thing on a day to day basis for our health and happiness is that you feel good about yourself [know that you are lovable, worthy, good enough and in charge of your life. To re-enforce this, be kind, act with integrity, always do your best and have a good attitude].
- Face your fears [if you don’t, they will come back to bite you].
- Treat every day like a school day [never stop learning].
- Have goals [goals inspire us, especially as we get older].
- Eat healthy foods. [You may think it’s okay to indulge in all sorts of unhealthy foods now, but you won’t think it’s such a great idea when you turn 60.]
- Give to this life more than you take from it [be generous and be helpful]
- Be forgiving [remember, people mistreat others and behave inappropriately because they don’t feel good about themselves]
- Enter a career that you love so that you never work a day in your life [joyful employment is far more important than salary]
- No matter what your income is, spend less money than you make and don’t spend money you don’t have [pay your credit card balance every month and don’t take out a personal line of credit]
- Before you decide to marry someone, ask yourself these two questions: does this person share my values and does this person make me feel good about myself?
- Do not have children unless you intend to make them your absolute priority.
- If you do have children, raise them to feel good about themselves.
- Be grateful!
- Be kind!
Although I have no regrets, I also have no doubt that my life would have turned out differently had I lived by these principles from the get-go. Nobody, however, took the time to share them with me and I had other priorities anyway!
Sometimes, we have to experience the downs in order to appreciate the ups of life and living by these principles is no assurance that you won’t experience adversity. I think adversity is inevitable, but I also think these principles will leave you better prepared to handle it. And that leads me to my last piece of advice: in everything you do, just do the best you can!
Also, like Muhammad Ali [at the height of his career, Ali was banned from boxing for refusing to join the army], you will be challenged on your principles, so be ready for it!
Have an awesomely principled day!