Better than what you are right now – in thoughts and in actions.
When we think about being a better human being, we think about being good to others, loving our loved ones, doing our duties well, and paying our dues.
You can do it better if you are in good shape — both mind and body. Once this is in place, you can use your leisure time better to connect with your loved ones at a deeper level. Later you can change things for better around you — one after another.
There may be other paths that will lead to the same outcome. Sharing baby steps to the one I thought of. Let’s see.
1. Pay Yourself First
As soon as you get up in the morning find your ME time and do what takes you to a space of balance, poise, and energy. It may be meditation or workout. Do whatever works for you.
If you give yourself this dose, first thing in the morning you will be happy and will bring your best self to whatever you do. When you are happy, chances are you will be good to others also. Part of the job done.
This is about feeding your soul, taking care of your inner being so that you spread positive energy wherever you go.
2. Schedule Your Leisure Hours Well
This is very important.
Most of us keep a to-do list for work. Equally important is to keep a to-do list for your leisure hours.
Better if you keep some leisure days aside in a week, this can be weekends for those who work regular days and hours. These days my scheduled leisure day is Sunday. It is my day to do nothing or to do anything however mindless it is.
Guard your leisure time; do not let work slip into it. Go one step ahead and create a NOT-TO-DO list – things/activities that you will not do in your leisure hours – email, work-related phone calls, etc
We equate leisure with spontaneity and work with schedule. Let go of the fear that scheduled leisure hours will be less fun. They will be really amazing because you will be able to get and give more.
Let us see how it works.
You make a plan to spend a whole day with your spouse. You take a few phone calls, do an hour of email here and an hour of email there, then you spend watching 2 hours of TV and run some errands. Before you know the day is gone.
Better schedule 4-hours of family time – you may call it something else – that is cuter. Be present 100%. Go on a dinner date with your partner or cook together, or take a walk. Listen, talk, share and enjoy talking about old memories.
Now compare this 4-hour exclusive time with someone you love to a total day wasted as shared before that. The satisfaction and joy – you will get out of these 4 hours will be much more than an entire day. It is a win-win for all involved.
If you work too much during weekdays, schedule hours to sleep – before you get into anything else. A well-rested body and mind – is in better shape than a tired one – to contribute to society.
A day without any goals and activities is also cool. Just do not let “work” enter this. It is easy to get into surfing and checking out things mode. This is because we work all the time and when our brain feels a void it wants to fill it with activities – things to do.
That is why – meditation is hard for most of us. Look, meditation is about training our mind to love the void and silence. When the mind is silent and at ease – you can find the reservoir of creativity, peace and tranquility that is inside us.
At times, go for a slow paced day. But do not make it a day where you bring work to fill the void. Just chill.
3. Give Back
Now you are relaxed, chilled out.
You have done your work and made your dough (money). Time to give back.
You do not need tons of time or money to give back. Just volunteer once a week or once a month – for a cause close to your heart. If it works, make your family and friends part of it. That will be double fun and double goodness.
4. Start (Very) Small
Go from inner to bigger circle.
Do not spread yourself too thin.
You start by taking care of your own body, mind, and soul. Then you spend time and give your 100% to the most important people in your life. From there – you focus on goals and tasks bigger than yourself.
So, start small.
If you want to change the world – do not try to do it all at once. Do it, but start with being good to yourself. Then move on to a small circle of family, then friends, from there to your peer group, colleagues. Give time to each group, before you move on to the next one.
You don’t need to deny help to those who are not in your focus group at a given point. Be willing to help. When someone asks for help, consider yourself lucky — because someone thought that you know more, someone thought highly of you.
It is not about being self-centered. It is not about loving only yourself and not others. It is about loving yourself so that you can love others more. When you do that you will be better at whatever you do. It is about you being a better human.
Is it for everyone?
For people building startups or pursuing other really big goals – this may not work. They may have to embrace chaos and put a few important things before others. Maybe what they are building will create such an impact – that rest all will take care of it.
There are people who create harmony for the world, but first, they have to cross the sea of chaos. I salute these people. The world needs them. People like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Park, Nelson Mandela, and Mother Theresa. They are all dead but they have done their bit.
I am sure there are people who are driving change – who are living somewhere close to where you live. I think of people who have signed “The Giving Pledge” – Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Azim Premji, Chunk Feeney. They are important because of businesses they have built, but they are BETTER because they thought of giving back.
For the rest of us, trying to be happy and at peace with others, is a good enough start.
Somewhere in between, there are people who possess great talent and skills. They are making products and touching the lives of many but are not happy with themselves, because in their quest to do great things they bypassed themselves. If you are one of these people and you are really good then the world needs you more. More than you think it needs you. In this case, you have the BIG responsibility to take good care of yourself.
Why should you even care?
Care because this is your life and you are responsible for what you make of it or don’t.
If you are reading this, chances are you are better off than most and you know that as human beings, we are one of the most evolved species on the planet. So with this knowledge, you should strive to do better.
This is not easy but it is a good path.
Let me be frank with you. I belong to the gang which is trying to do extraordinary things. I do not do myself all that I wrote here. But I want to do it because I have tasted the nectar of joy and doing good. I want to do it more.
Which gang you are part of?
What do you think about all this?
I love you.