1. YOU ARE THE CENTER OF YOUR UNIVERSE; STAY THERE.
As a young sailor I learned that when you’re in a strange town, you take your corners wide and keep your hands out of your pockets. In other words, you need to stay balanced, alert and ready to react to surprises. Come to think of it, that’s a pretty good rule in ANY unfamiliar situation. Keep your balance and stay centred.
Human beliefs about reality are either arbitrary or accidental. Choose to be arbitrary when possible. It’s wise to choose beliefs that support health and happiness, so, whether or not things happen for a reason, I choose to believe that they do. It consoles me and makes me more resilient in dealing with life’s inevitable ups and downs.
There’s a reason why every spiritual tradition in history urges prayer and meditation — it’s an antidote to the confusions of life. Protect your personal boundaries and respect those of others. Pay attention to where you stop and others begin. Stay centred.
2. YOU EXPERIENCE LIFE PRETTY MUCH THE SAME AS EVERYONE ELSE.
This was told to me by a Bishop on a first class flight and a prostitute in Athens, years apart, and it’s true. We all have aches and pains, loves and fears. We breathe the same air, sit in the same traffic, see the same television, and walk the same earth. Although we’re fed a lot of junk about our differences, people everywhere have MUCH more in common than they have differences. If you focus on our commonalities, you’ll be more at ease and get along better with everyone.
3. YOUR ACTIONS ARE IN SERVICE OF FEAR OR LOVE. YOU CHOOSE.
Our actions are driven by either fear or love. Fear of consequences, real or imagined, accounts for a lot of human progress, and a WHOLE lot of human tragedy. Love on the other hand, drives us to invent, to create, to grow and to give. Think about which quality you want governing YOUR life.
4. NOBODY WAKES UP WANTING TO BE THE VILLAIN OF THE STORY.
Everybody is the “good guy” to themselves. Everyone is the star of their own movie and has reasons for what they do, even if it sucks, or doesn’t work, or is downright evil. So don’t waste time complaining about them — figure out how to manage, tolerate or avoid them.
5. “NOBODY DOES NUTTIN’.”
This means that most people are so distracted and disorganized that they only attend to the most essential, critical or familiar things in their lives. They are on “auto-pilot” most of the time — and are you so sure you’re not?
Your priorities are not theirs, so don’t take it personally when you’re overlooked, un-thanked and your call is not returned. Everyone listens to their favorite internal radio station — W.I.I.F.M. — standing for, “What’s In It For Me?” Self-interest is natural and healthy, and you can use this understanding to pilot yourself in and around other’s desires. Selfishness carried to an extreme, however, is a vice with a terrible price.
6. MOST PEOPLE ARE WORRIED THAT THEY’RE “UNZIPPED”.
Are you self-conscious? Most people are. They’re walking around, worried that people may notice their missing button, their bad hairdo, their poor credit, and their general shortcomings. And they will appreciate the person who makes it clear, in word and deed, that they’re just fine as they are. Nobody’s perfect. The biggest pretenders are the most insecure inside.
7. YOU MAKE YOUR HABITS — AND THEN YOUR HABITS MAKE YOU.
The biggest and most important influences in your life are created by little daily acts. Floss, save, exercise, meditate, say thank you, smile. Doing the right little thing at the right time can make more difference than a grand gesture performed too late. The most important qualities in life are managed by these regular acts done on a daily basis — spirituality, health, wealth, relationships, and the building of your personal character. All are created by daily habits — not some dramatic one-time gesture.
8. THERE IS A HELL — AND IT STARTS EARLY.
People map out their own personal Hell with moral shortcuts, regrets about lost opportunities, resentment and guilt. Then they add jealousy and envy, and they’ve entered Hell’s suburbs and are starting to lose all joy in life. Those who avoid doing anything that requires effort — physical exercise or forgiving or doing something for someone else — grow more narrow and less flexible day by day.
By the time they get to “downtown” Hell they’ve got a pretty bad attitude about almost everything, it seems like the world doesn’t love them. And they’re right — it doesn’t, because they’re toxic to be around . Pretty soon their immune system gets the message and their afflictions begin — their relationships are desolate and life becomes a drag. When they look ahead, their future looks just like their past. On and on. And that is Hell.
9. THERE IS A HEAVEN, AND HERE’S HOW TO CREATE IT.
When you choose this approach your life turns Heavenly, bit by bit. It doesn’t take much, just some daily attention. You invest in good memories, by choosing your daily behaviors so that you can enjoy looking back on your life.
You create your Heaven by small acts of generosity to others, making them smile and feel better. You create it by little acts of courage — doing the right thing when no one but you will ever know you did it. That brings self respect. You create it by telling the truth, even if it’s inconvenient or embarrassing. That brings credibility and trust. And makes you careful about what you do, or what you commit to doing.
You know you’re in Heaven’s neighbourhood when you notice the amazing number of things in life there are to be grateful for, even if your thanks are silent and private.
You build Heaven by stretching sometimes, to try something new or a little scary, and learning that you are more flexible than you thought. Humans are the most flexible beings on this planet, and it feels good when you fulfil your nature.
Then as you age, Heaven becomes a bigger influence in your life and on those around you. Your life expands even as your physical abilities contract. You laugh a lot, and enjoy more contentment and peace than you ever thought possible.
10. IT’S NEVER TOO LATE. YOU JUST NEED TO DECIDE!
You can turn your life around in a moment by simply deciding to make it better. You can learn something life-changing at any time and begin changing your life immediately.
Experience comes in moments — and the moments will keep coming for you until they finally stop. How do you want your next moments to be? It’s up to you.
Each moment is a gift and the chance to make a different choice comes to you each second. So choose, and let your life become a celebration.
Planning Director, NLP Comprehensive
(Excerpted from “Friendly Persuasion” and “The Wizard Behind The Curtain”, by Tom Hoobyar)