This article is all about making the best of life and especially about the fine art of making the most out of any situation you find yourself in. There are so many human beings living on this planet, it never ceases to amaze me. I think humanity has exceeded the seven billion mark in 2011, which means there are seven billion individuals, from all kinds of different cultural backgrounds with very diverse professions, biographies, wishes, dreams but also burdens and privileges, living on earth right now. And yet, there are some who somehow seem to manage to make the most out of their lives, no matter the situation they find themselves in. I’m talking about the people who never cease to stand up again, no matter what life throws at them. On the other hand, there are vast amounts of people, who are not happy with their life at all.
Some are even deeply depressed about it, despite the fact that they have everything they ever needed in order to be happy in life. I’m not necessarily talking about the possession of huge amounts of money or having a lot of fancy tangibles (i.e. sports cars, mansions and jewelry); I’m talking about the basic foundations of a happy life: Health, Freedom and a Clear Mind. So, how does the aforementioned category of people manage to live their life to the fullest, even if they are (in many cases) by far less gifted than many others, or even lack one of the three foundations of a happy life?
My quick summary on how to make the best of life:
Accept the situation you find yourself in and use it as a foundation on which you can build the life you are dreaming of. Spend more time doing the things that you truly love to do, with the people you cherish. Value each moment of your life, appreciate it as a precious gift and remember that you never know how much time you have left. Don’t allow your life to be dominated by fear and worry, instead have the courage to take a risk. Learn to be happy with what you already have, instead of making your happiness dependent on external influences, such as wealth and material things. Have compassion for others and see if you can give something back, by creating a value for others. Allow your creativity to flow, see where it leads you and never allow excuses to stand between you and the life you aspire.
And now, the detailed version:
How to get the most out of life:
#1 Live life as if there is no tomorrow
Yes, I know. This is the kind of phrase everyone throws at you when looking for guidance on ways to make the best out of life. And most disregard this piece of advice as they associate a destructive lifestyle with it; a life at the limit that cannot be sustained for a long period.
But when looking at it more closely, the profound, hidden message becomes clear: spend more time doing the things you truly love, with the people you cherish. Value the moment, but don’t let it be ruined by worries about the future. Allow your creativity to flow, see where it leads you and do the things that make you happy.
Therefore, the advice to live life as if there is no tomorrow has not so much to do with an apocalyptic scenario where there are only a couple of hours left before everything collapses. Instead, it means to free yourself from all the man-made illusions about what life really should be, to remove all the things you don’t really need and to focus your attention on what really fulfills you.
And this is where “live as if there’s no tomorrow” comes in, as this kind of mindset makes it easier for you to dislodge the unnecessary. I was fortunate enough (that’s arguable of course) to experience a situation where my life was hanging by a thread for some months. And as tough as it was, it did one thing that made the experience very valuable: it erased all the illusions I had about life, at the stroke of a minute. All the illusions advertising, Hollywood, and society had talked me into believing were gone. And I could clearly see the things that were really important to me: Family, Friends, unconditional Love and making the most out of the moment. Anything else, from the past to the future, the material things and tangibles, money, fame, power, etc. was and still is an illusion to me.
My suggestion on making the most of it:
Live life as if there is no tomorrow, but plan as if you will live forever.
#2 Identify and get rid of the illusions in your life
What are these illusions that I’m talking about? In general, anything that does not contribute to your goal of making the best of life could be regarded as such an illusion. For me personally, these illusions consist of things that do not contribute to my personal growth or happiness, the things that simply don’t feel right to me anymore.
The identification of the illusions that surround you is something you will have to do on your own. Nobody else has the right to tell you what a valuable aspect of your life is and what the illusions are. But you can’t go wrong by searching for the struggles in your life that seemingly “won’t flow”, all the burdens you/society placed on your shoulders and the time-consumptive but ineffective activities. Ask yourself it the pursuit of fame and fortune – that is a heavily promoted burden many people place on their shoulders – accords to your goal of making the best of your life.
Unfortunately, most people will only be able to realize all the illusions they had striven for when it’s too late for them to make a change. Interestingly enough, most of the sad regrets of the dying sound as follows:
- I wish I hadn’t spend so much time working
- I wish I had stayed in contact with my friends/family
- I wish I had spend more time with my children
- I wish I hadn’t tried to please everyone
- I wish I’d had the courage to express what I was feeling
- I wish I had done the things that I wanted to do and not what others wanted me to do
It will take a lot of courage and much honesty towards oneself to see these illusions that have become a natural part of life. In any case, it’s a lot easier to live with these illusions, instead of exposing them for what they really are. The choice is yours!
