The Reason You Wake Up

I met some friends at a café the other day and had a quality time.

Someone mentioned what time he got up this morning and that’s where the conversation headed. I said I went to bed at 4 a.m. and somehow managed to get up around 9. My sleep patterns have been a bit messed up lately but getting up at that time leads to going to bed earlier in the evening and eventually getting back on track.

Anyways, what stroke me was a thing one of my friends said. She said I’ve done a good job not sleeping in and then added that she can’t get up early if she doesn’t have something particular to do. And because she didn’t want to waste her last few days off from uni, she gathered with other friends earlier in the day so that she can have a reason to get up earlier and not spent half of the day sleeping.

And then I realized that some people needed to make something – whatever it is – their reason to get up. But if you summarize it, after a few years you come to the conclusion it was not worth it.

What I mean is that I have my ‘why’. I get up with purpose every morning. It may be to write, read some stuff, work on personal projects, go to the gym, or do something else that’s important to me.

The funny thing is that I probably won’t do it because of classes, to meet friends, or to just be up. Because most of the things we do in our days are non productive and time wasting activities that prevent us from living with a purpose.

That is why we need to identify what is the thing we’re ready to get up early for. What makes us start the day with an intention and excitement? What do we look forward to when we go to bed?

It’s also known as purpose. The driving force behind every action we take. Without it, it won’t last long and success won’t come. But by having it, and keeping it throughout the process, we manage to stay motivated and eventually achieve our goal.

Here is why having a purpose gives you a reason to wake up:

  • you can’t wait to start the new day so that you can work on your project/goal/plan or else again;
  • you are one step closer to your purpose;
  • you often start waking up early and having a healthy and powerful morning routine only because of your purpose;
  • it keeps you going throughout the whole day;
  • it gives meaning to everything you do;
  • you are full of motivation;
  • your actions are purposeful;
  • it gets you back on track after going through a tough period;
  • it makes your life challenging;
  • you never get bored;
  • you find great pleasure when doing something connected to your purpose;
  • you improve many other aspects of your life as a result;
  • you let go of other less significant projects that are wasting your time;
  • you become productive;
  • you are full of enthusiasm;
  • you are inspiration for those around you because they see you’re driven by a mighty power;
  • you live more consciously;
  • you focus easily;
  • it’s your goal number one;
  • it’s the first thing on your to-do list every day;
  • you visualize the success.

This can be about anything. Something you want to possess, the new person you want to become, the business you’re planning to start. It can be a personal or work project, a desire to become wealthy, to live in a bigger house, to become emotionally independent, to acquire new skills and habits.

A purpose is always connected with the thing you truly want, deep inside you. You may have not found it yet, but when you do, it will become your driving force and the reason you wake up every morning.

If you haven’t found what moves your hearth, however, you can’t say you have a purpose. You may have many plans and goals, but it’s not the same.

Steve Pavlina, one of the people whose writings have helped me a lot, shares how to discover your life purpose in about 20 minutes.

In a nutshell, he basically advises us to ask ourselves a few questions and to be as honest as we can.

So finding your purpose is one of the best things you can do now that will define the rest of your life. Everything changes for the better once you know it.

Of course there are people whose reasons to wake up are not good for the society and the world in general, and that’s why there’s no balance on the planet.
If we were all doing it for the greater good, things would be different.

I urge you to find your driving force, make it meaningful and for others – not only for yourself. And then follow it every single day.

 

 

 

When You Feel Lost

When was the last time you felt like yourself?

I notice how people, including myself, often feel lost. Sometimes we just feel that everything is pointless, we lose hope and track of time and we let desperation, regrets and sadness take control.

It’s an awful place to be at and getting there can have permanent damage on us. We may ditch important projects, take a serious decision and make a drastic change while feeling that way and that will have consequences. We may go many steps back in our self-improvement or go back to old habits.

When You Feel Lost, Let's Reach Success

By Ben Smith @Flickr

So something must be done on order not to feel like that anymore.

