As you move through life use the steps along the way as a learning tool.
I don’t think I’d want to be on “The Amazing Race.”Although contestants get to travel to distant lands and exotic places, how much of it do they really get to take in while pushing so hard to reach the end? If you live your life always striving for the finish line, you will miss the joy of the journey.
Goals are important, for as we move closer to them, our internal sense of self-worth increases. But if we don’t allow ourselves to experience the process of reaching our goals, the destination and the potential growth that hopefully comes with it may be a bit more elusive than expected.
Looking at where you have been while traveling to your next interpersonal destination will only help to serve you. It will allow you to create some positive memories, as well as make some course corrections, if necessary, to stay on the proper path and get as much out of life as possible.
The trick to living life with few regrets is to make yourself think about where you want to go, how you are going to get there and what choices you are willing to make to accomplish this. As long as you don’t hurt others or yourself, you’ll reach your destination with a smile on your face. If you are one of those people who want everything faster or better or cheaper, and don’t care who gets hurt in the process, happiness will be tough to find.
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If you are ready, willing and able to poke holes in most every situation that you engage in, then it will be difficult for you to have any positive takeaways. Those who see themselves and the world realistically — respecting the lessons learned, absorbing the beauty around them and treasuring everyday moments — are the people who live the happiest lives.
As we move through life, our motivations change. We can become more enlivened as we mature, or we can look at our past with regret and stare at the future, hoping it will change but not really knowing how to break out of old patterns. It does no good to merely hope that things will change for the better. You have to be proactive about it and make it happen.
We have more power to direct our own lives than we know or, in some cases, care to admit. It is easier to blame others for our lack of progress or joy than to accept personal responsibility for our situation. When you are feeling stuck or unfulfilled, simply making the decision to pick yourself up and get moving again is the best step you can take.
It’s amazing to experience the world, and we can have amazing lives without ever traveling to the far side of it. The things that make this journey worthwhile are the people who touch your heart and the deeds you do to make you feel that you have made the world a tiny bit better. Now that’s a race I’d run.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author, most recently, of “100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence — Believe in Yourself and Others Will Too.”