25 Keys to Creating an Awesome Life
It’s common knowledge that if you want to be successful at something, you have to work at it. And life is no exception.
If you don’t make the effort to intentionally create an awesome life for yourself, then life will just “happen” to you. And odds are, it won’t be all that great.
Below are 25 keys to maximizing your chances of finding health, success and fulfillment in your life. Follow these, and regardless of what you’ve experienced in the past or where you’ve come from, you’ll be well on your way to creating the life of your dreams.
1. Slay your fears
This is number one because it’s a big one.
The sad fact is that most people’s lives are run by fear. Fear of not being successful, fear of what other people think, fear not measuring up, fear of rejection, fear of criticism, and so on.
Give in to your fears, and they will dictate the direction and complexion of your entire life, not you. They’ll determine what you do and don’t achieve, and what your life is about. They’ll decide who and what you become.
And you won’t have a say in the matter.
Pretty scary, right?
But 100% true.
Imagine one day lying on your death bed and thinking to yourself, “what if?”
“What if I had had the nerve to ask that gorgeous shy guy out at that party thirty years ago?” “What if I had had the courage to start my dream business, rather than just playing it safe in my 9 to 5 job?” “What if I was bold enough to travel the world, like I always planned to?”
Bowing to fear robs you of a life of excitement and adventure, and replaces it with a life of regrets.
I’d rather live a life of “oh wells” than a life of “what ifs”
Remember, everything you ever wanted is outside your comfort zone. Go get it!
2. Have a purpose
Everyone has a reason for getting out of bed each morning. Otherwise, they wouldn’t keep doing it, right?
Problem is, most people need to drag themselves out. Reluctantly. Wishing they didn’t need to.
Why is that?
Because they don’t have a purpose.
They don’t have something that they desperately want to achieve. Something with meaning. Something that really matters to them.
Once you have a purpose, you can’t wait to get into your day. You’re filled with excitement the moment you open your eyes and don’t want to waste another moment in bed.
If you don’t feel this way most mornings, you don’t have a purpose. You’re just going through the motions.
If you’re raising a family, sacrifices need to be made for them. I get that.
But remember, your family doesn’t need to be your sole purpose for living. Your life isn’t over.
There are still things that you as an individual can achieve. For yourself.
So don’t give up on doing them!
3. Set goals and make them happen
Imagine getting into a taxi and telling the driver you don’t know where you want to go. One of two things are going to happen.
Either he’ll take you wherever he wants, or he won’t take you nowhere at all.
Both scenarios suck, right?
Well, this is what happens to most people’s lives. They have no idea where they want to go, so life decides for them. Or it takes them nowhere at all.
And either way, it sucks.
You can either choose your own path in life by setting goals and milestones for where you want to be and when, or you can do what most people do – just let it happen.
If you want to experience true happiness and fulfillment, you’ll choose the former option. Decide on what you want to achieve, and take the necessary steps to make it happen.
If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place.
I know, it’s scary. What if you fail to get to your goals? After all, if there are no goals, there can be no failures, right?
If there are no goals, there is guaranteed failure.
4. Burst your bubble
In Point 1 I talked about getting outside your comfort zone.
I know, it’s a scary place out there, but often times it’s not just fear that keeps you inside your little bubble. It’s comfort and complacency.
There’s no place like home, as they say.
The problem with this home, however, is that it insulates you from the big, wide, beautiful world out there. And from life in general.
A comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there.
To experience all that life has to offer, you need to get outside your comfort zone on a regular basis. Make a habit of it.
Sure, it will be uncomfortable at first (that’s why it’s called a “comfort zone”, right?). But the sooner you make it a habit to venture outside it frequently, the happier you’ll be.
You’ll find an amazing new world out there.
5. Think about your legacy
An important part of making your life meaningful is what is left behind once it’s over.
And I’m not talking about how much money and material possessions you leave. I’m talking about your legacy.
How will this world and the people in it be better off for you having been here?
