“Make the most of yourself… for that is all there is of you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
A wise quote by a wise man, but often an unpracticed mantra. How many times have you seen your (fixable) flaws or found something you could be better at, but not followed through with it? Since we’re all humans, probably many times. It’s practically in our nature at this point. But what if you could fix that? What if you could truly be the best version of yourself instead of making excuses? It’ll take some work, but it’s possible, and we’ve compiled 6 small steps for you to take to get you to being the best you can possibly be.
1. Those people you walk by every day? Talk to them.
You know who they are. The secretary you see on your way into work, the man that’s always working at the gas station, etc. Interact with them! It’s one of the simplest, but most effective ways to be your best self. Start a conversation, you never know where it could go. It could be casual small talk, or it could even end up morphing into major conversations. Worst case scenario you end up with a short meaningless conversation, best case scenario you walk out with a new friend. What’ve you got to lose?
2. Let them know you love them.
Sure your wife/husband/child may know you love them, but have you told them recently? Does your best friend know how much they mean to you? Make sure they do. It doesn’t have to be a gushy hand-written love note, just make sure they know. Life is short. People love being reminded of how important they are, and it feels great to give people that sense of happiness, it’s a two-way street.
3. Try something new
Always, always, always try new things! It’s the easiest way to expand your horizons, you never know if you’ll end up liking it or not. Whether it’s a new dish, a new hobby or even just a new style, do it! It’s the easiest way to develop your skills, interests, even tastes. Almost everything you try isn’t permanent so why not? You may be assured you don’t like sushi, for example, or you could find a new favorite dish. Like Mom always says, “You’ll never know if you like something until you try it.”
4. Let go of the negative
Whether it’s immediately disliking someone because you’re jealous or a grudge you’ve carried since high school, let it go. Anger, jealousy, hatred, they don’t do you any good, they just hold you back. You can’t help but feel this way at times but when you can, try and change it.
5. Recognize your thoughts
Have you ever seen something, immediately thought something negative, and then chastised yourself for it? Sure you have, we all have. It’s okay, we’re human. The trick to transform your thoughts this is to skip the chastising and simply recognize that it’s negative and that you shouldn’t think this way. Little by little, your thoughts will change. You’ll still have some negative thoughts, they’re unavoidable, but they’ll lessen. Many people are under the impression that we can’t think negative things because we are our thoughts. It’s easy to believe that if we think something wrong it makes us a bad person, but that’s far from true. Everyone thinks negative things every once in a while, it doesn’t make you a bad person. You are not your thoughts. They are a part of you, but you are not just your thoughts.
6. Help others
Whether it’s paying for the person behind you in a drive-thru, giving a homeless man a dollar, helping a friend, or volunteering your time, help others. Sure the tables may turn and you could need help next, but don’t do it because you want it to be returned. Do it to genuinely just make the world a better place. An easy way to remember to do this is to try and do one act of kindness, every week. It doesn’t have to always be financial or donating your time, it can be as easy as cleaning out your closet and donating it to charity. Just do something, you’ll probably find you’re a much happier person when you do.
Bonus: Get up early. Learn to apologize. Smile more. Talk less, listen more.