First, it’s important to analyze why you had that feeling the last time. The reason may be one of these:

  • you’ve been doing something you don’t like for years – a job maybe;
  • you aren’t following your dreams;
  • you’ve given up on something important to you;
  • you live by someone else’s standards;
  • you live unconsciously;
  • you’re always busy;
  • there’s too much stress and anxiety in your life;
  • you spend too much time with people you have nothing in common with;
  • you’re in a bad relationship;
  • you’re not sure if you’re doing the right things.

Then it’s time to start noticing the details. Be aware of each time you don’t agree with someone but pretend to, do something you don’t enjoy, feel bad or sad, have regrets and doubts.

Now think again about the last time you felt like yourself. Visualize it. Who else was there? What were you doing? What was different?

Answering these questions will give you the answers you need. You know what really makes you happy but sometimes you tend to forget. So remind yourself of all the activities you enjoy, the people you like spending time with, the hobbies you once had, the little things you loved that made you smile and the way they made you feel.

Happiness is a state of mind. And you’ll never be contented with your life if you don’t let yourself be who you really are.

Most people have jobs they don’t like, colleagues they can’t stand and play a role in front of others. They leave their dreams behind so that they can have time for their daily commitments and tasks. They are prisoners of their own mind and full of fears and regrets and pretend to be someone else in order to avoid facing the real problem.

Living that way is harmful because your mind and soul need more freedom, inspiration, time for yourself, things that make you laugh, people that love you and happy moments. What they need less of is stress, bad choices, wrong people, caring too much about what others say, great expectations and unfulfilled dreams.

So don’t wait for the next time you feel lost to do something about that. Act now. Happiness is here, you just need to embrace it. Enjoy the present moment and start living more consciously.

Once you realize how beautiful things are right now and accept yourself for who you are, things will get better. There’s so much to be grateful for and so many possibilities around you. Focus on that!

 

20 Things Life is Too Short For: Part 2

And here are some more things life is too short for:

11. Regrets

What’s done is done. It doesn’t really matter who did it or what it was. The past just loses its meaning in the present moment.

And in order for us to grow, we should learn from the past and our mistakes, accept them and move on by letting go and forgiving ourselves.

20 Things Life is Too Short For, Part 2, Let's Reach Success

by Niels Heidenreich @Flickr

12. Trying to please others

There will always be someone that won’t like you and trying to impress him or do anything to grab his attention is a waste of time.

Whoever deserves to be in your life, will find a way.

13. Thinking small

You may be in doubt, feel like now is not the right moment or you’re not ready, but life is too short not to play big.

So if you want something, go get it. Make that call, meet that person, write that book, take that job, and do whatever else you feel the urge to do.

14. Comparing yourself to others

Every person is an individual and that’s what makes him unique.

Don’t try to compare yourself to another human being just because it won’t be a fair play. Everyone’s had his own experience, way of thinking and seeing the world, dreams and fears, etc.

Even if someone seems to have more than you, stop for a while and think about the criteria you’re using. Most of the times the one you’re comparing yourself to is in a worse position.

15. Fooling yourself

We’re often afraid to be honest with ourselves and prefer to live in an illusion. But that usually ends bad.

It’s better to stop fooling ourselves and living in lies. Instead, admit your desires, decisions, dreams and doubts. And accept them. Then go and do something about it.

16. Worries

Worries are one of the most ridiculous things man has ever thought of.

First, because 90% of the times they don’t come true and things are never as bad as we imagine them to be. And second, worrying now about something that might or might not happen in the future is absolutely pointless.

17. Staying in a bad relationship

It’s so sad how some people stay with another person for years, or for their whole life, only because they feel comfortable, think they don’t deserve anything better and no one else will like them.

But a relationship like that is not love, or happiness. It’s just two people being comfortable with each other and afraid to go out there and start living again.

Don’t fall into this trap. Or if you do, be brave enough to just go away.