Many great things can be achieved in one lifetime. But life is short. So in the grand scheme of things, any achievement that’s restricted to one lifetime really only exists in the blink of an eye.
That’s a very humbling thought.
But think about people like Elvis Presley, Steve Jobs, Mother Theresa, Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein. Your life will feel so much more meaningful and worthwhile if, like these people, your name and your accomplishments live on in some way once you’re gone.
Think about that, and your life will be all the more enriched for it.
6. Do unto others . . .
I’m sure you’ve heard the famous “golden rule” passage from the bible:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Of course, this piece of advice was intended to encourage us to be nice to others. To have empathy. So that everyone will hopefully be kind to one another.
But in my opinion, it goes far deeper than that. My belief is that whatever you do to others, you’re indirectly actually doing to yourself.
When you judge or criticize others, you’re teaching yourself to pick faults in people. Soon enough you’ll start picking faults in yourself, and you’ll be more miserable and self-conscious for it.
When you steal from others, you’re making yourself a thief. You’re taking away your own honesty and integrity.
When you hate on others and put them down, you’re building yourself a fake sense of superiority. You’re robbing yourself of the incentive to become a genuinely better person, by creating the illusion that other are already beneath you.
You get the idea.
The next time you choose what to do unto another, think about what you’re actually improving or degrading yourself as a person.
7. Make valuable connections
Jim Rohn hit the nail on the head with this quote:
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
Look at the 5 people that you spend the most time with. What do you see?
Like it or not, what you’re looking at is a portrait of yourself. Or at least, of how you’ll soon look. Figuratively speaking, of course.
So choose your company wisely.
8. Live lean
How do you think it would feel to be morbidly obese?
Think about how sluggish and inhibited you would feel carrying around all that excess body fat. And imagine how depressed and demotivated you would feel mentally.
Well, for many people it’s their entire life that’s morbidly obese.
They accumulate piles and piles of material possessions that only serve to weigh them down like a huge ball and chain around their ankle. It inhibits their freedom and their ability to effect change in their life.
Anything you absolutely don’t need, get rid of it.
The less you have, the lighter you’ll feel. And the happier you’ll feel.
The easier you’ll be able to move or to travel whenever you feel like it.
Remember, freedom is true wealth, not possessions.
9. Never stop learning
Many people take the view that learning stops the moment they leave school.
Successful people, on the other hand, know that that’s when the learning is just getting started.
Knowledge is power, as they say.
And the more relevant knowledge you accumulate, the more power you’ll have to achieve your goals.
Notice, however, that I said “relevant”. Collecting any and all information just for the sake of the exercise, or to build your IQ, may be great for your ego but in a practical sense it’s a waste of time.
Learn what you need to learn. What’s going to benefit you directly and further your position in life.
But be careful.
In today’s age of the internet we’re flooded with information. Unfortunately however, a lot of it is BS.
Be discerning with your sources of information. Look for back up and evidence before accepting what appear to be facts.
If it’s on the Internet, it must be true.
10. Welcome the haters
No one likes a hater.
But the truth is, they’re pretty harmless. Sure, they have their issues and they’re a little annoying. But overall, you shouldn’t worry too much about what they have to say.
In fact, it’s actually quite a compliment to be hater-worthy.
Think about it.
If you’re the quintessential Miss Average – if you live your life flying under the radar, never turning a head, never raising an eyebrow, never doing anything extraordinary or even above average – they you’re hardly going to draw any attention to yourself. Right?
Average people are a threat to no one.
But rise above average, do something noteworthy, or even aspire to be someone out of the ordinary, and the haters will come out of the woodwork and start trying to drag you back down to appease their own insecurities.
To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.
So if you have a hater or two, don’t resent them. Welcome them.
It means you’re doing something right.
11. Follow your passion
How does it feel when your partner drags you somewhere boring, like a football game for example? A couple of hours of total misery, right?
But hey, two hours is less than 10% of your day. So it’s not exactly the end of the world.
Imagine having a career or a job that you hate – that’s almost 25% of each and every week. In misery.
