This morning I woke up, rubbed my eyes, and thought to myself, “Shit, today’s going to be a good day!”
It was weird.
I never used to think like that.
But in recent years I’ve made some big changes—taking action to improve my happiness and to become more comfortable in my own skin—that make this sort of thinking more common for me.
Now when I wake up each morning, I’m excited to start the day.
It took me a long time to get to this point, and to be clear, there are still days when my attitude is anything but optimistic.
On the whole, though, I’ve managed to turn my life into something worth getting up for each morning.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the key decisions I’ve made over the years that got me to where I am today. I’d like to share what I’ve learned with you in the hopes that doing so might help you find a bit of direction in your own life if you’re currently feeling discouraged, uninspired, or lost.
Here are 7 things you can do to create a life you love to live.
1. Have Fewer Friends
On more occasions than I could possibly remember, my dad said to me, “Son, don’t worry about your high school friends—they won’t be your friends forever.” Each time I heard these words, I’d respond with something like, “Shut up Dad, you don’t know that!” and then I’d run off to my room.
As much as I hate to admit it, my old man was right. These days I can count on one hand the number of true friends I have.
Sure, I have acquaintances, ‘mates’, and people whom I enjoy seeing each year around Christmastime. But a few years ago I purposefully cut my list of friends way down, and my life has been much better for it ever since.
I don’t have to put up with anywhere near the amount of bullshit and drama I used to stress about. I don’t have to worry about saying happy birthday to hundreds of random people every year on Facebook. And my phone no longer constantly pings with notifications from people I don’t really care about.
I choose to have around me only those people whom I know will support me. Even better, they’re the same folks I want to support in return.
When you know that your current friendships will likely last for the rest of your life, there’s simply no need to hold onto a bunch of surface-level relationships.
2. When You Find ‘The One’, Don’t Let Them Go
When it comes to relationships, a lot of people worry they won’t experience life to the fullest if they settle down too early or too often. Many people have asked me why I had a girlfriend during university; they were dumbfounded by my insistence that I didn’t want to go out every night desperately searching for a girl to hook up with.
The reason I had a girlfriend was simple: I had everything I needed — love, happiness, and good company — right next to me all the time. Why would I want to chase after something else?
Life is too short to succumb to peer pressure or to worry about what others think of your decisions.
When people look at my relationship now, they envy it. They wish they could find someone they click with in the same way my fiancé and I ‘get’ each other. I’ve found someone I can call my best friend and to grow old with. Not everybody is so lucky.
I recently asked my girlfriend to marry me. Why? Because I knew I had found my ‘one’, and I’m determined to do everything in my power to make sure I never lose her.
If you’re fortunate enough to find ‘the one’ for you, don’t ever let them go.
3. Don’t Let Self-Doubt Hold You Back
I’ve doubted myself and listened to the opinions of others far too often over the years , especially since I started my own business a few years back.
Them: “Why don’t you just get a real job?”
Me: “Yeah, maybe I should just get a real job. I’m not good enough to do this anyway. Who am I trying to fool?”
I could have turned my back on my dreams many times over the past several years. There have been moments when the doubt circling around inside my mind was so crippling that it left me panic-stricken and physically sick. My head was heavy and so was my heart.
Each time I felt like giving up, however, I forced myself to think about the following key question: Why do I think I can achieve greatness if I’m not willing to do what most people are too scared to even try?
The story of the Bubble Boy always helps me put things back into perspective whenever they become misaligned.
Bubble Boy lived in his bubble-wrapped box, believing he had it all — his health, his routine, and his family.
One day something magical happened: The boy left his safe space and embarked on a mission to explore the world , albeit in a portable bubble.
What he saw blew his fucking mind. He finally began to understand that a very different life than the one he had lived up to that point existed , one full of new possibilities and exciting adventures.
Bubble Boy showed us the way to new beginnings. He taught us how to turn ‘one day’ into ‘day one’, creating something new and beautiful where it hadn’t existed before. He stepped outside his boundaries in order to live the life he knew he always wanted for himself.
Refusing to live within the box that others assumed I’d never leave was one of the most liberating and rewarding choices I’ve ever made.
What’s holding you back from leaving your own bubble? Whatever it is, I’m willing to bet it’s not as important as you think it is.
4. Never Stop Learning
I stayed in my own lane for a long time, doing only the things I was comfortable doing and that came easily to me.
Yet living like this never really brought me much joy. For years, my life lacked challenges — things that demanded creativity, dedication, and shows of strength — and I was getting bored.
