I frequently think about what is important in life. Many things come to mind, but mostly this quote by the Dalai Lama: “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
This quote takes my breath away as it resonates with me and I am sure many of you reading my article. It reminds me how often we do not think seriously about what it means to live.
With some contemplation, some thoughts from my friends and clients, and wisdom from my life experiences, I have put seven thoughts about life that I believe are essential to ensure we have truly lived.
- LOVE. Never be afraid to love. Yes, you can get hurt, really hurt, but love makes us feel alive. Love a partner, a friend, a child, a parent, a job, a charity, a neighbor, a pet. There is nothing that can make us feel so alive than love, the joy and the pain of it. The movie, “The Mirror has Two Faces,” with Barbra Streisand and Jeff Bridges, demonstrates this concept well. If you have not seen the movie, it is well worth watching.
- LEARN. Never stop learning, this feeds the brain. Knowledge makes us feel alive and helps us make better decisions in our life. Learning helps us to build wisdom, which in turns helps us to contribute more to others.
- INNER STRENGTH. Trust and know you have all you need inside of you. So often people have lost the connection with themselves and trusting this part of them, call if intuition. This part of us knows what is good for us and the directions and decisions we need to make. Take the time to pay attention to your inner strength, it will get you through the times when you are unsure, that are difficult and lets you know who you are.
- BE. Listen to yourself in the moment. Be mindful. Science shows that mindfulness changes the brain in a profound way and makes us feel alive by experiencing and accepting what is. Being mindful means being non-judgmental with yourself and others. It allows things to be what they are.
- INTEGRITY. Studies show that when you live with integrity, you are happier, and more likely to have healthy and strong relationships, let alone being more successful.
- COURAGE. Courage is key to feeling alive. Working through courage teaches us where we begin and end, what is important to us, and also teaches us who we are at our core. Courage is not always easy mainly because we have to accept something that we may not want to accept. However we learn about ourselves and the world by having courage.
- COMPASSION. Compassion for self and others. Compassion changes the brain, in a good way. It decreases anxiety, it allows us to truly connect with ourselves and others and keeps us focused on the positive.
When we bring these seven traits together it creates resilience. Resilience is a key to living life and surviving the challenges it can bring at times. These traits also keep us on track to what is important so we do not get sidetracked by society’s messages or self-doubts or what others think. We stay true to who we truly are.
So I will leave you with this quote from Jim Rohn: “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”
So go into this next week remembering to love, learn, use your inner strengths, be mindful, have integrity, have courage, and most important, remember compassion.
Contact Dr. Zavala at [email protected] or DrZavala.com.