Live Your Best Life

Living your best life is not defined by being rich, popular or highly educated. To me living your best life is about being real, being humble, being strong and taking the time to touch the lives of others. It also means that you are actually doing the things that make you happy and are doing the things that you always hoped that you would do. Doing what you like is freedom but enjoying what you do is happiness.  People who are living their lives to the fullest first had a vision. Next, they formulated a plan to make that vision a reality. Then they committed themselves to working that plan. Being successful requires a true commitment because your desire to achieve your goal must outweighed every challenge and all negativity that you will face. At the same time, living your best life requires that you still find the time to take care of yourself, spend time with your family and keep up with your friends. Is this all difficult? Yes, but it is well worth it.

Living your best life also means that you are living a balanced life. Balance is a key part because only when your life is balanced will you be able to enjoy the journey you are on.  You must nurture your mind, body and spirit to achieve ultimate results. To live your best life you must be willing to change, to grow, and to do what it takes to be the best person you can be. Being your best self often means doing things that are difficult and challenging. It is much easier to sit on a couch than to run a marathon. Breaking bad habits and creating good habits takes discipline and strength of character. We can build strength of character by challenging ourselves and doing things that other people consider difficult.

It takes courage to live your best life because you will find that it will be necessary to break old habits and make changes in your life. Those changes may include walking away from friendships that do not positively support your goals and vision. Be prepared to run into resistance from family and friends as they see the new you. Many times the people that don’t support you are the same ones that are not making an effort in their own lives so they prefer that the people around them remain stuck like they are. It takes courage and strength of character to not care what people think and to create the life you want while others are judging you.

Life is a one-way ticket. It is by experiencing every single opportunity that we find our destiny and live our best lives. So ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I living the life I want?
  2. Is that life the best life possible for me?
  3. Am I the best person I can be?
  4. Can I be stronger, kinder, more loving or more compassionate?

You decide, and if you are ready to take on a new challenge to live the best life you can, just do it! Fight through the bad days to enjoy your best days.

 

The Golden Rule

Do you want to be happy? If your answer is ‘yes’ then you should make it a habit to treat others how you want to be treated. To put it another way, what you do not want done to you, do not do to others. This Golden Rule principle applies not only to how you should treat people, but it also means to think about others the way you want to be thought of; feel about others the way you want others to feel about you and, finally, you should speak about others the same way you want to be spoken of. Luke 6:31 puts it this way “as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” This principle will not be easy to follow but imagine what this world would look like if this became a way of life for us all. Life is like an echo. What you send out will come back to you. What you sow you will reap. Choose to be the type of person who will treat others nicely even when others have not been nice to them.

Our actions speak louder than our words. Our lives are defined not only by what we say but also by what we do. Show empathy. Make it a habit to try to place yourself in the shoes of another person – your loved ones, co-workers, people you meet on the street. Try to understand what it is like to be them, what they are going through, and why they do what they do. Be compassionate. Once you can understand another person, and feel what they’re going through, ask yourself what you would want someone to do for you in that situation to ease your pain and then do it. Don’t procrastinate – just do it. There are many people who go out of their way to be helpful, but in general people have a tendency to keep to themselves and to ignore the problems of others. Don’t be blind to the needs and troubles of others. Look to help even before you’re asked.

Overcome prejudice regardless if it is based on skin color, attractiveness, height, age, gender, religion. See each person as an individual human being, with different backgrounds and needs and dreams. Focus on the things you have in common with that person despite your differences. Stop criticism. We all have a tendency to criticize others whether it’s people we know or people we see from day to day. Just ask yourself if you would like to be criticized if you were in that person’s situation. Give people the respect and dignity that you want to receive. Don’t be afraid to interact with others even though they may look a little different than you do or are accustomed to.   The late Maya Angelou is quoted as saying “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Be careful how you treat people. The person you took for granted today just may turn out to be the person you will need tomorrow. Treating people the way you want to be treated fulfills the will of God. Make it hard for people not to want you in their life. This is happiness. What does this ‘golden rule’ mean for you?

