Chances are it isn’t you if you haven’t given any thought to how you want to live it.
If you haven’t given serious consideration to how you want to live (and I mean serious, none of this “win the lottery” B.S.) then it’s likely that you are moving along with the current, going wherever life sends you, adopting other people’s (you parents?) ideas of how you should live your life. That feeling that there must be more to life is a sure sign you aren’t running it.
Be the Creator of you life. Engage in it, don’t watch from the sidelines.
I’m an introvert. I spend a lot of time thinking. I am inside my head a lot, thinking about ideas, concepts, problems, solutions and what I’m going to eat at my next meal. I’ve recently taken action to move my life in a different direction. It was painful and scary but the right thing to do. Determined not to repeat the same mistakes and live in alignment with my passions, values and talents, I decided to craft a personal philosophy. I hold creative thinking in high regard so I’ve used the word creativity as an acronym.
C – Childlike curiosity – Invite your inner child out to play and have fun. Laugh. Question everything. “We’ve always done it this way” is lazy thinking. Change is going to happen, you can look at it as an exciting new adventure or let it run you over. Innovations don’t happen by following the status quo.
“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” – Dr. Suess.
R – Rules – Know them, but don’t be afraid to break them (legally, that is). Or better yet, invent some new ones. Or forget them all together.
“The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.” – Mark Twain
“Madness is rare in individuals – but in groups, parties, nations and ages it is the rule.” Freidrich Nietzsche
“Do unto others as you would have done unto you” – The Golden Rule
E – Empathy – Before you jump to conclusions or judge someone, put yourself in their shoes. Be open to new ideas, new experiences, new cultures, new people. Get out of your own head and explore different perspectives.
A – Amateur – don’t be one. In Carl King’s book “So you’re a creative genius, now what?” he defines a pro, amateur and hobbyist. You want to either be a pro (you love what you do and work your butt off to create a viable career) or a hobbyist (not interested in money, does it for sheer joy of it). Don’t strive to be an amateur: a hobbyist who is half-heartedly trying to be a pro. As the great Yoda said, “Do or do not, there is no try.” Amateurs fall in the “try” category.
T – Talents – Know yours and align yourself with them. Invest the majority of your time in them. Sure, it helps to beef up your weak areas but you’ll probably always just be mediocre and as a result, those are not the things that will bring you great joy. When you operate from your talents, tasks become easier and life in general becomes less of a struggle, and even, dare I say, a pleasure.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman.
I – Imitate – Growth (as a human being) is important for our mental well-being and learning facilitates growth. How did we learn as children? We imitated others. There is a saying “Good writers borrow, great writers steal”. There is a reason that art students copy the masters, not to plagiarize them, but to learn from them. Let’s say you are a salesperson. Watch high producing salespeople in action. What are they doing? What are they saying? What aren’t they saying? What are they wearing? What are their mannerisms? Watch the faces of their prospects and see how they respond. Obviously, you can’t be that salesperson (writer, painter, drummer, etc) because we each have a unique set of skills, traits and talents. Find the essence of that great sales presentation, piece of art, poem, music, campaign, etc, learn from it and then put your spin on it.
“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.” – Eartha Kitt
“We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.” – Lloyd Alexander
V – Values – Figure out what your top 4-5 values are and use them as a guide for living your life. My top 5 values are: being connected, learning, design, stewardship and appreciation. Funny thing, once I realized how much I valued appreciation (I wasn’t getting any), it dawned on me that I wasn’t being very appreciative of others. Since then, I have gone out of my way to make sure others know how much I appreciate them or what they’ve done. And wouldn’t you know, what goes around, comes around. Not only does identifying your values give you a filter in which to run every decision through, it helps you see your own behavior in a whole new light and when guided by those values, change is a lot easier.
I – Imagination – Use it. A lot.
“You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?'” – George Bernard Shaw
“Live out of your imagination, not your history.” – Steven Covey
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein
T- Thankfulness – Humans have a bias towards negativity. We overreact to the bad and undervalue the good. We get what we focus on. If we focus on the negative stuff then that is all we’ll pay attention to. So to get ourselves out of the trap of negative thinking, we need to take time to give thanks for all the good that we have. It’s hard to do when you are chin deep in troubles but you can’t get yourself out of a negative situation with negative thinking.
“When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears.” – Anthony Robbins
Y – Yin/Yang – Accept and embrace all of you. You’re a flawed being who can be silly, compassionate, petty, angry, sad, hurt, funny, ditzy, intelligent, thoughtful, loving and everything else inbetween. This doesn’t mean that you give up trying to be a better person. It just means accept who you are right now.
What would you include in your personal philosophy?