This past week I found myself getting very irritated by a few incidents in the news. Some people don’t even know how good they have it, I kept thinking. If only so and so could walk a day in someone else’s shoes, then maybe they’d stop complaining about their stupid problems. I kept pushing against the world as it is, rejecting its unfairness. Then I stopped and realized, wtf, you’re being a five year old. No more crossing those arms and pouting. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still really awesome. In the words of Celie from The Color Purple “I’m poor, black, I may even be ugly, but Dear God, I’m Here! I’m Here! ” Here are five ways to maintain a good attitude about life.
1) Learn To See Your Life As A Great Science Experiment
There’s this theory in Buddhism that we’re all just souls having a human experience. We’re not our bodies or our minds, we’re these little balls of energy with a body with a mind. When you step back and think of yourself as a little alien scientist ball of energy, studying life, it becomes a lot easier to love it as it is. Nothing in life is permanent and when you learn to love the good and the bad as part of a grand experiment you learn to treasure the mini breakthroughs, rewards, and small victories. Life is an alien science experiment. Stay curious about it and don’t dwell on the stumbling blocks.
2) Find Your Calling
Gregg Levoy says in his book Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life that our unconscious mind is always one step ahead of our conscious mind in the right direction, you’ll therefore do the right thing although you won’t know it at the time. How many times in your life have you made a decision that felt crazy at the time, but ultimately led to something greater? Most of the time our callings aren’t as far off as we imagine. According to the book, our truest calls come back and make their presence known through many different channels — dreams, ambitions, interests, people, etc. Maybe you notice that every time you turn on the tv you see a commercial for business loans or everyone keeps telling you to sell those delicious cupcakes you’ve been baking since you learned how to use an oven. Pay attention to life’s synchronicities. Your calling doesn’t necessarily have to be your source of income, but it could be your purpose in life. You’ll be surprised how far back things go. For example, I really love books. I used to fake read to my sister before I could actually read, write stories, I was an English major, and I was in a Literary and Debating Society. I received a ton of clues about my calling, and now, I’m finally writing a book. Figure out what your thing is and do it. Perform a little anthropological research on your life. It’s pretty crazy how easy it is to miss things.
3) Spend Time With The Right People
It’s hard to let go of friends, but sometimes you have to do it. If your friends don’t pump you up, it’s time to find new friends. The right others will like you for you. Like attracts like, so make sure you’re spending time with inspiring people. If you hang out with people who settle, you’ll settle. If you hang out with people who don’t have goals, you’ll find yourself meandering through life as well. Certain friends may only be meant to stay in your life for a season. Appreciate that season and what you learned, but don’t cling to your winter coat when it’s very clearly summertime. Hang around people that are doing great things, that love life, that make you feel good, because 10 times out of 10 their attitude will rub off on you.
4) Infuse Your Life With Play
Most problems could be solved if we learned to infuse a little play in finding solutions. But Ashley, I’m sure you’re thinking, poverty, war, famine, those are serious topics that require serious solutions. True, but who said play shouldn’t be taken seriously? John Hunter, one of my favorite educational superheroes, designed something called the World Peace Game. If 4th graders can learn abstract concepts and develop solutions through play, maybe there’s something to it? Find ways to infuse play in your life. Buy a coloring book, visit a trampoline park, make a game out of your daily routine and/or play with legos when tackling challenges. We take ourselves way too seriously, maybe it’s time to play a little more?
5) Get a Coach
Life coaching is for real. I have a coach and I have to say, it’s super useful to have someone who pushes you to do and be your best. Life coaching stems from the principle that people are naturally creative, resourceful, and whole. Yes, we may make poor choices, but ultimately, we aren’t problems to be fixed, but healthy individuals that simply need to be reminded of our strengths. Get a coach. They will keep you motivated.
Sometimes in life you may feel a little stuck. The trick is knowing that stuck doesn’t define you. While you might be feeling stuck, YOU are not stuck. The more you stay curious and interested in your life, the more life will stay curious and interested in you. Do you awesome person. Do you! 🙂