Top 5 Ways to Build a Wonderful Life

1. Live Below Your Means

There will always be temptation to forsake the future for immediate gratification. We all want to buy that new piece of technology, treat ourselves to an expensive night on the town, or take out a loan for the flashy car we can’t afford. It might feel great at the time but rash spending eventually will build and hurt a lot later on.

Enjoy life’s simple pleasures and save as much as you can. Expensive things don’t create lasting happiness and security. Careful spending will bring you greater leisure and enjoyment in the long run.

2. Put Your Money to Work

Saving is great, but to make the most of your money you need to put it to work. Good investments can be the difference between retiring in your 40′s or in your 60′s.

A post today at The Simple Dollar really got me thinking. According to Trent’s projections, if a person in their early 20′s invests 20% of their income in an S&P index fund, the interest they earn will equal their current salary when they reach their early 40′s. They could retire without a drop in income!

Wise investing is the surest path to financial independence and it’s something everyone can work on. It’s definitely an area I’ll be devoting more attention to in my personal life and on this blog.

3. Educate Yourself

To be happy we need continuous growth. The best way to grow is life long education. This doesn’t mean you need to pursue a doctorate or spend 2 hours reading every day. Self education can be anything that takes you out of your comfort zone. The important part is keeping an open mind and searching for fresh ideas and perspectives.

Education builds over time. It might feel like the bits of wisdom you acquire don’t mean much, but over the years they add up to form a wiser, kinder, more interesting person.

4. Develop Lasting Personal Relationships

Suppose you had everything you wanted. Would you be happy without anyone to share it with? The personal relationships we develop with friends and family members are the greatest source of happiness in our lives. Don’t forget about them.

Taking the time to cultivate and enjoy personal relationships is essential to longterm happiness. Without the people you care about you’ll probably be miserable, no matter how successful you become.

5. Work Towards a Dream You’re Passionate About

Even if your life isn’t perfect, you can always build towards a goal you’re passionate about. If you aren’t building towards something, you’re probably stagnating. When this happens to me I start to feel like a victim trapped by my own life. The best way to reverse this is working towards a goal.

We can’t control everything about our lives, but working towards a goal gives us something positive to focus on and lays the foundation for future success. No matter what your passion is, get out there and start doing something. As Lao Tzu said, even a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.

Bonus: 6. Stay in Shape

You only get one body. Once it’s been ruined there isn’t much you can do about it. Exercise to keep the rust off. Avoid excessive consumption of damaging substances and unhealthy foods. It may feel like terrible self denial at the time but enjoying good health in your later years is worth the sacrifice.

Note: This post is part of the Problogger Top 5 Group Writing Project.

  • http://www.JugglingFrogs.com clkl

    Hey, no fair! You got six!

    This was a very nice list, nonetheless.

    All the best,
    CLKL

    • sepehr

      hi
      i m doing all the six steps
      so i have wonderful life. : )
      but i want to have more fun in my 30 .

  • http://www.pickthebrain.com John Wesley

    Haha, thanks CLKL. 6 doesn’t count, it’s a bonus!

  • http://zenhabits.net Leo

    I love how you slipped that bonus in there. I feel like I got more for my money.

    It should be a new slogan for PTB: “Now with a bonus tip with every post!” :)

    Great list, John.

  • http://www.pickthebrain.com John Wesley

    Thanks, Leo.

  • http://www.learningnerd.com/ LearningNerd

    Great advice! I feel inspired already. :) And you aren’t the only one to have more than five things on your top five list! I saw some other posts with titles like “Top Five Whatevers (Plus Two!)”.

    • janmkl

        If you work an extra few years you can even give yourself a raise each year to compensate for interest.
      best writing services

  • http://www.bsnl-help.blogspot.com Samip Shah

    Well done. I stumbled upon this post, and read so many others. Great site. Keep up the good work =)

  • http://ninjamonkeys.co.za Vaughn

    > if a person in their early 20’s invests 20% of their income in an S&P index fund,
    > the interest they earn will equal their current salary when they reach their early 40’s.

