As I write this month’s topic, I feel the need to preface it with a caveat that reads: “These are my ten practices.” And even this doesn’t adequately express what I’m trying to say, for they are not ‘my practices’ in the sense that I have discovered something new, but rather they are the practices that have evolved in my life as I have endeavored to lead a fun, interesting and successful life.
Let’s be clear that there is no one formula, cut in stone, that guarantees happiness and success to each individual. Each person lives their life according to what they feel is important, and this is as it should be. However, as I approach my 58th birthday, after a two-year sabbatical of “listening,” I am feeling reflective, and looking back, I can safely say that I’ve had a very successful and happy life by all standard measurements, but most importantly by my own. So over the next couple of months I will share with you the ten practices that have allowed this to happen for me. For me it will be an interesting process of reflection and analysis as to what has brought me to where I am now; for you the reader it should be an intimate look at the thought process of a man who has loved life and lived it fully. If through this process you find ideas to adopt in your own life and they resonate as true and valuable, then so much the better.
Practice # 1 – Have a multidimensional, holistic view of your life:
In my early twenties, a close friend of mine and I invented a card game called the ‘Cosmic Life Game.’ I won’t go into the details of the game; suffice it to say that the process of playing the game forced the player to make decisions about what was important in their life. We played it with many friends and it was always quite revealing. Over a multi-year period we probably played it more than a hundred times. Through that process, five main themes revealed themselves as “important’ in life.
- Financial / career
- Fun / adventure
- Relationships: Family, friends, spouse, children
The key in life is to not let any one theme totally dominate the others. Be vigilant in finding balance, and respect the need to nourish all five. I am not suggesting that each should get equal time. Earning a living and raising a family obviously does not allow for this, but we should still seek balance. Is there any one of the five that is being totally ignored? Is there any one that totally dominates? If all five are important, what does ignoring one or more do to you as an individual? Too often we fall into routines and patterns where we find ourselves in unhealthy lifestyles without balance. It’s a good idea to take the time, several time