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9 Ways To Live But Not Merely Exist You Need To Start Doing

9 Ways To Live But Not Merely Exist You Need To Start Doing

Life is like a road trip without a map; as you travel along the highway of life, you stop at different places, veer off down unknown roads, change direction every now and again and sometimes, although you hate to admit it, you get lost. Sadly, there are some of who insist on taking the map with them, making sure that nothing is uncertain, that all roads are clearly mapped out and getting lost is never a possibility.

Merely existing in life is like being on automatic pilot; eyes wide open yet not seeing anything, arms out in front, yet never really feeling or experiencing anything and you travel one foot in the front of the other going in only one direction. There is no feeling, no challenge and certainly no excitement you simply go through the motions doing what you have always done, yet expecting something different.

Except you have this feeling in the back of your mind that life isn’t meant to be like this, that there is more to it and you need to make some changes. I’m all for change so I’ve come up with a few actionable pointers to help you live a great existence, so that you can start loving every moment of your life again!

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1. Invest the present and do what matters most to you.

Life is short—there I’ve said it, but it’s true. You can’t waste a single drop of it, so while you are here on this wonderful planet, why not make sure you do right now what matters to you most. What you do every day matters more to you than what you do every so often, like, for example, what you do for work or your daily routine. It’s time to really decide if it makes you happy or not. Ask yourself what makes you really come alive and start to invest time in being able to do that.

2. Live the way you preach.

If you harp on all the time about being kind to other people, giving to charity and helping the needy, and yet you are grumpy all the time, moan about having to give to charity and are selfish with your time, it might be time to rethink how you live your life. The best way to live is to live with purpose and being true to your word, you’ll not only gain respect from others but you’ll also respect yourself too. What you’ll also find is that you’ll live your life in a more meaningful way, you’ll feel more fulfilled and you’ll become an inspiration to others at the same time. Wonderful don’t you think?

3. Write your own story of your own life.

Guess what? Your life is in your hands and nobody else’s, so it’s up to you how the story of your life goes. Once you understand that no matter what happens to you, no matter what people think of you and what other people are doing with their lives, your life is your own responsibility and if you want to enjoy it, it’s down to you. Start the new chapter of your life today; create, dream and then take action. Step into your own life and make an intention to re-write, start over and live rather than exist!

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4. Appreciate all the wonderful people and great things already in your life.

How often do you not even notice what you already have in your life: your family who loves you, your partner who adores you and your home, which you are so lucky to live in? Be ever so grateful for all those people that care about you no matter what you do, and appreciate them every day as you’ll never know when they might no longer be around. Remember, the more you are grateful for the more you will receive things to be grateful about.

5. Be who you really are.

There is really no point in pretending to be someone you are not or hiding that unique and special person behind someone else. You were made as you and there is, after all, only one of you. If you were to believe what people say in this crazy world, being like everyone else is better than being who you are, don’t you dare believe it!  Hold onto your individuality and wear it with pride. Embrace your differences and brush off any criticisms, those who criticize are only envious of you, so be brazen about it, step forward and be you!

6. Embrace change and love watching your life unfold.

So many times, I’ve seen people struggle, complain and moan about things in their life when stuff doesn’t go the way they want it to go. Life is meant to be ever changing, ever growing and it can be tough to let go of how things used to be and move forward with something new. Here’s where you stop worrying, fretting and trying to control. It’s time to have a little bit of faith in the unknown and start trusting that life will unfold on its own whether you like it or not. Believe that what’s around the corner is the best for you, even if it doesn’t seem that way, and laugh or cry but live consciously from now on and see how wonderful life can really be.

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7. Always listen to your heart.

There is no doubt about it—this is the most important step. Life can be an exciting, spontaneously exhilarating journey if you let it be, or it can be nothing at all. You can learn new ways to live. Begin today by making some changes and listening to your heart. Forget what other people think. Be brave enough to go it alone if you have to. Do what is in your heart and follow it with commitment, pride and love. Appreciate every step you take and be mindful of everything around you. There will be bad days, good days and days that will teach you how to deal with difficulties, because they will come. Life is after all one big learning curve. Treat it like that and you’ll never be disappointed.

8. Enjoy the little things in life.

The very best things in life are free and remembering to enjoy the simple things in life will make you feel alive. Things like watching nature, spending time with loved ones and having fun will make you realize that the need for more is just an illusion.  Enjoy these moments today, because tomorrow things could change in an instant, so make the most of now and the little things in life.

9. Learn to let go.

Some things things are meant to stay broken, so rather than trying to fix something that is broken, learn to let go and let it be. Trying to force something into place or back together can make the situation worse.  Sometimes it’s best to leave them be, start over and create something better than before.  Whether it’s a relationship or a certain situation, it’s important to look at it objectively, work out what works and what doesn’t, and then act accordingly. Letting go is never a failure. It’s just a choice to take a new direction and make the best out of what happens next.