    So you’re saying if I earn 20k a month now, if I invest 4k of that each month now, then when I’m 40 I’ll be able to pull in 20k a month from the interest? I’m pretty sure inflation will have made that fairly worthless?

    • Ericacreman

      so 240k isnt enough when you have nothing to pay but bills?

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  • http://benoliver999.blogspot.com Ben

    I agree completely! I’m unhappy ‘cos I’m fat!

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  • http://www.pickthebrain.com John Wesley

    Thanks a lot everybody, I’ve been enjoying the writing project too.

    @ Vaughan – What you said is exactly right. You should go back and read Trent’s post for the details. If you work an extra few years you can even give yourself a raise each year to compensate for interest.

  • http://turtlesatwork.blogspot.com Turtle King

    Very good advice! Choose your career wisely would be another point of advice. It kinda goes with your point on being passionate. If you are doing something that you hate to do, like your job, you cannot have a wonderful life. Everyday I report in to work and immediately feel the life being sucked out of me.

    I would also say have a lot of humor in your life, in case you do have a job that stinks, at least you can laugh about it! Thanks again for your blog post and good luck in the competition.

    Turtle King
    http://turtlesatwork.blogspot.com
    king.oftheturtles@gmail.com

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  • Satya

    Good ideas. And what you do today determines your future and waht you have done yesterday dictate your present.

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  • T.

    This is the sort of stuff we should be learning in school. Stuff math tests and algebra homework! The world would be a better place if we all got a framed copy of this list in kindergarten (and actually followed through with the recommendations).

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  • http://jollygreengirl.org Susie

    Very nice. I needed to read something like this. Thanks.

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  • retardriot

    Wow, thrift and clean living. You really cracked the code here.

    • http://www.facebook.com/sxcevelyn Evelyn Pereyra

      I think you and your reparacion de pc might be on to something here, or no?

  • http://www.pickthebrain.com John Wesley

    Wow, sarcasm. I could say the same for you.

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  • http://journeyintolight.blogspot.com Andre L.

    I really, i mean *really* needed to read this right about now. I mean it’s not something that I don’t know already, but I’m a believer in the idea that the universe puts out what you ask for/need.

    Thank you.

  • http://www.pickthebrain.com John Wesley

    Andre L.,

    I’m glad it made a difference for you. Thanks for letting me know.

  • http://mylifechanges.typepad.com/less_stress_more_cool_/ Terry

    Great post. Don’t forget gratitude. I carry around a little gratitude rock in my pocket. Everytime I look at it I think about all the great things in my life.

  • http://www.pickthebrain.com John Wesley

    Terry, you’re right about gratitude. Thanks for the tip. :)

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  • http://selfcommitted.com Mimi

    Great entry. Thanks.

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  • http://qreativ.com Gary

    Simple. Common sense. Indispensible.

  • http://ensku.blogspot.com Norman

    On 2.
    Retirement is not all it’s made out to be.
    What, in fact, it really means is that you’ve moved that much closer to death.

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  • grayblur

    truely a perfect guide.
    I am really upset before I read the article. but now I find my way!
    thx

  • http://unblog.spreadhead.net rigor

    “No matter what your passion is, get out there and start doing something.”

    This should take the cake.

    hum.

  • http://www.yahoo.com asirifi ameyaw clarkson

    i love to read your wonderfil life story but they are too lenghty

  • hedonplay

    i get some motivation.

  • http://shaundicker.com/blog Shaun Dicker

    Fantastic! Simple, short and oh so spot on! Thanks for a great list.

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  • http://www.funchilde.com Funchilde

    these are so RIGHT ON! I am doing my best to do all of these. Getting back into shape is my current challenge, but one I am determined to enjoy. Great list!