Not to mention the time away from work that you spend thinking about it.
Is that any way to live your life? Hardly.
Sure, we all need to work to live. But who says we have to be miserable to earn a living?
Don’t make the mistake of believing that you have to suffer to make a good living. Fact is, you actually stand a much better chance of being successful in your career when you pursue something you’re passionate about.
And you’ll be a far happier and more fulfilled person for it.
12. Be humble
There’s nothing quite as powerful for isolating yourself from life as being a know-it-all.
In what way does that isolate you?
Well, think about it.
First of all, you push people away from interacting and therefore connecting with you. No one enjoys being preached to, lectured to, or being made to feel inferior. Relationships and personal connections are a two-way street, where ideas, feelings, thoughts, dreams, etc. flow in both directions.
Secondly, you hold yourself back from learning anything new, because, well . . . you already know everything. So while you’re stubbornly living in your self-absorbed bubble of superiority, the rest of the world is flying by you.
Let us be a little humble; let us think that the truth may not perhaps be entirely with us.
Keep an open mind and an open heart. Take an interest in people.
Remember that everyone you come across has something to offer and something to teach you. By doing so you’ll enrich your life beyond measure.
13. Be grateful
Gratitude is nothing more than the act of acknowledging to yourself that you appreciate something that pleases you.
That you feel lucky, or privileged, to have that pleasure.
That other people aren’t so fortunate.
That things could have been very different.
You don’t need to be grateful for something to enjoy it. But being grateful magnifies the pleasure, and makes it last so much longer.
Without gratitude, nothing will give you pleasure for very long.
I’m sure that like most people, you’ve encountered those who appreciate nothing of what they have. They might even be quite wealthy and fortunate in their life, yet they’re always miserable just the same.
What’s the point?
We’re all told about the virtues of being kind to others, of “giving back”, and of “paying it forward”. Well, it’s gratitude that makes you want to do those things. And when you do, you’re rewarded for it even more.
So in effect, being grateful for what you have creates a cycle of happiness and enrichment in your life.
14. Do work
Believe it or not, your body wasn’t designed to be parked on a couch all day long. Or an office chair, for that matter.
It was designed be used.
Physical movement and effort are an important part of keeping your body fit and healthy, as nature intended.
Your body is created by your choices.
Choose an inactive, sedentary lifestyle and your body will reflect that. It will become soft, lazy and weak. Choose to be active and hard-working, on the other hand, and your body will become hard, strong and energetic.
But it’s not just physical health that’s affected here. It’s your mental state as well.
Think about it.
When you feel heavy, lazy and lethargic all the time, it’s easy to develop a depressed, pessimistic mental state. Feel physically strong and energetic, on the other hand, and your mind, too, will be bright, vibrant and powerful.
A healthy body is a healthy mind, as they say.
I learned the value of hard work by working hard.
Don’t avoid physical activity and hard work. Embrace it.
It’s a vital component of feeling confident, wholesome, strong and happy. And of leading a good life.
Don’t let success take that away from you.
15. Nourish your body
Like physical work, what you eat plays a big role in determining how your body looks and feels.
When it comes to the food you fuel your body with, the golden rule is, eat garbage . . . look like garbage . . . feel like garbage.
Pretty simple, right?
Think of your body as a finely-tuned race car. You might be happy to throw any old el-cheapo fuel into an old clunker, but would you do that to a Formula 1 car?
Don’t think so!
If you don’t mind your body looking, feeling and performing like a piece of junk, then OK, it doesn’t really matter. But if your body and your life means more to you than that, then think about your eating choices.
Focus on fresh, natural, nutritious foods – straight from nature.
And do away with processed junk. The sweets and sugar-filled crap, the snacks, the fatty and spicy fast food. Sure, it might taste good. But it’s nutritionally devoid and it fouls up and weighs your body down.
Like your lifestyle comforts, junk food might feel nice in the moment, but you and your body will pay the price later on.
16. Rest and recover
Your body is in a constant state of rejuvenation. Old cells die, and new ones are born to take their place.