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So the question is, do you merely exist or are you living?

Featured photo credit: An Khánh via flickr.com

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Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on May 22, 2020

What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

The word “leader” makes you think of people in charge, high-ranking people: your boss, politicians, presidents, CEOs…

But leadership really isn’t about a particular position or a person’s seniority. Just because someone has worked for many years doesn’t mean s/he has gained the qualities and skills to lead a team.

Getting promoted to a managerial position doesn’t automatically turn you into a leader either. CEOs and other high-ranking officials don’t always have great leadership skills.

So what makes a good leader? What are the characteristics of a leader?

Good leadership is about acquiring and honing specific skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a role model for a team in any environment. With great leadership qualities, successful leaders come in all shapes and sizes: in the home, at school, or in the workplace.

The following are some of the many characteristics great leaders exhibit.

1. A Positive Attitude

Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and by creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace.

Even some simple things like providing snacks or organizing a team Happy Hour can make a world of difference. An added perk is that team members are likely to work harder and do overtime when needed if they’re happy and appreciated.

Even in the worst situations, such as experiencing low team morale or team members having made a big mistake at work, a great leader stays positive and figures out ways to keep the team motivated to solve the problems.

Walt Disney had his share of hardships and challenges, and like any great leader, he managed to stay positive and find new opportunities. In 1928, Disney found that his film producer, Charles Mintz, wanted to reduce his payments for the Oswald series. Mintz threatened to cut ties entirely if Disney didn’t accept his terms, and Disney chose to part ways. But in leaving Oswald, Disney decided to create something new: the iconic Mickey Mouse[1].

The key is to break down huge challenges into smaller ones and find ways to tackle them one by one.

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Think about the lessons you can learn from the mistake and jot them down because sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.

2. Confidence

All great leaders have to exhibit an air of confidence if they’re going to succeed. Please don’t confuse this with self-satisfaction and arrogance. You want people to look up to you for inspiration, not so they can punch you in the face.

Confidence is important because people will be looking to you on how to behave, particularly if things aren’t going 100% right. If you remain calm and poised, team members are far more likely to as well. As a result, morale and productivity will remain high, and the problem will be solved more quickly.

If you panic and give up, they will know immediately and things will simply go downhill from there.

Elon Musk is a great example of a leader with confidence. He truly believes that Tesla will be successful, which he has shown many times through his actions. He converted 532,000 stock options at $6.63 each, their value on Dec. 4, 2009, before Tesla went public. It was a hefty bargain considering Tesla’s stock price stood at around $195 per share at that time. He doesn’t apologize for his beliefs and has drawn fire from just about everyone for his political actions.

You can’t instantly become a very confident person, but all the small things you do every day will gradually make you more confident:

  • List 5 things you like about yourself every day (something different every day), and you’ll appreciate yourself more.
  • Work on your strengths and do your best to enhance them.

3. A Sense of Humor

It’s imperative for any kind of leader to have a sense of humor, particularly when things go wrong. And they will.

Your team members are going to be looking to you for how to react in a seemingly dire situation. It would probably be best if you weren’t stringing up a noose for yourself in the corner. You need to be able to laugh things off because if staff morale goes down, so will productivity.

Establish this environment prior to any kind of meltdown by encouraging humor and personal discussions in the workplace.

As a president, Barack Obama exuded confidence and calm during stressful situations. But he was also known for his “dad jokes,”[2] his genuinely funny speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and appearing on Zack Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns.[3] Obama’s sense of humor made him grounded, realistic, and honest, which no doubt helped during some tense moments in the White House!

Learn to laugh at yourself. Confident people laugh about their own silly mistakes, and when you do this, others will also trust you more because you’re willing to share your experiences.

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Be observant and learn from the jokes others make. You can also get a lot of inspiration from the internet.

4. Ability to Embrace Failure

No matter how hard you try to avoid it, failures will happen; that’s okay. You just need to know how to deal with them.

Great leaders take them in strides. They remain calm and logically think through the situation and utilize their resources. What they don’t do is fall apart and reveal to their team how worried they are, which leads to negative morale, fear, and binge-drinking under desks.

Great leaders do, in fact, lead, even when they’re faced with setbacks.

Henry Ford experienced a major setback after designing and improving the Ford Quadricycle. He founded the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899, but the resulting cars they produced did not live up to his standards and were too expensive. The company dissolved in 1901. Ford took this in stride and formed the Henry Ford Company. The sales were slow and the company had financial problems; it wasn’t until 1903 that the Ford Motor Company was successful and put the Ford on the map.

Get to the root cause of any problem so you can prevent it from happening again and learn from the mistake.

By asking “why” 5 times (or more) on why something happened, you can find out the key factor that caused the problem and can find the best solution to tackle the problem.

