5 Steps To Living A More Meaningful Life

Living a life with some kind of meaning is a goal we all want to attain. It is something that has challenged scientists, philosophers and the like throughout the ages. But, maybe it’s not as difficult as it seems.

Though there isn’t one single answer, I believe there are 5 steps to living a more meaningful life.

Being Present

We are so caught up with the stresses of our day, frustrations of the past and anxieties of the future, we often forget to be present in the moment and enjoy what life has to offer.

To start your day, find a quiet place to sit for 5 minutes and just breathe. Close your eyes, Feel the ground beneath you, allow the sounds to travel through your ear canal, feel your chest expand and fall with every breathe.

Ask yourself these questions: Am I a trustworthy friend? Am I a compassionate partner? Do I bring value to the world?

When you find your answers, act immediately and consistently  with your answers.

We are who we want to be. By acting consistently, we are creating habits in becoming the person who we want to be, thus, becoming that person.

 

Contribute

The biggest asset we have is time. One of the greatest ways to bring more meaning to your life is helping others in need. Volunteering at your nearest homeless shelter, helping your friend move, building a house with habitat for humanity, the list goes on and on.

When you volunteer your time to help the world become a better place it gives you an immense meaning to your life. You helped the world become a little better, that’s pretty amazing!

 

Declutter

We need to get rid of our excess “stuff” to make room for the things that actually bring us value. We have become a society that recognizes people for the amount of stuff they have, not by how much value they bring to the world. A lot of our stuff is like an anchor; it weighs us down. At the end of the day, it’s just stuff.

Start by picking one room in the house, eliminate anything that does not bring you value. Drawers, closets, cabinets, everything needs to be cleaned out. Then move on to the next room. When you can declutter your home, you can declutter your mind.

 

Create

Create something you are proud of. Find a hobby or start a new business. Having a passion will not only give us meaning, but it gives us purpose. It allows us to cultivate a skill. Just because you have a passion, doesn’t mean you have to make money from it. Finding a way to use your passion to help the world will give you tremendous meaning.

I love writing, in fact, it’s the reason I started this blog. This is my channel to cultivate my passion and deliver value to the world. What’s yours?

 

Kindness

Kindness can bring warmth to life and can connect us all. Doing random acts of kindness will not only give your life more meaning, but can make the world a better place! One random act of kindness can trigger a domino effect and impact countless amounts of people.

So make an effort to at least do one random act of kindness today; lend a helping hand, give someone a compliment, buy someone a coffee, pay for someone’s groceries.

 

Like I said earlier, the biggest asset we have is our time. Why waste it on something you feel negative towards? Give one of these points a try and let me know how you feel.
What do you do to live a more meaningful life?

I Can’t Hear You

It starts wars. It can start a movement. It can captivate an audience. It can bring you to tears. Words. More importantly, Communication.

I’ve been fortunate enough to marry my partner in love, business and life. I have been asked on multiple occasions how Josy and I are able to be around each other all the time without hating one another. My answer is always “I married the right one.”

Sure, no relationship is perfect, we have our disagreements, but the catalyst to our success has always been communication. When a relationship loses communication, it dies.

Before you sit down and tell your partner what is on your mind, make sure you listen first. It’s not easy putting our point aside for a moment and listen. We are so afraid of not being heard, we rush in to keep talking. Doing this often makes it harder for you to be heard in the first place.

We live in a world where a text messages are king. We hide behind our phones to conceal our emotions. But that is the problem, phones do not show emotion and text messages can often be misinterpreted. It’s best to always have a face to face conversation with your loved one. Doing so will filter out any unnecessary miscommunication.

Two words that will destroy a relationship are “Always” and “Never”. For examples: “You never do what I ask you to do.” Are you sure your loved one “never” does what you ask them to do? When we use “you” it feels like a personal attack on your loved one. Instead, use “I” or “we”. An example of this can be “I feel like we rarely communicate” rather than “You never communicate with me.”

Communication isn’t always verbal. There are plenty of non-verbal cues to watch for when you are communicating with your partner. If your loved one is folding their arms, the are upset. If they cannot make eye contact with you, they feel guilty or embarrassed about something. If you see signs like these, slow down the conversation or just take a break. It can wait.

