6 Rules Of Life We All Know But Fail To Apply

6 Rules Of Life We All Know But Fail To Apply

Do you really need to read the next personal development book?

Is it necessary to watch one more free webinar on how to achieve your dreams?

Or to attend one more seminar of a productivity guru telling you to set your priorities right and eliminate distractions?

Let’s be honest for a moment: The answer is no.

I feel as if most people are drowning in self-help advice without ever applying a single strategy they read or hear.

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Sure, it’s fun to read motivational books.

I’m doing it all the time.

And if you are reading them for fun, keep going.

If you, however, read them because you want to transform your life, please stop reading.

Here is the bad news (those which you know but ignore):

Hardly any book will teach you anything new after your first ten personal development and self-improvement reads.

It’s sad, I know, but it’s the truth.

During the past three years, I consumed more than 150 books on personal development, and I still find books that light up my soul.

For example, You Are A Badass, which I finished a few months ago and sincerely enjoyed, is one of these pieces.

However, I didn’t learn new stuff by reading it.

I just loved the way it is written and the voice of the author.

And I’ll probably keep reading self-help books forever because personal growth is not only my passion but also my profession.

Thus, it’s inevitable for me to get insights into other experts’ brains and understand different perspectives.

But do you really need to read the next 50 books on transforming your life?

You don’t.

Everything you’re looking for in these books is already inside you.

No piece of knowledge, no habit, and no self-help tip will improve your life unless you apply it.

Personal growth means taking action. Getting your ass up and doing something instead of reading more books and watching videos more videos.

It’s hard, I know.

Reading is more fun than applying.

But you need to start trusting yourself.

You already have everything it needs to make your life better, happier, and more joyful.

You just need to apply all these tiny lessons you’ve been reading about for so long.

Smile more

“That’s the personal growth advice that should change my life?!”, you might ask.

Yes, it is.

Science proves that smiling can literally trick your brain into happiness.

We smile when we are happy, but when we laugh, we also feel more joyful.

It works both ways.

When we smile, chemical reactions in our brain lead to releases of so-called happiness hormones.

You just need to fake it until you feel it.

Your body doesn’t know if your smile is fake or not, it just releases all the benefits it would do if you’d smile out of pure happiness. That’s why, after faking a smile, you really do become happier.

However, smiling doesn’t only lift your mood, but it also helps to lower stress and boost your immune system.

Enough good reasons to smile the next time you see yourself in a mirror, right?

“Smile is the beauty of the soul. “

— Lailah Gifty Akit

How to do it:

Smiling is not that hard, right?

It’s doable several times per day for all of us.

Next time you are picking up a new self-help book or starting a new YouTube video on how to transform your life, remind yourself of first putting a smile on your face. That might be more effective in improving your mood than any book.

Also, whenever you sit down or stand up, remind yourself to put a smile on your face.

Or do it every time you enter a new room.

You have endless possibilities to remind yourself of smiling more often throughout your days. You just need to do it.

Make smiling your new habit and perform it as often as possible.

Make peace with your past

Whenever we feel angry, anxious, depressed, or sad, the odds of not living in the present moment are big.

Instead, we are complaining or being concerned about happenings in the past.

Even though we know that being present is the key to being happy, too often, we ignore this critical lesson and keep holding on to our past.

Letting go of events that shaped our personality or hurt us is not easy, I know.

But it’s necessary.

Without finishing off and making peace with our past, we can never entirely focus on the present moment and build a happier future.

We all make mistakes.

Life is not about being perfect or flawless.

It’s about becoming a better person every day, and more importantly, about enjoying the whole process without being too hard on ourselves.

Accepting your faults and crediting yourself for giving your best will help you in making peace with your past and letting go of negative emotions.

How to do it:

One of the most powerful ways to make peace with your past and let go of negative emotions is journaling.

By writing down your thoughts, you allow yourself to let go of them and to be entirely focused on the present moment.

Journaling, which is nothing more than writing down your thoughts, is a fantastic way to get to know yourself better and analyze your thoughts and emotions.

By doing so, you will be able to find out what really bothers you so that you can finally let go of it.

Even five minutes of journaling per day can help you to get to know yourself better and improve your ability to focus on the present moment instead of wandering in the past.

Accept that you are in charge of your happiness

Most people expect others to make them happy.

For some weird reason, we’d rather wait instead of taking action ourselves.

But here’s the bad news: That won’t make you happy at all.

You are the only person in charge of your happiness.

You need to take care of yourself.

You need to do things that light up your soul and make your heart sing.

Nobody can understand your inner world the way you do.

Too often, we believe our romantic partner is responsible for our happiness.

That’s bullshit.

Your partner is not responsible for your happiness. It’s your job to care for your wellbeing.

If you don’t take care of yourself, why should others do so?

If you don’t appreciate yourself, why would anyone else feel the urge to do so?

Put your own oxygen mask first.

