Every one of us is on a different path. We have diverse world-views and expectations of what we want from life. What may feel like heaven to one person may be hell to another. As much as we all want great lives, it’s interesting to note that rarely do we take the time to consider how to achieve our desired outcomes. Most people navigate through life on automatic pilot hoping that destiny will carry them to their objective. While some may succeed using this approach, I believe in taking charge and being in the driver’s seat. I’m not a control freak and have not planned out every step of my life but, every-so-often, I like to check in with myself and ask what do you want out of life?
I understand that not everyone feels it’s necessary to map out a path but, what I do find very interesting is that in my travels I keep hearing a set of expectations that all people have. I’ve listed these basic human “must have’s” adding to these desires suggestions on how to attain them. I hope you’ll find this effort useful, even if your preference is to sit in the passenger’s seat.
The greatest and most often re-occurring desire that people have is to feel valuable, to feel that they matter and that’s there’s a (good) reason why they landed on this earth. We all need a purpose.
One of the top causes of depression and suicidal thoughts in the empty-nest and shut-in population is the feeling or (erroneous) thought that one is no longer useful, that you’re no longer needed or that you don’t matter. I don’t pretend to know what this deep sadness feels like but on the rare occasion when I’m feeling expendable, I immediately focus on how I can help others.
One way I’ve done this is by sharing experiences and solutions in my books and blogs in the hopes that someone in need can relate and may be helped. Knowing that you’re not alone in the world and having direction goes a long way to fighting depression. Sharing your perspective may give someone the encouragement they need to keep trying or provide them with a solution. This may require stepping out of your comfort zone but I guarantee that what you’ll get back will be worth it. You may not see the results of your contribution, but you’ve planted seeds that will germinate great energy.
Typically I only help when asked but if I see someone struggling with something I can do quite easily, I’m certainly happy to step in. My strengths lie in online marketing, digital strategy as well as personal and business development. I love sharing skills and contributing to an individual’s evolution. Who knows, in the process of sharing, I may also be planting the seed of the idea to pay it forward. I’m happiest when I leave a situation or condition a little bit better than how I found it.
Volunteering is one of the best ways to be of value. I’ve travelled plenty to serve homeless and underserved populations and have found humanitarian work immensely fulfilling. One doesn’t have to get on a plane to make a difference. Help is also needed right in your own community. My first experience in volunteering was over three decades ago at a local shelter for battered women.
I also love to serve through writing with the mission of raising the frequency of the planet one person at a time, creating community, raising consciousness and providing empowering tools. I love to write only when I’m inspired. Putting thoughts into words is one way we can leave a legacy and footprints for others to follow.
There are many ways we can bring value to others and it’s so easy to do without leaving the comfort of our homes. Here are some ideas:
Host a webinar in your area of expertise
Start a YouTube channel and upload informational videos
Begin a theme/topic/subject oriented community on social media
Host live Q & A’ on a topic you love
Schedule a weekly zoom call and invite members of your community to participate
Share your story by vlogging
These are ways in which we matter and bring value to others.
Working with volunteers around the world and local residents has taught me that people everywhere want security.
They want food on the table. They want to be productive. They want money to pay bills and do fun things. They want roofs over their heads. They want safe communities that are free of burglars or vandals and, at the end of the day, they want to lay their heads down on a soft inviting bed. How often do those of us who have all these things take these for granted?
Volunteering for a neighborhood watch program is a great way to reduce crime in an area. My husband and I on occasion go out and do a neighborhood cleanup. Since we started caring for our street, we’v seen others do it and the result is that our road has become one of the most highly sought-after by buyers.
The point I’m trying to make is that you can set the example and, in the process, contribute to your basic desires, too.
Though you may argue that terrorists don’t value this, everyone wants to live in peace. I doubt that even the most vicious individuals want to see their families and loved ones harmed. I don’t know of anyone who is comfortable living in a community where bombs are constantly dropped, poisonous gases released and people shot at when walking their streets. This is why countless Syrians, and others asylum seekers around the world, flee their countries.
We may not all have the same views but if we make an effort to be open-minded and pass no judgment, we can live in peace. I know of no country in the world that is only composed of a pure original human race. Everyone came from somewhere at some point. We don’t have to agree with someone’s philosophy, but there’s no need to harm anyone who holds a different view. “Be the solution you wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi
JOY & HAPPINESS
Everyone I’ve ever met wants to be happy. Still, it’s interesting that there are people who actually choose to be unhappy.
