In Part Three of this series we explore three more ways to make the most of life. Perhaps one, if not all three of these tips will make a difference in how you see yourself and your life. Also, for more useful tips, check out Part One and Part Two if they slipped by you.
#7. Stop Wishing Things Would Be Different
Instead, decide what you can do today to wring the most good you can out of the situation you’re in. I don’t know of one person who isn’t grappling with circumstances that weren’t of their own choosing. “This isn’t how I imagined my life would be,” might have crossed your mind once or twice. Believe me, no one is exempt. Yes, you may be stuck for the time being, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find joy elsewhere. Ask yourself, “If not for X, what would I have missed out on?”
After losing our home in a wildfire, my insurance agent used a phrase to help me decide what I could claim as a loss. He said, “If not for the fire, would you have incurred that expense?”
I ask you, if you hadn’t experienced this tragedy in life, what people would you have not met? What opportunities would not have come your way? What benefits wouldn’t you have gained? It won’t change the challenge you’re facing, but it will alter your perspective.
“Life is about perspective and how you look at something…ultimately, you have to zoom out.” — Whitney Wolfe Herd
8. Set a “Horror Floor”
Decide before a situation gets out of hand how low you’ll go until you know “enough is enough!” Too often we allow “scope creep” to transform our life into something we’d never have chosen. Boundaries get stretched. You agree to overlook it “just this once.” (But NEXT time, whoa baby, watch out!)
So put some standards in place. Your “horror floor” is the absolute limit you’ll allow before you take action, call someone on their behavior or enforce consequences. It’s the red flag that notifies you not to go beyond that point. It’s the promise you made to yourself not to be taken advantage of in the future.
But if you relax that promise in a moment of weakness, know that tomorrow you can give it another go. Just because you gave in once, doesn’t mean it has to become a habit.
Think of your situation as a pot of water on the stove. You know the approximate temperature where it will reach the boiling point. Don’t let it get that far. Set that “burner knob” at medium so you can maintain control.
#9. Ask for What You Want
It’s not being selfish to go after something that’s important to you. We’re so used to being there for others we put our desires on hold. Of course, that means we must take time to figure out what we do want and be able to articulate it — if only to ourselves. We also have to think well enough of our abilities to believe we deserve it.
Too often we feel we must be satisfied with the leftovers. Decide to pursue your dreams in all their beauty rather than accept tier-two status or membership on the “B” team. Hold out for the prize. Ask yourself, “How can I get what I want if I can’t achieve the entire goal all at once?” Perhaps small steps will lead you to the best outcome.
Small steps are incremental ways to join the club, publish the book, get the promotion, etc. Break it down into bits then tackle them one by one.
For example, on my path to becoming a published author are numerous ways I can move in that direction: join the local writer’s association, consistently publish a blog, write a how-to guide, submit to writers contests, etc. It’s similar to dressing like the position you want to achieve. Take it up a notch to help you feel the part and it signals to others you’re a player.
My grandfather had a great saying, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get!” So get in the habit of asking for what you want.
Next up, in Part Four, we have the remaining three points on our path to making the most of life. Please stay tuned!