Living life to the fullest

LiveMy father in law was simple straight forward honest man, full of life, happy and content.  Always enthusiastic and he was the one who knew how to live life to the fullest.  For him living life to the fullest was not about partying or drinking all night rather it meant enjoying doing things what he loved and finding little things that gave him joy. Even if it was just watching television with the family or taking a walk in a park with his friends for two hours every day.  Unfortunately, due to sudden heart attack he left for his heavenly abode earlier this month, leaving all of us in a state of shock and grief.

Since the time I attended his funeral, I have been thinking about his life, and how he lived     a life of significance. I learned how by doing random acts of kindness every single day he  made big impact into lives of others. He was a forward looking person with very strong values. His positive outlook, simplicity and no whining nature taught me invaluable life lessons and challenged me to think, how to live a life of significance, helping others and what is that I must do to attain contentment and happiness.  I recall him saying that you cannot be happy if you do not appreciate the things the way they are. He was always grateful and content with what he had. No regrets whatsoever. However, that does not mean that he was not ambitious, he had a fulfilling career at Nestle in India. He took good care of his family, provided rock solid foundation, values and best possible education to his children, made sure that his own parents were well attended to in their old age.

So the question is what is it like to be someone who lives life to the fullest? Here are the five lessons that I learned from his life:-

Money can’t buy you happiness

You need to live a life with meaning, and you do not need money in order to bring that meaning. Life is truly beautiful, if you just keep money aside for one moment and focus on giving more that acquiring in your life.

Find joy in everything you do

When you are able to appreciate minor things, you can achieve greater levels of happiness and satisfaction. It is never too difficult to be thankful for a little smile, small gift, or minor compliment. Being grateful instills positive thoughts and you can have an entirely different perspective of your life only if you learn to count your blessings, notice minute joys, and acknowledge everything that you have.   

Find Good in All Circumstances:

Circumstances are neither bad nor good, it is your response to those circumstances. If you have a positive approach, you can manage to obtain some benefit even from the most terrible situations.

Train your mind that all is well

Learn to develop the right mindset, you can be happy now, without changing anything else. You don’t need to wait until you’ve changed everything and made your life perfect before you’re happy. Do not waste your time and energy complaining or criticizing other. It will lead to unwanted stress that affects your health, allow others to live their life, leave them alone. Don’t try to please everyone. Instead of criticizing person, ask yourself, what is good about this person?

Empathy is good, action is better 

Having an empathic nature, and to act upon, allows you to cultivate better relationships around us, and in the process enjoy life a bit more. Since it is a selfless act, it also has the power to transform your life as well as the life of other people around you. This simple act can change the way you think and behave, and will encourage you to step outside of your own thoughts and feelings to be able to have a larger perspective on life.

Contributed by Rakesh Malhotra, Founder of Five Global Values (www.fiveglobalvalues.com)

The Purpose of Life is to Help Others

If you want to be happy, practice compassion

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” - Dalai Lama

 

Derived from the Latin, compassion technically means “to suffer with,” but compassion goes far beyond suffering. Combining empathy, sympathy, care and concern, compassion involves feeling for another person and a willingness to express or share that virtue. Compassion involves looking beyond one’s own life and plight and seeing into another’s eyes, circumstances and soul. In other words, compassion is caring put into action.

Compassion in action can be as simple as standing up to let someone else have your seat on the bus or allowing another car into your lane in traffic. It can be donating holiday gifts to a local family in need, writing a hand-written letter or card to let someone know that you’re thinking of them, or talking to a friend about a struggle that he or she is having. Compassion can be a word, a hand, a look, a thought or a notion.

Compassion knows no gender, no age, no nationality, no culture, no race and no religion. It is a universal value. Likewise, compassion is integral to the global values of love, peace, integrity, respect and responsibility, all human values that provide evidence of caring, of noticing, of a willingness to reach out and make a difference, regardless of any perceived differences.

Further, compassion offers both short- and long-term benefits; scientific studies have shown that compassionate people produce more of a hormone that can slow down the aging process and less of a stress hormone that can speed the process up. Likewise, compassion can engender more appreciation, happiness and better relationships. If you are a parent or caregiver, a leader in your community or simply a concerned citizen or friend, you can make yourself a paragon of compassion.

Following are five helpful ideas for sharing and showing compassion in your community:

1)    Make compassion a part of every single day. When you wake up each morning, simply hold the word or the idea of compassion in your mind for a few minutes, determining how you can offer a little more compassion during that particular day.

2)    Focus on what you have in common with others, rather than your differences. Teach your children to do the same through discussion and modeling. Most suffering occurs when we believe that we’re separate, rather than connected. Recognize that others are going through the same things you are – maybe not at the same time or in the same way, but everyone wants to feel safe, happy, secure and loved.

3)    Practice random acts of kindness. Pay for a stranger’s coffee, leave a thoughtful, anonymous note for someone who could use a boost, smile more, say “thank you” a lot. Small acts of kindness and compassion can add up to a pretty big deal.

4)    Practice loving-kindness meditation. Set aside five minutes to find a comfortable, quiet space, close your eyes and sit up tall. Repeat the following phrases silently to yourself: May I be safe. May I be healthy. May I be happy. May I live with ease. (You can substitute other statements that resonate more with you, if you prefer.) After three to five rounds, move on to someone you care about, envision that person in your mind’s eye, and repeat the same statements silently to them: May you be safe. May you be healthy. May you be happy. May you live with ease. Then, do the same thing, without judgment, for someone who you struggle with. Lastly, send these thoughts of loving-kindness out on a global level. Notice a warm glow from within as you finish and sit silently for a few moments.

5)    While compassion in action is particularly powerful, don’t be afraid to talk about it and define it with your kids. Let them know that compassion is important.

In a recent study at Harvard Business School, social researcher Michael Norton gave undergraduates money to spend on themselves or on others. Interestingly, the ones who spent money on others – who gave money away – were happier than those who kept the money for themselves. Likewise, those who reported giving money to charity were happier than those who didn’t. The website DonorChoose.org helps people benefit others, and, in turn, themselves. Money can buy happiness – when you spend it on someone else. Indeed, compassion in action can have incredibly powerful internal and external applications and effects. Give, care, contribute – you’ll make your world better and contribute to more global happiness.

 

 

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