The Zen of Forty

A series of small bits of wisdom that have helped me, at 40, become the happiest I’ve ever been in my life by remembering to review them each week, and try to live by them as much as I can.  I share them with you with the hope that they’ll resonate with someone who is reading through them and provide that little extra motivation to point yourself in the right direction.

  • Ask yourself each day what you’re considering important and whether it would be 100 years from now. Does it matter as much as the energy you’re putting in to worrying about it?
  • Try to make each day a “no more zeros” day. Do something each day that furthers your life goals, even if it’s just a minor step in that direction.
  • Take care of the 3 you’s.  Thank the past you for good decisions you’ve made, cater to the present you by keeping attention and focus on whatever you’re putting your time and effort to at this moment, and do favors for the future you by making choices that further your goals. Treat your future self like you would a best friend.
  • Forgive yourself for mistakes you’ve made in the past.
  • You control how you react to everything that happens in your life. Whatever emotion you’re feeling, you can choose to change it if you want to. It’s totally up to you. Choose to be happy.
  • The world really is a playground if you’re willing to let it be.
  • Stop complaining and try to look for opportunities or moments of happiness instead.
  • It’s ok to have regrets. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that having something you regret is something you should be ashamed of.  It’s how you learn and become a better person.
  • The king and the pawn are put back in the same box at the end of the game. Don’t get too wrapped up in who you think you are on the board from day to day.
  • Be honest with yourself about everything. That’s a responsibility you have to yourself.
  • Start facing problems head on, and taking care of small problems before they become big ones later.
  • You can choose to let your day run you, or you can run your day.
  • If you’re feeling down, upset, regretful, or any other negative emotion, then just do something – anything. Action is always better than inaction.
  • Your job isn’t your worth, and it isn’t your life. Let your job fund your life.
  • Start being authentic and making your own happiness a priority.
  • Build a life that is tailor made for you.
  • Take responsibility for mistakes and failures, and clean up your own messes.
  • Think about the person that you want to be, and act like that person until you ultimately become them.
  • Running away from problems in life is a race that you’ll never win.
  • Make time in every day to enjoy life and the world around you.
  • Don’t feel sorry for yourself.  Everyone has their own obstacles to overcome. Very few people are born with a free pass.
  • It’s worth repeating, choose happiness whenever possible. It’s possible more often than you think.
  • Be kind to others.  Remember that other people have it tough too.
  • Don’t defer happiness until a future date. That’s a terrible idea, because that date may never come.
  • Possessions will own you if you let them. Keep things simple, and remember that a few great things will always trump a multitude of mediocre ones.
  • Be silly, be honest and be kind.  It’s better for you and everyone around you.
  • Think about who you would call and what you would say if you only had one hour left to live.  Does that person know?   They should.
  • Remember not to live only for the sunshine. Instead, don’t be afraid to dance in the rain too.
  • When you feel like you have no time, remember the key to prioritization: golf balls, pebbles, sand and a jar.
  • Read and do things that nourish your mind every day.

Good luck. Keep smiling.


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