Eight reflections to improve your life.
The words “Happy birthday” always trigger mixed emotions. The texts and Facebook notifications remind us that others care, but also remind us we are not getting any younger.
As children, birthday parties were the best day of the year. As young adults, birthdays marked life’s milestones. At 16, we get our driven license. At 18, we can vote. At 21, we can legally drink alcohol in a bar.
At 48, we get reading glasses and Rogaine.
With age also comes wisdom. We reflect on lessons learned and can be mindful of how we got where we are and where we want to want to go in the future.
Each day, I work towards my personal mission statement to “become the best version of myself and have the maximum impact on others.
Here are some lessons I learned along the way.
1. Block out time for yourself
We all work so hard to create an amazing life for ourselves, but we never stop and take the time to enjoy the life we have created.
I was never a morning person. I used to drag myself out of bed like a zombie from The Walking Dead. I implemented Hal Elrod’s concept of The Miracle Morning. I have become a better husband, father, physician, and entrepreneur by taking a few minutes each day to learn, grow, and be present in the moment.
2. Continue to do what you love
When I was young, sports were about achievement. I played to win. I wanted the trophy. Now, I play simply because it is fun. Soccer affords me the ability to continue an active lifestyle, and it provides a release for the workweek stress. But that is not why I play.
I play because it lifts my spirit.
3. Laugh at yourself
We never want to be so preoccupied with getting through life that we miss the comedy of it all. Humans are funny. We lose the car keys we are holding in our hands or look for the reading glasses on top of our heads.
Stop and enjoy the funny moments in life.
4. Value the precious time with your children
I will always be my children’s biggest cheerleader. I express my unconditional love watching them in sports, music, dance, and academics. I never want my children to feel pressured to win. I want them to find their passion and have the tenacity to fulfill it. The outcome is irrelevant.
5. Learn to deal with criticism
Being criticized hurts. It hurts because we are human. We experience pain when others point out our weaknesses and our faults. When we listen and process the words of our critics, we find opportunities to learn. Elements of truth are often present when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable.
6. Achieving your dreams requires consistent effort
Success is grueling work. Effort. Repetition. Delayed gratification. We sacrifice now for a theoretical reward in the future. Most of us lack the grit to achieve the life of our dreams.
Whether or not we achieve the goal does not matter. Along the way, we grow and become better versions of ourselves.
Here is how my daughter reminded me how to live life without regret.
7. Find a mentor and follow their path
No matter your goal, identify someone who can show you the way. Study their success. Retrace their steps and replicate their actions. Never fear swimming in unknown waters. Follow the path of those who swam before you.
Ask questions. Listen. Learn.
8. Work to become a better leader
2020 has been a tumultuous year challenging all of us physically, mentally, and spiritually. Leaders were suddenly thrust into crisis management as every sector in all industries felt the COVID-19 fallout. No one was immune to the viral effects.
Each birthday is an opportunity to reflect back on our lives. Learning from the past allows us to move forward. Past decisions lead us to our present moment.
Our actions today determine our future.
Let our birthdays be a reminder of what is possible.
Blog Author: Dr. Jeff Livingston
Main Blog Photo By: Irina Tiumentseva Istock by Getty