Are you having trouble keeping up with what’s “in” and what’s “out” this year? Should you decorate minimalist or maximalist? Should you drive a gas or electric vehicle? Should you eat a vegan diet or an all-animal products diet? Should you… it’s hard to keep up with the changing trends!
If you don’t want to be anxious, insecure or confused about what you “should” be doing, begin with a solid foundation of things that never change. The day to day decisions about what to eat, what to wear, and how to spend your money will become so much easier when you remember these basic principles for life:
Character counts. The longer I live, the more I understand that qualities like honesty and integrity usually win over situational ethics and looking out for number one. A “win” may not look the same for everybody, but even if you don’t land the account, get the job or receive the recognition, you’ll sleep better at night if you consistently do the right things for the right reasons.
Kindness is always appropriate. We all have times we have to deliver bad news, confront a difficult situation or offer constructive criticism, but there is no need for mean-spirited, cutting remarks and intentionally harmful actions. There’s a saying, “Keep your words sweet, because some day you may have to eat them.”
Generosity will always make you feel better than stinginess. It will always be more blessed to give than receive. Doing something helpful for someone who is unable to repay you will actually stimulate “feel good” chemicals in your brain. Holding back from others, begrudging what someone else has or selfishly refusing to share good things you have can leave you feeling very alone and unfulfilled.
You are irreplaceable. Your loved ones would rather have YOU than stuff you can buy them. Of course you want to do work that gives you satisfaction and provides for your family’s needs, but it’s just not worth it to sacrifice your body and soul – or all your time – to that pursuit. Make it a priority to balance your time and energy so you can give yourself to the most important needs.
Time waits for no man. If you have a dream, start today doing something to make it happen. Don’t put off vacations, time with your family, or educational pursuits too long. It’s too easy to suddenly find yourself too old, too sick, or too busy to do what you always wanted to do.
So, enjoy some new styles, try a new (sensible) diet, or paint your walls in a bold or neutral color (or maybe wallpaper?) and have some fun. But don’t forget to set a solid foundation first!
Can you think of some timeless principles that have served you well through the years? What one piece of advice would you give someone who is trying to figure out what is most important in life? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Live, Work & Relate Well!
Dr. Linaman is a psychologist and executive coach providing counseling and professional development services to individuals, couples, work teams and organizations.