I’m not talking about vital signs or evidence of life in my title. I’m talking about you, and whether you have a rewarding, fulfilling life. Do you wake up each morning ready to tackle the challenges of the day? Or, do you dread another day of the same old thing with no hope in sight for anything better?

We all go through periods in our lives where we think that we were selected to fail in life’s big lottery. You are not alone in those feelings. Many people feel trapped in dead end jobs, bad marriages, financial problems, health challenges, and family issues. The issues and challenges grow and fester for so long that even starting to make changes seems like an insurmountable task.

Facing Challenges

Over the course of my life I’ve learned that there are extremes in what makes us happy and what causes us to have concerns. As we get older, the distance between those two extremes widens. When we are young and don’t get the toy a tantrum results. As we grow we learn patience, and sharing and sacrifice. The things that upset us or give us euphoria are modified as life teaches us how things work.

Living — Not Just Existing

Here are a few things that I’ve learned from work experiences, participation in sports, and relationships that might help those of you who are at the end of your rope find a way to climb to the top.

  • Don’t dwell on What You Can’t Change: You can’t change how tall you are, color of your eyes, etc. So why spend time worrying about things that are beyond your control? If you run into road construction you take a temporary detour until you can get back on the main road again.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help: At one time in my life I was a, “Will Work for Food” guy. I was homeless. Relationships I developed though churches and the kindness of strangers during those difficult times helped me leave that life and become a contributing member of society.
  • Don’t accept stagnation: I spent eight years selling furniture in a mom and pop retail store early in my working career. It was a great experience and a learning process but eight years was too long to stay in a job where I was as high as I could go. I was in this comfort zone but I felt I could do more so I moved on. Eventually all my work experiences led to starting my own business.
  • The Price is Right Syndrome: When someone is lucky enough to get on stage in the popular TV show what happens? When asked to guess the prices of products they turn to their friends in the audience as if they suddenly got all the answers. Don’t solicit help or advice from people who are not qualified or competent to give it. You can politely listen to their advice but give the most weight to those who have done what you want to do.
  • Don’t Let Your Education Hold You Back: I hired a contractor to build an addition to our deck. I have no clue if he has any formal education. What I do know is that he came highly recommended. There are hundreds of wealthy successful people who have no college degrees or even a high school education. They learned what they needed to learn to improve their life.

Some Final Thoughts

If I took everything you have and dropped you in the middle of nowhere in five years you would probably be back to where you were before. Why? Because you know what it takes to achieve the level of living where you are now.

Think about those that are living below you. They have not yet learned the things you know that moved you above them. And by the same token, you have not yet gained the knowledge or experience of those above you.

Start writing down how you would change your life if you could. What would your goals be? Write the great American Novel? Buy a home? Go back to college? Start a family? Do volunteer work?

Make your list and begin working on it a little each day. No great thing happens immediately. Success in life is nothing more than the day-by-day progression toward a worthwhile goal or dream — so dream big.

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