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Sensei’s Life Tips

Life is a journey, and any journey worth taking comes with ups and downs, surprises and challenges, as well as exciting discoveries. Everyone’s life is different, which means everyone’s journey is unique. I can’t tell you how to live your life. You need to decide that for yourself. The best I can do is offer my encouragement, and give you a few life tips I’ve learned during my own journey…

1. Value commitment. We can’t be afraid to invest ourselves in our passions, in other people, in long-term goals. Develop the attitude of seeing things through, even when the excitement wears off and the feelings just aren’t there.

2. Exercise compassion. The heart is a muscle, both physically and metaphorically. As such, it needs to be exercised, or it will grow weak. “Emotional cardio” is the idea of making an effort to think of others and make their needs a priority. No person is an island. Lend a hand when you can, because you’ll need someone to do the same for you at some point.

3. Feed your curiosity. Read a book. Google more questions. Watch an educational show. Visit a museum. Go for a walk in nature. Don’t think of things as “trivial” or “useless.” Appreciate a painting. Let children ask you all kinds of questions, and then try to find the answers. Capture the sense of awe and wonder you had as a child. You’re never too old.

4. Exert effort. Work hard. Take pride in what you do. Don’t be lazy. Don’t cheat yourself by not giving life everything you’ve got.

5. Maintain your fitness. You don’t have to look like a supermodel. You don’t have to be a professional athlete. Just be healthy. A healthier life contributes to a better life. Take care of yourself, so you can do the things you want to do, and take care of the people who need you in their lives.

6. Sustain your focus. We are a society of short attention spans. “TL;DR” has become our standard response. But true success comes from keeping our eyes on our goals, holding on to our integrity, and keeping our priorities in order.

7. Use your imagination. Play games. Tell stories. Feed your curiosity and let your mind wander and wonder.

8. Grow your knowledge. Find something you love and learn as much about it as you can. Never refer to any knowledge as “trivial” or “useless.” The intimate relation between curiosity, imagination, and knowledge is the soul of scientific inquiry and advancement.

9. Encourage laughter. Spend time with people who bring joy to your life. Tell more jokes. Appreciate the good things in your life. Never be afraid to laugh.

10. Practice positivity. We talk to ourselves all the time. We are also habit-forming creatures. As such, we form a habit of how we talk to ourselves: our inner monologue. Practicing positivity means we make an effort to focus on the positive and engage in self-encouragement; not ignoring the negative, but the truth is, we are almost always more capable than we think we are, and, barring genuine catastrophe and tragedy, our circumstances are usually not as severe as our emotions make them appear to us. Work to form a habit of hope.

11. Find your purpose. What makes you happy? What brings fulfillment to your life? What fills you with a sense of accomplishment, pride, adventure, and meaningfulness? Maybe you don’t know yet. Don’t give up the search. Remember, sometimes the only way to figure out how to travel is to just get up and go, and figure it out along the way.

12. Employ reason. Use your brain. Practice critical thinking. Think.

13. Seek truth. Don’t become enslaved by your biases. Keep an open mind and let your imagination soar, and always let reason be your guide.

Ultimately, no one masters life. No one can tell you the right path to take. Discovery is part of the fun of the journey. In the end, the only wrong action is inaction. So go out there. Get some mud on your shoes.

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