Lessons from psychology experts, philosophers, and Navy SEALs on making your bed, cleaning your room, and becoming a happier person
Getting your life together isn’t easy. It’s messy, complicated, and something you have to do over and over again no matter how hard you try to avoid it.
“Bringing order to chaos is a divine act.” — paraphrase of Jordan Peterson
However, it’s important.
Without our life in some semblance of order, nothing we do matters. Our direction and purpose are unclear, and everything we do is like throwing darts at an undefined board that we can’t even see.
Here are a few ways from the experts themselves that you can start getting your life together and make more meaning out of everything you do:
1: Start small
NAVY Seal William H. McRaven, author of Make Your Bed and presenter of the University of Texas commencement speech appropriately called “10 principles of changing the world” is a man with much wisdom up his sleeve.
His book and talk provide a simple but helpful mindset that will help you excel in anything that you do.
His “make your bed” maxim points to the habit that’s instilled in all members of the military — make your bed perfectly.
“Life is a struggle and the potential for failure is ever present, but those who live in fear of failure, or hardship, or embarrassment will never achieve their potential.
Without pushing your limits, without occasionally sliding down the rope headfirst, without daring greatly, you will never know what is truly possible in your life.”
― William H. McRaven, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World
Because if you are able to do that, you will believe in your ability to do something well and exercise your effort on the world in a meaningful way.
Similarly, it will set a precedent of orderliness in your life that will carry over to other areas and broader themes of your life.
He concludes this point by saying if you have a terrible day, at least you’ll get to come back to a bed that you made — and be given hope that tomorrow will be better.
2: Take care of yourself the way you’d take care of someone else
Jordan Peterson is a man I deeply admire and learn something new every time I read or watch his work. Recently, I was curious about what recommendations he has for people that I’d never heard before and I went digging.
The Presto Post has published an article talking about some of his best points and I decided to read through and look for any I hadn’t gleaned wisdom from yet.
“You’re not everything you could be, and you know it.” — Jordan Peterson
The author mentioned the above maxim from Peterson — how you ought to take care of yourself like you were taking care of someone else.
This is often a technique used by therapists, a category Peterson falls into. They look at a client and ask them to think about themselves in the third person, in the hopes of establishing more self-confidence and self-respect.
If you treat yourself from a place of compassion, understanding, and encouragement, you will both have a better relationship with yourself and most likely have better results in everything that you do.
Remember, you’re a human being too — worthy of love, respect, and hope. It can’t hurt to treat yourself as such.
3: Stop worrying about everything
Dan Harris, in The Minimalists documentary, tells a great story about how he had a coming apart in his career before he picked up meditation and became the guru he is today on the subject.
He details how one of his mentors told him that worrying isn’t as productive as he thought it was. His worry, while it felt useful, was not aiding him at all.
True worry is concern about something we have nothing control over — and it doesn’t do much for us.
While it’s helpful to be concerned about potential outcomes and to change them, there are so many things beyond our control that are literally futile to worry about.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” — Jesus, the Bible
I think so much of getting our lives together is about deciding what is and isn’t worth worrying about. Draw your circle of influence. Figure out what it is that you can actually control — and let everything else fall by the wayside.
An important part of getting things together and living your best life is knowing that you only have so much time and mental capacity. Why give so much of it up to things that you can’t do anything about?
4: Take notes like an addict
Tim Ferriss takes notes like an addict, and I think it creates the level of order that he needs in his life. I say this because I have similar notetaking tactics to him and have seen the desired effects.
When you’re a ridiculously committed notetaker like he is, you pick up on everything of significance — whether it be something pointing you in the direction of a creative breakthrough or an interesting fact you like to remember.
“Information is useless if it is not applied to something important or if you will forget it before you have a chance to apply it.” — Tim Ferriss
From journaling to book notes to thoughts on how to live life better, I think taking notes on everything the way Tim Ferriss does helps you to have a better grasp on reality. And when you have a better grasp on something, the more sway you have over it.
If you understand your life in a deep and meaningful and cataloged way, you’re much more in a position to put your thumb on the scale and leverage every situation for the betterment of everything that matters — including your best goals and values in life.
Read also: How to really live a happier life
You’ll never have it all together.
That’s just a fact that we all have to face. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t worth found in trying. I’d challenge you to, right now, assess how together your life is and what effect that’s having on everything that matters to you?
Perfection isn’t the goal — but a grasp on what’s going on, where things could go better, and what problem areas you can address is guaranteed to improve your psychological state and the real-life quality of your existence.
Get your life together — and watch what beautiful things can happen to you and be brought about by your focused action as a result.
Contributed by Katie E. Lawrence
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