Are you living an “inspired” life? As I see it, an inspired life is one that first, and foremost, resonates with you. It’s living to your potential, living the life of your calling or purpose and living a life of passion. The bonus is that living your “inspired” life is likely to inspire others who will learn and benefit from your example. Here are 21 ways you can be that inspiration and live an “inspired” life:
1.Be Kind – Kindness is perhaps the greatest gift you can give yourself and others. It can be shared freely and will never diminish in supply by use. In fact, sharing kindness only magnifies its abundance. Whether it’s a smile to a stranger or reaching out with a helping hand to someone in need, kindness connects our souls and makes us richer for the experience. Just today, a bicyclist rode by me as I was standing by my car. He smiled a genuine smile and waved. Something about him was so intriguing that I watched as he rode past. On the back of his seat post was a make-shift cardboard sign that read, “You’re Perfect.”
2.Be Courageous – Live outside your comfort zone. That’s where the growth comes; that’s where the magic happens. Don’t let your fears hold you back from pushing limits and taking risks. The things in life that are worthwhile require you to get off the sidelines and take a leap. Just as important, let your voice speak out to your convictions. In other words, speak your truth, even if your voice shakes.
3.Have a Vision – It’s hard to live an inspired life if you’re winging it without a clear purpose and vision of what you want to create for yourself. Your personal vision should inspire you to the possibilities and the role you will play in your own destiny.
4.Be Authentic – You can’t be inspiring to yourself or others if you are not being true to yourself. Find your path and own it. You are uniquely you so embrace your YOU-NESS or as Dr. Seuss says, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
5.Do What Is Right, Not What Is Popular – At the end of the day, you must be able to look at yourself in the mirror and feel good about who you are. Live out your convictions with your words and actions. Follow your heart and be true to what you believe. Take a stand.
6.Be Adventurous – There is a huge world out there. Where will you go? What will you see? Whatwill you do? The answers will shape who you become. The more you engage in the world around you, the more you will broaden your perspective, stimulate your curiosity and connect to opportunities, people and possibilities. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
7.Give Back – We are at our best, when we are helping others. How can you serve, how can you contribute, and how can you make a difference. It can be in little ways every day or through a worthy obsession…or both. It can be as simple and profound as being a good parent or as bold as saving the rain forest. Whatever it is, do it with enthusiasm and reap the benefits of good karma.
8.Be Grateful – Gratitude changes everything. Embracing gratitude will change your focus to the positive. No matter how bad things can get, there are always things to appreciate. Being in a gratitude mindset unlocks the fullness of life and allows us to have enough, and more, than what you need.
9.Think Collectively (Globally/Socially) – Recognize that your actions have implications and consequences, not just for you but for others. So think of the greater good and the impact of what you do (or don’t do). Whether that’s being a good steward of the planet or a contributing team member on a project, make decisions that make a positive ripple.
10.Have Less – Do More – With time, you learn that “having stuff” is not the pathway to happiness. Find happiness in doing more, not having more. As Cheryl Crow sang “It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.”
11.Become A Life-Long Learner – Our experiences mean little without the kernels of wisdom that they create in us. We must learn from our mistakes and from our successes as well. In addition, we must be open to the wisdom that surrounds us. As you grow in your knowledge and how to apply it, you will more fully develop yourself and provide valuable contributions to your world.
12.Smile – Your disposition, attitude and outlook will be a compass for your perception of the world. It’s hard to have a bad attitude when you are smiling. The best part is that smiles are contagious…so start spreading.
13.Be Mindful – Live in the moment. Be present. Life is too precious and short not to be fully engaged and living in the now. Eckhart Tolle writes in The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, “As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care and love – even the most simple action.”
14.Embrace A Higher Power – Regardless of your religious beliefs or spiritual calling, know that you are one with the universe. And there are things that you will never fully understand or comprehend. But regardless of your beliefs, the world is unfolding as it should. Have faith in your truth, whatever it may be. Let it guide you, strengthen you and nurture you as a member of a larger community. Find power in the love and goodness that surround you. And add your positive energy to the collective spirit.