 

Focus On The Positive

It’s been said that if you pay attention to the darkness, you will never find the light. This is a wise saying. Some people see the positive in a situation, and others see only the negative.   It all comes down to your point of view. Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. It’s like looking at a glass that is half full of water. The pessimist will say ‘the water is almost gone’ but the optimist will say that ‘there is still a half of a glass of water left’. We spend too much time dwelling on the negative and fearful things in our lives. We worry about what could go wrong instead of paying attention to the positive and good things we have. It’s imperative that we train ourselves to focus on thoughts that will move us forward in the right direction and avoid focusing on the negative.

Negativity is all around us and it will take time to uproot it. Many people fail to reach their goals because they focus on what hasn’t happened yet; whereas they should concentrate on expanding in the areas where they have seen success. Good things in life take time and you must be patient and visualize how you will feel once you achieve your goals. If we concentrate on what’s good, we’re likely to be encouraged and motivated. The problem, though, is how to focus on what’s positive in our lives when it’s so much easier to dwell on past mistakes and regrets. It’s more fun to work with people who are positive and are always striving for success as opposed to people who are always negative. No one wants to hear reasons why something won’t work. Make better use of your time by thinking of reasons how something will work. Positivity creates confidence and brings unity and support among people. Check the attitude you bring to the table and do not allow negative people and their negative thoughts hold you back or drag you down.

Being positive just doesn’t happen by saying, “I’m going to be positive.” You have to work at it. You have to find ways to get the negative things out of your life and align yourself with people who want to do big things while becoming a better person at the same time. If you want to get away from a problem, you should not focus on it.  Focus on what is good and what is positive. There is so much in life you can’t control but your attitude is a choice that you make every day. You can choose to be happy regardless of your circumstances or you can choose to be negative filled with fear and despair. When you focus on your problems, you will have more problems, but when you focus on possibilities, you will see opportunities. Negative thinking will never make your life positive. Happiness is a result of a decision to be happy. Happy people understand that to enjoy life you must “live” it and not just “think” about it.

Make a decision to change your negative thinking into positive thoughts. For example, if you are worried and focusing on what could go wrong in a situation, change your thoughts to what could go right. The mind can only think one thought at a time; so changing the negative into a positive eliminates the negative. Make it a habit to only use positive words when you speak regardless of what you might be feeling. Choose words that generate strength and emphasize success. Before you become successful you must first believe that you are successful. Remind yourself daily that you have so much going for you. Believe in yourself and you will create a healthy and positive environment around you that others will want to become a part of. Positive thinking will not only make you better, but it will make those around you better.

THINK BIG!

It’s been said that we are what we eat but we also are what we think. Proverbs 23:7 says that “so as a man thinks in his heart so is he.” How different would your life change if you started to think big? It’s important to have big dreams for your future. After all, failing to plan is planning to fail. If you don’t think big about your future, you’re not going to have a very big future. But what is big? It is, of course relative, meaning that what is big for one person may not be big for another person. So that we are all on the same page, I’m going to define big as anything that takes you farther than where you are today or it is possessing much more than what you currently have.

Thinking big begins with a single thought. The one major factor that separates the most successful people from the rest begins with a single thought. This single thought grows over time and eventually propels a person to their reward which is achieving their goals. Thinking big is not easy because you will constantly run into people who will criticize the way you think. These people will tell you that what you are thinking is not possible. They will tell you that you are wasting your time and energy and that you should be thinking about something that is more in line with what already exists. In other words, they want you to lower your thoughts and believe in something else – something that won’t bother them or make them envious once you get it. They want to discourage you from reaching your full potential. People will always judge, criticize, condemn and complain. It’s just a natural part of human nature. However, this is not a barrier to thinking big unless you make it so. Just accept the fact that not everyone is capable of thinking big like you and you must look for support from others who have already achieved big things because of their big thoughts.

