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Random Ideas About Life

In the grand scheme of things, I have little to nothing figured out.

But just in case I’ve stumbled on something that could help you, here are a few ideas about living well, doing good, and making life better.
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Lessons From a San Francisco Sunrise: The Magic of Committing to a Specific Goal

In our noisy world of multitasking, always connected, and overstimulated work, it’s easy to live in a constant state of distraction.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Earlier this week, as I wrapped up a 5–day trip in San Francisco, I was reminded of the power of committing yourself to a single task.

I woke up a few hours before sunrise, drove through the darkness and out of the city, hiked for 30 minutes to the top of a hill overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, and snapped this photo…

San Francisco Sunrise

san francisco california photos

The sun rises over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. (Photo by James Clear.)

As I stood there soaking in the early morning light, I was reminded of an important lesson that is dangerously easy to ignore: if you commit to a task rather than thinking about a desire, you get something done.

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The #1 Regret From the Lives of Dying Hospital Patients (And How to Avoid It)

Bronnie Ware is a nurse in Australia. She has spent more than a decade counseling dying people. Over that time span, she began recording the top regrets that people have on their death bed.

After 12 years, she concluded that the most common regret of all was this:

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

Why is this such a common regret at the end of our lives? And how can you make sure that you don’t end up feeling the same way?
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Are You Living an Urgent Life or an Important Life?

There are moments throughout our lives, and they happen almost every day, where we catch a glimpse of what we are capable of, a flicker of what we are destined to be, or a hint of what we desire to become.

It could be a burst of inspiration for that book we always wanted to write. Or the yearning to finally lose the extra weight. Or the feeling of dissatisfaction with our job and an urge to build something of our own.

These are important desires and they call to us all the time. But right before we answer their call, the urgency of life tends to get in the way. Your phone rings. Your car is low on gas. Your boss drops a tight deadline on you. And so we delay our dreams one more day for the sake of putting out another fire.

How do we get past this? How do we start living the life that’s important to us instead of just responding to the everyday emergencies?
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The Easiest Way to Live a Short Unimportant Life

A recent article in the New York Times shared research on longevity that revealed that the people who live the longest not only live healthy lifestyles, but also tend to engage and connect with the people around them. They visit their neighbors. They teach classes in town. They pass down traditions to their children.

In other words, they contribute to the world around them.

The article didn’t come out and say it, but what it alluded to was that as people age, they tend to find themselves consuming more and creating less. To put it bluntly: the easiest way to live a short unimportant life is to consume the world around you rather than contribute to it.

Meanwhile, the people who keep on contributing tend to be the ones who keep on living. The message was clear. People who contribute to their community live longer.

But why is this true? And how can you apply it to your own life?
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