I sometimes believe that our greater culture likes being overly negative and pessimistic. We love over-criticizing everything, having no hope for beautiful things and losing fond admiration for the silly, whimsical aspects of life. It's an attitude that I believe is corrupting our capability to strive for greatness in our lives.
Truth is, if you want to be great in this life, you have to model that greatness in your thinking.
You have to open your eyes up to the beauty in front of you and celebrate it. Only then will we be in the right mindset to enact change in our culture.
So here are 15 secrets that have helped me keep an idyllic perspective on life. May you treasure them and make them your own.
1. Happiness is often a choice, so choose wisely. When life comes and sweeps you off your feet, you have the choice to remain on the ground where people will coddle you or get up so people will be inspired by you. It's not easy, but change never is.
2. Complaining makes us complacent. It might make you feel better, but it'll do so at the cost of doing something to change the situation.
3. Social media is a community, not a one-man showcase of your life. It's funny, but the less we go to social media to validate and prove ourselves, the better the space becomes for everyone on it.
4. Differences aren't a bad thing, similarities are. When that one bothersome person frustrates you to the point of no return, remind yourself that you're only annoyed at them because they're different. You like the people most like you in the world, but in reality, being with people just like us never teaches us anything about growth and forgiveness. Differences with others stretch us; similarities comfort us.
5. Compartmentalizing your life is like going to three parties in one night; it sounds like a good idea until you wake up exhausted and bitter the next morning. If your life, hobby, family and passion are all different things, maybe it's time to consolidate them into one. Then, you won't suffer from the problems that come with a compartmentalized life.
6. Love those who are in love and love being in love. Love is something that is stomped on in our culture. We're either jealous or hating on those who are in love, or we are too cynical about the chances of our relationship lasting. This is contradictory to how love should be treated. Whether you're in love or not, celebrate it, and don't reject it.
7. There is grace in being where you are. Though it may not feel like it, there is some hidden blessing in what you're doing. You just have to go digging for it.
8. The No. 1 cause of death for passion is envy. You get nowhere constantly comparing yourself to other, more successful people. Use that time instead to cultivate your passion into something world-changing.
9. The best things in life are illogical. So go crazy. Don't try to make sense of too much. Love, beauty and goodness don't make absolute sense, but that doesn't mean we can't celebrate them.
10. Your loved ones are the best rehab to go to if you're a workaholic. Sometimes, you need to remind yourself why you work in order to work effectively.
11. Life is sweeter when you celebrate little victories. Did you pay off a tiny debt? Did you finish a project that took you forever? Before diving into the next thing, take a moment to have a little victory party with those you love.
12. The past only matters in how you redeem it. It doesn't define you, imprison you or hold you back from anything. Learn to move on and change the circumstances, and life will be more hopeful.
13. Be quick to forgive others, not blame others. Instead of looking to justify ourselves when situations arise, search for the greater peace that could be had. Accept responsibility if that's what needs to happen, and move on to correct the situation.
14. Fight for the things worth fighting for; that usually excludes many of the debates we have on Facebook. If you believe you could solve a controversy in 140 characters on Twitter, think again. Some debates and controversies just need to be ended rather than prolonged on social media. Instead, pour your time into fighting for things that matter rather than commenting on debates that don't.
15. Latch onto hope anywhere you can find it. Be ready to embrace something outside yourself, because when life comes crashing down on you like a tsunami, you'll need something to bring you back to the surface. For you, this might mean going to church or trusting in the love and comfort of family.
But like C.S. Lewis said, "Don't let your happiness depend on something you may lose." Make sure your hope is an anchor, not a ship sailing away, and I promise, your perspective on life will be better because of it.