Living Life to its Fullest 

In the grand scheme of things, our time here on this earth occurs in the blink of an eye.  Ask any of us who are older.  It seems like yesterday that we were kids acting goofy running around in the yard or learning how to ride a bike or going on that big family trip to Disney.  Yet here we are a number of years later with bills, with seemingly overwhelming responsibilities and no time to ourselves.  How did life get this way?  Since life is so short and our time here on earth a relatively fleeting experience, we must learn to enjoy every moment that we can.  If we can do this, we’ll be able to enjoy ourselves, others will find us much more enjoyable to be with and we’ll make a bigger positive impact on the world around us.  How do we do this? 

Much of how we experience life and how we feel about living is through our perceptions and how we choose to perceive them.  When something happens to us, do we choose to view that event negatively or positively?  In order to live life to its fullest we must feel positive about ourselves, the others around us and the world around us.  If we choose to view all three things in a negative way, we remove the joy from our lives causing our perception of life to be painful, stressful or at the very least, not much fun.

To put a framework around this concept, imagine what life would be like for you if you were diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and you only had 6 months to live.  What would you do?  Would you spend those last 6 months lamenting over the unfairness of life and squander your last few precious days?  Or, would you take full advantage of every day, every second, making the most of the time you have left.  This is exactly what happened to a college professor several years ago.  The professor was Randy Pausch, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, and he documented the last few months of his life in his book, “The Last Lecture.”  Much of the book was dedicated to his young children who would never get to know their father as they grew up and to his wife, who he would be leaving behind to raise them alone.  This is an excellent book and when you read it, it certainly changes your perspective on your own life.

So what can we do to live our own lives to the fullest?  The first and most important thing that we have to do, is change our perception of it.  We need to stop viewing things negatively and learn to view them positively.  We have an excellent article on learning to be positive here at RCGS.  Essentially, we need to catch ourselves when we think negatively.  Negative thoughts feed on themselves producing more negative thoughts in a downward spiral to unhappiness.  If we catch ourselves doing this, we need to say to ourselves, “Stop!” and then instantly think of something positive and then make sure that the next thought that occurs afterwards is positive as well and then keep doing it.  What we need to do here is create a positive “upward spiral” of thoughts that takes us to higher levels of happiness and enjoyment.  So much of life is perception, so let’s make sure that we have a great and uplifting perception of it.  When we have a great perception of life we are able to be much more productive and find ourselves in a better position to take advantage of every moment presented to us.

Another thing that we should do to help us live life to its fullest is to invest in ourselves.  Take time to read and listen to positive self-help books and CD’s.  Change listening to the news or music in your car to listening to self-help recordings on personal effectiveness, being positive and life enjoyment.  Read books such as “The Last Lecture.”  Many people spend their time improving their bodies.  What is lost here is that we need to spend an equal amount of time improving our minds, making us be the best “us” that we can be.

Get regular exercise and eat healthy.  When we regularly exercise and feed ourselves with good nutritious food and don’t overeat, we feel better physically and mentally.  Take time to get an hour’s worth of vigorous exercise three times a week.  If you have trouble exercising by yourself, find a friend to exercise with or sign up for classes for something that is fun and gives you great exercise.  And then make it a #1 priority on the same level as work and family.  If we are healthier we are better workers and family members.  It’s no secret that when we feel better physically, we also feel better mentally.

Reduce the amount of time that you spend watching TV and listening to the news.  These soak up large amounts of time in your life and can be very negative (especially the news).  Don’t look back on your life and notice that the biggest thing that you ever did was sit on the couch all day and watch TV.

Put yourself in a positive and nurturing environment.  If you find that work is very negative and is removing the joy in your life, take slow, determined, incremental steps to change that.  If you find that home life is negative, take steps to improve your situation there.  Feel free to schedule counseling for you and/or your loved ones if needed.  No matter how hard we try to be positive and feel good about ourselves, it can be hard sometimes when we are constantly fed with negative input.

Learn to view problems as opportunities.  If we can learn to view a problem as an opportunity and learn something new along the way, not only will we be changing negative thoughts to positive ones, we will also be improving ourselves making us feel better in general and feeling more capable at handling future obstacles that present themselves to us.  Remember, a problem is really an opportunity in disguise.  What have you learned from your most recent obstacles?  Take a moment to reflect on them and ask yourself what you have learned and feel positive about your answers as you discover them.

Set aside time for you.  Play guitar or do what you like to do. While we need to be there for work, friends and family, it is important that we take time to ourselves.  This recharges our batteries making us happier and more fun to be with.

Learn to organize your life and how to set and make goals and then achieve them.  RCGS has another excellent article on goal setting.  Setting and achieving goals is the fuel for living life to its fullest.  When we set goals and achieve them we are improving ourselves, we are making us feel happier as we achieve these successes and we are happier to be with.  People are attracted to positive people who get things done.  Learn to set and achieve goals.  If you can add this skill to your life, the sky’s the limit!

Create a bucket list and then set about achieving them one by one.  When you have a positive attitude and you connect this with goal setting and achieving, you will be able attain these bucket list goals one by one.  What is on your bucket list?  Is it a trip to someplace special with that special someone?  Is it running in a race?  Whatever your items are, create that list and then prioritize the list in order of what you want to do first and then set steps in place attached with dates and what you need to do to reach those dates and then get going!

There are many other things that you can do to help you live your life to its fullest, but it essentially all starts with learning how to view life in a positive manner and investing time into yourself to make you be the best you that you can be.  Try to always be in the moment and enjoy that moment.  When you think about it, life is a long series of moments.  Make sure that you learn to enjoy each moment and then you will be living life to its fullest!

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