Tip for making the best of it:
Ask yourself the question: “Does this activity/goal really have any value for me or does it prevent me from making the most out of my life?” Do the things that you would deeply regret if you wouldn’t do them!
#3 Acceptance, the groundwork for making the most of life
When looking at your life’s experiences, the way your parents raised you, your cultural background, education, (etc.), you will notice that you find yourself in a very individual life situation. Unfortunately, many factors have conditioned us to such a strong degree into believing that you’re a nothing if you’re not a superstar, billionaire, celebrity, powerful figure or politician. Therefore, many compare their lives with those of the “selected few” and take it as an excuse not to make the most out of their lives, along the lines: “First I have to get rich, and then I can live the life I really want to live!” Other excuses can sound as follows: “I’m in the worst situation of all. I was born in poverty/riches, with so many burdens on my shoulders. I have a responsibility towards my parents/siblings. I’m simply not this and simply not that, and never will be!”
Stop the comparison, this will bring you nowhere! The point I want to make is that we all find ourselves in a variety of different situations that all come with diverse burdens, which are very difficult to compare with those of others. Therefore, we all will have to make the best out of our personal situation, but in our own, individual way. Therefore it is so important to come to terms with your particular situation and to accept it, instead of continuously comparing your life with others who seem to be better off. Unless you have the courage to compare your life with someone who makes the most of his life, despite living in a third world country, with no tangibles at all, you’re just creating an annoying illusion from false role models.
Tips for getting the best out of your situation:
Accept the situation you find yourself in. Accept your past and the events that made you become the person you are today. Have in mind that you’re in a unique situation that requires individual approaches to make the best out of your situation. Do not agonize yourself with false role models that are portrayed on television, but focus on the good and exciting things in your life.
#4 Make no excuses
Excuses prevent you from living the life you always wanted to live and especially from making the most of your life. I think that’s clear to everyone. Identify the excuses that stand between you and the life you aspire to live, take responsibility and avoid these excuses to the best of your degree the next time they come up.
#5 Have no fear of failure, don’t worry too much
It took me a long time to accept failure as what it is: an inevitable challenge that is a ubiquitous part of my life, from the past to the present. Failing can be painful and everyone could do without, but in the end it’s just an experience that helps you to do better in the future. Many of my biggest failures had opened my eyes to new possibilities and gave me the courage to start something new.
The only possible way to avoid any failure would be by not even trying, which is comparable – at least to me – with not having lived at all. Therefore, it’s so important to stop worrying about failure as the biggest failure of all, is the irreversible mistake of not having tried at all, which equals to not being able to make the most of your life.
How to make the best of life, without fearing failure:
Fear is a major aspect that keeps people from living their life to the fullest. No matter if it’s the fear of failure, or the fear to disappoint your beloved ones. In the end, you will have to ask yourself if you want to allow fear from preventing you of doing the things you would really like to do. Regret can be a lot more painful than fear itself.
#6 Value each moment, be conscious of its beauty
The past and the future are only existent within our thoughts. They are not within grasp (any longer / not yet), which means that the only tangible and influenceable aspect in your life is this very moment in the present. Hence it makes sense to value each moment and to make the most of it, right? The key to this is to be living in the moment, instead of “sleep-walking” through life from one sensory overload to the next one. The distraction with different kinds of stimuli, i.e. TV, internet, etc. will preclude you from being conscious about the beauty of the moment.
Living in the moment is an essential aspect of being able to make the most out of your life. It’s essential for being happy, as happiness is nothing you can just think about; you have to feel it. Happiness goes uninfluenced by the pleasure you had in the past or the joy you reckon to have in the future. The only happiness you can truly experience is the happiness you feel in the very moment. It does not depend on tangibles or wealth, but on your ability to be grateful for the things you already have.
How to make the best of it:
When living in the moment, full of gratitude for it, there is no question about what happened, what might happen or what could have been. Living in the moment means to accept the past as what it is: a bygone and not changeable experience that will only have an influence on your present life if you allow it to.