18. Thinking too much

We tend to go into details about events, other people’s lives and almost anything. We think that others have a certain opinion of us, we think something bad might happen and play every possible scenario in our heads. We think we’re not good enough, we think of yesterday, or something we miss.

We just think too much, and live too little. It’s time to start being here now and experiencing what is.

19. Not following your dreams

You may think you’re too young or too old to start a business, too fat or too skinny to be an athlete, that you lack experience for a certain job position, don’t have what it takes to be a doctor and save lives, or else.

The thing is that the only limitations that can stop you from achieving anything are the ones you put to yourself.

20. Not being happy

We put happiness off for later, like we do with many others things. But the truth is that happiness is happening now, we just need to see it.

It lies in the people we love, in the things we find great pleasure, in silence, simplicity, appreciation. It’s here, and now. And everything is perfect just the way it is.

Life is too short not to realize how beautiful things around you are, how many things you have that you should be grateful for, and that peace and contentment are hidden in the present moment.

The Root of Our Problems

All the problems we have come from us not being okay with something and discontent with the way things (or we ourselves) are.

We seek happiness in external sources (food, alcohol, other people, etc.) We don’t trust ourselves, we don’t believe we’re good enough or that we deserve a great life and are able to change.

We’re not confident with our body, appearance, behavior and performance. We expect events to turn out in a certain way and people to act as we expect them to. And when that outcome doesn’t happen, we’re sad, disappointed and even get angry.

We’re always comparing, wishing we were somewhere else and never happy with what we’re doing right now.

We sabotage our success because we’re not sure we deserve it, or we doubt ourselves and don’t even try.

The Root of Our Problems, Let's Reach Success

By ilker ender @Flickr

All these are common problems we all have today and are the root of our discontent with life.

These are also the things I write about in my book The Tao of Happiness.

I think that in order to be happy we need to stop judging and comparing, let go of ideals and expectations. We should trust, love and appreciate ourselves and realize that everything around us is a reason to be grateful.

It’s something we can all do at any given moment only if we decide and allow ourselves to be happy.

In the book I explain how all the things on our mind that we should let go of are stopping us from moving forward and experiencing life right now. Because how can you be here and enjoy the present consciously if you’re having regrets about the past and worries about the future…

The solution then is to be happy with the way things are. This is the Zen way and it’s the path to contentment.

You can still try to improve yourself but this time it will be after you’ve accepted yourself for who you are and are okay with that. You can make changes but you don’t need that in order to be happy because it’s something from the outer world. And you don’t have anything to do with it when it comes down to your happiness… because everything happens inside of you.

Having found joy from within means that no matter how things turn out, you’ll find a way to make the best of the situation and find its positives.

And before you set goals, before you want to go somewhere else or change the person you are in order to live better and be happier, before you strive for success and want more in your life, stop for a while.

Slow down and look around. Maybe there are things you haven’t noticed before. And often what you take for granted is the actual reason for your happiness, you just need to open your eyes for it.

Then try to stop interfering and just go with the flow. Life is beautiful the way it is and letting things be is natural. That’s how we embrace simplicity and bring peace and emotional freedom in our life.

These are the things I want everyone to realize because many remain blind for them. Those who have so much, whose days are filled with abundance, don’t see it and want to change it all, wishing that what they’re looking for will be better. They expect things, don’t appreciate the ones they have now, and thus live a life full of regrets, doubts, fears of missing out, plans and ungratefulness.

I want to remind you that this isn’t the way life should be. Instead, we can all be happy, all the time. A little change in the mindset is all we need and once we look at things from another perspective, the same world we live in starts to look amazing. And we live every next day to the fullest.

 

 

20 Things Life is Too Short For: Part 1

Most of us live like they’re going to live forever, but let’s face it – it probably won’t happen.

I’m an optimist but an important fact we should never forget is how mortal we are, and how short life is.

The point of you being reminded of it each day is to realize that our time is limited and it’s too precious to be wasted . Keeping that in mind will also make you appreciate things more, be grateful and enjoy the present.

