LIFE IS GOOD.
LIFE COULD BE BETTER.
Two sentences that may seem contradictory, but in fact are not. To say that life is good simply means being able to appreciate what you have now and enjoy life’s moments without letting them pass you by. To say that life could be better does not automatically mean being unhappy, but simply acknowledging your desires and areas of improvements in your life.
If you live by these two sayings, allowing them to balance each other, you can living a fulfilling life NOW without growing passive. You’ll learn to continue working hard for to reach your goals without becoming too driven by them and without turning to an unhappy person as you focus only on what you don’t have and not on what you already do.
Balancing these two mindsets may sound like a great idea, but as with many great ideas it’s sometimes pretty hard to follow through. Here are some tips on how you can live the good life now as you continue to work for a better one.
1. Realize that life is indeed good NOW – If you believe that the good life is all about success and having more, then you can bet that you won’t be able to find the balance to live a good life now. This entire post was actually inspired by the photo above as it made me realize how this concept may be something the success-driven will find hard to understand.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if some brush it off as a mere justification or words that bring solace to people who are less driven and find success to be elusive. That, I find to be very sad, because I truly believe that if you can’t enjoy the now, who says that you’ll live a better life with more? So if you want to be able to live the good life, the first step is to reflect on your life as it is now and find the good in it. As they say, “Count your blessings”, and if you do this every day you’ll find yourself enjoying a good life each and every day.
2. Find humour in everything – No matter how good your life may be, and no matter how well you believe that it is, there are times and circumstances that will make you want to go, “Oh sh*t!” It’s up to you to find humour in the situation because no matter how bad things may be, you’ll feel a little better once you crack and smile or have a good chuckle.
As they say, “Laughter is the best medicine”. Of course, you’d also better practice your secret laugh because you wouldn’t want to raise eyebrows as you find something funny in seemingly inappropriate situations! Still if life can be good enough to laugh about it the worst situations, then how can everyday not turn out to be a good day for you?
Photo Credit: Hartwig Kopp Delaney (UPDATE: Note that the quote found in the image is not really from Buddha. Still, it does make for a good saying, doesn’t it?)
3. Stop acting the victim – Perhaps this should be the first thing I mentioned since a person with a victim mentality will find it impossible to live a good life in the present. Yes, people may have done your wrong. In fact, they will continue to do you wrong and even if you do, bad things are bound to happen from time to time. But thinking that you’re the victim in all this and being unwilling and unable to take part of the blame will leave you helpless and unable to take positive actions in your life. Stop it. Stop acting the victim and blaming people and fate for the negative things that have happened to you. Instead, use your power to turn things around by taking life in stride and acting in ways that will keep you going in a more positive track.
“You can either be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It all depends on how you view your life.” ~ Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes
Photo Credit: Esther Gibbons
4. Embrace change – The only constant thing in life is change, and you’ll need to learn to embrace change to fully enjoy what you have now. Knowing that things and people you enjoy and love may not be permanent fixtures in your life will make you more appreciative of them. This could also mean becoming afraid of the future. If you feel that way, don’t. Enjoy what you have now and but don’t let the impermanence make you afraid of change. If you truly believe that life will always be good no matter what, you can believe that despite losing people and things life will still somehow work out. Instead, let the impermanence spur you to aspire to influence your future to ensure that it is an even better one that it is now.
5. Take concrete steps to change thing for the better – Enjoying your life each day is a very good thing, but don’t let the good life turn you into a passive human being. As mentioned above, aspire to influence your future to make it an even better one. The only power you have over the past and the now is the power of attitude, of taking things in as positive a manner as possible. Your power over the future is a lot greater though. Don’t waste it. Try to make good decisions and to act on them, working your butt off to make a good life an even bigger reality in your life. This way, you’ll know that the good life now is not a mere platitude for you. Yes, life is truly good and with the right attitude and hard work, it WILL be even better.
Good luck in this journey called life fellow adventurers!
This post was originally published in September 2013; updated June 2021