When we let other people write our life story, we are signing ourselves up for disappointment.
When we let anyone (parents, friends, boss, teachers, celebrities) shape the way we view the world, decide what we are supposed to like or dislike, or define how success looks like; we are actually living their lives instead of ours.
But what life would be like if you can write your own life story—and be honest about what really matters to you? If no one can give you any pressure, if you don’t have to answer to anyone, if you don’t have to find excuses, what kind of life do you want for yourself?
Here are 6 practical ways on how you can live the life you’ll love:
1. Write your own story.
Once you have envisioned the life you really want for yourself, start taking small steps to actually live your dream life. Whenever you’re about to make a decision—no matter how small, look at your own life story: the one you have written on your own; and ask yourself: “Is this decision going to take me closer to my dream life?”
You need a strong will.
You can always dream of an ideal life, but you can only get there with a commitment on your side to get closer to it every single day.
2. Follow your dreams.
If there are things you’re really good at, if there are things you really love with all your heart, if there are things you’re truly interested in, pursue it with perseverance.
It is not a coincidence that the word passion was derived from a Latin word that means: to suffer.
Passion is overrated. The real question is: what do you want to do with the thing you’re so passionate about?
Do you want to keep working on it?
Do you want to be better in it?
Do you want to master it?
Do you want to do something good with it?
Do you want to share it with those who need it?
How much you’d willing to suffer for your passion is what separates movers from dreamers.
3. Give (and be) your best, always.
Make sure that you do your very best in every single thing that you do, no matter what it is.
Brewing a cup of coffee, preparing a simple lunch, getting caught in a terrible traffic jam, mopping the floor, hugging a friend, holding your lover’s hands… whatever you do, always strive to give your best at that very moment.
Always ask yourself, how can I give more? How can I make people happier or feeling better after they interacted with me? How can I offer more of myself, my skills, my talents—or anything else that I have—to the people around me?
4. Deliver the unexpected.
When someone asks you for a cup of coffee, give him a cup of coffee and a slice of banana cake on the side, with a personalised thank-you note.
Give them more.
Give them more of you, and give more to yourself, too.
Try doing this in every aspect of your life, and you’ll see how it will change you from the inside.
5. Just go ahead.
As a struggling perfectionist when it comes to my passion-driven projects, I find solace in the book Show Your Work by Austin Kleon. He told us to simply show our passion project and share it to the whole wide world—even if it’s just a tiny bit of it, every single day.
If you want to write a novel, write 1 page a day and in a year you will have a 365-page novel. If you want to have a food photography exhibition, start by taking a picture of a person’s breakfast every single day, and in a year you’ll have a collection of 365 breakfast meals of 365 people.
But just do something, now.
Don’t wait for something to be perfect, because it will never be. Don’t wait until you get better at something, because you will always want to be better than better. Don’t wait until something happens, because you won’t have any guarantee that it will happen.
Stop making excuses. Just go ahead.
6. Step out of your comfort zone.
Do the things you won’t normally do. Change the ordinary. Face your fear. Do not settle for less.
The more it feels challenging or frightening; the more reason you need to do it: because it means that you’re about to cross a junction in your life that will take you further in life.
The idea here is not to be successful in it.
If you’re afraid of riding a roller coaster, you are allowed to ride on it while closing your eyes and screaming your heart out and crying excessively afterwards.
It is okay.
What’s important is to know that you have tried.
You just need to remind yourself again and again, about how resilient you are. To know that no matter what life throws out at you, you’ll be ready to face it, because you know everything will be okay; that you will always survive.
It’s just like those times when you dare yourself to fall in love again and find your heart broken again, but you end up smiling after a while, knowing that it only makes you stronger. Because you know that you have the capacity to love someone so much and that you will always have the courage to try again.
The same goes for loving life.