Communication can make or break a relationship. Stay calm. Stay present. Remember, everything worth keeping is hard work.

Follow Your Passion

7am. The alarm rings. You step in the shower. You brush your teeth. Grab some coffee on the way out the door. Sit in traffic for 30 minutes. You arrive at a job you can care less about around 9am. Take lunch at 1pm. Go home at 5pm. Sit in traffic for another 30 minutes. Eat dinner with the family. Shower. Sleep. Repeat.

Sounds oddly familiar doesn’t it? We have all been there, sucked into the monotonous loop that is life. We have become complacent with what we have, not what we want. We settle for a paycheck instead of our passions. What I didn’t put in the above scenario was the amount of time we spend daydreaming of something we actually want to do. Spending more time with our family, going on a vacation or starting a new business.

The biggest thing that stops us from following our passion is fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Fear of ending up on the streets. Fear of ridicule from our friends and family. But just like the great Jim Carrey said “You can fail at something you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on something you love.”

I’m here to tell you, you are never too young or too old to follow your passion. You only have one shot in this world, you might as well make it as incredible as possible. Don’t live your life regretting the time you thought of an incredible business idea and never started it. Don’t think there isn’t a market for what you have to offer. Don’t settle. Don’t give up. Stop reading this post and take the first step to following your passion. Don’t know where to start? Email me.

When Your Relationship Sucks

We all have someone around us who is not worth holding on to. They are not supportive. They are constantly negative. They always take, but never give. They provide us with very little value in our lives.  They are a constant leech of our time and energy but for some reason, we keep them around.

We tend to stick around the people who are the most convenient: Coworkers, classmates and some family. Even though these people do not offer us any kind of real value, we keep them around because, let’s face it, starting a new relationship is hard work. But isn’t anything the requires hard work worth keeping?

Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to salvage our relationships. Salvaging a relationship is obviously the best solution even though it may not always be possible. People change, and so do relationships. We can change how our relationships work. Whether it’s a marriage, friendship or family, we can try to save what we can without completely abandoning the relationship.

Sit down with the person who does not add value to your life. Tell them how you feel about the relationship and what things you would like to see change. Help them understand how they can add more value to your life. Tell them you want them to be more supportive. Tell them you would like them to be more positive. Tell them to give you a little more. Explain to them although they are very important to you, you are not happy with the current state of the relationship.

You must understand this cannot be done overnight. Like I said earlier: Anything the requires hard work is worth keeping.

But this is a two way street. Ask the person you are sitting with what they would like to see from the relationship. Listen attentively and take action accordingly.

Finally, if you have tried everything and the relationship doesn’t work: end it. There is no reason to keep a toxic relationship alive for the sake of having someone around. This is a difficult step but if someone is sucking the life from you, you have every right to say “This isn’t working out. I’m moving on.” You owe it to yourself to be happy.

Doing this will allow you to seek out better relationships. Real relationships should be fun, engaging and stimulating.

Remember, you must do your part as well. Be sure to always add value to your relationships. Show up everyday and show the person how much you care and appreciate them. Be present. Be passionate. Be available.

I Bought You Love

It happens every year. Men fill their local department stores and flower shops in droves to find that amazing gift that says I love you. We have programmed ourselves to give gifts as a sign of love. Valentine’s Day has no longer become a day of love and appreciation. It has become a day of “Will she post this to her Instagram feed?” Love should be about trust, not transactions.

Valentine’s day has created this expectation where the only way a someone should feel loved is if you buy them flowers, chocolates, teddy bears and take them out to an expensive dinner. You see it on the t.v. all the time “Show her you love her with these chocolate diamonds”. Buying diamonds is not an indication of everlasting love: trust, communication and appreciation- these are indications of love. Instead of showing someone you love them through your credit card, show them through your thoughts and actions.

For me, nothing says I love you like a delicious home cooked meal. My wife took time out of her day to make me a delicious steak and spoiled me with a molten lava cake for dessert. I helped her any way I could in the kitchen to make the process as easy as possible. We invited our friends over for dinner and shared stories, laughs and recapped the bike ride to the beach we all did earlier that day.