#7 Write your memoirs – from a future perspective
If a person writes his memoirs, they usually write about the past and the things they have experienced. Turn the tables and write the memoirs of your future – seen from the angle on how you were able to make the most out of your life! Doing so will assist you in defining what you really understand the concept of making the best in life. It also gives you the chance to create a strategy that you can embark on.
Write your memoirs from a future perspective, then live your life backwards.
#8 (Get to) know thyself
Know who you are and be comfortable with yourself. Explore what your heart wants and develop a relationship with yourself. After all, others might not have faith in you or trust you at all, but all you ever need is the faith in yourself. If you believe in yourself, no one else will be able to knock you off course. But, no one will believe in you if you don’t even believe in yourself; until you really get to know what you are capable of. Bring out your true self and be the person that you were meant to be, not the person others want you to be!
Explore your personality, identify your values and learn to stand in your own integrity. Deal with yourself and try to really get to know what you value in life and the things you appreciate. And have the courage to filter out personality traits, values or goals that aren’t truly yours, but were imposed upon you by society, television and so on.
#9 Take a risk and expand your limits
“If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got.” –
Living life to the fullest and getting the most out of it also implies that you have the courage to take a risk every once in a while. The convenience of the comfort zone is indisputable, but it also means that there is little to no progress in your life. Not to mention that it will be very difficult to make the best of life, without doing things you’ve never done before. Break free from the routines of your everyday life and introduce something new into your life from time to time. No one will ask you to suddenly turn into an adrenaline-junkie that base-jumps off from cliffs or the like. In fact, you won’t have to live your life to the limit just to make the most of it. For most people, exploring the depths of meditation, taking a new route to work, choosing another meal for lunch, researching an interesting topic could also mean a quite effective expansion of one’s boundaries.
Take an educated risk and test your limits! Then expand them.
#10 Do something good, give something back
This article was all about what YOU could do to make the most of YOUR life. So how could helping others benefit your life at all? It will certainly not bring you riches, fame or power so where is the rational point of doing it anyways? It is kind of contradictory that you cannot make the most of your life if you are not willing to give something back. By only taking what one can for oneself, there will always remain a gap within one’s heart that cannot be filled with wealth, luxury or other tangible things, but only with the smile and the gratefulness of a person whose life became a little bit easier through your work.
Be compassionate about other people’s concerns. Listen to them. Give back, by creating a value for others, or by volunteering. There are so many different ways of doing something good that many people can benefit from. You just have to be creative enough to discover these ways.
Create the solution to a person’s suffering and you will not only be remembered as the person who truly made the most of your life, but also as the one who enabled others to make the best out of their situation as well!
What are your tricks to make the most of your life?
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this article was great really, well organized 🙂 I like it a lot. I want to make you sir an honest question.so from your experience are you making the best of life ? I’m making this question because sometimes words are easily said than done and people tend to forget the goals, what makes them happy because routine is like a abyss that makes beautiful things in life disappear. how do you manage staying focused on making the best of life and what constantly helps you think this way is a specific situation or are the persons part of your life?
thank you !
Thanks Sara! Regarding your question: “Are you making the best of life?” – I really wish I could answer your question with a definite yes, but that wouldn’t be honest. So my answer is: Am I making the most of my life? Partly yes, partly no.
As much as I wish I was able to value each moment in my life, it’s sometimes simply not possible. Life occasionally drags me down just as much as it does with anyone else. And the deeper one gets, the more difficult it is to keep the bigger picture in mind. In other situations there is just so much hectic and trouble going on in life that I simply lose sight of the bigger picture and forget my principles about making the best of life for a few days. However, I always seem to manage to rediscover balance and calmness, after such a “stormy period.”
What helps me in staying focused on making the best of life?
Becoming active! I try to concern myself with this topic as much as possible, which means that I think about what worked well and what did not work so good. I think about the aspects in my life that support me in making the most of life and about those that do not. I ponder about ways to improve given situations. So I think, concerning yourself with your goal of making the best of your life, every now and again, will help you to stay focused on that goal! You could also create a list of a variety of good points on making the most of life that you read through every Sunday (for instance).
Make it a priority not to forget your goal anymore. Make it a habit to take yourself half an hour a week, where you either read some articles/books on ways to make the best of life, or where you take notes what you could improve on your journey
What also helps me is:
Disconnecting from the “real life” as it is portrayed by media and society
Discovering what works best for me, instead of copying others approach to making the most of life
Taking-the-inward-turn to regain balance and a wider perspective about life
Realizing what is really important to me in my life
I believe that it takes a lot of experience and wisdom, until a person finally figures out how they can make the most out of their individual situation. And only through a variety of experiences can a person identify what does not contribute to their own concept of “making the best of life.”
