This week we went to see Hannah Gadsby's latest comedy show, called Douglas. One of the many things Hannah talked about during the show was that she's right now living her best life.
She pointed out that her life may not seem like living best life if you look at it from the outside. She described it as staying home with Doug, her adorable dog, and moving things around. For Hannah, that is living her best life.
The most common top 10 tips for living your best, fullest life includes things like visualising, meditating and yoga, complaining less, journaling, being intentional, focusing to the right things, and travelling the world. At least, if you believe what the Internet says. Search for how to live your best life, and that's what you are told.
Looking at the example of all these social media influencers and lifestyle YouTubers, you might think you're not living your fullest life if you aren't constantly shopping for new clothes and makeup and cosmetics, sipping coffee from disposable cups and posing at some distant beach while your partner (cause you have to have one) is taking photos and video of you.
Seems like living your best life is living by a blueprint someone else made for you.
That, as learned by Hannah Gadsby's example, isn't the case. It's not like you should live by her blueprint either. No way. Staying at home with your dog, or even having a dog, and moving things around is not for everyone.
For me, staying at home sounds really good. But rather than moving things around, I'll probably be watching shows or movies with my partner, not a dog.
Writing is good too. Right now, while writing this I'm living my best life. And so I am, when I'm listening music and just being with my thoughts. Daydreaming. Things like that.
How to live your best life doesn't follow some great universal design. It's personal for you. Understand what your best life looks and feels for you, and live your life fullest and the most satisfying for you.
Here are my tips for how to live your best and fullest life.
1. Recognise your comfort zone
I strongly believe feeling comfortable is important. It helps you to relax and focus, boosts your confidence, and reliefs stress.
The famous comfort zone is undervalued and attacked for no good reason. Even the people who talk about stepping out of comfort zone are usually doing it from their comfort zone. They just don't realise it themselves.
Comfort zone actually isn't as fixed as some make it seem. It is something that expands, contracts, evolves and moves. And when people talk about stepping out of their comfort zones, they really mean expanding and moving your comfort zone.
To understand what your best life looks and feels learn to recognise your own comfort zone and when it expands, contracts, evolves and moves.
Are you the most comfortable alone, with certain people, or in big crowds? Which way of expressing yourself makes you feel comfortable? How has your comfort zone evolved during your whole life, and during the past year? What makes your comfort zone expand, contract, evolve and move? When do you feel you are stepping out of your comfort zone, and when has this "stepping out" actually changed the way your comfort zone looks?
2. Learn what makes you feel satisfied
Being content, feeling satisfied and soothed, is a close relative of being comfortable. So when you know what your comfort zone looks like, you may already have an idea what makes you feel satisfied.
This is not your usual "this sparks me joy" sort of a thing. Joy is irrelevant, and it changes. Besides, happiness can be exhausting. It may not satisfy you, it may not make you content.
You are more likely to be content inside your comfort zone, but not everything in your comfort zone will satisfy you. Some things are comfortable, but don't make you content and some things can be uncomfortable, yet make you feel very satisfied.
When you learn what makes you feel satisfied, you can bring more of that in your life. Your best life is satisfying for you. It makes you content, it makes you feel like you are here. Wherever here is.
3. Find your own simple pleasures
Living your best life often includes some simple pleasures. That's why so often the advice for living your life fullest lists things like meditation, complaining less, being more intentional and other woo-woo stuff like that.
And I'm sure mediation and being intentional works for many. It may work for you!
You have plenty of other options, in case meditation doesn't work for you. Your own simple pleasures could be taking a moment to enjoy the silence and stillness of early mornings. Or watching a sunset with your partner. Perhaps you like to enjoy a nice cup of coffee or tea without any distraction.
With simple pleasures I mean stuff like that. Silent and simple stuff, that doesn't require special equipment or travelling to exotic places. Things you can do where you are, with what you have and who you have in your life. Things that make you feel serene and... Comfortable and satisfied.
