by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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This is not another seasonal illness to be concerned about, despite having that ring to it. This is the ultimate goal for the betterment of all mankind, not just you. And in many ways, it HAS to be both. If you are going to go through life pillaging and plundering others to make gains for yourself, you are paving a rough path for yourself, and others are paying the price for your actions as well.
At some point in your life, hopefully sooner rather than later, you will discover that doing things for others is far better than doing things for yourself. That the more you have, the more you should share and help others. Send the elevator back down for others to get on. Insert your favorite cliché here, but it is all true….
So the real question, of course, is how do you achieve this level of enlightenment in your life? Well, the good news is, it it kind of simple. The bad news is, it’s not easy. I am going to run through a few things that will in some cases take a really long time to execute, but you better start now. This is, of course, my opinion and things I have implemented in my life over time. There are no guarantees, but I think this is a good start.
1. Don’t compare yourself to others. This one sounds so easy, but it is not. It is basic human nature to look at what others have, do, or are capable of, and be envious. There isn’t an athlete who is able to rise above all others without an extraordinary effort, and I am fairly sure there isn’t a strong person who has had an easy life. Applaud them instead of throwing shade. Be happy with what you have, even if you are in the midst of trying desperately to change or improve that. There is always someone who has it worse.
2. Find Balance. This is a broad term, but your life is multi-faceted, so I guess in some ways the suggestion needs to be as well. Find the balance between work and play. Find balance between striving but happy with where you are/what you have. Work on eating healthy, but indulge on occasion. Take care of yourself, but be sure to help others as well. Life is a constant balancing act, and everything has to be monitored and adjusted frequently. Be diligent about your self-monitoring to maximize your life.
3. A Thirst for Knowledge. Successful people are life-long learners, so be sure to continue your “life education” long after you leave school. Read, listen to podcasts, seek council of others more educated than you in certain topics. The average high profile CEO reads a book a week, yes…52 books a year. The average employee reads TWO(!). Think there’s a correlation? I certainly do. I have read a lot of philosophy over the course of my life, and fall back to it frequently. Stoic and Asian philosophies are my go-to choices, as they seem (to me) to have the most practical and easily implemented ideas. Despite the wisdom being shared is thousands of years old in some cases, it is still very applicable today, as the human condition has not changed much since then. Yes, our lives and the world we will in has changed, but the software system we run on has not. Either of these thought sets would really go a long way to help keep you grounded.
4. Quiet Time. I am a big proponent of alone time, despite being in the 99th percentile of Extroverts. (Yeah, seriously!) I need to talk to people, to be around people often. But I also need my own time to get quiet, to listen to what my mind is whispering in the background. This is how I stay in touch with the thoughts and feelings I have running through my head all the time. We all have this, and therefore I think we all need quiet time to ourselves to sort through some of those things. It is one of the best parts about fly fishing, it is hours upon hours of quiet time. The fishing is a close second, but the stillness of mind is what I am seeking. Find yours…
5. Run your life like a business. The most common thing married couples fight about is money; barring an illness or disease for you or a loved one, a big determining factor in your life can be money. You don’t need to be rich to be happy, but being “comfortable” financially would go a long way to putting your mind at ease. Make smart decisions, based on logic and reason, not emotions, like if you were running your life like its a business. Don’t overspend, work hard and get things done, be working on developing others to take your place when the time comes. This will be a more efficient approach than what most people do, and give you more peace of mind.
There are many other things that you can go to bring balance and peace to your life, but these five I think are a great place to start. We all want to be happy, but many don’t know how to go about achieving this. For some, they have millions in the bank and are unhappy; others have $10 in their account until payday and yet they are happy people. Some of it is brain chemistry, so I don’t want to dismiss that. But for many, they make bad decisions and they pay the consequences and then they repeat that same cycle. Clarity and self awareness are key components of achieving Eudaimonia, and it is never too late to start employing these tactics to move forward.
I wish you luck in your endeavors.

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