In today’s computer age, days where you can’t look around without seeing someone on their “smart” phone, and times of everyone being connected nearly full time, the word “hack” has come to take on a whole new meaning. It is essentially used to mean “something that makes your life easier or an easier and faster way of doing something.” I’ve seen some pretty cool hacks posted online but I often wonder how come nobody ever shares TRUE “life hacks:” hacks that actually make your life easier in the way(s) that count most. So… I had to. I considered it a challenge I couldn’t back away from.
Life Hack #1: Stop living in the past. It cannot be changed. It IS set in stone. Fretting, worrying or stressing the past is like trying to cast a fishing line to hook the sun. It’s a complete and utter waste of time and energy. Because of that reality, those folks who constantly worry about or stress something in their past often are rendered static in their own present and therefore not acting positively toward their future. The absolute easiest and best way to increase the chances of a better future for yourself is to LEARN from the past but otherwise let it go.
Life Hack #2: Stop letting the opinions of others impact your reality. There is a HUGE difference between something that is reality and something that is merely someone’s opinion. Need an example? The speed limit on a given highway is 55 MPH. Someone’s opinion is that the speed limit is artificially low so they can go faster without any issue. Someone else’s opinion is that the person speeding is unsafe and needs a speeding ticket. Reality: I look how I look. Some days I look better than others; somedays I look worse. Opinion: to some I look good; to others, not so much. No one’s opinion alters the reality of how I look. As soon as I realize that, the less mental and emotional energy I spend worrying about the opinion of others. That’s more mental and emotional energy I can spend focusing on things that actually matter in my day.
Life Hack #3: No one else is on the same trip through life that you are. Stop wondering why your life’s journey is harder, easier, different, more boring, more exciting, more stressful, more flavorful… whatever. Once you realize that everyone leads a different life and there is truly no such thing as “keeping up with the Joneses,” it’s easier to live a happier life and to be satisfied with the life you’re living.
Life Hack #4: “Time heals all wounds,” is a true statement… or close enough. When something bad happens in our life it hurts us. Like every physical injury, the wound heals. It may leave a scar, or not, but it heals. The healing takes time and the farther through time we get from the injury, the less clearly we remember the pain of the injury. After all, let’s be honest: The injury isn’t the issue; the pain that comes with it is. If we didn’t experience pain, we really wouldn’t care about being hurt. Trust in the healing power of time and recognize that you can’t force it to go any faster (or slower, unfortunately) than it does.
Life Hack #5: The judgments you make, and the judgments others make, are an expression of your (or their) character. Why would that be? Because we make judgments based on our own basic beliefs and values. The very fact that we consider ourselves worthy of judging anything says something about how we view ourselves or our level of knowledge and expertise on a given topic. While there is a great deal to be said for being less judgmental, the reality is that all we can really do is be less vocal about our judgments. We can’t change who we are and, unless we don’t like something about ourselves, we shouldn’t try – not just to make someone else’s day easier or make them happier.
Life Hack #6: STOP thinking faster and faster is smaller circles. Don’t become a victim of “analysis paralysis.” The challenge is this: When you spend too much time thinking about a given challenge and never coming up with a solution nor taking any action toward resolving it, you end up focusing on the fact that you never resolved it and that leads to sadness or dissatisfaction with your own performance. We are our own worst critics so stop giving yourself reasons to be critical of… well… yourself.
Life Hack #7: Karma is a real thing. People often say, “Karma is a bitch,” and I wholeheartedly disagree. Karma is a spiritual / other-reality expression of self-service delivered. If you want positive things brought into your life, do positive things for yourself and others. If you’re willing to take the negativity, pursue that route as well. As one man put it: We live on the wheel. What goes around comes around. So put out what you want back. It really is that easy.
Life Hack #8: Follow on and related to #7 – positive thoughts create positive things. To live a positive lifestyle; especially one that creates blessings in your day, you have to have a positive outlook. Nothing good ever gets accomplished when people focus on the “bad” stuff in their day. No one starts out a great day by waking up and grumbling about what will happen in it. Starting your day with a positive outlook and doing your best to maintain that optimism through each day empowers you to pursue positive solutions and goals. Doing so reduces the chances of negativity or negative impact in your day.
Life Hack #9: Smiles, like happy animals, tend to lead to more smiles. The opposite is also true: frowns and stress tend to lead to more frowning and stressing. If you carry a positive outlook – and the attached tendency toward smiling more – into your day, you’ll see more smiles coming your way. It IS contagious.
Life Hack #10: Only YOU are responsible for your happiness. I can’t put enough emphasis on this one. If you let someone else be the reason for your happiness, you also give them the power to take it away. If you hold someone else responsible for a condition of your existence, you surrender control of your own day to day existence. Stop that. YOU control yourself, your outlook on life, the conditions in which you live and how you feel each day. Others may contribute but YOU control how much and with what impact. Recognize that NO ONE else is responsible for making you happy and that allowing anyone else that ability reduces your own control over your own life. Never do that… ever.
Life Hack #11: Benjamin Franklin once said, “You haven’t failed until you’ve quit trying,” and he’s been quoted so many times with so much paraphrasing that he often isn’t credited for it… but he’s absolutely right. When you attempt to do something you are either successful or you’re not. But if you’re not successful and immediately make another attempt, you haven’t quit. Failure is a final outcome. It’s what happens when you’re not successful and then stop making another attempt. As long as you keep trying then you haven’t failed. Don’t let yourself feel like a failure simply because you haven’t succeeded. Keep trying. You’ll get there.
Life Hack #12: Kindness costs nothing… except (sometimes) pride and ego. This one is related to #7. Be kind when you can, where you can, to anyone and everything you can. Sometimes it’s not possible due to circumstance, but if it’s possible and your own values/beliefs permit it, be kind. You’ll find that sometimes people are utterly shocked at your kindness. Other times people will take it for granted and leave you wondering why you were kind in the first place. Remember this: You aren’t being kind for the benefit of others. You’re being kind to keep your own soul at peace as much as possible.
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So, there you have them: 12 life hacks to make your life easier and better. How many do you use every day?