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  • http://www.iwillchangeyourlife.com Peter S C

    I think you hit the nail on the head. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  • http://www.artmarketonline.co.za/makh makh

    Good stuff. You got me fired up

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  • http://burningones.com/ Timmy V.

    Great tips!

    I especially love the live below your means. In western culture it seems that people have gotten into the mindset that the only way to be happy is to attempt to live above your means, concretely cementing them into lives of abject misery.

  • http://ya.ru anatol

    Nise site!

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  • http://crabroom richard

    Logical common sense advice is usually the most real eh!.

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  • Rick Taylor

    I’m so god damned tired of the “fall in love” or “develop lasting relationships” garbage. That’s a throwaway item. What is so particularly valuable about either of those things? More importantly, what good do either of them do if you don’t have money and success to go along with them?

    It’s always poor people and those without ambition who placate themselves by convincing each other that true contentment is all that they need and that you don’t need money, achievement or success for that. No, your life can be better than any billionaire’s life as long as you have someone who is stupid enough to share your bed with you in a long term situation.

    Drink more kool-aid, fellows.

  • http://www.boinc-indians.net Ninad

    That is a great post – the first two principles are because of “compound interest” …the earliar u invest ..the better it is …but you also would want to enjoy a few things when you are young than you are old ..so its a tradeoff :-)

    the last three are

    1)Exercise your brain
    2)Exercise your heart
    3)Exercise your body

    very good list :D

  • http://www.boinc-indians.net Ninad

    Actually, I just realised that list is all about “you” …I think “giving” should also be one point on the list.

    Giving in the form of helping someone, giving something for the benefit of others, give to social causes …etc etc

    Ich bien – I serve !

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  • http://ministry-webs.com/ministry/utopians/index.html Lantaman

    Great list. Good to survive struggling in the low-plane capitalism. I followed this in the last 20 years preparing and propelling my life transcendentally going uppper-plane capitalism.

    There are T-sections in 2, 3, 4, 5 to make total differences paving the way out of low-plane suffering capitalism;-

    – 2. Put Your Money to Work

    I save 15-20 % of my earning monthly yearly earning in a co-innovative community’s mutual fund — to support inventors and new ventures. We start savings together with building a network of co-innovative inventors, partners, and successors.

    Well, there are surely risks involved. But, bein able to put your monthly saving eggs in unlimited buskets and growing along on communal capitalism backup mentoring education, and associating closely among managements, partners, overall outcome is far-cry greater than inflation.

    Now I live on passive income flows from 0ver 20 businesses co-innovated in the community — never invested in any public stock markets.

    – 3. Educate Yourself

    Self education needs to be mentored on communal co-innovative capitalism is total paradigm shift — to convert life from individual capitalist to communal capitalist — by practice living on the Spirt > Soul > Solar mind > Brain > Body > Communal hi-touch energy body’s pathway, flowing Trinity of Life (Life force, intuitive wisdom, Attractive hi-touch aura onto the surroundings in touch), in stead of acquring bits by bits new thoughts, ideas, concepts to blend them on our own old artifact thinking.

    – 4. Develop Lasting Personal Relationships

    Lasting relation ship is somehow illusive. It’s meaningful to life only when it surrounded with lasting spontaneous, simultaneous leverage, altruistic, co-innovative mentorship, partnership, and successorship.

    Man can reinvent his own world surrouded with lasting spontaneous, simultaneous leverage, altruistic, co-innovative mentorship, partnership, and successorship on a virtuos backup mentoring system.

    – 5. Work Towards a Dream You’re Passionate About

    Working towards a personal goal is strengthening egoism, individualism, and, eventually, separatism — opposite direction to “Developing Lasting Personal Relationships expectation”.

    Life (on energy body’s path of Spirit > Soul > Mind > Body > Surrounding touch) is predestined down to earth on communal life-ward mission. Mobilizing life on passion mode and goodness mode, man can reach materially high, but eventually falls.

