As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that life is what you make of it. Your reality is negotiable. Getting more out of life is a matter of choosing to live to the fullest and being smart about how you spend your time.
You can learn to bend life to your will, and once you’ve figured that out, anything is possible. The trick is in figuring out how to systematically change your life.
Most of us could use more doing and less consuming. To acquire new skills, live an interesting life and do adventurous things, you have to get good at putting in the effort it takes to actually do those things.
Intentional effort is the magic ingredient to an amazing life. Some people might hear that and get depressed. I prefer to feel encouraged knowing that talent doesn’t determine our fate, hard work does.
If you want to accomplish more but aren’t sure where to start, here are three of my favorite tips for getting more out of life:
- Treat life as an experiment
[quote]All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. -Ralph Waldo Emerson [/quote]
An experiment is meant to find out the answer to something you don’t know for sure. Too many of us live life by a set of self-imposed rules that make us act as if we know answers we really don’t know.
“My boss wouldn’t let me take that trip to Thailand.”
“My blog readers wouldn’t buy an ebook from me.”
“I’m bad at languages, I could never learn Spanish.”
“I’m not good at sports, I wouldn’t be able to finish a marathon.”
We tell ourselves self-defeating things all the time. We’re afraid of failure, worried about what people think, and nervous about trying new things.
Instead of caring about the outcome so much, why not look at these scenarios and anything else in life as an experiment?
Living life as an experiment unlocks a whole lot of awesomeness:
[quote]Because when we live life as an experiment, we are far more willing to take risks, to acknowledge failure, to learn and develop. That’s what experiments are all about: discovery and growth. There is no real failure in an experiment because it’s all data. If something doesn’t work, that’s simply data that leads to changing behavior to see if something else does work.
-Peter Bregman, Live Life as an Experiment[/quote]
- Make time for the important things
Run that errand, jump on Twitter, answer the phone, check the news, respond to email… wait, where’d the day go?
With all the distractions and media in our modern lives, days slip by unintentionally without warning.
You’ll never keep on top of every email, tweet, blog post, news story, phone call, etc. anyway. Call it fear of missing out, or just good old procrastination, what we should be doing often loses out to staying plugged in.
The only way to ensure you get done what really needs to get done is to set aside the time. Literally. On your calendar. If you believe something is important enough, you should block out time to get it done. Treat it like an important meeting.
And if it’s really important (or if your will isn’t strong enough to get it done), set the time aside first thing in the morning, and do nothing else until your mission has been accomplished.
- Practice deliberately
The key to getting better at anything is deliberate practice.
Scientific research shows that the quality of your practice is just as important as the quantity. Simply spending time doing something won’t lead you to expert levels of performance.
To gain skills rapidly or approach expert-level status at something, you must understand the importance of deliberate practice and learn how to incorporate it into your daily life.
Deliberate practice involves formally structuring your practice with the specific goal of improving performance. Mere repetition won’t do. Your practice must be: intentional, aimed at improving performance, designed for your current skill level, combined with immediate feedback, and repetitious.
Learn more about deliberate practice, and how to use it to your advantage.
[quotable]“Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone.” -Neale Donald Walsch[/quotable]