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Tuesday, 8 May 2012

There are no mistakes in life, just lessons ...

How interesting, last night, four individuals from different walks of life, Japanese, New Zealander, Chinese and Indian came together in conjunction for a friend's farewell and to celebrate my upcoming birthday. Sitting closely together we had a wonderful time at a local cosy French restaurant. Everyone was enjoying themselves, we discuss about travels, food, culture and life.

It is that time of the year for a quarterly reality check and life's biggest question. After speaking to friends and clients over the last couple of weeks (maybe months) since I got back from my missions trip, everyday we seem to be striving for financial freedom and getting more years out of life ... when we should really be focusing on getting more life out of our years ... trying to find ways to live, and not merely exist.

Well probably not everyone will understand my point here, but yes too often we go through life on autopilot, going through the motions and having each day pass like the one before it.

Before we know it, time flew pass in front of us. Everyone experience the same problem.
Well some individual find that comfortable while others accept it as part of life.

My question, is that really fine? You think maybe it is but let's look at the following scenarios.

Scenario 1 : Friends
That's fine until one day you meet someone you have not meet for a long time, you realise they have gone through another year without having done anything, without having really lived life.

Scenario 2: Partners
That's fine until you see your close friends having kids one by one and then you realise that you are missing out on parenthood.

Scenario 3 : Parents
That's fine until they see their kids go off to college and they tell you that they missed their childhoods.

I don't want to reached old age and look back on life with regrets. It’s not fine and it's not fair. 

If I want to truly live life, to really experience it, to enjoy it to the fullest, instead of barely scraping by and only living a life of existence, I need to find ways to break free.

Now let's drink to life, because what follows is just a list of ways I choose to live my life (Hey! we all need reminders and I am here to share my life lessons, some which I am still trying to accomplish every single day)

1. Fall in love, if you aren't already (Abandon being too cautious and let your heart be broken) it doesn't have to be romantic love, you can love all humanity, one person at a time.

2. Go outside, stop working so hard, pay attention to nature. Walk barefoot on the grass, hike the woods, dive in the freezing ocean, dance on the beach. Do your work on a laptop in a coffee shop, become a freelancer. It might be worth it.

3. Savour good food, don't just eat your food but really enjoy it. Feel the texture and flavours,savour every bite slowly.

4. Wake up early, greet the day, start a morning ritual, watch the sun rise, tell yourself today is a gift, enjoy some coffee.

5. Find your passion, your dreams, things that excite you, go after them, take chances. Make life one exciting adventure after another (with perhaps some quiet times in between). Make your living by doing the thing you love to do you only live once.I was often told I live my life too cautiously, worried about what might go wrong. Be bold, risk it all. Quit your job and go start a business for yourself (plan it out first!), or go up to that guy you've liked for a long time and ask him out. What do you have to lose? I have done it and got turn down a couple of times, yes it is embarrassing at first but I laughed about it now (instead of regretting not doing when I had the chance).

6. Open your heart and face your fears or suffering, I always tell others to face their fears but this doesn't mean I am perfect or I do not have my own fears. I am also trying to face it only then I will be set free. What is holding you back? Are you mess up, feeling empty, filled with scars? Talk to someone, practise makes perfect, life isn't all about fun games, suffering is inevitable. We lost jobs, our lovers, pets ... get injured or sick. It is normal to feel the pain and really grieve. When you are done move on ... so you are ready to find joy.

7. Slowdown and do nothing, I have to confess I fail terribly in this area.Friends always joke "she never stops" but I take it very seriously (not personally) ... this is not a compliment, I might burned out very soon, I don't want a major overhaul so young. Definitely this is not healthy or conducive living. Practise patience, learn to move snail pace start from eating to walking, driving, working and reading.

Next, when I say do nothing, it literally means no reading, taking nap, talking on the phone, not even watching TV, just sit still in silence, hear our inner voice, be in tune with our breathing, our mind should be blank (you may even call it meditating).

8. Turn off entertainment or the media, I stop watching the news on TV, maybe it is because I  never arrived home in time for it so I started to follow twitter news feed, short and precise, I can easily pick topic that caught my attention to read. Have you ever notice all the local news channel focus on depressing issues. Sometimes I feel like asking the TV to show me something important or at less exciting (excluding TV shows), slowly it became a background sound, no one pay any attention, so it is mainly switch off.

Note: Unless you are reading something useful (like this article) pull away from the Internet ;)

9. Rediscover what's important and eliminate everything else, make a list of everything that is important to you, add everything that you want to do in life, now cut the list down to 5 things you want to achieve, this is your core list, that is what matters. Focus on them and make time. As much as possible eliminate what is not on the list (wasting your time and distracting your attention) 

10. Exercise and stay positive, get active, you will love it, walk, run, push up, crunches, shake it. Learn to recognise negative thoughts, self-doubts, criticisms of others, complaints, gossips ... find your own way to stop and replace with good thoughts, happy emotion and positivity attitude. You can do this!

11. Volunteer and get touch by humanity, I suggest finding those who lived in worse conditions than yours, meet them, talk to them, understand them, better still live among them, be one of them. Are you willing to give up your materialistic lifestyle in search of truth, compassion, ease the suffering the poor/sick/ needy. Be honest and ask yourself, how far are you willing to go for others.

12. Play with children and talk to old people, my personal favourite, more than anyone else, children know how to live. They experience every moment fully. When they hurt they cry, when they play they have fun, when they are happy they giggle away. I enjoy playing with children on Sunday at church, they light up my life. I always wonder when I am ready to start a family of my own, will still feel the same? Anyway there is no one wiser, more experience, more learned than those who live through life. They have amazing stories to tell, they give great advice, we can learn from their regrets and avoid the same mistakes. They are pure wisdom of our society - take advantage of their existence while they are still around. Cherish them and keep them close.

13. Learn new skills and be in the moment, there is no excuse for us NOT to constantly improve ourself. 
Instead of thinking about things you need to do, or things that have happened to you, or worrying or planning or regretting, think about what you are doing, right now. What is around you? 

Well my purpose is to live a simple life, without having a reason to work, I still enjoy work but I don't want to have to go to work just because I needed work. I dream to be make a living by freelancing, work while I travel. Only work an hour or two a day, check email once a week. Then use the rest of the time to see the world. How awesome is that?  Can you see ... working toward this goal or "the process" is life itself.

Find ways to take a few weeks off every months, to rest, to spend time with your family. What I do is save up, get rid or sell my unused possessions and travel. Enjoy the short break and then go back to work, save up enough and do it again all over again. I say do it now while you're young.

14. Break away from routines and try something new, ask yourself what shall I try ... seek new experience. I can't learn Spanish in a week but I want to give it a try. For example, take a different route home, start your day differently, approach work from a new angle, notice sunset on the way back from work, kiss in the rain, make an awesome dessert 

15. Lose control, laugh till you cry ... let loose (stop taking yourself so seriously)
Men tend to hold in their emotions ... cry when you are hurt, learn to laugh at anything (tell jokes), it's okay to lose control now and then, forget trying to control or understand others, it is unnecessary stress, instead rely on effective communication, avoid walk away from the situation and hiding your feeling.

If you find this useful, print it out, and start using it. Today.


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