    Because, he duplicates the walk way of taskmasters and Pharoahs — gradually developing narrow-mided and plutocratic thinking system, heading for personal economic growth ignoring ecological backup system’s wellness and happiness — pissing off 6-direction (upper, in front, left-right sides, in the back, and below) co-operations and supports.

    The more you invest, the more your economic grows, the more life is surrounded by dependants, and the more you’re struggling on the expenses of the individual life, family life, and others surrounding lives.
    ——————————-

    Most of studies and learnings these days are still focused on how to survive better as an economic slave, takmaster, or Pharaoh on low-plane suffering ways of old rut capitalism.

    What I’m suggesting is we should concentrate on study what Buddha called “The Way Beyond Suffering Ways”. I’ve been through this way of excellent mode of life, which is ignored by the majority, from 40 to 60.

  • http://www.armannd.com Armand

    “Live Below Your Means” ~ One cannot move forward while cutting back. In my life, I’ve never been able to advance by living below my means. When I stretch, new resources become available and what seemed to be a stretch isn’t a stretch any longer. The comfort zone is too dangerous…

    I’m not saying that people should be careless when it comes to spending money, but timidity doesn’t work in today’s economic world. Timidity doesn’t save money, it costs money! Don’t splurge, but don’t be shy either.

  • http://www.dougwoods.com Douglas Woods

    An excellent list of tips. The only thing I’d add is ‘Stay positive’, no matter how bad things seem to get, try to keep a positive attitude, it has been shown to lead to a longer life.
    The only part I’d question is tip #5. Being Passionate is not always a good thing as passion can take over your life and lead you to do things that could be detrimental or harmful or keep you doing things when they no longer have a benefit. Passion may seem great but remember that passion is the opposite of action and don’t let the passion become an obsession!
    Cheers for a greta list!

  • http://www.dougwoods.com Douglas Woods

    or even a great list (doh!)

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  • http://www.bigrac.com Rich

    Enjoying you site, with thanks to stumbleupon for helping me find it :)

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  • http://noarose.blogspot.com/ Noa Rose

    All excellent habits to establish in your youth and continue through all the phases of life.
    Friends are as important at 60 as they are at 16. Education and fulfilling your dreams go hand in hand.

    Money is a life-long requirement. Good health is a blessing that does not happen without paying the price of regular exercise and moderation of diet.

    It is possible to build the life you want by making the right choices throughout the journey.

  • http://worldwomans.com/ Tatyana

    Being Passionate is not always a good thing as passion can take over your life and lead you to do things that could be detrimental or harmful or keep you doing things when they no longer have a benefit.

  • http://worldwomans.com/ Tatyana

    Thanks for the post.

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  • http://youareliving.com Christopher Truman

    Well I now consider this the internet standard article for building a life I can enjoy! Each of these areas is so important, but one thing I would say is that you make sure they are all balanced; one without the others can cause chaos.

  • http://www.2knowmyself.com farouk

    great tips, i want also to add a little comment on advice number four. intimacy helps people feel better even if they were facing problems, somehow sharing bad emotions makes them become less intense

    thank you:)

  • http://www.oyuncunet.com Oyuncu

    Well, this very nice and wonderful.

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  • http://dnevni-horoskop.biz horoskop

    Great list.Thanks for the inspiration.

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  • http://www.joanmariewhelan.com Brittany

    These are great tips–especially during such gloomy times! I found some more awesome advice about manifesting wealth and success from a lifestyle transformation expert named Joan Marie Whelan. Her website has lots of good articles and videos to inspire and teach people how to improve their lives. Enjoy!

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  • http://inkostroma.ru Кострома

    Well done. I stumbled upon this post, and read so many others. Great site. Keep up the good work =)

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  • http://yourpersonalgrowthsite.com/wordpress/ bp

    Thanks for the great info – but the top 5 has 6 in it :) We appreciate it.

  • rhian

    This is really educational and helpful.

