Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
I challenge you to throw off the bad habits, poor lifestyle choices, and crippling behaviors that have been holding you back from being your most noble self.
Here are thirteen things you should never do:
1. Think Your Needs Are Less Important
Helping others is a good and noble thing to do; forgetting your own needs is dangerous and painful.
If you have been looking for an excuse to pursue your own interests, passions, and desires, consider this your permission slip.
I encourage you to invest in others, but do not compromise your own happiness. Otherwise, you’ll wake up one day and find you’ve lost yourself because you loved someone else too much. It can be a painful process remembering you are special and worthy of effort too.
2. Be Afraid to Make Mistakes
Progress involves risks. There is no way around it. You can’t move forward without first lifting your foot from the firm foundation it was planted on.
Some of the greatest opportunities in life force us to extend past our comfort zone – starting a new job or business, getting married, becoming a parent. You may not feel totally secure when these situations arise, but fleeing from them won’t make you feel any more confident.
If you plan to accomplish anything worthwhile, you’ll have to leave the path of least resistance. Think of it this way: doing something wrong is, in the long run, at least a hundred times more productive than doing nothing at all.
3. Beat Yourself Up When You Make Mistakes
Author Hans Ohanian penned the book Einstein’s Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius. The book chronicles 41 years of mistakes. Ohanian writes:
1905: mistake in the first proof of E=mc2
1906: mistakes in the second, third, and fourth proofs of E=mc2
1914: mistake in the fifth proof of E=mc2
1934: mistake in the sixth proof of E=mc2
1946: mistake in the seventh proof of E=mc2
You didn’t miss that Einstein made 41 years of mistakes, did you?
Where would Einstein – and our science-driven lives today – be if he would have given up after the first try? Or even after his fifth!?!
You would not be the person you are today if it weren’t for the mistakes you have made in your past. Even if you don’t look on some of your past transgressions with fond memories, those instances taught you a lesson. Everything that has ever happened to you is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
4. Hang With the Wrong Crowd
Life is short. Why waste one precious moment on someone who doesn’t deserve it?
Stay away from people who:
- are negative. Their bad attitude will just bring you down. Even the most optimistic person will lose all happiness in the wrong company.
- don’t make time for you. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make you a priority.
- don’t realize your worth. You bring value to each and every relationship. Don’t let anyone take that for granted – or fail to appreciate it.
- tend to abandon you during difficult times. A real friend will stand by you in the good times and bad.
Don’t ever lower your standards to accommodate someone who refuses to raise theirs. Surround yourself with people who are worthy of your company, brighten your day, and support you through thick and thin.
5. Think Money Can Buy Happiness
Often times, we tend to get tunnel vision. We set our sights on “things” to prove our worth to others and increase our own happiness – a beautiful home, a highly coveted vehicle, designer clothes.
These things are expensive. So if this is where your heart lies, you will need money – and a lot of it – to buy your happiness.
However, while focusing on acquiring these possessions, we forget many of life’s most satisfying “things” are free – love, laughter, companionship.
Instead of the happiness we receive after accomplishing something like purchasing an expensive car, we could be overjoyed by our dedication to completing a work task in a satisfactory manner or discovering a new passion.
6. Expect Other People to Provide Your Happiness
Just like you can’t buy happiness, you can’t expect someone else to supply your joy either.
Drawing contentment from another person won’t replace the emptiness you feel inside.
You need to be happy with who you are; create stability in your own life. Then, you can function in a healthy relationship – both giving and receiving happiness.
7. Worry About Things You Cannot Change
There is a difference between being organized and being a worrywart. Make plans. Set your life in order. But don’t worry about whether or not it will come to fruition.
If you tend to be the type to worry yourself silly, ask this question at decision-making time: “Will this matter in five years?” If the answer is no, the situation is not worthy of your worry.
Corrie ten Boom wrote, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.”
8. Complain or Have Any Other Form of Negativity
Plato wisely advises us: “Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
Everyone encounters challenges; that is a guarantee in life. While there is a variance in the level of difficulty associated with those struggles, everyone does come up against challenging times.
If everyone is the same in those regards, what sets us apart? How we handle the challenges is what makes one person different from another.
Do you choose to complain? Do you cast blame on other people? Do you claim an unfair shake at life? Or do you choose to be proactive, diving head first into the battle.
Deal with your problems as positively as possible. Then, you can look back and know you are stronger today than you were yesterday. Don’t foist your responsibility on anyone else – you only give them a stronghold on that part of your life.
9. Be Afraid to Love
Every person in your life – both now and in the past – serves a purpose. Some will challenge you – probably more than you are comfortable with. Some will use you – probably more than you aware of. Some will enlighten you – probably more than you will appreciate. And some will enhance you – definitely more than you can understand.
It might be tempting to fall in love when you are lonely, but is far better to fall in love when you are open to receiving it. Don’t rush the process. Let love happen naturally. And when it does happen, embrace it. Don’t be afraid of real love and don’t manufacture love that isn’t there at all.
10. Take Things for Granted
Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Nothing in life is the same one day to the next. Failing to recognize – and appreciate this – is a huge blunder.
Take a moment to stop and appreciate the things around you, especially if you don’t think you have time to do so. These are the moments when this calming Zen is most important.
If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten. Take a step back and you’ll see things far more clearly.
Learn to appreciate the little things in life. Some day, you’ll come to the realization these small, unappreciated moments in time were the most important.
11. Conform to Society’s Idea of What You Should Be
One of the biggest challenges in life is finding out who you really are amidst society’s contradicting opinions. William Shakespeare said, “God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.” There will always be someone who is more attractive, stronger, smarter, more popular, and younger. But there will never be another you.
Often times, we try to change our appearance or alter our bodies. When you undertake one of these endeavors – like battling hair loss, trying to lose weight, or inking your body with a tattoo – make sure you are doing them for the right reasons. Are you trying to enhance your appearance so others will find you more attractive? Or are you doing these things to please yourself?
“You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.” John Mason hit the nail on the head. Don’t change in a desperate attempt to make more people accept you; be yourself and people will love you.
Jealousy and a desperate attempt to keep up with the Joneses is a terrible way to live. Jealousy is the act of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own. And success should be a battle between you and yourself – no one else.
12. Pretend Like Everything Is Okay
We all have bad days. We all feel blue. We all encounter sadness, depression, and disappointment on occasion. When you come across these feelings, let them run their course.
It’s okay to be an emotional basket case every once in awhile; you don’t always have to be a pillar of strength. The sooner you shed your tears, the sooner you’ll crack a smile.
13. Forget to Be Grateful
Life has peaks and valleys. No matter if you are at the top of the tallest mountain or in the deepest pit of despair, find something to be thankful for each day.
If nothing else, be thankful for your life; all around you, there are people fighting for theirs. Instead of dwelling on what you might not have, be grateful for all the abundances you’ve been given.