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20 Timeless Tips to Make the Most Out of Life

20 Timeless Tips to Make the Most Out of Life

The first step to making the most out of life is deciding what you hope to accomplish. What is it you desire? There is no right or wrong answer. Maybe you aspire to do satisfying work that will allow you to add value to the world. Maybe you’re looking for a fulfilling relationship that brings you joy. Maybe you want to become fit and healthy so you can be a positive example that your children can look up to. Maybe you’re ready to eliminate the personal stress that is limiting your potential. The following timeless tips will help you accomplish all of these things. Are you ready to make the most of your life? Let’s do it.

1. Creativity trumps book-smarts every time.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

The greatest minds are not filled with facts, but creativity. The ease-of-access in the information age has eliminated any need for people who fill their brains with facts that could be discovered VIA a simple internet search. Those who innovate will rise above those who regurgitate.

2. The rules are meant to be broken.

“If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.” – Katharine Hepburn

Why should you follow a list of rules without questioning their validity? You shouldn’t. Policies and procedures do have their place in large organizations where quality control and compliance must be considered, but you should make a habit of questioning everything. Rules are meant to be broken. How else do you think progress happens?

3. You are “inferior” to no other person.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

That person you feel inferior to? Get it out of your head. They are not luckier than you. Their brain is not more powerful than yours. They were not blessed with a skill set that you couldn’t develop. Do you really think successful people got where they are today by sheer luck? Do you think they achieved their ambitious goals overnight without setbacks along the way? Michael Jordan was cut from his high-school basketball team because he “wasn’t good enough.” The Beatles were rejected from a studio label because they had “no future in show business.” Charlie Chaplin was rejected by Hollywood studios because he was “too nonsensical to ever sell.” J.K. Rowling, the author of the world-famous Harry Potter series, encountered rejection after rejection for a full year before a publisher finally agreed to accept her work. The difference between winners and losers is simple. Winners keep moving forward no matter what trials they face while losers give up at the drop of a hat. You don’t lose until you quit, so don’t quit.

4. Slow down and bask in the pleasure of living.

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Why are you in such a hurry all the time? The world will not end if you have to stand in line at the grocery store. Driving like a maniac to save two minutes does not make any sense. Tugging your dog on its leash and fussing at it to “hurry up!” is inconsiderate since it spends so much of its day indoors. Exercise your patience muscles by choosing to stand in the longest line at the grocery store, leaving your house ten minutes early so you can drive to work at a leisurely pace, and allowing your dog to explore the outside world to its heart’s content. Taking your time will give you a much-needed break from the constant hustle of the daily grind. Breathe deeply, quiet your inner-chatter, and take a moment to simply be.

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5. Upset by wrongdoing? Do something about it.

“Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.” – The Boondock Saints

Complaining about the world’s ills on Facebook and Twitter does nothing to bring about positive change. If you are truly upset by what you see as evil or wrong, do something about it. Join a movement or protest that you are passionate about. Write blogs or create videos that will mobilize people to your cause. Call your congressman and tell him how you feel about upcoming votes. If you’re not willing to take a stand, you have no right to complain.

6. Regret nothing (and do all the things).

“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” – Lucille Ball

Talking to a stranger you’re physically attracted to isn’t an easy thing to do. Writing a book or blog about that idea you can’t get out of your head requires hard work and dedication. Quitting your job to start a business you’re passionate about does carry a risk. Neglecting to do these things carries the temporary benefit of comfort, but failing to act on your impulses could result in permanent regret.

7. Less thinking, more doing.

“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

You should educate yourself and consider your options before you make any decision, but don’t become stuck in an eternal state of limbo. The more you agonize over a decision, the more paralyzed you will become. Gather the most relevant information you need to proceed and get to work.

8. You are not alone.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” – Michael Jordan

I have no doubt that you are a brilliant individual who is capable of accomplishing plenty, but your odds for success will be much greater if you harness the power of teamwork. No one has all of the answers and anyone who thinks otherwise is cocky at best and delusional at worst. Seek a mentor who can provide you with guidance and direction. Make a friend on a level playing field so you can bounce ideas back and forth. Offer your support to a newcomer who you can be a mentor to, growing confidence in your abilities. It is easy to stagnate when you are alone, so surround yourself with people who will help you develop.

9. View yourself from the eyes of another.

“Sometimes you can’t see yourself clearly until you see yourself through the eyes of others.” – Ellen DeGeneres

Any time there is tension between you and another person, take a moment to look at the issue from their perspective. This simple action will offer a fresh perspective that will help you avoid pointless arguments over nothing.

10. Be grateful for what is right in front of you.

“Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller

When is the last time you expressed gratitude for all of your blessings? It is easy to take things for granted when we don’t pay attention. I’m happy and grateful that every day is another opportunity to improve myself. I’m thankful that I have a roof over my head, food on my table, a family that loves me, friends who care about me, the opportunity to write articles like this, an ability to express myself freely, a healthy body that can carry me throughout the world, and a dog who greets me with bursting enthusiasm every time I walk in the door. The next time you are feeling down, grab a notebook or pull up a Word Document and make a list of the many things that you are grateful for. You might not realize it right this second, but I bet you have a lot to be happy about.

11. Stay true to your authentic self.

“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” – William Shakespeare

Your daily life is not a theatrical performance, so stop treating it like one. You wear all these masks depending on your current surroundings and it has to be so very exhausting. Why do you feel like you have to put on such a charade? You are amazing as you are and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Share your unique thoughts, ideas, quirks, and personality traits with the world without an ounce of shame.