You can’t make this world a better place without being happy yourself.

Invest in your own wellbeing and make sure you take enough time to care for yourself, no matter how busy you are.

How to do it:

“Take charge of your happiness” might sound like a big deal, but it doesn’t need to be.

Even tiny actions can increase our wellbeing and bring more joy into our lives.

Yet, too often, we ignore them by telling ourselves we don’t have time for ourselves.

But self-care is no luxury. It’s a necessity.

What about implementing a 10-minute morning routine that makes you feel more energized and motivated before you tackle your day?

What about taking one minute during your day to lock the door and to a quick, empowering meditation?

What about smiling every time you see yourself in a mirror?

What about taking five minutes in the evening to reflect on all your successes and emotions?

Self-care really doesn’t need to be hard or take forever.

Small actions can sum up and lead to a happier, more fulfilled life if you do them consistently.

Time heals almost everything

We’ve all heard that time heals anything lesson several times, right?

Yet, we often forget to trust in it.

We get too attached to events, feelings, and heartbreaks, which we can’t influence anyway.

Over the years, we all get hurt in some way or the other.

It’s probably impossible to live a life without painful moments.

That’s just how life works.

We fail, we lose beloved people, we get rejected, we get hurt, and yet, in the end, we keep going.

And in most cases, these difficult times come with great lessons for our future.

We can’t prevent being hurt by others.

In fact, we can’t influence others’ behavior at all.

But we can always decide how we react.

In most cases, we have two options:

Feeling sorry, drowning in self-pity and letting ourselves down or accepting the situation and the pain and keep going despite challenges.

How to do it:

It’s not easy to trust the universe and let it flow when everything seems to be against you.

Been there, done that, I know how awful it feels to lose people who are important or not to get accepted for a job or a particular program you’ve been excited about.

We all go through these difficult times.

And it’s okay to be sad and feel down when these things happen.

But it’s not okay to let yourself down forever.

Whenever you face a difficult situation, remind yourself of the fact that by time, most pain flies away.

If you can’t change a situation anyway, why let it burden you?

It’s much more productive and healthy to accept bad feelings and let them fade away over time.

It’s alright not to know all the answers

I hate uncertainty.

If I could, I’d always chose to be well prepared and know all the answers to anything in life.

But that’s unfortunately not how it works.

Life doesn’t come with a manual, and if it would, we would probably ignore most of the instructions anyway.

Living is about growing.

As Lou Holtz once said:

“In this world you’re either growing or you’re dying so get in motion and grow.”

If we’d know all the answers up front, we wouldn’t grow, and life would be quite meaningless.

Instead of trying to find all the answers, trust the process.

The universe always has your back, even if life sometimes feels messy.

How to do it:

Sometimes, all we need to do is sitting back and relaxing.

You won’t figure life out.


Every time you feel like you just figured something out, new challenges will arise.

Life would be pretty boring otherwise, right?

So instead of worrying and searching for answers, you can also unwind and trust in the flow of the universe.

Don’t compare yourself to others

Let’s admit it: We all do compare ourselves to others from time to time.

Perfectly shaped bodies on magazine covers, flourishing relationships on Instagram, Medium writers who are making five-figure earnings per month…all of this leads to one question we repeatedly ask ourselves:

Why does my life not look like this?

Well, here’s are the answers:

First, the internet is full of fake.

You only see what others are showing you.

Did you ever see an Instagram post about how awful someone’s life is?

Me neither.

And I wouldn’t share that either.

I share happy moments, travel pictures, and business success, but I’d never share my private insecurities on Instagram.

I’d instead talk to my boyfriend or family.

And the second answer is that we only see the tip of the iceberg.

We compare our beginnings with other’s level of mastery.

We don’t think of how much effort somebody put into creating a life we ultimately admire.

We believe others are lucky while we have to struggle.

But that’s not true.

It takes effort to be in shape. It takes effort to build a strong relationship. And it takes effort to build a business and make lots of money.

None of these come easily.

And those who are already living a life you are still dreaming of are only doing so because they put in the work and overcame struggles just like anyone else.

How to do it:

Stop comparing your day #1 to other’s day #1232.

Other’s are not living your life, and they are not wearing your shoes.

Everyone’s path looks different, and you can’t compare your story to someone else’s.

You can only find peace and be fully present if you stop comparing yourself to others and start focusing on your own life.

We all face challenges, but we all face them differently. And accordingly, we solve them in different ways.

Get advice from others, support others in solving their struggles, find people who walk your path next to you, but don’t forget that comparison will always lead to misery, and drown your energy.

Bottom Line

Personal development and improving your life don’t need to be complicated or costly.

You don’t need to join hundreds of courses or get coached by outrageously expensive gurus.

Most of the time, reminding ourselves of some simple, timeless strategies is enough to bring more joy and happiness into our days.

And that’s what life is ultimately about, right?

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