Making the best of life is a very dynamic concept that can change a lot.
nice article sir.I have a small question-what can remind us constanly about this principle of ‘making the best of life’ and pursue it consistenly throughout the day?
Make it a habit to think about your progress with making the best of your life while you brush your teeth, while you take a shower or while going to work. Just whenever you have 2-5 minutes of time to think about your pursuit, if you’re making progress or not, etc. You can also make use of a token, for instance a little stone, that you constantly wear in your pocket – and whenever time permits, you can grab it to be reminded about your goal of making the best of your life for a couple of seconds. Just be creative!
Many thanks for this enlightening article. The many different ways how we can make the best of life is totally awesome. Thanks, thanks and thanks! This article helped me so much, now I know how to make even more out of my life!
this article is so inspiring. this should be translated and be read by 7 billions.
Hi Allan, many thanks! It’s great that you found the article helpful!
Marvelous! Mr. Steve I applaud you for this great article. In the end it all comes down to have the right mindset. It’s all about perspective. Great thanks for being a beacon in the darkness this posting has given me a lot of hope and courage. And yes I do want to make the best of my life no matter what circumstances I find myself in.
I love reading your blogs and I have to have my teenagers read them as well. Hope you can help me. I have a 23 year old college student who is smart but wastes time hanging around with friends…he has a car and cell phone that I pay for..he recently dropped 3 classes without telling me and there is no money back on that…will taking the car and phone away teach him a lesson for better or do you think this makes things worse..
Hi Angel, I think this would make things worse. If you take his car and phone away he will either rebel against you or he will behave himself until he gets his car and phone back and the whole game starts all over again. No change in attitude. When I was in my teens I behaved similar to your son; I wasn’t motivated to study at all and only studied because my parents “forced” me to do so. Logically, my grades were not that great and there were always things I would rather do than studying for school.
Motivating and pushing your son to study will only bring him to a certain level (on that which he is on at the moment). And he will always remain on this niveau until he himself really wants to achieve something in his life. Once he gets hungry to succeed in his life there’s not much you as a parent have to do to get him going. If he wants to succeed as badly as he wants to breath after being submerged in water for more than a minute or so, then he will succeed in school, job, life and anywhere else. The difference is that he wants to succeed, not his parents or anyone else. A small change in attitude, but a great change for his life.
This is how my story went on: I left school with average grades and began to work for 4 years (talking about a reality shift) and during that time many things changed for me. I began to set myself goals. Ambitious goals that I wanted to achieve, not my parents or anyone else. After 4 years of hard work I went back to school and would take up my studies at university. At this point I was hungry to succeed, because I wanted to (not my parents or anyone else). I would hang around with friends etc., but I would never lose my important goals out of sight and would subordinate everything else to these aims.
How do you make your son “hungry?”
Making him realize his future: Now I think your son would not be too motivated about the prospect of living with his parents for the next 10 years. Show him that this could be a possibility for his life, if he doesn’t finally grow up and learn to look after himself.
Make him set himself goals: I think that’s self-explanatory. You can initiate him to the secret that he can accomplish many things in life by setting himself ambitious goals that hold out a very promising reward for him. (More on goal setting is in the article about getting motivated to study that I linked in the above).
Do not fulfill all of his wishes: If your son has everything he ever wanted he becomes saturated; satisfied with his situation. Where should he get the motivation from to achieve something if he already has everything? It’s very nice of you that you pay his car and phone, but that would be counterproductive if its a Porsche and the latest smartphone (figuratively speaking). Give him an old ugly car and a mobile phone from 2007 without internet access and peer pressure will sooner or later make him work for better “toys.”
Let him work for things that he wants from you: If he wants that new smartphone from you he will have to accomplish outstanding grades in school first. The alternative is that he goes out there, finds a side job and earns the money so that he can buy one himself.
Think about a reward-system I love the reward-system to get motivated to achieve ambitious goals. I once wanted to get my own laptop, so I set myself the goal of getting an excellent grade point average and rewarded myself with a laptop that I bought from the money I got after working for 4 weeks in the industrial sector during my semester break.
