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.
If you want to change your life, then change your identity.
All behavior is belief driven.
The type of person that you believe that you are and the type of things that you believe you are capable of — in other words, your identity — is what determines the actions you perform.
The limitations in your life are framed by the box of your mind. If you want a new life, then start building a new identity.
Start small. Prove your new identity to yourself in a thousand tiny ways. Soon it will become real in a thousand big ways.
Further Reading: Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals
It's your responsibility to pick the direction for your life.
A lot of smart people waste years thinking, “If I just work hard, then things will work out for me.”
Maybe. Maybe not.
It's your job to decide the direction for your life. The world is filled with good people who want good things for you, but they are busy with their own lives. It's not their job to find opportunities for you. They won’t help you unless you can tap them on the shoulder and say, “I’d like to get here. Do you know how?”
Purpose is everything. If you know where you want to go in life, then people will either help you get there or get out of the way. Both of those are useful.
Focus on average speed, not maximum speed.
Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.
Most people only work hard every now and then. You can blow past them simply by showing up every day. While everyone else is waiting to get inspired and motivated, you get to work. It doesn't take a monumental effort to achieve incredible results, just a consistent one.
Professionals set a schedule for their work. Amateurs work when it's convenient.
Give yourself permission.
You don’t need permission to make yourself better. The typical standard doesn’t have to be your standard.
You don't need permission to love someone or something. If you love them, you love them. If you love it, you love it.
You don't need permission to create something you're excited about, to quit your job and travel the world, to pursue a dream, to give up on a dream, or to do just about anything.
If you want to do it, do it. You don't need to be tapped, appointed, chosen, or nominated to live a good life. You don't need to be selected for greatness, just start living it.
Start before you feel ready.
If you have a goal, the most important thing is to start. Do not wait for motivation. If it’s not there, it will come after starting.
Most of us begin at the same place: no money, no resources, no contacts, no experience. The difference is that some people — the winners — choose to start anyway.
Having the courage to start is more important than succeeding because the people who consistently get started are the only ones who can end up finishing anything. If you can't find anyone to support you, be bold and start anyway. You'll find supporters along the way.
Further Reading: Successful People Start Before They Feel Ready
Push yourself physically.
We live in a physical world and we're meant to live a physical life.
Challenging your own body is the greatest method for discovering the strength of your mind. Nowhere is this more true than with strength training. There will be days when you don’t feel like coming into the gym. There will be sets that you don’t feel like finishing. There will be times when everyone else in the gym will see you fail.
And if you keep showing up anyway, then you’ll develop the mental fortitude to get past failure, work when you don’t feel like it, and discover what you’re really made of mentally and physically. Too many people are soft mentally because they're soft physically.
Further Reading: Why Everybody Should Lift Weights
Create something rather than consuming something.
When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.
Too often we spend our lives visiting the world instead of shaping it. It is through the act of creating new experiences that we discover who we are and what is important to us.
Cook a meal instead of buying one. Play a game instead of watching one. Write a paragraph instead of reading one. Don't just consume, create.
Further Reading: The Easy Way to Live a Short, Unimportant Life
You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.
You have no responsibility to live up to someone else’s expectation of you. Don't waste your life chasing what someone else says you should want instead of doing what’s right for you.
Take a stand for something you believe in. Sometimes you need to look society in the eye and tell the world to stuff it. Never compromise your values or your dreams. It’s not the easy decision, but it’s the right decision.
Give away your ideas. Take no credit. Share your victories.
Team accomplishment is far greater than individual achievement. To make your work matter, share it with someone. Giving is the greatest joy.
There's no sense in pointing fingers, making claims, or demanding recognition. Pretty much every idea you've ever had isn't yours — it's the result of something you read, something you were taught, or something that happened to you.
Embrace the learning experience that is life and share the knowledge you stumble across freely. Ideas that are hoarded help no one. Success follows generosity.