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Saturday, August 20, 2011

How To Be Awesome At Life

A few weeks ago my 26-year-old daughter sent me her resume to look at and tweak. She’s been living in Korea teaching English for two years after having been laid off from her right-out-of-college finance job in the financial downturn of 2008.

As a Wellesley College graduate, this young woman is smart, confident and one might even say sassy. As I read her email she said, “It’s hard to figure out in a few sentences how to tell people how awesome at life I am.” Knowing her as well as I do I knew she was kidding – sort of.

I laughed, but it got me thinking - shouldn’t we all feel we’re awesome at life? It made me wonder when I last felt “awesome at life”? Sadly, not recently. It’s easy to feel beat up and lose that enthusiasm we had at 26, so I decided if I wanted to feel I was awesome at life I had to actually do some things that felt awesome.

So I put on my own sassy thinking cap and came up with ten eleven ways to be awesome at life.

1. Do something for someone else every day. Whether it’s something small like buying coffee for the person behind you in line, or something bigger like helping someone find a job, the key is doing something, anything that isn’t about you. Just being there for someone else is all it takes.

2. 2e grateful. I’ve gone through times where I’ve had to really reach and think, “I’m grateful I woke up today.” Life doesn’t always feel like there’s anything to be grateful for but there’s always something. A perfectly ripe peach, the way a cool breeze feels as you sit outside… there’s always something no matter how minute, to feel grateful for. The thing about gratitude is that it changes your perspective. You begin to look at everyday occurrences differently. Taking the time to be grateful for having a fun, unexpected conversation with a complete stranger while in line at the post office, or that awesome piece of pie you had for dessert truly changes you.

3. Choose happiness. Yes, you do have a choice. Of course there are cases of clinical depression where telling someone to choose to be happy is like telling the sky to be green, but most of us are not clinically depressed and we can choose happiness. Realizing you are not a puppet in someone else’s production, but the creator of your own show gives you power. And when you feel powerful you feel, yes, you guessed it – awesome.

4. Don’t feel sorry for yourself/blame others/ or otherwise be a victim. There is nothing less powerful than being a victim. You are the architect of your life. Where you are is based on the choices you have made. If you want to see who the boss of your life is – look in the mirror. Take responsibly for your own life.

5. Stop comparing yourself to others. Never compare your insides to someone else’s outsides. You are aware of your own insecurities, know that deep down, we are all alike. We all worry, we all sometimes feel we are not enough, but know you are awesome just as you are.

6. Be excited for others. There is enough success and happiness for everyone, don’t be the person who feels jealous of others’ successes. Use their good news as motivation and evidence that good things do happen and if they got the great job, the wonderful partner, lots of money, so can you.Pay attention. Listen. Be in the moment and really give your attention to someone else's life.

7. Laugh every day. Just do it. Do you really need a reason why?

8. Choose who you spend time with carefully. Pick friends and associates who are up to something in their lives. Hang out with people who are excited and passionate. Emotions are as contagious as colds.

9. Do what you love. Maybe you can’t make a living as the artist you dream of being right now, but make sure you create the time and space to fill your heart with the joy of doing something you love.

10. Choose to live your life with passion. Make choices that make you happy. Don’t compromise yourself. Life is short and precious. Don’t be afraid to be a little selfish sometimes if your true happiness is at stake. You can never be unhappy enough to make someone else happy.

11. All right, sometimes you just have to do something frivolous to feel awesome at life. For me shoes and clothes make me feel awesome. As a writer I don’t have endless streams of money, but remember - you don’t have to spend a fortune to feel great. Sometimes just twenty dollars spent on a pair of on sale shoes is just the right thing to feel awesome at life. Maybe for you it’s a concert ticket or really great chocolate, part of having an awesome life is being indulgent at times and feeding your soul.

Being awesome at life is something we should all aspire to, if for no other reason than it just feels good. Now that I’ve decided to believe I am truly awesome at life I am striving to find ways to feed that part of me every day. Others may not think I’m awesome at life and that’s okay, I think I am and that’s all that matters.

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