What will your obituary say about you?
This is a fabulous question to inspire self-improvement. We all have things in our lives that we could do better. And we all want our fleeting time in this life to matter.
Here are some things you can do to live a better life—a life that other people will remember:
- Be generous.
A good place to start living a better life is to strive to make the world a better place. Be free with your money, your time, and your energy. Doing this is likely to trigger a domino effect as others become encouraged to follow in your inspiring footsteps.
One recent study by university sociologists reinforces the idea that generosity can be contagious.
The study highlights remarkable “pay-it-forward” situations like the chain reaction at a coffee shop in Manitoba. One customer paid the tab for the customer behind him in line. That customer did the same for the next customer, who did the same for the next customer, and so on. This continued for 226 customers!
Observing acts of kindness plays a crucial role in setting cascades of generosity in motion. This is because it’s possible for many people to observe one single instance of generosity. But receiving help is what most reliably sustains a cascade, encouraging it to spread further and further.
- Don’t be jealous.
Jealousy is often referred to as a green-eyed monster. That’s because jealousy is an ugly thing. And where has it ever gotten you?
Whether you wish you had better relationships or you want material things that other people have, you have to let go. The most attractive relationship characteristic isn’t the ability to compare yourself to others. No, the most attractive relationship is genuine confidence. And as for wanting more material things, just keep in mind that you can’t take things with you, so it’s not worth it to worry about what you feel like you’re missing.
- Be thankful.
Stop and think about this: you have a lot to be thankful for!
If you need inspiration, think about this: penicillin wasn’t widely available until the 1940s. That means that up until 80 years ago, people died from simple bacterial infections. Losing a child to sickness, something most people loathe to imagine, was common until just recently.
Need more inspiration? If you’re reading this, you live in a culture in which you have the freedom to pursue happiness and to choose your own destiny. Not everybody on the planet can say this.
Do you still need more? Much of the world’s history is stained with destructive and murderous wars that ended the lives of billions of people.
We live in amazing times.
- Strive to get healthier.
It’s difficult to be thankful when you don’t feel good. But it’s so easy to incorporate healthy habits in your life. Take a walk every day, and take the stairs whenever you can. Opt for water or tea instead of soda and other sugary drinks. Eat foods that are rich in antioxidants, like berries, dark green vegetables, red peppers, garlic, and fish.
- Get over your fear of mistakes.
People are easily deterred from taking action due to fear of making a mistake. But if you don’t ever try anything, you won’t ever achieve anything.
Mistakes are a valuable way to learn important life lessons. Successful entrepreneurs understand how important mistakes are when they launch a new venture. The sooner mistakes are found, the sooner they can be fixed.
Mistakes aren’t fun or easy. But you can’t let your fear of them dictate how you’re going to live your life.
- Don’t bad-mouth other people.
Everyone knows that one guy who’s always positive and never fails to give people the benefit of the doubt. Nobody ever hears him say anything bad about anybody else, no matter how extreme other people’s behavior was. Instead, he always says something like, “I want to hear their version of the story.”
Be that guy.
- Read to your children.
Wait, what? When did this become a parenting column?
Hear me out: Nobody is a perfect parent. We all make mistakes. We spend too much time on our screens, and are often distracted. But one easy lesson to learn is that spending time giving good stories to children covers over a multitude of parental sins.
And we’re not just talking about our toddlers and preschoolers. Every day, try to read quality literature to your kids. It doesn’t have to be a whole book in one sitting. Aim for about 15 minutes to start. Your kids will treasure this ritual and will remember your time together for the rest of their lives.
What do you do to strive to live a better life? It would be great to hear about your ideas! Please write about them in the comments section below.