Life is often bewildering, and honestly sometimes completely bloody random with what it can throw at you. There are frequently all sorts of different factors that need to be taken into account when planning the best course of action at any given moment.
All of that being said, however, it’s undeniable that life has certain “currents” and that there is a big difference between knowing how to surf those currents in order to move in the direction you want to head in, and either allowing yourself to be swept along or trying to force certain outcomes. Which, let’s be honest, never goes as we plan, does it?
Here are a handful of tips that might help you to effectively surf life’s currents, so that you can live in a positive and uplifting way, whilst avoiding burning yourself out completely!
Emphasise the importance of getting your keystone habits right
One of the most powerful things to keep in mind when trying to live in a powerful, dynamic, yet holistic way, is that there will always be certain habits and routine courses of action that will have a disproportionately powerful impact in shaping your experience of everyday life as a whole. The writer Charles Duhigg refers to these as “keystone habits” in his book “The Power of Habit” Essentially, keystone habits are whichever habits of yours have the effect of radically impacting all the rest of your habits, and of powerfully shaping a variety of downstream events and circumstances in your life. Keystone habits will naturally differ from individual to individual, but there are likely to be a few common ones that apply to significant numbers of people.
Getting into a regular sleep-wake cycle is likely to be a very powerful keystone habit to get right. Starting an exercise routine is another common keystone habit. The power of keystone habits with regards to helping you to “surf” the flow of life, is the fact that they allow you to powerfully shape and manage multiple dimensions of your life, by getting just a few pieces of the puzzle right and allowing the rest to fall into place.
So, emphasise the importance of getting your keystone habits right in your own life. Figure out what your keystone habits are. Experiment with habits that you think has real potential to be “keystone habits.”
See just how much of a positive domino effect you can obtain by getting a handful of transformational life habits properly in place.
Gather some information about what to expect during major life events and transitions
Major life events and transitions are a key area where it’s important to find out how to identify and “surf” the flow of life so that you can have the best possible chances of experiencing positive overall outcomes. Generally speaking, we frequently tend to try and force particular outcomes when it comes to situations that we feel deeply invested in, in our own lives. Usually, however, the better approach would be to get informed and to get a good sense of what to expect from a major life event in question and to then take smart and manageable steps to ensure that things have the best possible chance of playing out as well as possible.
If you’ve got a new arrival to the family coming soon, for example, figuring out what to expect with regards to belly stages during pregnancy can simultaneously help you to address any concerns you might have, while also allowing you to plan ahead in order to maximise your own comfort and well-being.
Try to identify the root cause of issues getting in your way, instead of just beating yourself up all the time
I am 100% guilty of always beating myself up when things go wrong. Far too often, people end up becoming deeply frustrated and disillusioned (like I do) when things don’t work out in the manner they would like, and so end up brutally berating themselves up and becoming bitter and frustrated as a result. An almost masochistic fixation on self-discipline and willpower commonly results from this, but for the most part all that psychological torture and all those attempts to “be more disciplined” result in few positive outcomes, but a lot of self-loathing and increased frustration. If there are issues arising in your life that are getting in your way and preventing you from living in the manner you would like, what you should really try and do first and foremost is to understand the root causes of those issues and to strive to address them in a smart and effective manner that doesn’t result in you completely driving yourself into the ground. It’s very likely that there will be meaningful changes you can make in your life that will radically alter the situation at hand, but which will only really become apparent if you’re willing to investigate the situations at hand in a thoughtful and self-compassionate way.
Listen to your intuition and “follow your bliss”
The phrase “follow your bliss” is perhaps the primary legacy of the famous scholar and professor of mythology, Joseph Campbell – and it reflects the idea that you will be most in line with your spirit’s calling and with the flow and patterns of the universe if you essentially listen to your heart and do the things that make you feel genuinely alive. This concept can be interpreted both in metaphysical and purely psychological ways, and Iain McGilchrist, psychologist and author of “The Master and His Emissary,” has laid out a compelling neuroscientific case that – in many instances – your intuition actually perceives more of the world than your purely rational faculties.
Life always features a significant degree of uncertainty, setback, and difficulties of various sorts. But when you are “following your bliss” and living your life in a way that you find fundamentally positive and meaningful, things will naturally “flow” much more, and those difficulties will be much easier to absorb, move past, and overcome. On the other hand, if you are going against the “flow” of your passions and intuitions, it’s very likely that you will find all sorts of frustration and unhappiness in life, even if things appear to be going well on the surface level.
Take your sleep, nutrition, and health seriously
Life is just about always likely to seem like a struggle and to not feel as though it “flows” properly if you are perpetually exhausted and are not paying proper attention to things at the state of your nutrition and your overall health. Unfortunately, this is exactly the situation that an increasing number of people find themselves in today, even in affluent areas of affluent countries. According to some surveys, the majority of all people get an inadequate amount of sleep each night. And a lot of that has to do with the circadian-rhythm-disturbing effects of things like constant sources of digital entertainment accessible at all times of the day and night. I honestly read every evening before bed to try and chill myself out and switch off from all tech and I swear it helps!
To surf the currents of life in a truly effective and uplifting way, begin by getting your sleep schedule right, and by doing whatever you can to ensure that you feel rested when you wake up each morning. Among the various things that are apparently involved in maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm according to recent research, you should have an early breakfast each day and avoid eating too close to bedtime, should get bright light exposure in the morning and early part of the day, and minimise it at night, and should aim to keep a generally consistent sleep-wake cycle.
With regards to nutrition, there’s a lot of debate, but recent research on the gut microbiome apparently suggests that it is one of the most important health features to be mindful of – and the key to a healthy gut microbiome is apparently a diet that includes a large variety of fruits and vegetables, and a high daily fibre consumption. I’m not fully clued up on everything nutrition yet (but watch this space as I should be starting a nutrition course soon) so please do check verified nutritional advise websites such as the NHS for anything you’re concerned about.
Be daring, and don’t take everything too seriously
It will be exceedingly difficult to surf the currents of life and to live in a way that feels genuinely positive, upbeat, and meaningful, if you are constantly allowing your decisions in life to be dictated by your fears, and end up taking everything too seriously as a result. There are certainly things that you need to be sober-minded about in life – but the truth is that a lot of what you do with regards to things like the career path you choose, and the degree to which you put yourself out there in social situations, won’t carry much real risk at all. Dare to be daring. Take chances, pursue avenues in life that you find interesting, and don’t get too carried away with pessimistic and self-defeating visions of doom and gloom.
In many cases, life presents all sorts of potentially amazing opportunities and experiences, but it’s only those who are willing to step outside their comfort zones and take a few risks that are actually able to truly embrace those possibilities and thrive as a result.