Most people struggle to make adjustments in their lives. When they find themselves in the wrong direction, they lack the strength and drive to pick themselves up and return to fulfilling their passions. Though habit-changing is not all that simple, you have the potential to become who you really want to be.
Raising and improving your life means living a better life than you have lived before or you are living at the present. It means to live life to the fullest; to do the things you love, to spend time with the people who matter most to you, to experience joy and happiness and enjoy life every day. You may have been working hard all your life to put yourself in a position where you can live the kind of life you deserve, but if you want to live an extraordinary life, you need to find something you love and pursue it. It means spending every single day taking meaningful action in taking the necessary steps to help to live your best life.
A large chunk of our lives goes in the pursuit of happiness through pleasure and success, not realising that each time we repeat a particular act of pleasure, the quantum of happiness derived from it declines. And each time we achieve a new milestone, the happiness derived is also short-lived, leaving us craving more. This throws us headlong into the endless pursuit of happiness. The pleasures of life are often transient and momentary. The pleasure sensation in even the nicest chocolate chip cookie lasts only for a second. As a psychologist, Houston Smith, puts it, “Even the most elevated form of pleasure – like the music piece from Bach or Beethoven – lasts for a few seconds, and you end up wondering, is this all that there is to life.”
Today, standard of life has become a synonym for standard of living. Everything is viewed through the prism of pleasure and success. One of the visible signs of success is our upgraded standard of living. Each step up the corporate ladder brings with it an additional turbocharge of a better car, a swankier house, fatter bank balance, a fancier mobile, access to expensive restaurants, more exotic holiday destinations. But it fails to elevate the standard of our lives.
So, what is the way out? Swami Vivekananda says it is not that you shouldn’t have property, necessary things and even luxuries, but never get wrong ideas about their proprietorship and ‘possessorship’. Everything belongs to the Divine. If you put God in your every movement, everything, the whole scene changes, and the world, instead of appearing as one of woe and misery, will become a heaven. This adjustment in our attitude can elevate the standard of our lives. But it takes a while to develop a truly God-centred attitude, without the sense of being a possessor. The only way to build this is by committing ourselves to a spiritual journey. By controlling the shades of selfishness, greed, jealousy, pettiness, anger, attachment in us, our higher dimension will manifest in the form of an expanded heart. Till then, it can be difficult to assimilate the true, holistic meaning of dharma – a framework of virtues, such as nobility, compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, patience, and love for others. When we disregard this holistic aspect of our dharma, we set ourselves up for misery and discontentment, making us slaves to our egos.
Therefore, the only solution is to tame the natural tendencies of our mind to gravitate outwards, and make it inward directed. By controlling the mind through introspection, prayers and a service-oriented lifestyle, we can make it our friend. A calm and stable mind can be a pivotal force, a friend, in our commitment to raise the quality of our lives, propelling us towards being god-centred. With this divinised vision, there will be a wonderful confluence of an elevated standard of life and an enhanced standard of living. The outcome can only be one – peace and fulfilment.
It is crucial to comprehend and practice the idea of consciously living. Intentional living is a crucial component of leading a contented and fruitful life. You establish your priorities, labour to complete those objectives, and diligently adhere to them. Achieving particular goals while also caring for your general well-being and personal growth is the discipline of intentional living. So, you must be mindful if you want to succeed. You need to stay on course if you want to accomplish anything. To become wonderful, I invite you to say “yes” to yourself. From good to exceptional is where I want you to go. I don’t want your success to come about accidentally. You must be deliberate about it. You must put forth an effort to set and achieve goals.
To elevate your life, you have to elevate you state of mind. Most of the time, when you think about attitude, you think of optimism and positivity. The true meaning of attitude, though, goes far beyond that. But it’s also straightforward. Everything begins with your attitude. It involves the way you view yourself, your personal and professional objectives, and your life. In other words, attitude is crucial. Mind-set can also refer to a set of beliefs. It is a person’s set of attitudes and ideas about who you are, what you are capable of, and the world around you.
Start with eliminating negative thoughts. Many of us tend to think negatively, especially when we’re stressed or depressed. Negativity and this negative mindset can lead to anxiety, panic attacks, and simply is not good for your overall health and well-being. It’s important to intentionally shift our thinking when it gets out of line so we can live more productive and happy lives. Remember, you’re always in control of your own mindset and emotions, and you’ve got the power to change them, and how you feel. Just make a conscious effort to intentionally ‘interrupt’ this type of thinking.
Don’t resist change. Change is inevitable. Nothing is permanent except change. Welcome the change and embrace the newness that everyday life brings. To do so summon your inner strength. Turning to your faith can be beneficial when your life is changing. Learn to ‘go with the flow’ and be more flexible. Remember… change is growth and growth leads to improving your life! Learn to build your confidence. You need to realize that you’re already strong, regardless of your situation. Second, you need to understand that you can’t fail if you don’t try. And third, you need to have the courage to trust yourself, and your own abilities.
Learn to love yourself if you are not already doing so. To do so, you must first accept yourself for who you are. Once you do that, you can start loving yourself. This means you must take care of both your physical and mental health. You can change your life for the better. You can intentionally strive to become the best you! Just think about it. When you are in love with someone, you want to do the best for them. You believe in them… you encourage them… etc. Well, the same holds true for you loving your own self!
Self-love and self-care also mean being accountable. We all make mistakes. In turn we feel guilty and do things we regret. Self-love means being accountable and owning up to these experiences and that is what they truly are… experiences. Learn from them. Don’t get stuck; invoke self-compassion and move on and use this as an opportunity for self-improvement!
“Many an initiative was lost because of just one worry: “What others will think?” If you are so much worried about ‘others’, you might as well give up on improving your life. Learn to “live your own life” and “follow your dreams” before you can truly be happy. Your happiness and success are up to you. Your opinions and beliefs are your own. You’re not defined by what you do or how you look. You’re defined by how you act. When you realize this, you’ll no longer worry about what others or certain people think about you.
Knowledge is power, which can be acquire by learning something new every day. By engaging your mind in reading, listening to podcasts, taking courses, etc., you actually boost not only your knowledge but your self-esteem as well. No matter what you decide to go after, the opportunities to stretch your skills and challenge your views, are without any limitations. Your life will never be the same! Whatever you learn along the way could lead to new relationships, your dream job, or an endless number of other opportunities. Gaining knowledge immediately to help you improve yourself is priceless.
“Tell me about your friends and I will tell you who you are.” Thus goes the old Spanish proverb. Birds of the same feather fly together. If you are serious about changing your lot, surround yourself with positive people who inspire you. Seek out those who are also ‘like-minded’ and also aspire to become the best they can become. This alone can be a game-changer in helping you reach your goals.
And finally, stronger connections with your family and friends will increase your level of happiness in ways you cannot even imagine. Having close relationships in life helps you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. Be sure to spend some time every day or every week being with those you care about – and to be fully present. People react to those who are genuinely and visibly authentic.
Bhushan Lal Razdan, formerly of the Indian
Revenue Service, retired as Director General of Income Tax (Investigation), Chandigarh.