So here are some things life is too short for (that, unfortunately, we spend too much time doing):

1. Holding grudges 

That’s so wrong. It’s harmful and you don’t win anything by doing it.

It means that you’re holding onto something bad someone has done to you in the past, you keep resentment in your heart, and probably a desire for a revenge.

20 Things Life is Too Short For, Let's Reach Success

by Leland Francisco @Flickr

But whatever that person has done, it’s in the past. There’s nothing you can do about it. And instead of ruining your present moment by keeping this anger, why don’t you let it go and forgive that person?
This way you’re setting both you and him free and each of you can go on with their lives.

2. Having a job you hate

Everyone that has a job he can’t stand, with people he doesn’t like, a boss that is treating him bad, no motivation to work, low salary and that spends his all day thinking about its end, is slowly dying.

Come on, life is too short for that! Be brave, take control of your life and at least find another job.

3. Waiting for the perfect moment

If you’re doing that, I can tell you one thing – it will never come. Not because it doesn’t exist, but because you don’t know where to look for it.

The perfect moment is right now, right where you are. Nothing is more precious that the present and the sooner you realize it, the faster you’ll start experiencing it.

4. Hiding your feelings

If you don’t show them now, then when?

If you feel something, please express it as strong as you can. Your expectations may not be answered, but it’s better than keeping it all in yourself.

5. Not to travel

We live in a beautiful world. And whatever you think you’ve seen, there’s much more out there.

Life is like one big book and your place is just the introduction. So dive into the world of traveling and do whatever it takes to make money and time to go to some place far away.

6. Living the way others want you to

Seriously, life is too short for that. Everyone around you has so many ideas of what you show do, say and think, that if you let them take control, you’ll have no voice.

Living by someone else’s standards isn’t living at all. So do something about it.

7. Being a materialist

It’s not about the stuff you have, but about what person you become, what you do with your life, how you treat others and what you leave behind.

Belongings don’t matter. Money is needed so that you can have enough, not more than it. And everything else is just material stuff.

8. Stressing over things you can’t change

There is only one thing you can do about them – acceptance.

Seeing things as they are and realizing that’s the way they should be is a relief. It sets you free from unnecessary worries, stress and fears and lets you live happily and simply.

Remember that everything has its purpose. If you can’t change it, accept it, let it be and go with the flow.

9. Spending time with people you don’t like

Such a waste of time. You don’t need them, and they definitely don’t need someone that doesn’t like them. So just let everyone follow his path.

10. Not doing things you enjoy

Life is too short to do things you hate, but also not to do things you love.

For me, life is too short not to write. For you, it will be something else. Find your thing, dedicate yourself to it and feel the greatest contentment.

 

Happiness: You’re Doing it Wrong

 Are you happy?

That is the one and only question I ask the people I love when they are in doubt, have to make a decision, analyze their relationship, understand whether something is right for them and what they should do about it.

I simply ask them if they are happy. And depending on the answer, I let them make the conclusion and decide what is the best thing to do.

Happiness: You're Doing it Wrong, Let's Reach Success

by Daniel Zedda @Flickr

I don’t want to interfere, because the answer is somewhere inside them. I just try to help them find it. Sometimes it’s right in front of their eyes.

Isn’t that the right question for everything?

If you’re not happy with someone, then there is no point in keeping that relationship. If you’re not happy with your job, quit. If you’re happy with the body you have and don’t want to do anything to change it, okay then.

 It’s all about whether it makes you happy or not. That’s the ultimate technique when in doubt or have to make an important decision.

The problem, however, is that most of us don’t really know how to be happy. We may try to find happiness, to fix our current situation, or to change things. But eventually we find ourselves in the same old state – wondering if we’re happy.

I think it’s because we tend to make a few crucial mistakes when it comes down to happiness.

Here are the 5 mistakes we do and what to do instead.

1. Too much effort

 People think they need to do something in order to be happy. Then they start working too hard, pushing themselves to the limit, expecting too much, waiting for happiness to come and so on.

