Contrary to popular belief, success and happiness don’t simply show up at your doorstep one day, allowing you to live comfortably for the rest of your life. You have to earn your keep in life to deserve the great things it has to offer. The most successful people in the world have gotten where they are by practicing habits that allow them to live each and every moment of life to their fullest potential.
Heed the advice from some of the greatest minds of our time, and you’ll find yourself on the path to true success in life.
1. Take breaks
Author Alan Cohen once said, “There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.”
In other words, you do not have to spend every single waking hour of your life working as hard as possible to be successful. Understand the importance of hard work, for sure. But also know that spending time on hobbies and other leisurely pursuits can be just as beneficial to your overall well-being.
2. Ask questions
The most philosophical humans throughout history lived their entire lives as skeptics, constantly asking probing questions in order to better understand everything they possibly could about our world. Scientists today are never quiet content when their questions and wonderings are answered. Rather than being satisfied with one piece of knowledge, they then use that information to formulate even more educated questions.
It’s through this constant cycle of questioning and discovery that we’ve grown as much as we have as a species.
3. Laugh and enjoy life
Even those of us who have been through incredibly tough times need to remember to laugh once in a while. Maya Angelou, poet and author of some of the most somber literature of our time, once said: “I am serious, so I laugh a lot. You need to laugh. You don’t laugh enough.”
Those who can muster up the courage to laugh even when faced with adversity will ultimately appreciate life in a much greater way than those who fail to find humor throughout their daily lives.
4. Keep learning
We’re lucky enough to live during a time in which just about every piece of knowledge ever known to mankind is available at the click of a button. Unfortunately, so many of us waste the gift of intelligence we’ve been given, opting instead to spend hours every day consuming mind-numbing “entertainment” like TV and Candy Crush. According to Einstein, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”
Your brain is the most powerful muscle in your body; don’t let it atrophy.
5. Be thankful
As a society, we tend to be thankful for what we have only during the month of November (when we’re told to be thankful), and after tragedies strike (when we realize just how much we do have). We’re constantly fed the idea that we should never be happy with what we have, and always aim to get more, more, more. Oprah Winfrey advises, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
If you always want more, there will always be more to want. It’s when you value what you do have that you realize you don’t need anything else to be happy.
6. Spend time with loved ones
The true measure of a person’s success is not in how much money he makes, or how big his house is, but how much time he is able to devote to his family. As A.D. Williams says, “Spending money on loved ones is thoughtful. Spending time with loved ones is divine.”
Of course, being able to provide for your family is important, but you should never live under the delusion that any monetary or tangible gift can substitute for the greatest gift you can give: your time.
Featured photo credit: Bbq steak dinner / Lars Plougmann via farm7.staticflickr.com