Leading a contented life

A friend asked me to put together my ideas for a presentation that he is to make to a group of college graduates on the theme of ‘leading a contented and successful life.’ This is it with some additions for older life students:

  • Know that one day you’ll be old and life’s opportunities will have passed you by so don’t delay, plan now and do next.
  • When you have created a plan, work it! Setting goals is the easy bit; executing your plan is more difficult. Execution is crucial.
  • Know that you can make a positive contribution to the world, maybe even help make a better world. After all, if not you, who?
  • Know your purpose in life … if you don’t know it now keep asking the question of yourself until you do. Purpose gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
  • Know your values and live by them. Being true to your values makes decision-making easier.
  • Have passion for all that you do. Contribution without passion is feeble.
  • Expect setbacks as no journey is ever without setbacks.
  • When life knocks you down, pick yourself up, dust yourself down and get on with things.
  • Expect opposition from those who have no ambition. The weak-minded and the jealous will always find the flaws in your plans in order to bring you down.
  • Don’t complain. If something isn’t of your liking, offer alternatives and then do something else.
  • Don’t wait on winning the lottery to make you rich because it is unlikely to happen, make good in the world and riches will follow.
  • Develop a positive outlook. Positivity does not exclude reality but it does exclude pessimism.
  • Be enthusiastic about life even when things get you down. Like a virus, enthusiasm is contagious and spreads the more you expose yourself to it.
  • Expect success even though you won’t always achieve it.
  • Do the work you enjoy, work that inspires you because doing the work that you enjoy is not like work at all.
  • Always do the very best you can, in everything you do even if it is doing the menial tasks.
  • Serve others in every way that you can. Good leaders do not take, they give.
  • Respect other people for who they are, not necessarily for what they do. You can respect a person yet condemn behavior.
  • Find what’s good in other people as it is far too easy to find what’s bad.
  • Treat people how they like to be treated rather than how you like to be treated.
  • Be aware of and enjoy the simple yet truly pleasurable things in life, walking through a forest, a beautiful sunset, an evening with a loved one.
  • Believe in yourself because not everyone will.
  • Love yourself because if you do not you will not be able to love others. You cannot give what you do not have.
  • Work hard and the rewards will follow.
  • Reward yourself for your successes. Reward creates motivation.
  • Smile more often and you’ll not only feel happier, you’ll look better too.
  • Laugh more often. Laughter strengthens the immune system, boosts energy, diminishes pain, and protects from the damaging effects of stress.
  • Develop an open mind, one that considers all opinions before dismissing them, after all, man used to believe that the earth was flat.
  • Be intentional in all you do. Intention has a power in it.
  • Practice hard and long, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an ‘expert.’
  • Make time for yourself, your family and your friends … being with those we love is good for the soul.
  • Make time every day to sit in silence. The answers to our questions are not ‘out there’ but within.
  • Look after yourself. Your body is strong but it does need to be nourished properly with wholesome food and rest.
  • Love life. The world has so much to offer for those who can look beyond extravagant material needs.
  • Be grateful for what life delivers to your door. A grateful heart is a contented heart.
  • Do today what needs to be done today, only putting off the trivial.
  • Pay someone a sincere compliment everyday … it costs nothing to make others feel good.
  • Have good conversations with those who are important to you.
  • Live every day as if it were your last because one day it will be!
  • If something doesn’t work, do something different. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got!
  • If your life/your career/your relationships aren’t going in the direction you would like them to then do something NOW to get back on track!
  • Enjoy every moment because you don’t get to live today again tomorrow.