Last week I read an elitedaily.com article by lifestyle writer Paul Hudson where he listed the top 10 things that people who love their lives are doing differently. On Twitter I made a public vow to revisit the article when I had a minute and dissect Hudson’s meaning behind each thought. Then I vowed to publicly benchmark myself against each factor in an honest way. I challenge you to do the same. I’ll hold myself to reexamining this list a year from now and measuring my progress. I thought, why not get a head start on my 2015 new years self-improvement challenges today? Try it for yourself!
This is a lengthy post but worth the mental exercise. Here are 10 things that people who love their lives are doing differently:
1. They don’t try to make others like them. This is hard for some to practice but it really is a simple concept for self-acceptance. We’re not in high school and life isn’t a popularity contest. The people who are worth keeping around are those who like you for the person you are. They should respect you equally for your flaws as they do for your strengths. Those who know me can probably attest to the fact that I’m the type who sacrifices a lot of aquaintances for a few lifelong friendships. A
2. They have to do things because they want to, not because they believe they have to do them. This takes some strength and is not easy for us indecisive types. Perhaps the people who don’t do anything they don’t want to do are truly living out their dreams. But this is harder for me. There are a lot of things I feel I have to do. Maybe I’m thinking of it too practically. We all have obligations and things we have to do in our daily lives because I don’t think anyone wants to scrub soap scum off of the shower door. B
3. They love their friends but don’t rely on them. Friends are a valuable part of life. They'll pick you up and support you at your darkest hours and they'll celebrate your victories and milestones. But in all honesty, you shouldn’t rely on anyone but yourself. A
4. When you ask them what they do, they don’t give you a job title. This is my favorite on the list and the one I most want to aspire to change. Hudson is talking about embodying a life that is more than your day job. When someone asks you what you do, your response could ideally be about anything from where you’ve been in the world, where you want to go, or who you want to be – either in your professional or personal lives. It truly is a challenge because society has conditioned us to believe our job defines us. So we mutter things like, “I’m in PR.” I LOVE the thought that this simple question could help us learn so much about each other if we all opened our apertures to answer with more than a job title. I will work on this. C
5. When you ask them where they live, they say ‘at the moment…’ This is another one that is arguable based on your family life or current career situation. But Hudson’s point is that people who have a zest for life are open to travelling to different places and never settling into one place for too long. This point is about being flexible in your future and excited about where the world could potentially take you next. I’ve been that person for the past six years and a part of me still is. B+
6. They have their own philosophies, their own religion they created and live by. This takes a strong-willed person. This is probably the same person who doesn’t care what anyone thinks of them. Right now I’m building my own philosophy and tweaking it with each experience. I fully agree with owning your individual journey and taking the steps you need to get where you want to go -- confidently and with no apologies. A-
7. They embrace their impermanence. My interpretation of this is about maintaining flexibility in life. Nothing is forever and we can’t take ourselves too seriously to believe we are invincible. To Hudson, this concept is much more tangible. He says happy people know they are mortal, embrace it and don’t fear death. It’s a heavy one but something to think about. B-
8. They see the world as their playhouse and their mind as the conductor. Again, so idealistic but when broken down, this is as simple as being in control of your path and what you make of it. "The world is your oyster" is an overused cliché but holds truth in that happy people mold the world to fit them, not the other way around. B
9. They live in the moment but dream in the future. Not everyone has a dream, and that’s ok. But everyone can have short and long term goals. Living in the moment is a promise I made to myself when I created this blog at the beginning of 2014. I've made strides. But above all else, I am a dreamer. A-
10. They don’t bother changing others, but instead learn how to deal with them appropriately. Another challenge of life. Acceptance is a muscle that we can continue to strengthen. And the only person you have control over is yourself. Either adapt or accept. B+
Even if you don’t agree with Hudson's top 10 characteristics of happy people, I hope it helps you reflect on your own life and make some adjustments if needed. Perhaps you’ll compile your own ideal list. We all can have attainable goals if we make an effort to be our best selves. Being true to yourself is important and that’s what I’ve done here. I'll post my own progress report in 2015. How did you do?