That is so wrong.

At some point you’ll realize you’ve spent a lifetime trying to reach a certain state when it was in front of your eyes for the whole time.

The beauty of happiness is that you feel perfect because you’re okay with everything, you’re grateful, things are easy and just the way they should be.

So you don’t need to make any extra effort, to put too much pressure in what you do or to make it hard and complex.

Instead, look around. If you let go of all the pressure you’ve brought in your life things might just get better.

2. It’s a destination

 Many people think happiness is a goal, a destination, something that is out there but which they will reach in the future. And they think they will feel great when they find it and reach that goal and everything will be just fine.

But it’s not. Because the future never comes. Or if you had some kind of a deadline, when you reach it, things just wouldn’t be what you expected. We will then be aiming at something else and satisfaction will never come.

We forget that happiness is now. Right here. And nothing will be different even after a decade if we still remain blind for what we have.

Happiness doesn’t depend on goals. And when you connect it with something in the future, you’re denying that it’s now.

What you need to do is stop making so many goals and plans, to spend less time in the future, and to live more in the present moment. Because happiness is right here and right now. It’s your choice whether you’ll open your eyes for it and enjoy it or let it go.

3. It’s in outer stimulus

 You try to raise your level of happiness by buying stuff, going to different places, going out, having one relationship after another.
Or worse – by overeating, alcohol, drugs, online life, etc.

And it may work for a while. But after that don’t you feel an even bigger void inside of you? Don’t you want to fill it with even more of what you usually do?

That’s a self-destructive behavior. The thing is that you will never feel better for real unless you realize you need to make some changes on the inside.

 Happiness is an inner state. It doesn’t really matter what we have, do, who we meet and how we fill our time. The only important thing that defines our happiness (or the lack of it) is how we react to things, what our attitude towards life is, if we enjoy it, if we are in harmony with ourselves and full of appreciation and positivity.

4. Always on the go

 The normal way to live these days is to be always busy, in a hurry, with no time. The streets are full of people who are literally running from one place to another.

Now imagine someone on these same streets who is walking slowly, with a smile on his face, breathing deeply and just looking around. We would probably think he’s insane, right?

The truth is that he’s happy, while all the other people that are in a hurry, are not. Because they just don’t have the time to stop and feel this way.

Happiness doesn’t mean you need to do something. Most of the things we’re busy with are just commitments and tasks we think we need to do, when actually we don’t. Because even if we don’t do them, the world wouldn’t come to an end.

So my advice is to slow down and enjoy life more. I’m talking about all these little things around you, people you love, daily activities and things you like doing. Find contentment in living slowly and take your time.

5. Follow the rules

 These people – the same that are always busy and going somewhere – think that they need to work hard in order to have money, so that they can buy stuff, and probably … be happy with all that at some point.

They go by the rules. But who invented those rules? And where are they leading us?

It is said that we need to do this, say that and behave in a certain way. “Authorities” and “experts” even go so far that they tell us when exactly to do everything and in what amount so that we can be happy.

And the result is that we need to sleep a certain number of hours, go to bed and wake up at a certain time, have a degree in something, then find a job in this field and spend years sitting behind a desk, marry at a certain age, and so on, and so on.

From my observations, people who strictly follow these rules aren’t happy. They are always seeking for the great balance between life and work, work and family, studying and social life, relationship and friends. And they want to control all these areas in their life so that things can be predictable and just as they’re supposed to be. They also loose themselves in their desire for security.

And because they’ve always been perfect in everything, society expects them to remain so. And this is huge pressure for someone because he can’t do what he wants, he can’t take spontaneous decisions or even try new things.

I don’t really want to live that way. If you ask me, happiness is more of a whim rather than a strict plan on how to live every day of your life.

So do what you enjoy, eliminate the things that don’t make you happy and don’t live by someone else’s standard. People will always criticize you and following conventional wisdom and rules will rarely take you somewhere in life.

