“Life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.”
–George Bernard Shaw
Interested in learning how to be awesome? Actually, it’s pretty simple. One of the best part about being a human being is that we’re changing all the time. No matter what, we’re always growing, learning and transforming. One of the greatest things we can do for ourselves (and for the people around us) is to be a player in this transformation. How do we do this? Try these things for starters.
- Follow your dreams. The number one regret people have on their death bed is choosing to live the life they felt like they were supposed to live rather than striking out on their own and creating their own life (Inspiration and Chai). Following your heart instead of social norms is scary, which is why so many people miss it, but once you begin you find a sense of peace that stays with you as long as you are on your own path. People who know how to be awesome know that their life is precious and that it’s up to them to make every day a unique experience and expression of their innermost being. So whether you’ve dreamed of becoming an artist, starting your own business, traveling, or breaking the world record for most jelly doughnuts balanced on the tip of your nose, now’s the time to start! It’s all about having the courage to express who you truly are. Yes it’s hard. It’s also worth it.
- Meditate. There is nothing more awesome than knowing and accepting yourself deeply. Not much more awesome than sitting cross-legged for a few moments and watching all of your problems disappear or turn to blessings. And living each moment fully, experiencing the depth that life has to offer and allowing yourself to express who you truly are? That comes from meditation too. In short, meditation is awesome.
- Have new experiences. Awesome people are always trying new things. Everything from flying to a new country to trying that new vegan restaurant with the funny name is what keeps your mind fresh and your heart open to the many gifts life has to offer. Travel. Talk to strangers. Open to the magic in the world. Learn to play an instrument or attend a boxing match. Do things you think you would have no interest in or know nothing about, and you’ll be surprised how many varieties awesomeness comes in. In fact, for someone who knows how to be awesome everything is an adventure and an opportunity to learn–it’s just a matter of how you approach it.
- Focus on others. The Dalai Lama says “If you are going to be selfish, at least be wisely selfish.” This, he says, means focusing on benefiting others (Philosiblog). There are all kinds of studies now that show those who focus on benefiting others rather than themselves are far happier. When focusing on how to benefit someone else, we forget what we usually worry about: what they think of us, all our problems, becoming richer or smarter or better looking. Instead, our attention is on making someone else happy. And when we do this, we feel a sense of fulfillment in our lives. One of the best ways to create meaning in your life is to benefit others. As an added bonus, people tend to like those who give to them without asking anything in return, so you will rarely be alone or unappreciated. What’s more, working to benefit others puts you in an environment with others who have a positive approach to living. Try volunteering for a cause you believe in or finding a job that directly benefits others. Remember that every moment you can choose to make benefiting others your focus, whether you’re talking with a friend, driving, or cooking a meal.
- Be here now. Almost all suffering comes from not being in the present moment (Zen Habits). If you can let go of the past and the future and accept whatever comes in the present, a whole new dimension of life opens up. You begin to take great joy in the little things, like drinking a cup of coffee or driving to work. And isn’t life mostly made up of little things? Because you put your full attention on those you are with, they know they are valued and this presence opens up a deeper dialogue and connection to occur. To return to the present moment, just focus on all that is happening now without trying to influence or judge it. Observe the feeling of your breath. Notice what you experience with your five senses, the way another person is speaking, see your thoughts and reactions. If you get distracted, that’s okay–just come back to the now.
- Realize you already are awesome. Truly awesome people are all privy to a secret: they don’t have to change to become awesome. That just as they are, they are more than enough. Actually, it’s not such a secret, but most people have forgotten this fact. Each human being has such immense gifts to offer the world in his or her own unique way. This includes you. Being awesome is actually just the recognition of the fact that you are awesome. And when you do this, you realize that there are many opportunities every day to give the gifts that are unique to you. That’s what all the other points are about–not becoming awesome, but expressing the awesomeness that you already are!