Finding your own simple pleasures often requires viewing your life in a new way. To stop and smell the proverbial roses. To slow down and enjoy who you are and what you have right now.
4. Learn new things
Ah yes, I told you your comfort zone is an okay place to be. So why learn new things, aren't those probably outside your comfort zone?
They could be. Maybe they are, it's quite possible.
Learning new things is good for your brain. It can help to slow your cognitive ageing. It keeps your brain active and can improve your memory and mood.
Now you may be thinking that you must take up a new language or learn martial arts or something as complicated as that. Sure, if that rocks your world.
You can learn little things, things that feel fun or interesting just for you. You know, those little pleasure sort of things.
New experiences also work here. Explore your city, watch a type of a movie you wouldn't usually watch, read a new book, try new kind of food, visit a museum you haven't visited before, explore a new technique for something you already know and can, create in a new way. There are so many new experiences waiting for you, so many new things you can learn.
Learning new things can be highly satisfying and help you to live your best life. It modifies your comfort zone, helps you to discover new things that make you feel satisfied and to find your little pleasures.
Keep in mind that learning and experiencing new things consumes energy. So, if you have a very limited amount of energy, I recommend learning and experiencing something small and simple.
You can learn simple things or experience something that changes everything in your life. Whatever works for you.
5. Allow yourself to enjoy things
You know the concept of guilty pleasures? Those things you like, but feel you shouldn't really like.
Well, this whole idea of guilty pleasures makes it sound like some pleasures are better than others. As if you are allowed to enjoy only some things, and not the others.
You are allowed to enjoy going out and having fun, but you aren't allowed to enjoy staying at home and moving things around. The latter is shameful, and you should keep it to yourself. Or if you mention it, at least be a bit ashamed and laugh like you were actually joking.
Nah. Forget what is socially acceptable and enjoy the things you enjoy. (Obviously, I don't mean things that hurt or danger anyone. But you know that, no need to explain.)
Give yourself a permission to enjoy the things that make you feel comfortable and satisfied. Let yourself enjoy your own small pleasures. Don't feel ashamed of those things.
6. Avoid getting obsessed with other people's best lives
Even those who try to be more authentic and honest, leave a lot out of it when they talk about their lives.
They may try not to hurt people around them. They may be ashamed of things they have done or said. They may think you wouldn't be interested in some things in their lives. They may try to make their lives look much more interesting and fun and happy and successful.
It's okay. You can choose what you reveal to others, and they can choose what they reveal to you.
What you need to do is not think that what you see is how other people's lives are. You may see only the best. You may see only the worst. You may see only some very limited stuff the person has chosen to show to you.
On top of that, you may be looking at someone else's life from your own viewpoint. You can think they are living their best life or living their worst life, living their fullest life, or not quite living, even though they think the opposite. You just don't know.
7. Define what success means for you
If you've been around for a while, you may have noticed that I keep repeating this. This is because often when people talk about success, they mean very narrow and specific things. They mean having loads of money, or a certain type of a relationship, or a certain amount of kids, or fame or other things like that.
In reality, everyone has their own definition for success. Success means different things for you than it means for me. And that's what makes it so elusive.
What does success mean for you? Is it just getting out of the bed today? Is it changing the world? Is it seeing a smile on a face of someone you love?
If the idea of success feels too overwhelming, start with small successes. Those small moments that make you feel like you have accomplished something.
8. Create your own best life blueprint
Your best life is yours. While others may want to draw the blueprints for it, they really don't know what works for you. It may be something grandiose, it may be something small and shabby.
Now you can draw your own blueprint for living your best life. Fit it inside your comfort zone
Let your blueprint evolve in time. What worked for you last week may not be your best life this week. It's okay.
As your best life doesn't have to look like someone else's best life, it also doesn't have to be the same all time. So when you draw the blueprints for it, make them flexible. Things happen, you change.