I would like to briefly touch on ten things I try to live by. This list is not comprehensive, but it does include some of the most important elements of life that I try to emulate.

  1. Look at the Big Picture

I try to keep in mind that there is always more to the story. I am in no way perfect in this. I struggle with only seeing my side of the situation at times, and it has led to problems. However, this is a concept I want to implement in my life because it allows me to see things objectively and with greater awareness and understanding.

  1. Be Willing to Listen

So often we only listen to what we want to hear, but we need to be able to listen to everyone around us. I find that when I listen to people, I can learn so much about empathy and compassion, and in turn, when people listen to me, it allows me to voice my thoughts and share my own ideas about what life means to me. We need to listen to one another and give each other the opportunity to share of ourselves, because then we are able to build connections and reach out to people who need it.

  1. Keep an Open Mind

It is important to be open-minded. This goes hand-in-hand with the first two, because we need to be objective in our judgments, and it often involves listening. With an open mind we take in so much more, and in doing so we become well-rounded as individuals. I want to be able to process new ideas and opinions, especially those with which I am unfamiliar. I enjoy being able to analyze other perspectives and add to my own principles through acquiring the knowledge of others.

  1. Learn something New Everyday

We can all learn at least one new thing every day, no matter how big or small. It can be a new word to add to your vocabulary, or it can be the foundational ideas of a philosophy you’ve never explored. It can be a new move in martial arts, or it can be how to change a car tire. This is important in sharpening our minds and even our bodies. Switch it up. Maybe one day you learn a fact in one topic, the next another, the next something physical like a dance step or an exercise.

  1. Find a Silver Lining in Every Cloud

This is a challenging one for me. When I come across one of life’s clouds, I tend to focus on how dark and heavy it is looming overhead. I feel the torrents of rain, hear the booming thunder, and am shaken by its fearsome pressure. However, lately I have been doing my best to adjust my attitude so that I focus more on the positives, which allows me to feel a greater sense of peace and confidence within.

  1. Don’t Give Up

It is easy to give up when life becomes difficult, but it is not how we falter that determines our character; rather it is how we pick ourselves up and keep going that illustrates who we are and what we are made of. We cannot let excuses get in the way, no matter how good those excuses seem to be to us. There is a lot I need to keep going on and while it is in no way easy, I get satisfaction in knowing that I am not giving up trying, even if I fail a hundred times.

  1. Surround Yourself with People Who Care

I have been blessed with a beautiful family and friends who care about me deeply. We have had our struggles and tensions, but we manage to get through them. I have found that surrounding myself with caring people has been excellent in developing my ability to socialize. They have helped me come out of my shell and supported me in everything I have wanted to do. My family has kept me going through the depression and madness, and I will always be grateful for what they have done for me.

  1. Think Before You Speak

This is a hard one. Many of us speak too quickly. My mouth has gotten me in a lot of trouble. I have embarrassed myself and even been hurtful because I allowed feelings to run my mouth rather than thinking through the problems and seeking a reasonable solution. In my life now, I am making a conscious effort to think before I allow emotions into the mix. Thinking before speaking is necessary for many things, from arguments and debates, to expressing opinions.

  1. Be Okay with Disagreement

Not everyone is going to agree with me, and that is something that I need to learn to be okay with. We all tend to have a self-righteous idea about our own opinions and reasons for doing things or thinking a certain way. But we need to be okay with people not seeing life the way we do. As long as we aren’t infringing on one another’s rights to be who they are and think the way they want to think, then we should be okay with those who disagree with us. In fact, disagreement is fantastic because everything we have learned to date has come from people arguing about new ideas.

  1. Be Who You Are, Not What People Expect You to Be

I have sometimes defined myself as how others see me, but lately I have had to dismiss that. No one else should have the power to validate or invalidate your life. You are the only one who can do that, and people may disagree or may not even like you for it, but it is far more important to stay true to yourself. The people who are meant to stay in your life with stay for the real you, not the “you” pretending to be someone they are not. Don’t give others the power to define you.

There are many more, but these ten were the ones I wanted to talk about in this post. I might do more posts adding to this list. But from my perspective, these things are among the most important ideas I try to live by.