Ever wonder how some people manage to always be so full of enthusiasm and excitement?
They’re continually working on new projects and coming up with innovative ideas.
Whatever they do, they do it with passion. It seems like they’re on a perpetual mission to change the world.
Maybe you feel like you’re on the other end of the spectrum.
Shouldn’t life be more exciting?
Most of the time, life is a struggle. There are so many mundane things you have to do, so many obligations you have to fulfill.
You’re overwhelmed by all the stress and problems you face.
It’s not that you don’t have your happy moments.
When you’re hanging out with your friends or watching your favorite TV show or listening to music… life seems a little bit better.
But those moments feel like a temporary escape from the rest of your uninteresting life.
You really wish your life were more thrilling, more filled with a sense of adventure. But you just don’t know how to get out of the rut you’re in.
How to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks
People who lead inspired lives and people who lead thoroughly uninspired ones—the cards they’re dealt in life are usually fairly alike.
It’s what they do with those cards they’re dealt that makes the difference.
Clichéd, I know. But it’s true.
As author Jack Penn once said, “One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks.”
It all starts with your mindset.
There are basically two approaches you can have. You can either choose to:
- Protect life, or
- Pursue it
Mindset #1: Protecting life
When you try to protect life, you operate from a place of fear.
Fear is a natural response to life in general. After all, there are an infinite number of bad things that could happen to you!
Many companies prey on our desire for protection.
Protection from death.
Protection from disease.
Protection from discomfort.
That’s why companies that sell insurance, make seat belts, produce vaccines and mosquito nets, and manufacture air conditioning units are profitable.
I’m not saying that these products are bad. I, for one, can’t think of anything better than enjoying some air conditioning on a sweltering day.
But if your prevailing thought is about how you ought to protect your life, then you’re never going to have a meaningful and exciting one.
Mindset #2: Pursuing life
People who lead a life of purpose have come to the realization that death is an inescapable reality.
They have fully come to terms with their mortality.
This explains why they’re constantly on a mission.
They’re not just here on earth to find something to do. They’re here on earth to do something.
When you pursue life, you don’t sit around and wait for things to happen. Instead, you make things happen.
You have a strong bias for action, even when you’re not 100% sure what the best thing to do is.
You recognize that a little action trumps a lot of thinking, every time.
Even when it comes to areas of your life such as relationships, you take the initiative to cultivate strong ones.
You don’t just go with the flow and hope that you’ll end up with good relationships.
3 simple ways to find happiness
It’s interesting to note that in happiness surveys conducted all around the world, the three basic factors that contribute most to happiness are the same:
- Good relationships
- Good health
- Satisfying work
When you boil it down to these three elements, it doesn’t seem like happiness should be that hard to find, right?
Being happy shouldn’t be our only goal, but you’ll probably agree with me that it is an important one.
When you choose to pursue life, instead of protect it, there’s no doubt that you’ll make plenty of progress in terms of your relationships, health and work.
Building strong relationships, being physically healthy, and choosing to do meaningful work—these are areas we have a lot of control over.
It just requires that we take full responsibility for our lives and intentionally make choices that are in line with what we want in the long term.
The desire to protect life is what’s natural to us.
But what’s necessary, if we want to leave behind a marvelous legacy, is to pursue life.
It’s clear that winners focus on winning.
But losers don’t focus on losing, obviously. Rather, they focus on getting by, on merely surviving.
Losers protect life. Winners pursue it.
Experiencing a life of adventure—and finding long-lasting happiness, too—isn’t a matter of chance. It’s a matter of choice.
Let’s choose wisely.