1. THE POWER OF AUTHENTICITY
The most important gift we can give ourselves is the commitment to living our authentic life. To be true to ourselves, however, is not an easy task. We must break free of the seductions of society and live life on our own terms, under our own values and aligned with our original dreams. We must tap our hidden selves; explore the deep-seated, unseen hopes, desires, strengths and weaknesses that make us who we are. We have to understand where we have been and know where we are going. Every decision we make, every step we take, must be informed by our commitment to living a life that is true and honest and authentic to ourselves and ourselves alone. And as we proceed, we are certain to experience fortune well beyond our highest imagination.
2. EMBRACE YOUR FEARS
What holds us back in life is the invisible architecture of fear. It keeps us in our comfort zones, which are, in truth, the least safe places in which to live. Indeed, the greatest risk in life is taking no risks. But every time we do that which we fear, we take back the power that fear has stolen from us—for on the other side of our fears lives our strength. Every time we step into the discomfort of growth and progress, we become more free. The more fears we walk through, the more power we reclaim. In this way, we grow both fearless and powerful, and thus are able to live the lives of our dreams.
3. LIVE WITH KINDNESS
It is important to remember that just as our words are our thoughts verbalized, so our deeds are our beliefs actualized. No action, no matter how small, is insignificant—how we treat someone defines how we treat everyone, including ourselves. If we disrespect another, we disrespect ourselves. If we are mistrustful of others, we are distrustful of ourselves. If we are cruel to another, we will be cruel to ourselves. If we can’t appreciate those around us, we won’t appreciate ourselves. With every person we engage, in everything we do, we must be kinder than expected, more generous than anticipated, more positive than we thought possible. Every moment in front of another human being is an opportunity to express our highest values and to influence someone with our humanity. We can make the world better, one person at a time.
4. MAKE SMALL DAILY PROGRESS
The way we do small things determines the way that we do everything. If we execute our minor tasks well, we will also excel at our larger efforts. Mastery then becomes our way of being. But more than this—each tiny effort builds on the next, so that brick by brick, magnificent things can be created, great confidence grows and uncommon dreams are realized. The truly wise recognize that small daily improvements always lead to exceptional results over time.
5. TO LEAD YOUR BEST LIFE, DO YOUR BEST WORK
There is no insignificant work in the world. All labor is a chance to express personal talents, to create our art and to realize the genius we are built to be. We must work like Picasso painted: with devotion, passion, energy and excellence. In this way, our productivity will not only become a source of inspiration to others, but it will have an impact—making a difference in the lives around us. One of the greatest secrets to a life beautifully lived is to do work that matters. And to ascend to such a state of mastery in it that people can’t take their eyes from you.
6. CHOOSE YOUR INFLUENCES WELL
We do not move through our days alone or apart from the world around us. And so we must always be aware of the things and the people we allow into our lives. It’s a mark of wisdom to choose to spend time in those places that inspire and energize you and associate with those people who elevate and uplift you. Whether in our work or within our personal lives, these most positive friends and peers will inspire us to be our greatest selves and to lead our largest lives.
7. LIFE’S SIMPLEST PLEASURES ARE LIFE’S GREATEST JOYS
Most people don’t discover what’s most important in life until they are too old to do anything about it. They spend many of their best years pursuing things that matter little in the end. While society invites us to fill our lives with material objects, the best part of us knows that the more basic pleasures are the ones that enrich and sustain us. No matter how easy or hard our current conditions, we all have a wealth of simple blessings around us—waiting to be counted. As we do, our happiness grows. Our gratitude expands. And each day becomes a breathtaking gift.
8. THE PURPOSE OF LIFE IS TO LOVE
How well you live comes down to how much you love. The heart is wiser than the head. Honor it. Trust it. Follow it.
9. STAND FOR SOMETHING BIGGER THAN YOURSELF
There are no extra people alive today. Every single one of us is here for a reason, a special purpose—a mission. Yes, build a beautiful life for yourself and those you love. Yes, be happy and have a lot of fun. And yes, become successful, on your own terms rather than on those suggested to you by society. But—above all else—be significant. Make your life matter—be of use. And be of service to as many people as possible. This is how each of us can shift from the realm of the ordinary into the heights of the extraordinary. And walk among the best who have ever lived.