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10 simple things you could take right now to make life better

Ten simple things you can start today to make a difference in your life. Pick one and get started right now.

    1. Reading

    There is, frankly, no better use of your time than reading. The most successful people on Earth read like crazy. Bill Gates hits about 50 books a year. How many books are you reading?

    2. Level up your basic skills

    Michael Jordan said that winners don't just learn the fundamentals, they master them. Touch typing is the one skill I learned in school that really made a difference for me over the years, especially now as a published author. Don't need to type? Pick another fundamental that applies to you. Speed reading and faster learning methods all come with benefits as you improve your other areas of life.

    3. Simplify your life

    The more crap we have in our lives, the less we own our own focus. Everything comes with some overhead, get things out of your life and out of your head that don't add value. Social media and other time wasters count!

    4. Give your life a soundtrack

    I love having a soundtrack to my life. Heavy music for workouts. Ambient and electronic for thinking. Special playlists for focusing and deep work and even a playlist for falling asleep. As German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Without music, life would be a mistake.”

    5. Get a full night's sleep

    Don't underestimate the power of a full night's sleep and don't underestimate the compounding damage of lost sleep. Make sleep and active recovery a priority in your life.

    6. Recognize that you have upper limits on productivity

    The puritan hard work ethic is for the birds and doesn't work well for knowledge work. Recognize that working harder and longer has diminishing returns. Read Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most by Greg McKeown for a whole different take on hard work as the answer to your problems.

    7. Invest in your future

    Have an eye towards the future, just don't live there. Invest your finances, time and attention in things that benefit you over the longer term. Make things even just a little better every day and it will pay dividends.

    8. Meditate as if your hair was on fire

    There's a saying in Buddhism that if you understood the benefits of enlightenment, you would practice like your hair’s on fire. Learning to tame your mind will benefit every single area of your life. There's a reason Ray Dalio, of Bridgewater fame, cited meditation as his best investment ever. He finds time for 40 minutes daily, but even five minutes will give you some benefit.

    9. Process and execution trump goals and objectives

    Goals are great to get you started, but process and execution counts. "Getting in shape" is a nebulous, undoable goal. Doing 100 pushups and 100 squats 5x a week, no matter what, is not only doable but will produce results given enough time. Find a process. Trust the process. Follow the process. See results. No action = no results.

    10. Keep it healthy

    If you're healthy, you can tackle 100 goals. If you're not healthy, your only goal is getting healthy again. No life improvement matters if you can't enjoy it.

    The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, he said:

    Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
    Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
    And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
    the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
    he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
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