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  • http://horoscope-daily-free.net daily horoscope

    “Good investments can be the difference between retiring in your 40’s or in your 60’s.” I agree with that,but how to know what is good investment?

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  • Wooti

    Good tips for beginners on bipolarity career paths. For “Growing smoothly concurrently in all areas of life” as a virtuously influential, build-to-last pioneer, co-innovative partner, successor — that needs cosmic lifeengine, not left brain, to process iconbody and its mobilities in action in all circumstances, I shifted to relearn from this society: http://macsoft.gaia.com

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    I agree with all six…good article

  • http://www.boxmodeldesign.co.uk David Calvert – Web Designer

    Good advice, I especially like the part about working towards a dream that you are passionate about. It really is half the battle if you enjoy your work and can work towards some realistic goals. Same goes with your personal life and relationships.

  • http://www.olc.com.tr Yurtdışı Eğitim

    Thanks for this advices.

  • SWATHA

    hi
    i am doing the six steps it change my life
    and its main thing i have to say about top 5 things change my life and build a wonderful life

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  • http://www.ido-doi.com Stella Aghenie

    How to self-improve fast, You will have times in your life when you will feel like you’re the most unattractive person to walk the Earth. You will need somebody to pull you aside and say – you will not reach higher with your hands in your pockets. You can set many records, if you do guarantee yourself that you will do what you promise yourself, and listen to your dreams, to self improve faster

  • PAOLA

    Hola!!
    ahora tengo un mapa para mi vida,se a donde voy y que es lo quiero hacer para mi vida…muchas gracias por los temas.
    PAOLA..

  • PAOLA

    Hola!! ahora tengo un mapa para mi vida,se a
    donde voy y que es lo quiero para mi vida
    muchas gracias
    PAOLA…

  • http://secretcontents.com Ret

    In other words the 5 tells about humility, diligence, wisdom, love and insight. I know they will truly build one’s life a wonderful one.

  • http://www.romanticintimategifts.com Timothy

    If this recent economic crisis should have taught us anything it’s that living below our means is a necessity. As you build your financial security blanket you can increase your standard of living without the risk of losing it all should something happen suddenly.

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  • http://www.meditationbenefits.info/ saba

    Sometime i feel there is only one pleasure on earth-”reading,learning”every single tiny thing i learn gives me a profound relaxation.For almost a week i am reading your articles,even though these things i knew before but now i can realize them.Your writing got me motivated-an extraordinary work i must add.

  • etc

  • http://bestslrdigitalcamerasale.com Best SLR Digital Camera

    Great article! I love the point of living below your means. I think that in todays rat race keeping up with the jones’ is the ultimate mistake and a big reason why many are in the financial situation they are. Thanks for the insights!

  • http://www.davidbingham.net David

    I believe you hit the nail on the head with a few key points. Staying in shape is a BIG key point to having a wonderful life. Its extremely important to stay in your body, living in the moment. Living in the “now.” Now is the only time period you can use your senses. You can’t taste or hear in the future or in the past, so your only fully alive when you live in the moment and getting out of your head and into your body is key to this…. I would say however living below your means is very different when your income is $15,000 a yr versus, $1,000,000 a year.

    Check out some of the trainings and videos on http://www.whoisdavidbingham.com

  • http://www.shapinglife.com craig

    I always like tips for an improved life. These are great and i have some as well on the website that i wrote from scratch.

    Check out :http://www.shapinglife.com

  • ace

    Thank you. This article was very helpful. I’m definitely at a point in my life where I need to re-evalute my goals or find a different way of obtaining them. I got 1, 2 and 4 down. It’s the 3 and 5 tht I need to work on. Perhaps this explains how drained I feel after work. #6 helps my self-esteem. I’m amazed that I can still run after all these non-exercise years.

  • http://www.unleashyourinnerchampion.com/ change your life

    I think now is the only time period you can use your senses. You can’t taste or hear in the future or in the past

  • http://www.studentofme.com Greg

    Great advice Erin. My favorite ways are to 1 – Continuously Improve (similar to #3) and Set Huge Goals to do so, and 2 – Understand oneself which includes monitoring my beliefs and how they are affecting my life – are they empowering or disempowering and answering WHY I hold them to be true.