12. No one cares how much “stuff” you have.

“We spend money that we do not have, on things we do not need, to impress people who do not care.” – Will Smith

No one is impressed by your bank account, wardrobe, or elegant choice of home decor. Sure, you might get some “oohs” and “ahhs” the instant you show off your stuff, but do you think these people are so impressed that they think any better of you for it? Live with truth and integrity. Show the world you care through your words, actions, and behaviors. The size of your bank account and the style of your outfit impress no one. You know what is impressive? Your strength of character.

13. Don’t merely expect more from life. Demand more from life.

“You can’t move mountains by whispering at them.” – Pink

While you are complaining about how unfair your situation is, other people are hustling hard in the direction of the better life they desire. Wishing with all of your might will do nothing to improve your life if you’re not willing to back up your words with monumental action.

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14. The things that are most challenging are often the things that prove to be most rewarding.

“Being a mom has made me so tired. And so happy.” – Tina Fey

Just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing. Raising a child is harder than any job you could imagine, but it also comes with an immense amount of satisfaction. Seeing a baby grow up to become a passionate and productive adult is a joyful experience for any mother or father. The same may be said for any ambitious goal that comes with a high cost in the form of time or effort. Instead of getting caught up in the long hours and mental energy it takes to write a book, imagine how amazing you will feel when you have a finished project to share with the world. Instead of concerning yourself with the pouring sweat and rushed breath you experience during a tough training session, imagine about how strong and confident you will feel when you’re the proud owner of a new-and-improved body that turns heads and attracts compliments everywhere it goes. Focus on the end benefit to stay encouraged when the going gets tough.

15. Exercise your power of belief and crush it.

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

“I’ll try” is a weak statement that should never escape your lips. Expressing that you will “try” to do something is like accepting failure before you even begin. Believe in yourself with every ounce of your being, because you are capable of accomplishing anything you set your mind to.

16. March to the beat of your own drum.

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” – John F. Kennedy

Forget about what other people are doing. Getting caught up in the rule-book used by others neglects a key ingredient in the pursuit of success: you. Just because something worked for another person does not guarantee it will work for you. Be an innovator. Make your own rules that are relevant for your unique knowledge, skills, and abilities.

17. Failure and pain are life’s greatest teachers.

“Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.” – Oprah Winfrey

There is little incentive to improve ourselves when life is nothing but rainbows, cute puppy dogs, candy drops, and sunshine. Have you ever learned much about yourself during the best of times? Struggles aren’t fun when they are happening, but they tend to be followed by bitter pills that we need to swallow.

18. Knowledge is useless without action.

“It is better to create than to learn! Creating is the essence of life.” – Julius Caesar

Employers are typically more impressed with experience than education. What good is an impressive GPA if it isn’t accompanied with high level performance? The best way to get better at any activity is to take action and do it. Who do you think will be better at writing: a person who spends ten hours reading about writing or a person who spends ten hours writing? I would be willing to wager my bank account on the second one.

19. The worst of times can bring out the best in people.

“It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them.” – Agatha Christie

Have you ever gone through a nasty scuffle with your partner that resulted in such anguish that you broke-up for a whole day or two, but then you realized how empty you felt without this person in your life and reunited immediately? If so, you’re aware of the fact that the worst times have a way of strengthening a relationship in the long-haul. 

20. The world needs the special gift that only you can offer.

“Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?” – Ian, What a Girl Wants

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IhK8hzVfUk

You are a special person unlike anyone else on this planet. Those personal quirks about yourself that you can’t stand? You know what I’m talking about: that booming laugh that you think is obnoxious, those freckles on your face that you find unappealing, or the way you can’t resist doing a little dance in a restaurant booth if your favorite jam plays (that last one describes me but I can’t be the only one)? Your laugh is wonderful and full of feeling, your freckles are gorgeous, and dancing is always a good idea. The world is full of people trying to fit in, so the best way to stand out is to let your true personality shine (quirks and all). There is nothing more beautiful than a person who is totally comfortable with who they are.

I hope these timeless tips help you make the most out of life

Your life is what you make of it, so I challenge you to aim high and expect the best of yourself. Reach for the stars because life is too short to do otherwise.

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Daniel Wallen

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on June 12, 2018

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

You know how this looks:

  • Parents constantly comparing children.
  • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Adultery…
  • And many others.

For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

How to fix a dysfunctional family

In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

Dysfunctional… Or just average?

Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Lack of interest and time spent together
  • Sexism
  • Utilitarianism
  • Lack of empathy
  • Unequal or unfair treatment
  • Disrespect towards boundaries
  • Control Issues
  • Jealousy
  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

How to turn it around

When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

Correction is possible

In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

Verbalize it.

All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

Putting it to work in real life

In real life it would be something like this:

“OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

Or:

“Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

Or:

“Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

This is what you have to remember:

1-Stop.

2-Why it’s wrong?

3-What you need.

And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

It’s a family thing

A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

In other words, you will need cooperation…

So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

It’s not a free-for-all battle

In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

The method

1. Drop the ego

Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

2. Not blame, but responsibility

When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

You will do something like this:

“Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

What happened here?

We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

3. Doing the work

What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

“When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

Love is all you need

You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

And what happens if it simply is not there?

What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

There is only one thing you can do:

To break away.

Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

“We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

Putting distance

So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

What do I mean?

Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

I choose my peace of mind.

And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

How to prevent it

There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

  • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
  • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

Priorities and clear thought

You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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