If Office Depot can create a metaphorical (yet physical) Easy Button, why can’t you have a real one- or at least rules to live by that will give you the easy, peaceful life you want. You know, free from conflict where we aren’t perpetually mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically exhausted. That life. Where unicorns and fairies also cavort. Just kidding about that last part but you get what I mean.
I’ve cleaned up my fair share of messes that I’ve created (mostly) unintentionally but nonetheless, there they were and there I was. Oh, sure, I buried my head in the sand for as long as possible. That was my preferred method of handling messes. Except that I was only perpetuating having to deal with the problem, tax debt, overdrawn checking account, conflict with family, insert your own uncomfortable situation. I don’t like conflict. I also don’t love situations I don’t know how to get myself out of. I think discomfort sucks outside workouts where I take it as a sign of progress. Hello, Badass.
What I’ve learned in more than a few decades of life, including studying business, psychology and positive psychology, reading hundreds of books on a massive spiritual journey and taken in as much Oprah and Tony Robbins as I could get my hands on, is that there is a way to live a peaceful and meaningful life. The easy life. If you follow the rules, you’ll think you’ve been given an easy button.
These 16 maxims will change your life if you live by them.
- Don’t make messes. I know. You’re thinking, “Duh.” Here’s the deal. A pause is your best friend. Don’t say or do things you know are likely to make a mess. Sometimes, we know we’re rolling the dice on consequences we do not actually want to deal with. Ask yourself, what’s the worst that could happen if I _____? Can I handle it if that happens? Do I want to handle it?
- Live according to the integrity in your heart not the integrity of your past mistakes. Blame and shame aren’t worth much to anyone. We all make mistakes. Move forward and live by the integrity of who you are.
- Pay it forward. No matter how much or how little time, energy, or money you have, you can help others. Find a way. As you lift up others, you lift up yourself.
- “Do the right thing even when the right thing is the hard thing.” This is a quote by Bryan Stevenson which he attributed to his grandmother. It is some of the best advice I’ve ever heard. We must not shy away from discomfort. We know right from wrong. Do the right thing.
- Do your part. Do not assume someone else will take care of “it” whether “it” is the planet, animals, or your fellow humans.
- Focus on the good. You cannot be thankful and depressed at the same time. You might not have everything you want (yet!) but you have much for which to be grateful. If you’re struggling, stop, drop and make a list. Today I am grateful for….
- Keep moving forward. Do not use excuses. Your problem is not that you don’t have the time, energy or money, it’s that you don’t think you can do, have or be what you want. You can. People with less resources and more challenges than you have done things that seemed impossible. Move forward. Small steps are enough to create big change.
- It’s not them. It’s you. And that’s a great thing. When you take responsibility for who, what and where you are, you also realize you have the power to change what you do not love.
- Be a leader. You were born; therefore, you have greatness inside you. Forget what clutters your mind and holds you back. You do not need others to lead the way for you. You are a leader.
- Ask yourself, “is this good for me?” Ask it frequently and preemptively. When you live consciously, you will find yourself faced with fewer messes.
- Be a judgment free zone. Do not judge yourself or others. You are doing the best you can with the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical resources you have today. So is everyone else. Our resources vary. No one has the intention of doing a lousy job at life.
- Repair relationships even if you do not want the relationship to continue. Form new relationships. Isolation breeds depression and anxiety; connection is the antidote. You have a tribe of like-minded people out there. Find them. They need connection too.
- Do hard stuff. When you do hard stuff, you prove to yourself that you can do hard stuff. The world becomes less scary. You find your personal power. Easy button. And here’s the deal, you’ve already won out over so many challenges. Why would you be afraid of anything?
- Do not engage. Do not engage in what isn’t meant for you, what doesn’t need to involve you and isn’t good for you. This includes everything that isn’t about you which is just about everything. Other people’s drama, the news, other people’s opinions and expectations. We take so many things other people say and do personally and it usually isn’t about us. Refusing to engage in what doesn’t make you happy, frees up time, energy and possibly money for what does.
- Create a Zen Zone around you and stay in it. You get to choose whether you’re going to get mad and stay that way. Whether you’re going to hold a grudge. Or whether you’re going to stay in your Zen zone because the situation isn’t worth your elevated and prolonged negative physiological response. When it comes right down to it, not much is worth killing your Zen. Remember, everyone is doing the best they can and you never know other people’s stories. Getting cut off in traffic isn’t a personal assault. Most of what happens isn’t even remotely about you. Your own personal Zen is.
- Write the story of your awesome future. Make it start today. The more exciting it is for you, the more compelled you will be to make it come true. Dreams do come true for ordinary people. Situations do not define your possibilities, your determination does.
If you don’t want to deal with messes, don’t create messes. Things beyond your control will go wrong occasionally. Pipes will burst. Your dog will get diarrhea. A hurricane will head straight for your house when you’re about to go on your dream trip to Paris that you already paid for. You can do your part by not adding to what Mother Nature heaps on you.
You have the ability to stay in a Zen Zone of your own making. Life doesn’t have to be messy. The minor mishaps won’t deplete your precious resources when you’re building and sanctifying them in every way. We all live by a personal code of our conscious or unconscious choosing. Life is what we make it.
Living by these rules is not about perfection but progress. The more you live by them, the more you will be able to live by them, freed from the relentless exhaustion of hiding from messes or cleaning them up.