Living Your Best Life
There are many different quotes, proverbs, and sayings to inspire us to live our best life. One such quote comes from a revered Indian spiritual master, Sai Baba. He said, “Life is a game; play it. Life is a challenge; meet it. Life is an opportunity; capture it.”
Life is a game – play it
Games have rules, and so does living your best life. Some rules are universal and are true all the time, such as gravity. On planet Earth, when you drop an object, it will fall. Some rules are for safety. This includes wearing a seatbelt in your car and wearing a hard hat on a building site. Other rules are more in the grey area of whether they need to be followed exactly and may be considered ‘guidelines’, and some rules are not rules at all. When my children were young, I always tooted three times while driving through the Mt Victoria Tunnel in Wellington, New Zealand. They grew up believing this was a rule because I did it every time! The key is to be able to play the game of life. Deciding on how you want to play your game is important. Which values and rules are going to guide your life?
Boundaries are there to keep us safe and on track. Consider a person being blindfolded and helicoptered into a football field. They have been told that the sidelines have been electrified, and they will play the game blindfolded. If they are not sure where on the field they have been placed, the likelihood of them moving far is slim for fear of an electric shock. However, when the boundaries are clearly marked, it is easy to move quickly and safely within these parameters.
So who learns the most in a game? Is it the participant or the spectators? Of course, it is easy to criticise the players from the outside, yet it is the players themselves, in the arena, as Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 speech stated, who learn the most.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt
Life is a game to play and there is always a choice on how you play the game. This includes focusing on the positive, the progress and the goals. History shows one of the self-imposed rules of successful people is to minimise or indeed turn down the noise of the negative, naysayers and critics in life. This can be achieved by watching what you feed your brain in terms of information. Turn off or minimise mainstream media and social media giving only the highlight reels of people’s lives instead spend time reading or watching documentaries about successful people, say positive affirmations, practice gratitude and surround yourself with people who help you grow and uplift you.
Life is a challenge – meet it
The essence of Ryan Holiday’s Book “The Obstacle Is The Way’ is that the challenges in life are the purpose of life, to help us grow, get stronger and give us practice living our values. When a butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, it is the struggle to get out of the cocoon which makes the wings strong and allows the butterfly to fly.
When you meet challenges in life, treat the opportunity as a test. If you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out. If you squeeze a lemon, lemon juice comes out. It doesn’t matter how hard a lemon is squeezed orange juice will not come out. What comes out is what is inside. Now acknowledge what is inside you. When you are squeezed, when the pressure is applied, what comes out? Anger, jealousy, hate or thoughtfulness, patience, love? Challenges are a chance to be able to see what is inside and decide if that is who we want to be. Tony Robbins says, “The purpose of pain is to move us into action, it’s not to make us suffer.”
Action is the key. When meeting a challenging situation or time, sitting still, burying your head in the sand or waiting it out does not solve the issue nor cause you to grow. Taking action may mean having to look deeply within and face your fears. You may need to ask for help. You may need to ‘DSD’ – Do Something Different, think flexibly, make changes – take action. Even if you are not sure the action you take is the right one, it is often so much better than the prospect of staying stuck.
You may need to realign and evaluate your values, goals and dreams.
What is important is that you be true to yourself. A great maxim is, “Don’t let your ice cream melt while you are counting somebody else’s sprinkles”.
Life is an opportunity, capture it
Leon Spinks said, “Opportunities only knock once.” I’m not sure this is entirely true, as I believe there is an abundance of opportunities when you are ready to receive them. This does not make all opportunities equal, or even the ones for you and many times, there is only one way to find out – say yes!
Taking opportunities can leave you in a state of uncertainty and can feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. A life lived within your comfort zone can feel safe and secure, yet true growth and adventure lie outside your comfort zone. Trying something new is often peppered with awkwardness, mistakes and difficulty. Everything is hard before it is easy. Being willing to make mistakes, be in a state of confusion, ask questions, and seek help and support are all important considerations. It pays to remember that FAIL stands for First Attempt In Learning. It is all part of the process.
One way to help decide on which opportunities to take is to create a vision board for your year or life. Set goals, decide on the values you wish to live by and create habits that allow you to you be your best. Each day, find the joy in your life. Robin Sharma says, “Success without joy is an empty victory.” Celebrate the tiny wins, your progress and your failures. Most of all, capture it.
Record your life for no purpose but to see your growth and journey. Write in a journal, take photos and display them, and put away your phone when with others to truly be in the moment. Listen more than you speak and be genuinely interested in others and their life. Make eye contact, embrace spontaneity and be mindful by practising daily prayer, gratitude or meditation. I create a photo book of each year of my life and record my daily gratitude and design my yearly vision boards with my goals, values and reflections.
“Life is a game; play it. Life is a challenge; meet it. Life is an opportunity; capture it.”
In what ways will you embrace this beautiful quote to live your best life?