15.Let Go Of Ego – The ego brings a “know-it-all” attitude and will do what is necessary to justify that it’s right. It can limit you by closing you off. It can prevent you from seeing the value that others bring to the table. It can stifle collaboration and cooperation. It keeps you from being humble and appreciative and it serves no greater purpose outside of self.
16.Imagine. In a recent survey of CEOs, they noted the most important attribute that they hire for is innovation. Sometimes, our ability to see all the possibilities has been lost by becoming a “grown-up.” Capture and hold on to the imagination of a young child, filled with hope and wonder. Bring that sense of curiosity to your world and use it to explore opportunities, push boundaries, and make new discoveries. Most of us don’t realize the magic that we have inside our minds that is just waiting to be let out.
17.Laugh – Don’t take yourself too seriously. Find simple joy and humor around you and revel in the moments that make you giggle to yourself or roar with a belly laugh amongst friends. Laughter truly is the best medicine.
18.Never Give Up – “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” – Calvin Coolidge
19.Be Bold – Aim high and shoot for the stars. It is only when we lift our hearts to the possibilities that we recognize our greatest gifts. “Your dream is not big enough if it doesn’t scare you.”
20.Enjoy The Journey – Life is nothing if it’s not interesting. There will be good times and bad. There will be times when things are easy and flow; and others times where it seems like a struggle. But when you put it all in perspective, the journey is pretty amazing. Take the time to appreciate what a wondrous ride you are on and have fun on your path. Sometimes it’s the unexpected detours that will bring the most joy.
21.Don’t Wait – Some people wait their whole lives to start living. Waiting for the kids to graduate or move out, waiting for the perfect job, waiting to get that degree. Waiting for the right time is only missing out on what you could be experiencing, doing and creating. You have all that you need right now. Remember, “You’re Perfect.”
About Will Turner
Sometimes it takes milestone moments to stop and reflect. For me, it was as the “Big 5-0″ was chasing me down. How could it be? Fifty seemed to come in a blink. Where did all the time go?
My 50th year was also the year I lost my Dad. His declining health and death was yet another reminder that life was short and precious. And further testament to what my Mom often declared, “Each decade seems to pass faster than the last.”
As the half-century mark loomed, the question that haunted me was “Am I living the life I want to live?” By all accounts, I had a good life. I was co-founder of my own business which I was passionate about, pursued my love of art through painting, was physically able to compete with guys half my age (and win), volunteered for causes that were meaningful to me, lived in a nice neighborhood, had good friends, was in a good relationship…from an outside view, I seemed to have it all.
And I knew that I could continue on my path and live a good life. But was I settling for “good enough” at the expense of “frickin’ amazing.” If I stayed on the same course for 20 or 30 more years, what, if anything, would I regret?
My path of discovery took me to New Zealand. Because in my 50th year, I decided I needed to kick myself out of my comfort zone. I needed to test myself in ways that would push me further than I had ever been pushed before. And the best way for me to do that was competing in Ironman New Zealand.
The ultimate endurance challenge – 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run – would certainly test my physical abilities. Hell, I had ended up in the hospital after my third marathon only a few years earlier and in a medic tent on yet another marathon. So adding a 2.4 mile swim and a 112 mile bike before starting a marathon run would be a test beyond anything that seemed feasible in my world. And that’s why I wanted to do it.
But from my marathon training over the years, I knew there was another bigger test involved with the Ironman. It would push me mentally. In any endurance event, there comes a time when your body is ready to collapse. Exhausted. Toasted. Done.
It’s when those moments hit that your mental strength is put to the test. You find that space where all you want to do is give up, to stop. Your body is screaming. And you can stop because it’s the natural and logical thing to do. Or you can push through it. And if you choose the latter, you chart new ground. You shatter your old limits.