I don’t know about you, but I forget about 95% of the things I learn. No matter how much I read, journal, and process all the wisdom of life, I keep on forgetting the things that make life better.
At least, that’s what I assume. But that’s my own mind playing tricks on me. Even though it might seem like we forget, everything we read and practice has an impact on the way we live.
Ralph Waldo Emerson illustrated this point clearly when he said:
“I have forgotten the books I have read, and so I have the dinners I have eaten; but they both helped to make me.”
What you put in your brain influences your thoughts. And the quality of your thoughts influences the outcome of your life. That’s why I protect the gates to my brain as much as I can.
You do that by not consuming junk information like the news or mindless entertainment. You also do that by not associating with toxic people.
And you also nurture your brain by reminding yourself of all the things that make life better. Here are 14 of those things. When I do these things, I’m a better person.
1. Let go of the past
Today, you’re a new person. Every day is a new beginning. Forget about what you said and did yesterday. What matters is that you have good intentions and that you do your best to make today the best day of your life.
2. Don’t rush things
We’re always going somewhere. And we rush the middle. But the funny thing is, that the middle IS our life.
So next time you’re rushing your breakfast so you can go to work, realize that you’re throwing away the present. That’s the key to mindfulness too. We’re always trying to achieve something, to get somewhere. In the process, we forget to experience the present moment.
Ask yourself: “What’s the rush good for?”
3. Shape your own future
Just because you’re not rushing things and living in the present, it doesn’t mean you should forget about tomorrow. In fact, I think we should shape our future by making conscious decisions.
Who are you? What kind of life do you want? Shape your life by your decisions. Adapt your life to who you are.
4. Your life is good
It’s easy to compare yourself to someone who’s doing better than you. No matter how successful you are, there is always someone who has more success. The same is true for intangible things.
You can’t compare happiness, family, health, and lifestyle with anybody else. Remember that your life is good the way it is. Why? Because it’s the only one you have. Does that mean you should not improve it? What makes you assume that? If something is good, you can still make it better.
Believe me, I try hard to convince myself that I don’t need to work out every day. We all do it: “I can probably skip today.” No, my friend, you can NOT. So can’t I.
You know why? Every day I skip a workout, I start getting uneasy. My back starts hurting, my legs feel stiff, and I feel tired. Even a 30-minute brisk walk does the trick. No one is too busy for that.
6. Read books you enjoy
Sometimes we read a book because it’s “supposed” to be good. The hell with that. I only want to read books that grab my attention with every sentence.
You know how some books are hard to put down? And some books are a drag to read? It’s very simple, only read the former. When a book is a drag, put it away.
7. You can’t do everything on a single day
So you want to wake up, meditate, read, go to the gym, work, have lunch with a friend, pick up a few things from the store, work on your hobby, AND go to the movies?
Sure, you can cram everything you want to do in one day, but why? Some days we do very little. And those days can already be stressful. But all of a sudden, we think we can do 10 things on one day instead of the regular 4/5.
Make a decision. Stick to it. And spread out your activities over the week.
8. Keep a journal
Putting your thoughts into words has many benefits. It improves your logic, speech, and overall thinking skills. But it also helps you to calm down and think about what you’re doing.
9. Everybody has problems
Next time you expect something from a friend, family member, or co-worker, put yourself in their shoes. You’re not the only person with problems or a difficult life. We’re all in the same boat here. Just knowing that makes us go easier on the people in our lives.
10. You MAKE time
Look, it’s easy to say you don’t have time to read, work out, buy a gift for a loved one, or whatever you should do. That’s true for everyone.
You and I both know that we all have the same 24 hours in a day. We can’t find or create more time. We can only MAKE time for the things that are important to us.
11. Lighten up
It’s easy to take life too seriously. Especially when you try hard to improve. But remember that we’re all just trying to figure things out.
No one has all the answers. Even people who think they do. So lighten up. It’s just life.
12. Standing still means you’re moving backward—everything falls apart
Everything in life falls apart. That’s because of entropy. The natural direction of life is downwards—towards disorder.
Your body, a relationship, house, business, job—nothing will stay stable. You need to work on these things. If you don’t, they’ll fall apart by themselves. That’s not a good or bad thing. It’s a given.
13. Don’t be a wimp
Don’t take shit from people. Stand up for yourself. Have an opinion. And take action.
14. Smell the roses
Our natural state of mind is to be lost in thoughts. We drive ourselves crazy with excessive thinking. We waste our time and energy thinking about utter bullshit.
You know why we think, worry, and stress so much? We can’t accept reality.
Decide, once and for all, that you accept whatever happens to you. And that, no matter what, you will stop and smell the roses. This is one of the corniest things in the world; but there are “roses” everywhere, my friend.
You just have to open your eyes to see them.
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Even though we forget most of what we learn, it doesn’t hurt to improve our ability to retain more wisdom. I’ve been researching how you can retain more from the books you read. I share my tips in the video below.