It’s the cycle of life.
For this cycle to run, your body needs rest and recuperation. It allows your body to re-energize, refresh, and reinvigorate itself. To become new again.
Deprive your body of rest and it gradually weakens, withers and fatigues.
As I said before, a healthy body is a healthy mind.
How you feel becomes how you think, and how you think becomes how you perceive life.
Give your body and mind adequate rest, and it will help your outlook on life to be fresh, happy and energetic.
17. Connect with nature
There’s something totally ethereal yet at the same time grounding about being amongst nature.
Whether it’s in a forest, a garden, the mountains, at the ocean, in swamplands, or whatever. It’s almost like spending time there replenishes you with the true essence of life.
Sure, spending your days in man-made concrete, steel and plaster structures is very comfortable and convenient. It also provides you with all-important shelter and keeps you safe from your environment. We all need that.
But it also robs you of something.
It robs you of that vital connection to the energy and spirit of what it is that brings life to this incredible organism called Earth. We’re all a part of that organism, which is why getting back to nature feels much like a homecoming of sorts.
I’m not saying you should walk away from your modern life and start living off the land.
Just take some time to get back to nature as often as you can. Renew yourself with the sights, sounds, smells and spirit of the natural world.
It’s an amazing stress reliever, a great time to think about life and your place in it, and to put your life and everyday issues into perspective. Spend an hour one night lying down outside, staring at the stars. Think about who you are and what the universe is.
If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I'll bet they'd live a lot differently.
I promise you that your sessions with nature will be far more rewarding than any therapy session.
Get out there, and watch your life flourish.
18. Don’t stress
Cortisol is a hormone that’s released in your body whenever you sense a threat, or some form of stress (to your brain, that’s the same thing).
It triggers a range of responses that would be beneficial to you in a fight-or-flight situation, including increasing your blood sugar level and enhancing your brain’s use of that blood sugar. At the same time it slows down non-essential functions such as the immune system, the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes.
When the stressor or threat stops, your cortisol level should return to normal. When you’re constantly under stress however, your body becomes over-exposed to cortisol, adrenaline and other stress hormones. This can disrupt your body’s processes and put you at a higher risk of problems such as anxiety, depression, heart disease, weight gain, insomnia and memory impairment.
So it’s not just your mindset and mood that stress plays havoc with, it’s your physical health and wellbeing as well. In fact, researchers are becoming more and more aware of the sheer destructiveness of stress on your health.
Make time in your life for stress relievers such as meditation, relaxation, exercise, leisure, and so on. It’s one of the best time investments you can possibly make.
19. Learn to go with the flow
To experience any type of pain, you need two ingredients: an outside force, or influence, and resistance to that influence. The greater the influence and/or the greater the resistance to it, the more pain you feel.
You can’t always prevent the things that life throws at you. But you can decide how to respond to it.
When life doesn’t go the way you’d like, it doesn’t always pay to put up a rigid wall of resistance. More often than not, it only causes you pain. You need to learn to bend a little.
To go with the flow.
Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.
Being a hard-nosed person eventually makes you totally miserable. Learning to roll with life’s punches, on the other hand, will make you a far happier person.
Learn to go with the flow and take life in your stride. Focus only on the things you can affect, and don’t let the rest bring you down.
20. Embrace pain
Of course, not all pain is bad. There is also good pain.
Good pain is the pain you feel when you’re growing physically, mentally or emotionally. It’s not futile pain. It’s not the type of pain that brings you no benefits.
It’s an inevitable part of success and progress in life.
Too many people spend their life avoiding pain of all types. This is a mistake.
Because all growth, all learning, and all success requires some amount of pain. When you take no risks and experience no failures and setbacks in your life, you necessarily stagnate.
Avoid pain, and you’re avoiding life.
The secret is to recognize good pain and to embrace it. It’s part and parcel of a fulfilling and successful life.
21. Appreciate the little things
In our quest to go after the bigger goals and achievements in our lives, it’s very easy to both overlook and undervalue the little things.
