Words: Elle Quan
Photo: Suttipong Surak
How many articles have you read talking about how to live life to the fullest? These would probably end with a list of things you can do. But let me try to speak from my heart to try to get your to appreciate this article’s title.
As a dreamer, I have faced my share of discouragement, ridicule and even outright defamation by people I trusted – making sure I don’t reach the dream that I once shared with them.
Call it envy, or maybe fear. Some people know in their hearts that my big dream can come true if only I pursue, focus and find the right people to work with. It’s the classic “threat” to them that they sometimes resort to just trying to destroy your dream or your own self-esteem.
I’m over that phase. I’ve been through seasons of ups, downs, depression, obsession and resignation. It’s true what they say. In order to move on, you have to forget the disappointment of the past, without missing the lessons, and push further into the future that only you can create.
If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what always gotten. So resolve to make slight changes day by day. You don’t have to completely overhaul your lifestyle. A huge change requires enormous effort and for those of you who are hanging on for dear life or barely keeping your sanity – small changes will result to big results someday. Life’s not a race, it’s a marathon!
Now try the below suggestions. Many of these you’ve heard before but try something different this time: ACT AND DO THEM!
- Create a bucket list and start to tick things off. Put these in writing, consider some post-its so you can see them everyday. Or use your phone’s note function and add on it anytime you think about something you’d like to do someday. Want to know my trick? I set mine on alarm every week just so I get to read and see them regularly. We will all die one day, isn’t it better if we can experience as much of this awesome world as we can before we leave it?
- Mind your health and wellness. How true it is that health is wealth! Set your health goals and write them down. Are you looking to gain muscle, lose weight, strengthen your stamina, lower sugar intake? Set goals by month, year or 3 year periods. This list will evolve but writing your goals down will make them more likely to be achieved at given periods that you set for yourself. I’m excited to celebrate with you!
- Stop complaining. Really girl, count your blessings. You have internet to access this article, you have time to read it and you might even be sipping you favourite coffee (or smoothie) in your go-to coffee shop. Those 3 things alone are luxuries for 80% of the world population! So stop complaining that you don’t have the perfect complexion, or you can’t afford that branded dress you saw earlier. You have a good life and you better accept and celebrate it today.
- Simplify. The less you need to be happy, the happier you’ll be. More doesn’t necessarily make you happier. Enough is good enough, and then learn to give. Charity has been socially and scientifically proven to make people happy. Next time you feel the urge to buy a new lipstick when still have 12 tubes on the shelf, try donating the money to your chosen charity and see for yourself how good it feels to impact others’ lives.
- Surround yourself with the likes of people that you want to be someday. You may have heard of the mentorship buzz but this really stems from the observation that people are the average of their 5 people who are closes to them. If you spend considerable time with negative people, you’ll end up becoming negative. If you spend time around people with no ambition, you’ll find your own dreams slipping away. On the other hand, if you surround yourself with high-ambition, go-getters, the energy is already setting you up for success.
Here’s a last note from me:
Be Kind. Remember the old-fashioned kindness you probably heard from people from of old? Go back to those basics.
Be courteous and gracious.
Show affection. Be less digital and more personal, try to give more hugs.
Give affirmation. Compliment people. It feels great to hear good things about you, why not do that for others?
Be gentle. Speak with respect. Outspoken but unprincipled, high energy but directionless. Being gentle doesn’t mean being weak. It’s actually controlled strength! Harsh people don’t have strength to control that’s why they are rarely attractive.
Smile and encourage people. Golden rule says ‘do unto other what you want others to do unto you’. Raise your hand if you agree that a smile from random people on your way to work/meeting can make your day brighter. Be that person who brightens other’s day and provide encouragement to everyone around you.
When you start doing these small things, you will realise that life is really a happy place to be in. When you are kind, everyone will tend to be nicer to you. And even if they disappoint you, you may fret about it for a while but quickly move on and focus on which item to tick off from your bucket list. And guess what happen when you stop complaining - you will waste lesser time fretting and blaming and more time being productive and positive!
One day you’ll wake up and see you are slowly getting to your goals after you’ve simplified your life, threw away the things and relationships that hinder your growth and surrounded yourself with positive people who cheer you on and are happy to see you succeed.
Living life to the fullest doesn’t mean having all the money in the world, being the girl with the most number of followers, or having the most perfect make up all the time… It’s about being broken, scarred and still squeezing the good out of life.
Happiness is a choice as living to the fullest is a choice.
You’ve got to work for your happy and you’ve got to work for your full life. Now go and build your bucket list!
About the Author:
Elle is passionate about helping people pursue their dream of performing on the world stage. She is based in sunny Singapore where she lives life to the fullest with her 3 teenage sons. One of her dreams is to take 6 months off and embark on a leisurely road trip from Singapore to London. She is waiting for her boys to grow old enough so she can have alternate drivers for the trip while they learn different cultures, enjoy food and marvel at the sights of countries along the way.