People who think big place no limitations on themselves nor are they plagued by fear. They embrace every challenge and are prepared to break down every wall standing in their way so they not only think big but they act big. This allows them to keep doing bigger and bigger things. On the other hand, people who don’t think big get stressed about what might go wrong, so they think small, make small decisions and act accordingly. Life is about making mistakes, it’s about taking chances, and it’s about thinking big about your life. The enemy knows that our every day decisions are made based upon the way we think. Therefore, let’s think big because we have the mind of Christ in us. Whatever degree of success you have achieved so far, raise the bar and think bigger! Remember, we are what we think so think BIG! When you do, you’ll find that your future will be far more amazing than your past, and even more amazing than you thought it would be.

Think about it!

 

 

Live In The Present

How would your life be different if you stopped worrying about things you can’t control and started focusing on the things you can? Don’t anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Worrying about tomorrow is like moving into tomorrow ahead of time. It is difficult to live in and enjoy the moment when you are thinking about the past or worrying about the future. You cannot change your past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about your future. Sometimes people let the same problem make them miserable for years.   That means that they have not accepted what they could not change nor have they changed what was in their power to change. We must learn from the past but look towards the future. The more you live in and enjoy the present moment, the happier you will be.

If you want to be happy, do not dwell in the past, do not worry about the future, focus on living fully in the present. You can’t fully appreciate today if you worry too much about tomorrow. Realize that tomorrow is going to happen whether you worry about it or not; and since worry has never accomplished anything for anybody, redirect your energy on your life today. Fully appreciate the moments of today. Soak in as much of today as you possibly can – the sights, the sounds, the smells, the emotions, the good things and even the sorrow. If you can only live one moment at a time, you might as well make it the present.

Dream about the future, but work hard today. Set goals and plans for the future but working hard today is always the first step towards realizing your dreams tomorrow. Don’t allow dreaming about tomorrow to replace living in today. Today is full of all sorts of possibilities and promises. The dream that didn’t happen yesterday for you could happen for you today. Avoid dwelling on your past accomplishments. If you are still talking about what you did yesterday, you haven’t done much today.

Jesus Christ gives us peace. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:7 to “cast our cares on Him because He cares for you.” Understanding and accepting that God cares for you and that He can take away your anxiety is life-changing. God does not want you to carry your burdens alone. In fact, He doesn’t want you to carry them at all and that is why He sent His Son to take away everything you are worrying about today. Leave the past in the past. Live in the present with a peace that passes all understanding. It’s what God wants for you.

 

Someone Is Always Watching

Whether you realize it or not we all have the power to affect the behavior of others and that is why we must be careful about our words and our actions. Your words and actions will have a lasting influence on the people who are watching you and, yes, someone is always watching. You are setting an example for someone even if you are not aware of it and the example you set can change someone else’s life for the better or for the worse and that kind of power should not be taken lightly.

The power that can change another person for the better is shown when you show respect to a homeless person on the street by acknowledging that you see them by saying a simple hello. It is shown when you encourage someone to keep moving forward when they are going through a difficult time because you believed in them and you took the time to tell them that. Your influence has the power to comfort someone who has lost a loved one because you shared in their grief by just being there in their time of need. Enough cannot be said for the person who sets an example of kindness by ‘paying it forward’ when the opportunity presents itself.

The power that can change someone’s life in a negative way is when you show disrespect for someone who might be of a different race, gender or religion than you are, and just as you can put a smile on the face of someone you have helped, you can also break the spirit of someone you have hurt just as easily. Therefore, it is extremely important to be an example of a righteous and honorable person in our world today.

Albert Einstein said that “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.” As you go about your daily life remember your words and actions do matter and may influence more people than you may realize. Power is something we all have so use it wisely. You may never know which lives you influence and influence can last a lifetime. Be mindful of the fact that someone is always watching you. Be careful what image and legacy you leave behind. Life is too short to promote negativity and bad habits. Take pride in having some integrity at all times because even when you’re the only person in the room, someone is watching you from above. Be the example that you want others to follow.  Your influence cannot be over-emphasized. Inspire people and maybe one day someone will look at you and say “because of you I didn’t give up.”

