Some people try to follow the Golden Rule as much as they can. Others try living each day to the fullest. Still others work to give more than they receive.
There are many principles you can choose to practice habitually. Some believe that if you don’t have such a code, life guides you rather than you guiding your life.
Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘Is happiness the most important purpose in life?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘How do you define success?’
Do you have a principle that governs your actions? If so, what is it, and how has it helped you in day-to-day experiences? Has it helped you in personal growth? Does living your life according to a principle make life easier? Or do you accept that choosing to live life this way requires sacrifice, but that’s okay? If you don’t have a principle to guide your life, is there one (or more) that you would like to have the willpower to practice?
So, have at it, dear readers: Is there a principle according to which you try to live your life?
Related questions: What are our responsibilities to others? How do you set priorities? To what should we aspire? What five ideals are most important to you?
To help you make the most of your life, it is helpful to know several things about yourself. One of the most important is: What motivates you?
Understanding your motivations can help you become more clear and directed when it comes to acting on what is important to you. It can also help you avoid efforts by others to manipulate you into taking action when you otherwise wouldn’t.
For example, let’s think about click-bait. As you surf the web, you may see an ad for something that tries to appeal to your motivation. “Learn this one trick to lose weight” could be a sample advertisement, that targets two different motivations: curiosity (what is the one trick?) and fear (I’m too fat).
There are many different types of motivations possible. In the example above, we saw curiosity and fear, which are prime motivators for many people.
Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘How much of our thoughts are our own?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘How much is enough?’
We are a naturally curious species, which for the most part has allowed us to ascend, for better or worse, to the place we now inhabit in the ecosystem. Being curious about how the world works has spurred a remarkable series of advances in science and technology.
But fear is also motivates us. We are often afraid of what we don’t know, plus we can fear rejection from society. There are many organizations that rely on these fears to manipulate and control you.
On opposite ends of the motivation spectrum, we are also motivated by anger or by love. What other motivations can you think of?
Related questions: What is important? What deserves your attention? How much of our thoughts are our own? How does media manipulate you? What five ideals are most important to you? How can we turn ideas into actions?
There are many inspirational people all around us — family, friends, heroes, idols. Can you think of a specific action that someone else inspired you to take?
Share why if you wish.
When you meet someone new, you may find that person interesting or you may find them boring. Can you pinpoint exactly what makes someone appeal to you?
There are many things that might make someone fun to talk with. Maybe they have funny stories to tell. Perhaps they know a lot about a wide variety of subjects. Alternately, they may be a good listener, which might make for a good conversationalist.
Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What gives a person value?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘What makes you you?’
In fact, not everyone finds the same things interesting. To me, a person might be quite dull; but to you, they could be fascinating. So really the question could be rephrased as “What makes a person interesting to you?”
Or maybe it is a fact that all people have something to recommend them, and you only need to put in the work to find out how the person interests you specifically.
At any rate, can you identify the traits someone might have that makes them fun to be around? What might a person do or say in order to participate in a meaningful conversation? When you think about the humans you have been fascinated with, do they have something in common? What makes a person interesting?
Related questions: Who are your most interesting friends? What makes a good friend? What makes a good leader? Who are your heroes?
There are times when, to overcome an obstacle of some sort, all you need to do is change your attitude. But how can this be done?
Some common emotions, like frustration or anger, don’t actually accomplish much. Typically, they don’t help you to arrive at a solution any sooner. They can even make thinking other thoughts difficult.
A change of attitude is called for. If, instead of anger, you approach a situation with curiosity, better results may occur. Or empathy, or determination, or even no thoughts at all.
Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘How can we maintain wonder?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘How do you think others see you?’
But this is easier said than done. Negative emotions can be overwhelming. drowning out everything else. They can also be counterproductive, going so far as to sabotage positive, or helpful thoughts.
So what tricks or coping mechanisms have you found to help you change your approach? How can you change your attitude?
Related questions: How can we turn sadness into constructive action? Why do we hate? What is the right amount of emotion? How can we turn ideas into actions?