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How to Live and Not Merely Exist

How to Live and Not Merely Exist

Existence is confusing, but it’s pretty easy if you think about it. You don’t have to do anything—you already exist through circumstances outside of your control. Everything you do from this point forward is for your own benefit. With any luck, somebody along your path in life taught you to consider the benefit of others as well, but I’ve met enough people to understand that’s an optional feature in humans.

So if nobody knows why we’re here, how we got here, or anything else about life, why aren’t we all out there exploring and living it?

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fried-chicken

    What’s the Matter? Are Ya Chicken?

    It sounds unbelievable, but a lot of people float through life merely existing. It’s easy to dismiss these people as drug addicts or worse, but the fact of the matter is they’re human beings, and they’re everywhere. These people were made to feel small in their lives. They were told not to believe in themselves so often that they started to believe it; they slid through life until settling in a dead-end job as a cubicle monkey with neither status nor esteem attached to their name.

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    If you want to experience life for what it is, watch a movie: see how things aren’t going the way the main character wants them to? See how they’re scared or upset in some way and decide to stand in the face of fear to accomplish something? Why are you backing down from your boss if you truly believe you’re somebody special in life? Do you think Neo discovered The Matrix because he was too scared to take the right pill? Face reality: you’re going to die someday—we all do. You can either face it standing up, sitting down, bending over, or standing up. The choice is yours and yours alone.

    Do More Than You Say

    I hate repetition unless it’s something I truly enjoy. I could spend every day sipping cocktails and smoking bowls and blunts with my girlfriend. We could relax by the pool, kick it, and enjoy each other’s physical and spiritual presence every day without tire. Other than exceptions that are close to the heart, I hate having to repeat myself. It’s annoying when people don’t understand what you’re saying so you have to keep rewording it over and over until they get the idea. It’s so repetitive having to repeat myself because people weren’t paying attention the first time.

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    This goes with every situation in life: think about how much you start to loathe looking at someone’s Facebook page when all they do is complain about their lives or continuously talk about the same things over and over. If that’s the impression someone’s giving you, surely you’re giving that impression to someone else. If the world revolved around you, you’d have a lot more FB friends than you do, turbo, so slow down and think about this for a minute… if the internet is made of people, and social media is made of society, then maybe it’s possible nobody cares what I ate tonight for dinner or what species of parasite made a home in my woman’s uterus online any more than they are when I bring it up at a party.

    Take the hint: stop talking about what you’re going to do or what you did. Don’t fret about the past or future unless it’s with someone you care about (and even then, only during special times set up for such discussions). Other than that, focus on what’s happening in front of you right here and now. You don’t need to take a picture of your meal for it to taste good, and it’s not going to taste any better based on how many online “likes” it gets. Enjoy your dinner for yourself, and in the journey of doing so, you will have learned to live and not merely exist.

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    Want to learn more about life? Check out: Life Lessons From a Dying Man…

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    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

    8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

    8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

    You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

    Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

    When you train your brain, you will:

    • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
    • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
    • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

    So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

    1. Work your memory

    Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

    When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

    If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

    The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

    Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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    Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

    What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

    For example, say you just met someone new:

    “Hi, my name is George”

    Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

    Got it? Good.

    2. Do something different repeatedly

    By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

    Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

    It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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    And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

    But how does this apply to your life right now?

    Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

    Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

    Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

    So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

    You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

    That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

    3. Learn something new

    It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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    For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

    Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

    You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

    4. Follow a brain training program

    The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

    5. Work your body

    You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

    Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

    Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

    Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

    6. Spend time with your loved ones

    If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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    If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

    I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

    7. Avoid crossword puzzles

    Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

    Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

    Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

    8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

    Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

    When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

    So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

    The bottom line

    Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

    Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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