The Value Of Appreciation

What does it take to make you happy? Is it money, your job, vacations? It’s not how much we have, but how much we enjoy our life that matters.   Slow down and enjoy your journey. Don’t miss the little pleasures in life because it is those things that will mean the most to you later in life. When you wake up in the morning, thank God that you are alive to see God’s latest creation – a new day. God wants you to enjoy life not just to endure life. Don’t just exist but live a full and happy life. So few people enjoy life because they are trying to be happy without God but the truth of the matter is you will never be happy without God.  Without God life is miserable but with God life is marvelous!

Not only are people living unhappy lives but we take a lot of things for granted.  We take our blessings for granted.  We are so accustomed to them that they fail to excite us as they once did. It’s evident that we have grown accustomed to our blessings when we start to criticize and complain.  Instead of thanking God for what we have, we complain about it and tell God we wish we had something else or that we want even more. You can be sure that even if God did give us what we asked for, we would eventually complain about that too. The person who has gotten accustomed to his blessing will never be satisfied. It’s easy for us to take things for granted, and take people for granted when they are there for us all the time. We fail to appreciate them when they are with us. Sadly most people realize the value of these things or these people only after we lose them.

Unfortunately, people also take God for granted. People fail to realize that it is only by the grace of God that we wake up every morning and enjoy the blessings that have been given to us. Some things we just live with day in and day out and after a while we just assume that they will always be there. We take them for granted. We stop seeing the beauty in them and miss the joy of them. James 4:14 says “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.” Don’t take your blessings for granted because in the twinkling of the eye your life can change.  Appreciate the gifts God has given you. Thank God for all that He has already done for you. Make an effort to live a full and purposeful life. Be grateful for every blessing you have; taking nothing for granted and watch God bless you with the desires of your heart!

 

You Were Not Made To Fit In

It is human nature that we all want to be liked. In fact, society measures the popularity of a person by the number of Facebook friends they have or how many people follow them on Twitter. You might have 1000 Facebook friends or none because it really isn’t that important to God. God isn’t counting how popular you are or how well you fit in. The truth of the matter is God doesn’t want you to fit in at all. God wants you to stand out. God wants you to stand out in fulfilling your purpose in life. God wants you to stand out by being the man or woman He created you to be and because there is not another person who can fill your shoes, the only number that counts is one! Romans 12:2 says “ Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

God has called us to be different, to stand against the grain and to be a city on a hilltop (Matthew 5:14). Be the change for a world that lacks hope. Realizing you don’t fit in is a good thing. You weren’t made to fit in. You were made to fulfill your calling in Christ.  Everybody is standing, but you must stand out. People stand out from the crowd when they do something above and beyond the call of duty. Remember Zacchaeus? Zacchaeus was desperate to see Jesus but he was small in stature and could not see above the crowd but he did something that made him stand out. He climbed a tree and this caught the attention of Jesus. Despite his limitations he was able to stand out from the crowd. To stand out will require effort on your part but you will find it is well worth it. Conformity is easy but it will take courage to stand out from the crowd.

You, too, must have a passion to fulfill your purpose that you are willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish your goal. Yearn to be outstanding, outstanding to the point that you inspire other people to become like you and want to stand out from the crowd. It’s your difference that will cause you to stand out not your similarity.  Einstein is quoting as saying that “if you follow the crowd you will go no further than the crowd.” You are uniquely unique. Don’t try to fit in. You were born to stand out.

 

What If?

It’s been said that if you don’t build your own dream, someone will hire you to build theirs. We all have dreams – some are big and some are small but too few of us are able to see our dreams become reality. Why? Because the road to making our dreams come to pass is long and challenging and filled with the unexpected.  Getting past your fear is only the beginning for success. Furthermore, our dreams are often at odds with our present circumstances and we tend to get hung up on all that we don’t currently have and thus we believe that our dreams are impossible to achieve. Some people do make an attempt to make their dreams happen but give up when the fight gets too rough but persistence is what separates the successful from the wishful thinkers. Others get discouraged after being told that their dream is either too big or that it will never happen for them. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you not to do it or that you can’t do it.