And anyways, what’s the point of doing anything if it doesn’t make you happy?

Instead, embrace simplicity. Find joy in this very moment and appreciate everything around you. Life is beautiful and you’re happy. You just need to let go of everything else that is not essential so that you can see it and feel it.

This post is a sneak peek into my new book “The Tao of Happiness” which launches soon.

A Shooting Star and The Importance of Knowing What You Want

Imagine  it’s late at night and you’re looking out of the window because you can’t go to sleep.

You see a shooting star. For the first time in your life.

You have no more than a few seconds to make a wish.

A Shooting Star and The Importance of Knowing What You Want

SiTye Photography @Flickr

But you’ve got … nothing. Even you yourself are surprised by what’s going on in your head. You are trying to choose the best thing, the one you need the most. But still … nothing.

Should you ask for health for yourself and your family? For money? For happiness? Or should it be something in the short term, something you need now? Like to get accepted in a good university? To find the dream job? Your diet to work out this time? To make someone like you? To finish your book?

And the moment is gone.

The shooting star is long gone and you are still standing there wondering what just happened. Because you realized that you don’t know what you want the most in your life. Or at all.

The Problem

It’s a common thing these days for people not to know what they want and how to define it, not to say how to get it.

We have so many desires, so wrong perception of happiness, so little motivation to evolve and achieve more and get used to mundane life so easily, that we no more know what exactly we want. And without knowing it, we will never get it. And we will wander in the dark with no direction, no purpose and no path to follow.

This happens for a few reasons:

  • Too many goals at once;
  • No goals at all;
  • No motivation to improve ourselves;
  • We follow the crowd;
  • We haven’t defined what a good life means to us;
  • We don’t have priorities (and thus don’t know which of the things we want comes first on the agenda).

The Solution

Something needs to be done if we want to progress and level up in life. And the first step to transformation is understanding and defining our deepest desires.

Most people these days just wander around purposelessly. They think they are busy  having their daily worries, commitments and tasks to do but nothing is actually important and has any impact in the long term.

The thing is that we rarely stop to see the bigger picture and thus miss the real meaning of life. We no longer want value, we just want denial, relief, instant pleasure and easy and fast solutions.
But living this way means never changing and getting out of our comfort zone, which also means we’ll never see what life has to offer.

We can achieve anything we set our mind to and almost nothing is impossible with the opportunities we have. But we need to have a clear vision of the things we want the most first.

A purpose is our personal mission statement, it’s what makes everything else count and gives meaning to every day of our lives. Once we’ve found it and started working on it, we will feel like never before. We will have our ‘why’ and our actions and decisions will be deliberate and conscious.

 To find it you need to carefully think of:

  1. what you wanted as a child;
  2. the things you enjoy doing the most;
  3. the things you care about;
  4. people you look up to and why;
  5. what is your passion;
  6. what do you want to change in your life;
  7. what will it take to make these changes;
  8. where do you see yourself a year or two from now;
  9. notice how you feel while doing different things;
  10.  when was the last time you felt really happy.

This is all it takes to find your true purpose and have a direction in life. It may take some time and you need to be honest with yourself. I know most people don’t enjoy confronting their desires, regrets and facing the things they don’t like in their life, but this is the surest way to be happy and live the life you deserve.

Do this now so that you can spent the rest of your life going after your dreams and enjoy the process while doing it.

All the successful people in the world, the ones that have found what makes them happy and surrounded themselves with it, have started from defining what they really want.

This is what your passion looks like and if you define it and dedicate your time and energy to it, you will never have to work a day in your life. And you will probably be making much more money and have more satisfaction than you are in your current situation. Once you make your passion your lifestyle, career and hobby, your life will change tremendously.

Further reading:

 How to Discover Your Life Purpose in About 20 Minutes
 7 Ways to Find Out What You Really Want in Life
 The 5 Percent Trick: Finding Passion and Purpose in Life
 Cultivating Burning Desire