I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think
I have ended up where I needed to be.
Life has no purpose; you have a purpose and you bring it to life. There isn’t one big cosmic purpose for everyone either; there is only the one you give to yourself – a personal purpose, an individual meaning, a distinct plot to the story that is your life. Often this plot is difficult to follow; yet it is never impossible to follow and it is worth every bit of effort you can muster.
Each moment, each situation, each turn of events presents you with an opportunity to build the self you are capable of being. It’s just a matter of accepting opportunities, implementing ideas, taking action, and actively expressing the purpose that is uniquely YOU.
You are stronger than any barrier standing in your way, because you have a purpose that cannot be denied. You can be adaptable, innovative, hard working and tenacious. You can imagine the possibilities and then work to make them real.
Here are five life skills that will help you do just that – the real fundamentals of being an empowered, self-directed human being:
Joy comes easy to us in our youth because we haven’t become set too firmly in our ways. Our willingness to curiously assess new things and varying perspectives allows us to experience flashes of insight and beauty wherever we go. Those of us who fight the draw of our comfort zones as we age, who sustain our curiosity into our later years, learn a lot more and see far more beauty throughout our lifetime.
Curiosity, after all, is the foundation of lifelong growth. It allows us to retain a beginner’s mind even as our wisdom expands. In this way, an enduring curiosity permits our hearts and minds to grow younger, not older every day.
Always remain curious and teachable. Keep an open mind and do not stop questioning and learning. Look forward, open new doors and experience new things. Do so because you’re curious, and because you know that today’s journey is always just beginning.
When it comes to human growth, if curiosity is the engine, creativity is the steering wheel. Creativity is the most powerful instrument of progress – a mindset that endows resources with a new capacity to create possibility and growth.
The world is moving so fast these days that those who say something can’t be done are often interrupted by those who are doing it. This is precisely why it’s important to exercise your creative mind on a regular basis. Ultimately, the creative learners inherit the world while the doubters and complacent minds find themselves perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists. (Read The War of Art.)
Except for your own thoughts, there’s nothing that’s absolutely in your power. Knowing and accepting this gives you the ability to cope proficiently with life’s constant little inconveniences – a vital life skill we called resilience.
Resilience is accepting reality, even if it’s less than the fantasy you had in your mind or the reality that was once yours. You can fight it, you can do nothing but complain about what you’re missing, or you can accept what you have and try to put it together to create something good.
As you progress, life will inevitably challenge you on a regular basis. No matter how much falls on you, keep your head up and plow ahead. That’s the only way to keep the road to your dreams clear. It won’t get any more forgiving, but it will get easier and easier to deal with, because over time you will grow stronger and more resilient. (Read The Road Less Traveled.)
In the sweetest little voice Winnie-the-Pooh once said, “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” This is the power of patience.
Patience is not sitting still. Rather, it’s mastering your time by applying the right principles in the right way to attain a long-term desired result. It’s moving forward steadily for as long as it takes to get where you want to go. Enduring the time between your departure and arrival requires a great deal of will. But no matter how tedious these moments of waiting are, you have to get used to the feeling, knowing that what you’re working toward is coming your way, even though it’s not with you at the moment.
Ultimately the two hardest tests on the road to personal growth are the patience to wait for what you want and the courage not to be disappointed when it doesn’t arrive as soon as you had expected. Patience can be bitter, but the seeds you plant now will bear sweet fruit. These fruits are worth waiting for. There’s no advantage to hurrying through life and never tasting their sweetness.
Self-reliance is the most important of all life skills, because without it you can’t practice any other life skill consistently. It’s honestly a virtue that brings all the rest together.
Quite simply, self-reliance is the unswerving willingness to take responsibility for your life from this moment forward, regardless of who had a hand in making it the way it is now. It’s taking control of your life, finding your true self by thinking for yourself, and making a firm choice to live your way. It’s being the hero of your life, not the victim.
Life constantly invites you to be who you are capable of being. Choosing to be self-reliant is accepting life’s invitation. (Marc and I discuss this in detail in the Growth and Success chapters of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
What did I miss? What life skills would you add to the list? Please leave a comment below.
Photo by: Hartwig HKD