You’ll also learn how to prevent this from happening again in the future after finding out a problem’s root cause.

5. Careful Listening and Feedback

This is far more complex than it actually sounds. Good communication skills are essential for a great leader. You may very well understand the cave of crazy that is your brain, but that doesn’t mean that you can adequately take the ideas out of it and explain them to someone else.

The best leaders need to be able to communicate clearly with the people around them. They also need to be able to interpret other people properly and not take what they say personally.

The Dalai Lama, as a symbol of the unification of the state of Tibet, represents and practices Buddhist values. The Dalai Lama’s leadership is benevolent and aims toward truth and understanding, alongside the other Buddhist precepts. This is a great example for all leaders: if you want to give good directions to others, you have to get feedback from others to understand the situation properly.

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Encourage communication between team members and establish an open door policy.

Practice not interrupting team members when they’re talking. Instead, summarize what they say and ask for feedback after you have talked about your ideas.

6. Knowing How and When to Delegate

No matter how much you might want to, you can’t actually do everything yourself. Even if you could, in a team environment that would be a terrible idea anyway.

Good leaders recognize that delegation does more than simply alleviate their own stress levels (although that’s obviously a nice perk). Delegating to others shows that you have confidence in their abilities, which subsequently results in higher morale in the workplace, as well as loyalty from your staff. They want to feel appreciated and trusted.

Although Steve Jobs was known for focusing in on the smallest of details, he knew how to delegate. By finding, cultivating, and trusting capable team members, Jobs was able to make Apple run smoothly, even when he had to be absent for extended periods of time.

To know when and how to delegate work to team members, you have to be very familiar with each of them:

  • List out all of their strengths, weaknesses, and personalities.
  • Talk with your team members more to know about their passion and interests.

Take a look at this guide and learn more about delegation: How to Delegate Work Effectively (The Definitive Guide for Leaders)

7. Growth Mindset

Any good leader knows how important it is to develop the skills of those around them. The best can recognize those skills early on. Not only will development make work easier as they improve and grow, it will also foster morale. In addition, they may develop some skills that you don’t possess that will be beneficial to the workplace.

Great leaders share their knowledge with the team and give them the opportunity to achieve. This is how leaders gain their respect and loyalty.

Pope Francis has been unusually popular with many Catholics and many non-Catholics. His position isn’t totally traditional, which is part of his appeal, but he also has admirable leadership skills. Pope Francis’s TED talk[4] drew attention because he encouraged leaders to be humble and to demonstrate solidarity with others. This inclusive, kind, and respectful style of leadership is incredibly important for any situation.

It’s important to spend time talking with other team members individually to understand them.

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Find out team members’ current challenges and try to give feedback and encouragement so they will grow and do better.

8. Responsibility

Great leaders know that when it comes to their company, work place or whatever situation they’re in, they need to take personal responsibility for failure. How can they expect employees to hold themselves accountable if they themselves don’t?

The best leaders don’t make excuses; they take the blame and then work out how to fix the problem as soon as possible. This proves that they’re trustworthy and possess integrity.

Howard Gillman is the chancellor of UC Irvine. You might have heard of how the university rescinded a bunch of acceptances, and then changed its mind[5], This past spring, an unusually high number of accepted students decided to matriculate; the school initially responded by rescinding offers over things like missed deadlines. But the college realized this was a mistake and reversed its decision. Gillman and the university accepted responsibility and decided to move past their earlier bad decision.

Always ask yourself what you can do better or what you should change. Take responsibility and think about what you can do better to prevent this from happening next time.

9. A Desire to Learn

It’s safe to say that all great leaders will have to enter unchartered waters at some point during their career. Because of this, they have to be able to trust their intuition and draw on past experiences to guide them.

Great leaders know that there’s always something to learn from everything they have experienced before. They are able to connect the present challenges with the lessons learned in the past to make decisions and take actions promptly.

You can either recall what you’ve learned from your memories or search your notes (ideally, a software that you can access anywhere with things well-organized).

Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, has mostly made the right calls. But in dealing with huge amounts of money, Buffett has also made several multi-million (and sometimes multi-billion) dollar mistakes. He has stated that buying the company Berkshire Hathaway was his biggest mistake[6]. From that poor choice, he realized that it was unwise to pursue “improvements” and “expansions” in the existing textile industry. Despite mistakes like this, Buffett has invested wisely, and it shows.

To effectively learn from the past, write down lessons you’ve learned from any mistakes you’ve made. Have all the lessons well organized, and when similar things happen again in future, take these lessons as references.

The Bottom Line

Leadership traits are learnable. If you practice consistently, you can be a great leader, too.

Make small changes to your habits when you work with your team, wherever that may be. Most of us aren’t presidents or CEOs, but we all work with other people, and our actions always impact others. This gives every person the chance to develop leadership skills and to stand out from the crowd.

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Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

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