What’s Good Enough?
Perfection is like infinity; it’s a great concept but impossible to reach. We can’t strive for perfection without feeling defeated, questioning our intelligence and ability. If you want a happy, healthy, and confident self, stop chasing the unobtainable. Take an inventory of your life, and examine the pattern perpetuating your disappointment. Ask yourself, Can I break the negative cycle for a better outcome? If you see no way out of your current situation, you haven’t looked closely enough. You hold the key to your own problems. I’ll show you how to uncover your strengths and hidden wealth to map out the path to the life you deserve.
The Distance Between Pleasure and Pain
There are only two types of goals in life: moving toward pleasure or moving away from pain. Those who move toward pleasure know what they want and make efforts to reach their rewards. When they encounter pain on their journey, they see it as necessary before their favorable outcomes. Those who move away from pain live their lives passively, letting fear guide their courses of action. Although they minimize the risk of failure, they’re far from success.
Which one of these are you?
Your goal determines your path. You don’t change your goal; the past only reinforces the future. If you want a new life, set a new goal. Stop playing all the worst-case scenarios in your head. You don’t need the entire map drawn out before taking the first step. When you drive at night, you can only see as far as your headlights allow. As the road extends before you, you find your way to the destination.
The key to your desired outcome is to have the right goal. This goal must be long-term, obtainable, and aligned with your values. Short-term goals are specific to the stage of your life. They don’t provide further guidance once you achieve them. Obtainability means you don’t aim for perfection; you aspire to reach your full potential. Alignment with your values means you live in tune with who you are. Living by other people’s values won’t make you happy, even when those values belong to your loved ones.
Most people know what they don’t want. Few can tell you what they do want. Before you set a worthy goal, ask yourself what is important in your life. Recall the events in your life; what made you proud despite failures? What left you wanting more even when you succeeded? Your goal should not be defined by the life you lived but by the unlived life within you. Think about the dreams you ignored because of the circumstances, the marriage, the kids, and the job. Pay attention to what you yearn for … who you want to be.
The art of good enough has two layers of meaning. One, define the standard you consider good based on your values. It should be consistent in all aspects of your life. Inconsistency in action will confuse you and lead you astray from the path to your desired outcome. Two, our time and energy are limited. We have to be misers to the things that don’t matter to us and give abundance to what does matter. Every time you struggle to decide, ask yourself if it will matter to you in five years, in ten years. If the answer is no, don’t give it another thought. Life is too short to dwell on background noises. We only fight the battles worthy of our time and effort.
Maximize Your Happiness
Take a look at the area where the three circles overlap; that is where happiness resides. Health represents the emotional and physical well-being; connection means maintaining harmonious personal and social relationships; satisfaction indicates internal gratification.
We feel happy when we achieve emotional and physical well-being, meaningful connections, and satisfaction. All three components have to be in balance with each other to maximize happiness.
When we devote all our waking hours to caring for our children and partners, the circle of connection expands while the areas of satisfaction and health shrink. As a result, the area of happiness becomes much smaller. We feel stressed out, angry, and lonely. In return, the quality of our care declines. Our maximal efforts yield suboptimal performance.
Contrary to common beliefs, putting your children and partner first at all times isn’t the best way to love them. Scheduling routine “me time” to regain a sense of control is not being selfish. It’s essential for our well-being.
It’s impossible to take good care of others when you don’t care about yourself. You might pull it off for a short while, but in the long run, the burden on your mind turns into pains and ailments in your body. You take medications to ease the physical symptoms, which gives you new sets of problems from the adverse effects of the pills. Being a hospital pharmacist for over a decade, I’ve seen many cases like this. Take care of yourself before it’s too late, for the sake of your family and friends. Remember, you and your partner are the role models for your children. If you don’t maintain a healthy lifestyle, how do you expect your kids to pick up the good habits?
The Key to Our Problems
When describing our problems to others, we emphasize how difficult our children are, how unappreciative our partners get, and how demanding our jobs become. Rather than waiting for others to change, think about how you can influence them in a positive direction.
Children didn’t decide to be difficult one day. Our parenting approach may have played a role in their behaviors. Kids learn fast, especially from the people they spend the most time with. Since this is a whole topic on its own, I’ll address child-rearing issues in Chapter 10.
You wanted to have children with your partner for a good reason. What has changed in the relationship since the births of your little pumpkins? How often do you talk to each other about your feelings? When was the last time you had sex that made you feel like a woman in love? Chapter 9 will tell you how to nurture the most important relationship in your life.
Once you figure out how to care for your kids and partner wisely, you’ll feel more energetic at work, more poised to handle challenging tasks. Your positive attitude will attract more opportunities.
The Path to Happiness, Health, and Confidence
There are four steps to draw up your own success blueprint:
Step One: Define Where You Are and Where You Want to Be
Discover your values and strengths (Chapters 2 and 3)
Revisit your old dreams (Chapter 18)
Prepare for your transformation (Chapters 4 and 8)
Look good and feel better (Chapters 11, 12, 13, 14)
Step Two: Declutter Your Life
Live simply (Chapter 4)
Declutter your mind (Chapters 6 and 7)
Recharge your body (Chapters 16 and 17)
Step Three: Build a Support Network
Bring passion to your relationship (Chapters 9 and 15)
Raise independent children (Chapter 10)
Rally for support (Chapter 21)
Step Four: Create the Life You Love
Reverse engineer your path (Chapter 19)
Maximize your productivity (Chapter 20)
Be prepared for the journey to success (Chapter 22)
To present the above information in an easy to follow manner, I grouped them in three sections titled “The Mind,” “The Body,” and “The Path,” respectively. In the next few chapters I will illustrate Steps One through Three in detail, together with various methods to help you overcome the negative emotions keeping you from living your best life. After you have a firm grip on what you need to create the life you love and how to focus your energy on important things, I’ll show you how to get healthy and look and feel your best in “The Body.” Once your confidence improves, we’ll revisit all the steps in “The Path” to reverse engineer your path to the life you deserve.
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