So I decided to become a much more curious person. I began by broadening the horizon of the things I read and wrote and by forcing myself to learn new skills. My friend Michael Thompson refers to this as the process of “staying intellectually alive”.
You couldn’t come up with a better description than that if you tried.
Over the last few years, I’ve dabbled in all sorts of things , from writing on Medium and learning graphic design and branding to teaching myself a bunch of new skills required to run my business.
And it isn’t going to stop here: learning is a lifelong process, and I’m committed to treating it as such.
I’ve also pushed myself to meet new people and to explore different cultures. I recently attended a writers’ retreat with several other people I hadn’t ever met; the experience proved to be incredibly valuable for my personal growth.
My friend Mike got it dead right when he said, “Life is about walking through as many doors as you can and learning a new something, seeing a new somewhere and meeting a new someone.”
5. Look After Your Body And Your Mind
My exercise routine used to consist of skateboarding, drinking booze, and pounding back energy drinks. I shudder when I think of the damage these habits likely did to my insides.
Now that I’m older and a little wiser, I’ve managed to cut out the energy drinks. Go me.
I’ve made some great progress in terms of leading a more physically healthy lifestyle. I play competitive sports, swim, and cycle almost everywhere I can. I also do about an hour of walking each day via my travel to and from work, which helps me hit my daily step count.
It’s not just my physical health that’s improved over the years, however.
I look after my brain a lot more these days too.
This means less screen time, less Playstation, more reading, more listening to interesting podcasts, and more frequent walks with my fiancé, where we just talk our shit out to clear our heads.
Taking care of yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically isn’t selfish; it’s what’s necessary if you want to present your best self to the world and thereby help those around you as much as you can.
6. Embrace Change
I was very comfortable living in my previous home city—my partner, on the other hand, definitely wasn’t. She had to commute to work each day, and her family lived far away from us. She wanted to move, but I didn’t. Eventually, however, I realized that moving to a new city could be really good for me.
As it turns out, it was indeed a welcomed change.
Over the last few years, I’ve worked hard at embracing changes like the one just described. I find that the more I commit to making new situations work for the best, the more I’m able to cultivate day-to-day happiness.
My relationship with my partner has grown more loving.
My relationship with my parents has grown stronger.
I’ve rekindled a couple of old friendships with people I care about.
I now own a small house with my fiancé, which makes me feel like I finally have a place to call home.
All of these positive developments have occurred because I’ve forced myself to see the bigger picture whenever I’ve encountered challenging or frightening situations.
There may be reasons you’re skeptical of embracing change. I get it, trust me. Nobody likes to be uprooted, to have to change jobs, to be forced to abandon a favored routine, etc.
But if, when you step outside yourself, the bigger picture suggests you’ll be happier if you trade in monotony and predictability for change and healthy challenges, it’s probably time for you to embrace that change with open arms.
7. Stop Looking At Social Media ‘Life Porn’
The other day I was watching my partner scroll through Instagram. What did I see on her screen? Absolutely stunning women on beaches, luxury holiday homes, amazing travel photos, and shots of one-of-a-kind interior designs to name a few.
I asked her, “Do you know any of these people?”
She replied, “No.”
I questioned, “So why do you follow them?”
She couldn’t provide a decent answer.
At the same time, though, it was evident that she couldn’t help herself from endlessly scrolling through the images and from comparing her life to those of famous strangers.
The world is full of this kind of ‘life porn’, but I refuse to let it enter into my daily experience.
I turned my back on all that shit a long time ago. The entrepreneurship world was full of it at the time and I have no doubt it still is today. Everyone is living the life of rockstar, drinking expensive cocktails on top of the world’s most luxurious rooftop bars.
Looking at it was enough to make me feel instantly depressed. Inevitably, it led me to ask myself, “What am I doing wrong? How come I’m not crushing it like everybody is?”
The problem is that the majority of what you see on social media is all for show. In case you didn’t know, we now live in a world where you can—and where people certainly do—rent out private jets just long enough to take pictures inside the planes.
I mean, what the fucking fuck, right?
Too much ‘life porn’ will really mess with your head. My advice? Stick to using social media to stay in touch with friends and relatives or to build your business connections. In other words, only follow people who truly bring some sort of joy or value to your life.
So, there you have it: seven decisions that have made my life one where I get out of bed each morning and think to myself, “Damn, things aren’t that bad at all, are they?”
These are the key changes you can start implementing today to create a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life for yourself.
Or at least my experience suggests they are.
What say you?