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The 9 Principles of the Good Life

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We make horrible conclusions about some very important things that delay our progress as humans, and thus, delay our pride and achievement, our joy and our peace.

We think we’re alone with our problems, that what we’re facing is somehow unique to us as individuals, when in reality, whatever we’re going through has been gone through thousands upon thousands of times already.

We are not special with our pain. And by ‘being alone’, I don’t even mean that we don’t have someone to talk to, because we may not, but that’s not really a problem, the problem is that we think we’re unique and special, that our circumstances are graver because we feel them and no one else does.

This keeps us feeling pain or loss or regret far longer than we should have.

And I’ve been there.

I’ve taken too long to get over a break-up, to move past death and recognize the good in the life over the pain of the death(s). I’ve stayed in regret longer than it needed to be stayed in.

I think we make most of our mistakes because we think we’re unique, and we are, but the issues we face are not.

Tragedy or pain or catastrophe hits, learn, move on.

It’s necessary to feel pain, that wonderful emotion that teaches us so well, but it’s not necessary to prolong the pain through mental anguish and unnecessary heartache.

Problems, lessons, principles, they’re universal. They’ve been the same since time began. We can learn more from the principles of thousands of years ago – or hundreds – than we can from the new.

Because, though the structures and things and daily life may appear to change, they haven’t, really, nor have we.

Some of these principles seem modern because of the verbiage, but they’re not, nor are the problems you now face, even this seemingly unanswerable questions, why am I here?

9 Principles of the Good Life

  1. Say ‘fuck it’ more often.

Do that thing you want to do. Brush off that thing that’s holding you back. Take that leap of faith, spend less time talking yourself out of things and more time jumping in head first.

When someone close to you dies you’re inevitably reminded of just how brief life is.

It’s incredibly short. When someone dies the time we had with them seemed like a fart in the wind. It feels like something we can’t grasp.

Those two words should be used far more often, in a wide-ranging amount of situations.

What we find when we take risks is that we’re more capable than we thought, that risk is fun in a scary, exciting sense, and that we succeed more often than we fail.

2. Learn the lesson and move on.

Most people stay in their past far too long. In fact, there’s an entire industry dedicated to blaming one’s present on their childhood – how idiotic!

Lessons should be learned, but every single incident should be moved on from. Holding onto regret, onto the past, onto things we no longer control is an utter waste of life.

I’ve made this mistake. I’ve held onto things thinking I was still learning the lessons by over-analyzing them.

I wasn’t. It’s a twisted and weak form of self-pity that keeps us in that regret so we can feel bad about the event or about ourselves.

Learn and move on.

3. Step back and above.

Analyze problems in your own life by seeing them from afar, both in time and space.

Try living by the advice you’d give someone else in your situation, for example.

When someone else is going through a crisis, you’re not as emotionally attached to it. You likely don’t see it as that big of an issue, and something that time will heal.

Well, take your own advice.

Stop being so emotional about the problem. See it from a different, more detached perspective.

4. Go for it, always.

Most people are just killing time.

Think about it. They’re going through the motions of an hour, a day, a month, a year, and eventually a life.

They never really go for that life, that thing, that person that they want to become, and thus, they never actually live.

Life is bloody short, you may as well live it however the hell you want to live it – just make sure you’re not wrong.

5. Do your thing.

You can spend your entire life living someone else’s idea of what a good life is.

The someone else can be a parent, a wife, brother, or even a society. You’ll only really know that you’ve lived someone else’s idea of the good life when it’s too late and you regret nearly everything you’ve done.

You also figure out what ‘your thing’ is by doing a lot of things. By DOING.

6. Go big.

I mean, why not? Why not aim just a little higher, or attempt to do what you do not know you can achieve?

This is how you improve, win, grow, evolve, and how you get excited about life.

Life – REAL LIFE, as in, actually living – is gauged by your challenges.

If you have grand and epic challenges, you’re living. If you have no challenges, you’re existing.

When we’re challenged, we live up to whatever it is we have to live up to, even in failure, we grow.

A life without challenges is the life of a mannequin.

7. Use your imagination.

As you go through life and you achieve more and more you realize that what you thought was impossible is very possible. Apply that to today, too.

What you think is impossible or above you, is far from impossible.

Trust your imagination, few do.

Trust that what you dream about and really want to do, be, become, achieve, can be done.

It all takes work, yes, but it’s not just work, it’s navigating through the shit storms. The more crap you get through the better you’re able to navigate through bigger crap in the future.

Life is all problem solving and course-correcting, but if you don’t get after it and go for it there’s nothing to learn from and no course to correct.

8. Appreciate what you have by…

The Stoics practice negative visualization. It’s a wise thing to practice.

Practice – once or twice a week – visualizing losing everything you now have. Your family, house, truck, pup, whatever.

Do this, be in those feelings of loss. Both realize that you can survive without everything you now currently have, but also realize that you really love everything you now have.

This constant quest for something else, something newer, bigger, and better, claims the present for a future that isn’t even necessary.

Go for it, dream big, do all of that stuff, but also smell the roses. Realize that you are living, and that you’re living the good life.

9. Left open…

What would you put as number 9?

Help others? Have fun? Laugh more? Suffer with a smile on your face? Embrace pain?

Let me know. Teach me something.

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Chad Howse

Chad’s mission is to get you in the arena, ‘marred by the dust and sweat and blood’, to help you set and achieve audacious goals in the face of fear, and not only build your ideal body, but the life you were meant to live.

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