Some time ago, Lifehack.com published an article entitled “10 HARD Ways to Make Your Life Better”. While I don’t necessarily agree with each of the 10 recommendations, I really liked the article. I’ve pursued four of the recommended methods in my own life with a good deal of success.
Here is their list: 1. Start a business, 2. Organize a group, 3. Volunteer, 4. Take an active role in your children’s’ activities, 5. Start a family, 6. Write a book, 7. Learn an art, 8. Run for office, 9. Take up a sport, 10. Set an outrageous goal — and achieve it!
I highly recommend a number of the article’s honest, non-trivial, life-enhancing ideas, such as the recommendation to start a business, to volunteer, or to write a book. Most especially, I agree with the final recommendation on the list; Set an outrageous goal – and ACHIEVE it.
Oddly enough, I’m drawn to the article not so much for the specific recommendations, as for the underlying idea it illustrates; the idea that making one’s life better is not easy – not something that can be done in a day, or even a month. As much as we’d like to think so, we cannot instantly make our lives better simply by using the latest diet pill, the exercise gadget du jour, or a New Age gimmick like; “”The Secret”.
Substantial change generally requires a significant effort, and it usually takes a bit of time. It involves removing filters from the way we think, expanding horizons, stepping out of the comfort zone that is our daily routine, and it involves changing habits. Deep inside, we all know that really good things rarely come easily. The very good news is; we’re all capable making our lives dramatically better and it is well worth the effort!
It occurred to me that there’s an 11th Hard Way to make one’s life better. Strangely, this 11th way came to me yesterday, as a result of a chance conversation with a beautiful and impressive young Native American woman. She’s currently pursuing her MBA and is deeply involved in a number of important efforts to help other Native Americans thrive. She was making a point about Native American reservations and happened to mentioned that Native American culture is very tied to a sense of place. That comment set me to thinking about the importance of place; the right place, YOUR place.
Both place and environment have a much greater impact on us than we might think. A place can expand or severely limit our own potential and our prospects. The place in which we live and the people surrounding us affect our mindset in both dramatic and subtle ways. And finding an inspiring and supportive place to live (both a city and a home) can improve our lives in remarkable ways. Sadly, many people end up in a place merely by happenstance or because they simply never consider the option or importance of finding the right place.
So I offer you my own list of things to consider as you pursue this important “11th Hard Way” to make your life better.
1) Seek a place where you can really thrive: A place that supports your interests and provides you with opportunities for new experiences, stimulation and excitement. For some, that may mean a university town with lots of publicly accessible lectures, or a place with cutting-edge cultural events. For others it may mean a location that provides endless and challenging new spots to surf. I think for all of us, it means a place where we can meet like-minded people and where we can learn.
2) Seek an uplifting place: Places with a sense of history can be inspiring, as can places with remarkable architecture or great natural beauty. Here in Denver, we are lucky enough to have a terrific view of the Rocky Mountains and I find this vista affects my outlook in a very positive way. At times, when the light and the air are “just so” it can be extremely powerful. This expansive view is a metaphor for vast horizons and unlimited potential and it undoubtedly affects me.
3) Seek a place where you can pursue, or perhaps find, your passion: A man I know, an avid photographer, recently visited Santa Fe, New Mexico. He instantly found the thriving art photography scene in Santa Fe so compelling, that he rented a new place immediately and only returned to his old home town once – to collect his belongings and move. Now, Santa Fe may not be your 11th Way, but you’ll probably know instantly when you finally find the city that is.
4) Seek a place where you’re celebrated, not tolerated: This phrase has become a bit of an Internet meme, but there is a good deal of truth in it. While intellectual diversity is, or course, a good thing, living in a community where the vast majority of people disapprove of you or your beliefs, can be oppressive. It can work against your efforts to improve your life in both overt and subtle ways. I’m not saying running away from conflict is the answer, but there are some people in this world whose minds you will simply never chance. Life is too short to live in close quarters, and in conflict with them.
5) Seek a place with opportunities that suit you: Like my friend the photographer, you will find that some places offer greater opportunities for you to make a living than others. It just makes sense to find a city where the opportunities match your skills and desires. For example, If you want to work as a marine biologist, Kansas City probably isn’t a great choice .
6) Seek a place where the weather doesn’t constantly beat you down: I find that sunshine is essential to my sense of well-being. Winters are tough for me and it would be worse if I lived in a city where it tended to be gray from October till April. Find weather that suits you – it will substantially improve your outlook. I think, for most of us, that means being able to get outside often.
8) Seek an environmentally advanced place: Air and water quality are key to our well-being and our outlook on life. Some cities, such as Vancouver British Columbia, and Bern Switzerland, are enormously successful at keeping their environments clean. Some others, well, aren’t.
9) Seek a place from which travel is relatively easy: Here at FLYODI, we believe travel presents unmatched life-enhancement and learning opportunities. Living two and a half hours from a reasonably-sized airport makes travel much more difficult and expensive.
Now please don’t misunderstand – I’m not saying everyone has to live in Hawaii or the Amalfi Coast in order to have a good life (although I’d highly recommend we all visit those places once at least once.) And I’m not saying you have to live in a castle or a mansion to be happy. Finally, I’m not saying that the place you live is everything. It is, of course, possible to be happy in a miserable place, and to be miserable in a fantastic one. I’m simply saying that, for most of us, place has a profound impact our mental outlook. So, it makes sense to take an objective look at our surroundings and think honestly about whether another place might not be more conducive to a fulfilled life.
So, is your current city or home pulling you up, or down? Where should you really be? Where is YOUR place? If you can’t move, you can at least take steps to make your immediate surroundings clean and more inspiring.
Finding and moving to a place you love is probably not going to be easy, but it can dramatically improve your life. Sadly, it’s something many people never even consider — and that’s a shame. It may be the perfect 11th way!© Copyright 2013 FLYODI, All rights Reserved. Written For: FLYODI: Life -- Better!