    We all must define what a ‘wonderful life’ means to us. Once we know the ‘what’ we can start discovering the ‘how’ ;)

    - Greg

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    I agree with all of the points, but find it especially important to have a job you love. Working with passion is important but not a reality for most. It has been my personal experience that despite wanting to improve all the areas of your life, many time you fail, over and over again. And your job has a lot to do with it, only when I began working doing what I wanted, becoming excited about what I do and the achievements I made, did all things finally come into place, still a struggle. But carrying on. I’m an engineer and fitness freak.Much better now that I changed jobs. Thanks for a great read.

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    Interesting! This is definitely a good read – I was surprised that I already reached the last number. Anyhow, these tips right here entails hard work and determination. Easier said than done, as they say. But, hey! It’s never too late right? Just like what you said, “Take one step at a time.”

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    Interesting! This is definitely a good read – I was surprised that I already reached the last number. Anyhow, these tips right here entails hard work and determination. Easier said than done, as they say. But, hey! It’s never too late right? Just like what you said, “Take one step at a time.”

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    Good ideas. And what you do today determines your future and waht you have done yesterday dictate your present.

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    Great list!
    I would also add: that when something knocks you down a bit like a family illness, being laid-off, or an injury – take some time to deal with it and put it in perspective and then kick yourself back in gear. Keep a motivated attitude and enjoy all the other moments of each day!

    I have recently started a website of similar topics http://www.marilyn-thompson.com/

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    1. Live Below Your Means
    There will always be temptation to forsake the future for immediate gratification. We all want to buy that new piece of technology, treat ourselves to an expensive night on the town, or take out a loan for the flashy car we can’t afford. It might feel great at the time but rash spending hurts a lot later on.
    Enjoy life’s simple pleasures and save as much as you can. Expensive things don’t create lasting happiness and security. Careful spending will bring you greater leisure and enjoyment in the long run.
    2. Put Your Money to Work
    Saving is great, but to make the most of your money you need to put it to work. Good investments can be the difference between retiring in your 40’s or in your 60’s.
    A post today at The Simple Dollar really got me thinking. According to Trent’s projections, if a person in their early 20’s invests 20% of their income in an S&P index fund, the interest they earn will equal their current salary when they reach their early 40’s. They could retire without a drop in income!
    Wise investing is the surest path to financial independence and it’s something everyone can work on. It’s definitely an area I’ll be devoting more attention to in my personal life and on this blog.
    3. Educate Yourself
    To be happy we need continuous growth. The best way to grow is life long education. This doesn’t mean you need to pursue a doctorate or spend 2 hours reading every day. Self education can be anything that takes you out of your comfort zone. The important part is keeping an open mind and searching for fresh ideas and perspectives.
    Education builds over time. It might feel like the bits of wisdom you acquire don’t mean much, but over the years they add up to form a wiser, kinder, more interesting person.
    4. Develop Lasting Personal Relationships
    Suppose you had everything you wanted. Would you be happy without anyone to share it with? The personal relationships we develop with friends and family members are the greatest source of happiness in our lives. Don’t forget about them.
    Taking the time to cultivate and enjoy personal relationships is essential to longterm happiness. Without the people you care about you’ll probably be miserable, no matter how successful you become.
    5. Work Towards a Dream You’re Passionate About
    Even if your life isn’t perfect, you can always build towards a goal you’re passionate about. If you aren’t building towards something, you’re probably stagnating. When this happens to me I start to feel like a victim trapped by my own life. The best way to reverse this is working towards a goal.
    We can’t control everything about our lives, but working towards a goal gives us something positive to focus on and lays the foundation for future success. No matter what your passion is, get out there and start doing something. As Lao Tzu said, even a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.

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