Anyone past a certain age knows that the older you get, the faster time seems to fly. When you’re in your 20s the future appears limitless and your potential boundless. Skip forward a couple of decades and your trajectory can feel more fixed and your habits more entrenched. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
If you’re the kind of person who wants to live an extraordinary life -- one rich in experiences and relationships -- you need to be intentional about how you conduct yourself. Here are some ideas which will push you to live a life you’ll never regret, regardless of how much or little time you have left.
Identify your kryptonite
If you want to be the best version of yourself you need to go after whatever it is which makes you feel weak or afraid. For me, one thing is downhill skiing and my fear of heights. Yet, intellectually I see everybody else on the mountain having a blast. So, the question becomes: Why can’t I relax, gain skill and learn to have some fun? Simply put, there are no reasons. For you, maybe it’s public speaking or making valuable connections at networking events. Are there any real reasons you can’t get better at these skills? Likely not. Coaching, therapy and practice are all assets which can help you.
Name your values
How can you live your best life if you don’t behave and make choices according to what’s most important to you? Yet, figuring out what you actually value in life -- so as to reach the end of your days without regrets -- can be difficult. It can help to have a word pile to jump into. Carnegie Mellon University offers a list (PDF) you can use to pick a handful which resonate the most. Then, start to think, speak and behave in ways which align with the values you have chosen for yourself.
Writer John Gorman opines that curiosity -- along with humility and empathy -- is one of three traits which make a person irresistible.
It is the bedrock upon which you can build a life filled with stories, memories, accomplishments and relationships. People who exhibit curiosity can become masters, or polymaths, or auteurs -- but they must first always have an open mind. They first seek to listen, to absorb, to immerse, to traverse. The world is too large and their time on it too short to ever remain fully satisfied in their pursuit of whatever new ideas pass in front of them.
He says without curiosity it is impossible to be successful. It’s a trait which propels people to seek out knowledge, culture, novelty, experience, beauty, art and connection -- all of which weave together a meaningful life.