This is very tragic, as it’s the little things that make up the majority of our life experiences.
Obviously the major achievements in your life are very important as they define you and your life’s achievements. But they’re only half the story.
Despite all your efforts, at the end of the day the big things may or may not happen. And if they do happen, they may not necessarily be what you expected.
The little things in life, on the other hand, will always be there. And they will be plentiful. And usually free.
There for the taking.
You can either take the time to appreciate them and enrich your life in the process. Or you can look past them and miss out.
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
It’s your call.
22. Love yourself
The way you see yourself and feel about yourself have a profound effect on the quality of your life. That’s because they directly influence not only your level of happiness, but also how you yourself and other people treat you.
If you have a low self-opinion, you’ll unconsciously behave in accordance with that impression of yourself. You won’t value yourself highly, so as a result you won’t do your best to make yourself the best possible version of who you can be, physically, mentally and emotionally, as well as in terms of your achievements and relationships.
In other words, you’ll “let yourself go” in these important areas of your life.
The same goes for other people – they’ll treat you just as bad.
Simply because their perception of you will be founded upon how you view yourself. Your self-opinion will rub off on them through your behavior, your language, your attitude and your demeanor. And like you, they’ll treat you according to how they see you.
That’s a big deal, because when you think about it, the most rewarding, fulfilling, exciting and memorable experiences in life, and therefore the most important ones, are generally those that involve interactions with other people.
Learn to love and value yourself, and you’ll find that life will love you and value you back.
23. Dare to dream big
If you can’t see yourself achieving anything big in your life, then you most likely never will.
Big achievements don’t just happen. They’re the result of big dreams, followed by hard work, followed by persistence.
Think small, and you’ll live small.
I like thinking big. If you're going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.
Earlier I talked about the importance of being humble. Well, your dreams and ambitions are the one area of life where this advice doesn’t apply.
Having lofty goals isn’t about being brash and bragging to the world about what a badass you are, or are going to be. It’s something you keep largely to yourself. And you use it to motivate and guide yourself to an extraordinary life.
Set your bar high. And remember that anything is achievable if you just believe and apply yourself.
You write your own life story. And don’t be afraid to make it a great one.
24. Keep your cravings in check
Life is full of temptations, and some of us are better at resisting them than others. The good thing about temptations, however, is that even if you succumb to one and end up regretting it, well, at least you learn something from it. So hopefully you’re wiser next time.
Cravings are a different animal, though. Cravings start off as little temptations, but grow in strength until they control your choices on a regular basis.
Let’s see . . . smoking, drinking, eating junk food, etc. They’re basically all addictions of sorts.
The more you give in to them, the more they control you. And deceive you.
They have you telling yourself that you enjoy a harmless drink once in a while. Or that the occasional cigarette relaxes you. Or that indulging in some “naughty” food now and then is OK.
And maybe it is.
But if you find yourself doing these things regularly, then guess what? You’re not in control, they are.
Ask yourself if you’re truly in charge of all your decisions, or if you’re actually a prisoner of your cravings and addictions. Be honest with yourself, and ask yourself how they’re detracting from your health and life in general.
Remember, you can’t truly have a happy life until it’s one of freedom.
25. Be yourself
Let’s face it, living your life trying to be someone you’re not is painful.
Not to mention, sad.
It’s a lot of effort and a terrible waste of energy to constantly be putting on an act. And knowing that your whole persona is a fraud, or a façade, no doubt doesn’t do your self-esteem much good either.
If you’re not being yourself, it’s most likely also true that you don’t love yourself. I talked about that earlier.
Understand that we’re all individuals, and each and every one of us brings something unique and valuable to this world, just the way we are.
Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.
The fact of the matter is that nothing attracts the right people into your life, whether it’s in your relationships, friendships, business, or whatever, than totally and utterly being yourself.
Not being yourself only sends out false signals of what you’re about and who you are. You will be living your life out of harmony with yourself and others.
Be true to yourself and to the world, and you’ll find it a far more rewarding and happy place to be.