Experiences last much longer than stuff. Once the initial high wears off, you are left with another thing to throw in the closet. Experiences last a lifetime. I will remember the laughs we shared, the delicious food I had and the way the wind was brushing my hair during our bike ride. Their is nothing inherently bad about purchasing gifts but Love doesn’t have to be purchased, it can be shared.

Why Losing My Phone Was The Best Thing That Happened On My Vacation.

I love my phone. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love their phone. To be honest, I don’t know what I would do without it, until my last vacation. I went on a spare-of-the moment vacation with Josy’s (my wife) family recently and I would be lying to you if I told you I was extremely happy to go. Don’t get me wrong, I love my in laws, I was just not in the mood to drive 8 hours round trip all for one day at Universal Studios. But, being the awesome husband I am, I said “what the heck” and decided to suck it up. Besides, I knew I had my trusty phone for all those pesky lines.

From the moment we arrived at the park, I was living through my screen. Taking photos, posting to Instagram, checking how cool I was based on the amount “likes” I received and  trying to do anything else to eat up time. We stood in line for the new Harry Potter ride and I must’ve spoken 5 words the entire time. Not because I didn’t know what my in laws were talking about (they only speak spanish) but because I thought what was in my phone was more entertaining than the conversation right in front of me.

After the Harry Potter ride was over, I challenged Josy at the Men in Black ride (She beat me last time). She, being the competitive person I fell in love with, agreed and we raced to our seats. *In this ride, you have to “shoot” aliens with your laser gun. Each time you hit an alien, you get a certain amount of points. Think of it as “Who’s Line Is It Anyway” for rides.* I looked over to Josy’s screen towards the end of our competition and it read “100,437” and mine “200,004” I knew I had this game in the bag! At the very end of the ride, you experience your car spin in victory because you defeated the aliens…and spin… and spin…

During my tornado of glory, I felt my phone slide out of my pocket and crash to the floor. My excitement quickly turned to fear and panic as I looked at Josy in sheer terror and wondered “What now?!”. I quickly ran to the ride attendant and explained to him what happened (including how awesome my score was) and he responded “Go to lost and found at 9pm (park closes at 8pm) and you should have your phone by then (it was only 1:30pm). Defeated, I left the ride wondering if I would ever see my phone again. What if the ride runs it over? What if someone steals it? Or worse, what am I supposed to do now?!

A few moments pass and even though in the back of my mind I was concerned about my phone’s well being, I began to enjoy myself. As a matter of fact, I felt liberated! Like if I have been let go from the chains of social media. I began noticing all the sounds, smells and sights around me. I was having the most interesting conversations with my in laws (in broken spanish of course).

I was present. In the moment. I completely forgot my phone was missing.

What initially began as the worst day in my life, became one of the best times I have had in a long time! I focused on one of the things that was most important to me: My family.

Later in the evening, while Josy’s family left the park to go get something to eat, we stayed behind to retrieve my phone. To make an extremely long dialogue short: They didn’t have it in the lost and found. And I didn’t care. I lasted the entire day without it, had an amazing time and I could go until tomorrow without it too. It almost felt like a little game: How long can Bryan last without his phone.

The following morning, we arrived at the park again to retrieve my phone. Again, to make a LONG story short, they hand me a completely smash iPhone. Though it barely worked, I was just happy someone didn’t steal it. Sadly though, the game was over. I have my phone back and it’s back to reality. Or was it?

I was embracing reality the entire time. It wasn’t some false reality I see everyday when I am on my phone. Reality was right in front of me. It was my mother in law playing pranks on me. It was Josy and I standing 45 minutes, my arms around her little waist, waiting for our nachos (oops). It was the family running through the rain trying to seek refuge under a wand shop. It was the conversations before bed, not just a bunch of glowing faces in the dark.

Now, instead of trying to find as many moments as I can to be on my phone, I am finding as many opportunities to be off of it. The World. Life. People. Are just so much more beautiful that way.