Take for example two very grumpy men that I passed during a walk along the beach last week. I could tell by their clothes, their tans, golf hats and car keys that they were well to do, by society’s standards. As they approached me, at different times, from the opposite direction I noticed huge frowns on their faces. They literally looked angry. Granted, they may be going through something very difficult but it would have been to their advantage to get an answer back when I said “good morning” with a smile on my face. Happiness is a choice and condition that comes from within, no matter what circumstances we’re facing. It’s a conscious decision. Scientists have proven that when you smile, you improve your metabolism and outlook, at least temporarily.
Problems are sure to come in life. It’s one way to help us grow. Stagnation keeps us from evolving. How we respond to life’s challenges makes us or breaks us. Notice, I didn’t say “react.” When we react, we’ve given up control. A problem is the Universe’s way of teaching us how to achieve what we want. Contrast is essential for personal development. When we know what we don’t want, we identify what we do want. When we live with this truth, we never again have problems only solutions, tools and great lessons.
If you want to be happy, make others happy. It’s contagious and reciprocal. Be thoughtful. Show your partner appreciation. Show up with flowers. No, it’s not old fashioned. It’s a loving gesture. Send a card just for the sake of it. Text someone you love them. Share funny experiences. Play pranks, tell jokes. Why have we forgotten the gift of laughter? Watch funny videos and keep your frequency at a high level. It will resonate with those around you and keep you on a high flying disk.
Humans can only operate at peak performance when they’re in balance of body, mind and spirit/soul. When one part of us is out of alignment, the rest suffers. This is where yoga, meditation and a good diet come in. When we’re in balance we have clarity, direction and productivity. Under these circumstances, we can achieve just about anything.
Today mainstream society can access much healthier foods than were available just a few years ago. Those who can’t buy organic or fresh foods can grow their own. Cooperatives have developed where growers can barter goods. We now know the importance of eating more fruits and vegetables over too much meat or processed foods. Anything that comes out of a box or a can has very little nutritional value. It has been over processed and contains chemicals for preservation. Drinking plenty of water contributes to our metabolism lowering cholesterol, assisting in weight loss and the overall functioning of the human body.
Luckily, the use of natural herbs and plants over pharmaceutical products, which cause side effects, is a growing trend in the United States. Herbalism has been practiced for thousands of years by most of the world’s population. Ayurveda, Chinese and Western Herbal medicine is practiced by nearly 70% of the world’s population. It’s only in the last two hundred years that western medicine has turned to the laboratory for solutions and we know what that has caused.
With the cost of health care in the United States along with our increased knowledge of the superiority of natural products, it makes sense to practice preventative habits from the inside out. In addition to making better medical and food choices, meditation and yoga is a great way to achieve peak health.
One way to feel happy is to be in community. It’s one reason traditional societies, where family or community members take care of one another, experience far less depression. It’s rare to find individuals in these kinds of groups feeling isolated. When you’re part of a tribe, you feel a valuable part of society. When we feel like an insignificant cog, in a very large wheel, our self worth begins to diminish. I’m glad that in countries like the United States where the nuclear family is rare, we can (somewhat) offset this by creating online groups and tribes of like-minded people.
I don’t know of anyone who enjoys feeling trapped, whether in a relationship or in a job. Humans are wired to grow and evolve and oftentimes this isn’t possible in a stifling job or situation.
Take for example the executive who spends most of his or her work day dreaming of the next vacation, having just returned from one. We all have bills to pay and if we’re not inclined to be risk takers, which starting your own business requires, we’re probably working at jobs trading our precious time for a paycheck.
No one likes to be told how to spend their time, what to do and how to do it. As an entrepreneur, you have control over these. Imagine coming and going as you please not being enslaved by a boss, a desk or an office. Time freedom is one of the reasons entrepreneurship and remote work has exploded in popularity in the last few years. Let me caution you, however, that working on your own requires huge amounts of discipline and accountability. It’s easy to be on the computer, look up at the ceiling and realize it’s time to clean away cobwebs. If you’re not a good time manager, this may not be a good career choice.
An alternative to entrepreneurship is negotiating flexible days or hours. I have friends who are employed Monday through Wednesday and spend quality time with their families the rest of the week.
However, the kind of freedom that more often comes up when I travel is freedom from oppression or the ability to speak one’s mind in public. Prior to the Internet there was little protection from oppressive regimes or corrupt leaders. Today, with live streaming we can post events instantly and, while we can’t make the disappear altogether, we can keep bullies and corrupt politicians at bay.
I’m blessed to live in a country where I have license to live the way I want. There will always be those who disagree or criticize but, in nations where freedom is valued, we don’t have to fear getting killed or being jailed for our religious or sexual leanings, the way we dress, what we write, what we say or how we say it.
Ponder some of the points I’ve talked about and take a moment to ask yourself, how do you want to live? What are your “must have’s?” What do you want out of life? And, how are you going after it?
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