“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine
What if there was a magic pill that could transform the heart, reshape the mind, and help you live with enduring joy and inner-peace? Would you take it? Well sorry, there is no such pill, no matter what the pharmaceutical industry tells you. But that doesn’t mean there is no hope. It just means that becoming a more harmonious and joyful person takes a little deeper methodology. I believe there are two main ways to transform your life. One method is through knowledge. Knowledge includes learning everything we can about truth, philosophy, psychology, and success. We can read books, take course, learn from others, and slowly but surely alter our perspectives and beliefs about ultimate truth. The other method is through new experiences. For example, traveling the world, having a child, or encountering a loss. After these experiences we start doing things in a new way or trying things we have never tried. In the process we encounter a shift in perspective and our relationship to life changes for the better. So simply put, the more you are willing to stretch yourself, the more you will grow and the more your relationship to life can change. You can flip your world upside down and uncover a deeper truth about why you’re alive. Here are few ways to help you shift your world-view and start living a more fruitful, loving, and whole life. Oh yeah, and all of these practices will be difficult, so good luck!
Help people you don’t like
I know what you’re thinking. “Why in the hell would I help someone I don’t like?!” “That’s crazy!” Yes I know, it is not the natural response to love our “enemy,” but it is the exact way to transform our life. How transforming would it be to let go of the bitterness and hatred you have toward another? We usually wish people we dislike the worst. Instead of wishing them the worst, do something kind for them. Let go of this negativity and open your heart to the transforming power of forgiveness and kindness.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” ― Plato
Approach what you find repulsive
What aspect of the world or society disgusts you when you think about it? This is probably either really easy for you to admit, or really difficult. The truth is, we all hold judgments about other people, places, and situations. We don’t always want to admit it, but we are critical and judgmental about something. Figure out where your judgments are strongest and make it a point to experience these people and situations. Use the opportunity to transform your outlook and beliefs, and open your mind to the vast diversity in the world.
“Anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that’s what makes you strong.” – Sarah Dessen
Admit your faults
We all have blindspots and weaknesses that we pretend don’t exist. It’s the classic out of sight out of mind scenario. It I ignore the fact that I made a mistake I won’t have to deal with it. But, the more we ignore and pretend we don’t have a problem (this is called denial!) the more it causes havoc in our life. Admit your faults and accept mistakes as teachers. Become a seeker of your potential. To slay your dragons you must face them.
“We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies – it is the first law of nature.” – Voltaire
Give away what you’re attached to
I know, these ideas are getting more and more ludicrous. But, I really mean it. Give away something you’re emotionally attached to. No, nothing that has true sentimental value. There are things that hold true meaning and I’m not suggesting you get rid of these things. I am referring to the materialistic possessions that you believe are valuable and important because of the status and image they represent.
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” – Buddha
What materialistic possession do you place value in? What about giving away your favorite shirt or ditching the television? In the past I would’ve considered a television to be very important to me. I worshiped T.V. for God’s sake! Now, I no longer have a television and realize how much of an addiction it was. What I used to think was important I am now better off without, and I have connected deeper with my purpose in the process.
Go to places that scare you
This doesn’t mean doing something dangerous, and as a disclaimer I’m not suggesting you go jump off a bridge. I am referring to more existential fears – our fear of failure and our self-doubts and worries. We often avoid what we fear, even if it keeps us stuck and unhappy. By approaching our fear we minimize it. So practice being courageous. Next time you feel that fear telling you to live small, do the opposite and live large!
“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” – Henry Ford
Well that’s it, not so bad right? It’s only five practices that are completely uncomfortable and against your natural tendencies! But of course, that is the exact reason to try them. Leave any comments about your experience below!