If you are a dreamer you can easily relate to Joseph. He was misunderstood. He was mistreated. He faced unfortunate circumstances. He did right only to suffer wrong. Study Joseph’s life and you will learn that there are certain fundamental truths that you need to know before your dreams will come to pass. You see, dreams take time to come true. For example, Joseph waited 13 years for his dream to become a reality. He was only 17 years old when he was sold into slavery and he was 30 years old when he became second in command to the Pharaoh of Egypt. David waited 15 years to become the King of Judah. Most of this time was spent hiding from King Saul who wanted him dead because he was a rival to his throne. Abraham had to wait 25 years before the birth of his promised son, Isaac.

Not only do dreams take time to come true, but also your dreams will be tested over and over again. Joseph’s character and integrity had to be proven first. Joseph’s story also shows us that it will take teamwork to make your dreams come true. Yes, other people will play a significant role in making your dreams happen and you must have the wisdom to discern who God has placed in your life to become part of your team and you must be willing to work with them in unity.

Last but not least, if you want your dreams to become true you must put your faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is said repeatedly in the Bible that ‘the Lord was with Joseph.’ This is the secret to success for every child of God. That’s the real reason why Joseph fared so well. Joseph knew in his heart that God was with him even when his circumstances looked otherwise. Joseph was able to look at his brothers who had sold him into slavery and tell that that while they had meant to harm him, God intended it for good. (Genesis 50).

Encourage yourself in the Lord with that same statement when it looks like nothing is going right for you.  Know that God will never leave or forsake you and that He will always take care of you. Remember, refusing to dream will take you nowhere.   Don’t allow your dream to remain just a dream. Work towards making your dream come true.  Start by asking yourself “what if?”

Quitting Is Not An Option

It is in the face of adversity that you find out if you are a fighter or a quitter.  Getting knocked down in life is unavoidable but staying down or getting back up is up to you.  If you choose to get back up, the message you send to the enemy of your soul is that when your life is not going well the same convictions that caused you to get in the ring and fight in the first place are, the same convictions that won’t allow you to stay down. Determination is the fuel that will cause you to rise again and be stronger and wiser than before. The late great Mohammed Ali said that “my strength did not come from lifting weights. My strength came from lifting myself when I was knocked down.” Failure only comes when you choose not to get back up. Get back up and be the best you can be. Victory begins the moment you decide to rise again. Everything in life happens for a reason; let it change you for the better. Don’t be afraid of getting back up. Be afraid of giving up.

God wants us to succeed in life. Proverbs 24:16 says “ For a just man falleth seven times, and rises up again.” We are not to be people who fail to get up when we are knocked down.  With God’s help, we get back up and get back in the race.  When something has brought us to our lowest point, we need to get back up; we keep trying until we succeed. What matters to God is not how fast you ran your race, but how well you finished. We need to know that when we do get back up, we may not be at full strength, but just the mere effort of us trying to get up, grabs God attention. Our efforts in trying to get up presents God with an opportunity to show up. God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. Remember Peter?  Peter’s greatest strength was his courage, yet we criticize Peter for taking his eyes off the Lord on the sea of Galilee and he began to sink …but at least he got out of the boat! God will always show up in our moments of weakness but we must be in the fight if we want to be a winner.

It’s not that we are never beaten, but we are never ultimately defeated. We may lose a battle, but we are going to win the war. We may be knocked down, but we’re not knocked out.  Psalm 37:23 says that “the steps of a good man is ordered by the Lord, though he falls, he is not utterly destroyed.” Sometimes things fall apart so something better can be created. Make a life commitment that when you get knocked down quitting will never be an option.