How to Improve Your Life

Most people have a natural desire to better themselves in one way or another. Some might say that we have been infused with a God-given drive to realize our potential, experience personal growth, and to continually discover more of what life has to offer.

Many of us are also conditioned by our parents, friends, and society to attract a mate, get married, advance in our careers, have kids, enjoy family vacations, send your kids to college, and create financial abundance for yourself so you can retire in comfort.

Although there are exceptions, most of the items on that list happen as the result of setting specific goals, pursuing them on a consistent basis, making plans, refining those plans, believing in yourself, and taking calculated, well-thought-out risks.

Good things do occasionally occur in our lives by happenstance and serendipity, but you can’t depend on that or base your life on the expectation of good luck. Good luck does happen, but it’s often the direct or indirect result of the following things:

  • a positive attitude
  • hard work
  • putting yourself out there
  • networking
  • cultivating relationships with people who have the ability to help you
  • continually looking for ways to be stronger, smarter, and more effective in everything (important) that you do

While it’s true that you can’t always get what you want, persistence, focused thinking, and self believe are guaranteed to help you get more of what you want — and sometimes, exactly what you want.

Life Changing Quotes

One way I come up with topics for this blog is by researching what people are searching  on the Web. That’s a technique I use to tailor my blog posts to what Internet users are interested in and want to know about.

Since this is a blog about life, my research often centers on phrases and themes related to that immense topic.

Today, I stumbled upon the fact that a lot of people are specifically searching for “life changing quotes.” That captured my attention because I am always looking for life changes ideas and philosophies, myself, but it never occurred to me to search for life changing quotes.

I find it fascinating that certain words and combinations of words can motivate, inspire, and embolden us to overcome our fears, take action, and realize more of our human potential.

Although the same words, ideas, and quotes don’t inspire everyone to the same degree, I’d like to pass along a few good quotes that I reflect on whenever I need to boost my self esteem or motivate myself to take action.

One of the more life-changing books I’ve read in the past decade or so was written by Debbie Ford. It’s called “The Right Questions: Ten Essential Questions to Guide You to an Extraordinary Life.” Although it’s a relatively short book, an easy read, it contains a wealth of wisdom, inspiring ideas, and — in my opinion — life-changing quotes. Here are a couple that are especially meaningful to me:

“Each of us has an internal flame that is the keeper of our life force. Each choice we make either adds to this force, making it stronger, igniting and feeding our flame, or diminishes the force, dampening our internal flame, reducing its power.”

In the book, she also provides readers with this “wake-up call”…

“This is not a dress rehearsal; this is your life. Either you will milk it for all it’s worth and manifest what you truly desire or you will go to your grave regretting that you didn’t make different choices.”

That reminds me of a powerful line in a song by Billy Joel: Vienna

“And you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want or you can just get old.”

It’s a harsh truth, but it drives home an important message about taking action and not putting off for tomorrow what we can (and often should) do today.

Speaking of compelling questions and life-changing quotes, one that has been repeated and repackaged for years, challenges you to imagine what success would feel like. The following question is a consolidation of a couple variations of the quote:

What would you do, right now, and what goals would you set if you knew you could not fail?

The original version is attributed to Robert H. Schuller, the host of the TV program “Hour of Power” and author of the 1973 book “You Can Become the Person You Want To Be”. The essence of that question also appeared a few years later in his syndicated newspaper column.

The reason I love that quote, as well as the many variations others have used, is that it inspires you to imagine for a few seconds what it would be like to succeed and get what you want. Once you’ve entertained that possibility in your mind for even a fleeting moment, you can’t help but feel at least a little more confident, motivated, and inspired to take action, pursue your dreams, and go after your goals!

Those are just a few examples of what I consider to be life-changing quotes. As I discover and remember more, I’ll pass them along in future blog posts!

I invite you to “follow” this blog for more life changing quotes, ideas, and resources.

Tackling Some of Life’s Big Questions

Finding meaning, happiness, and fulfillment in life is a tall order. Sometimes I’m convinced I have most of the answers to the mysteries of life; the next minute, I feel clueless!

Since there are countless ways people derive meaning from life — whether it’s from religion or promoting a humanitarian cause — then meaning must be a subjective experience. In other words, it’s all in our heads! While that statement might seem to trivialize worthy causes, religions, or spiritual beliefs, that’s not my intention.

What we often forget or lose sight of is the fact that we all live in our own individual realities — some would say our own universes. As Deepak Chopra says “Never forget that you are not in the world; the world is in you.”

Since everyone sees the world through different eyes, it seems amazing that most of us are able to work together, cooperate, form lasting relationships, and co-exist at all!

How and why is that possible? Well, I can’t say for sure, but in my opinion, most people are intrinsically good and possess an inborn desire to connect with others and be part of something larger than themselves.

When people can’t co-exist peacefully or refuse to do so, it’s almost always based on fear, misconceptions about others who are different than them, and a failure to recognize that we all come from the same Source.

So here’s what it boils down to: We can all do something, every day, to make the world a better place — or at least our corner of it — but we can’t fix it. The only things we (potentially) have control control over are our thoughts, our reactions to the outside world, our behavior, and the way we interact with other people.

There is no easy, guaranteed formula for happiness, but I think the starting point is to work on loving yourself, being kind to others, and expending as much energy as possible on being grateful for the good things in the world and in your life. The “Law of Attraction” states that the things you focus on become magnified and magnetic.

So the big question is: “Can we ever really master life and consistently feel like we’re in control of ourselves and every situation?” Well, as I see it, self-mastery is a never-ending process and life is always going to throw you curve balls — especially when you least expect it!

That being said, my direct answer to the question is “No, probably not, but we owe it to ourselves and others to keep trying and do our best! The good news is that we’re bound to make a lot of progress along the way!”

As Eric Clapton’s hit song “Change The World” (released in 1996) seems to suggest (to me): You can do a lot to change your inner world and your relationships, but changing the world-at-large is a Herculean task, if not an impossible dream!

A Blog About Life

This is the post excerpt.

To most people, life is an enigma… an eternal mystery… an unsolvable puzzle. Ninety eight percent of the time, I’m one of those people. However, every now and then, God speaks to me. He seems to whisper things like, “Hey, Joel! Straighten up and fly right!” More often than not, though, I realize that I drifted off to sleep listening to my Nat King Cole station on Pandora, so it may not have been God directly talking to me.

So why, you may wonder, am I qualified to write a blog on life? Well, first of all, I’m a journalist and freelance writer — I’ve made my living as a writer since 1983 — so I that gives me some sort of literary license. It’s not exactly a document I can frame and hang on my wall, but it’s more of an “inner knowing” that, on any given day, I have the ability to construct a series of coherent sentences that almost always make sense and that don’t sound like the ramblings of a deranged madman!

The thing about writing a blog about “life” — a rather wide open topic — is that the only parameters are self imposed. The down side of that is that it’s all-too easy to go off on tangents, as if I was Robin Williams writing blog posts from that great standup stage in the sky.

However, it is my goal in life (and as a blog writer) to continually exercise my self-editing muscles. It’s not easy and it takes a lot of persistence and tenacity, but as many great philosophers, spiritual leaders, and successful entrepreneurs will tell you, “Before you can control the outer conditions of your life, you must first master your inner self.”

One of my core beliefs, which was inspired by the writings of Dr. Wayne Dyer, is that “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” It sounds counter-intuitive — as does the title of one of his books, “You’ll See it When You Believe It” — but sometimes the only way to produce positive change in your life is to look at your world through a different lens, and then be ready and willing to make adjustments based on that revised perspective.

That’s the daily challenge we all face.