But most important of all is that your son gets “hungry” by himself. If he isn’t motivated and wants to spent the rest of his life partying, then no external force will dissuade him from that goal. Trust in your own intuition as a mother and you will be able to show him the right direction! I hope that helps and wish you good luck. Be patient, your son will grow up sooner or later and life will provide him the right experiences and challenges for him to do so!
Hey Steve, great blog post.
I’ve recently started a new chapter in my life, and I’m trying to make use of many of the suggestions you posted here. I’ve found for me, that distractions were my worst enemy when trying to improve myself. As with many people, my cell phone was a constant distraction. Having it handy 24/7 just made me constantly distracted at a moments notice. Another huge distraction for me was the news. I’m an avid news hound. I’d check Google news 10 times a day. What I found when I excluded those things from my life was a surprising amount of focus and time. I had expected it to be very difficult, but instead found that I was far happier without those things. Now my conversations with people are more meaningful, because they happen in person, not by text. And although I’m not as ‘informed’ about the world now, I’m able to take that time and listen to self improvement CD’s or work on my skills.
Just thought your readers might appreciate my story and be able to take something from it.
Thanks a lot for your contribution. I think you’re absolutely correct about distractions. They can really get you out of balance and shift your focus toward really unimportant things.
What a wise article you have wrote. It truly inspires me of some of the most wonderful key points we kept missing in life.
Thanks! I saved this article and always comes back to read it to remind myself!
Thank you very much for the kind words. I am very glad that the article inspires you.
interesting to read such an article, I also had a life threatening situation where I ended up in ICU for a while and I had similar experiences in the change of thinking about things in general. It is such a heart wrenching situation to be in but gives so much clarity about what you truly value. I remember after leaving hospital I couldn’t even watch tv or listen to the radio for weeks because I found it so abrasive – all I wanted to do was sit in the quiet. Now I am trying to create the life I always wanted in my heart, and I’m struggling to let go of toxic things in my past and connect with like minded people. I think a lot of people think I’m too intense and I probably can be but I just have strong conviction and I probably need to learn to lighten up sometimes. I wish I were a little more lighthearted and found it easier to make new friends.
I couldn’t agree more. All the things that you describe sound so familiar. I think whenever we live through a pretty bad time it is an opportunity for us to cleanse and to get rid of the toxicity in our lives.
Don’t forget that what you are living through this just a phase. Before you notice a couple of years have gone by and you might find yourself in a completely different situation. Maybe it is helpful for you to actively seek pastime activities where you can meet like-minded people. Because these will be exactly the people that will lighten up your mood.
I really don’t know what else to say to this; I totally agreed with you, Steve Mueller!
“Have no fear of failure, don’t worry too much” I can only assure that it is true; because every time one failed, they gained something new, they learn what works and what don’t.
“Value each moment, be conscious of its beauty” that’s VERY true, we must value even the worst moment of our life because when God wants to gift you something, he wraps it up in a problem, the bigger the problem, the bigger the gift. It is up to you to face it or not; and the weight of the problem depends on how you looked at it.
“Write your memoirs – from a future perspective” helps us to pinpoint the purpose of our life, give us a target to work on rather than shuffling pointlessly day after day.
I totally agreed with Everything and I also learn something new. Thank you for sharing this article!!
Thank you! I am very honored by your positive feedback.
This is a great article about life and reality. Making your best all the time would really satisfy you as a person. There just situation that you cannot decide which is best and settle for what is already there, could be better or may be not. But the final choice is still yours. And your success in life would depend on this decisions as well.
“The only possible way to avoid any failure would be by not even trying”
Thanks a lot Stephen.
Make the best of your life however difficult the situation. How many people just have no choice but
work for money, and most often, they don’t like their task. Change becomes almost impossible once
one depends on the small sallery that the majority gets and traps them with hardly enough time to
even develope a family life. It’s easy to give wise instructions and many, like trying something
and failing is better than regreting later for the things one has left out. Children are born by trying
and the price is your liberty. Regret comes for both in some ways sooner or later if the try all the fancy
things or leave them out. To master regret is not to regret but that’s my opinion and also smehow
easier said than done.
Hey Steve. I really admire you blog post content.. And wish i could be like you.. Such a great article about life
I love this! The biggest one for me is to not make excuses. Excuses do no good ever. I’ve learned this in my life and strive to be the person who never makes excuses for myself.