6 Essential Principles for Getting More Out of Life


The greatest advice I ever received growing up was to get as much out of life as possible. Now that I’m older I can see the value of that statement. There’s so much to do and see in the world; it would be a shame to miss any of it.

But getting more out of life isn’t always so straightforward. I think everyone knows that life can be pretty hard sometimes. However, there are some things you can do to make things work just a little bit better. And here’s how.

1. Embrace the unconventional

How far do you think you’ll take your life if you do the exact same thing as everyone else? If you always stay with the crowd, you’ll end up getting lost among them. Doing things differently is one of the best ways to stand out and get noticed.

Keep in mind that people rarely do amazing things by always following the rules. Getting more out of life means occasionally taking a risk and pursuing a different path. Do what works best for you, not what works best for the majority.

2. Create useful challenges

One of the most interesting things about life is that the more challenges you set for yourself, the more you actually achieve. By setting good challenges, you’ll figure out just what you’re capable of doing. You might just be surprised how far you can take yourself.

Setting good challenges is a great way to push past your comfort zone and into new areas of personal growth. Just make sure that the challenges you set have a purpose and will benefit you once you succeed. They need to be in the areas that have the most importance to you otherwise you might just be wasting your energy.

3. Recognize and eliminate self-limitations

There’s nothing more destructive than negative thinking and self-doubt. After all, if you honestly don’t think you can accomplish something, why would you put any of the effort to do it? And if you talk yourself out of taking action, you won’t get as far in life.

Try to observe your thoughts so you can recognize any negative thought patterns. Once you find a negative thought you can question its validity. Keep in mind that everyone faces self-doubt. The key is to recognize and control those thought patterns and do what you want to do anyways.

4. Keep one foot in the future and one in the present

There’s a lot of benefit of living in the present. The only time you really ever have is the moments you are having right now. You can’t really do anything about the past and the future hasn’t even happened yet.

But if you really want more out of life, you have to think about the future. You have to decide where you want your life to be and actively pursue change until you get there.

Keep half of your thoughts about where you want to go in the future and the other half about where you are in the present. Take actions today to make that future happen. It’s like living in a game of chess; think twenty moves ahead, but make sure to take the necessary steps now.

5. Meet more people

You never know what you might discover through your social network.  Some of the best opportunities you’ll find happen through the people you know. That’s why networking is considered such an important part of finding a good job. By meeting more people, you’ll increase your likelihood of creating more opportunities.

Focus more on meeting as many people as possible instead of trying to find the right people to meet. Anyone can introduce you to an idea or opportunity that can dramatically and positively change your life. You also never know who someone could introduce you to.

6. Don’t settle for anything

I understand the temptation for settling on things that are “good enough”. Once you reach a tolerable lifestyle that provides stability and comfort, it’s easy to just leave things the way they are. But the key problem on settling is that you are just tolerating the situation instead of actually enjoying it.

Allowing yourself to settle for something simply because it is tolerable really hampers your ability to get more out of life. It’s as if you’ve accepted lower standards for yourself. Set those standards higher and you’ll find yourself pushing for better and better things. It can be a long and hard process to get more, but will be well worth it in the long run.

Get More Now

If I’ve learned anything about life, it is that you are the biggest factor for positive change. That means getting more out of life starts with you. It’s a fact of life that you only live once so why not get the most out of it while you can. It’s time to embrace the time you have left and make as much out of your life as possible. That time is now.

Are you doing any of these to get more out of life?  Would you add anything to this list?
photo credit: Hani Amir

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  1. Conformity can be such a limiting thing in life. I like how you say that we should embrace the unconventional. Go on and follow our hearts by never following the crowd. Following the crowd is such an easy exit strategy though it never pays off in the end.

    I have just picked a great challenge from you. That of setting more challenges for myself. It’s interesting to see how that will work out.

    • I think following the crowd is an easy thing to do too. That’s probably why so many people choose that path. It doesn’t always have to be a bad thing, but if you really want to stand out, you have to forge your own path. I think everyone just needs to follow their own heart and figure out what works best for them.

      I hope you pick some great challenges.

      • gabriela says:

        Well, can you imagine how the world would look like, If everyone followed its own (maybe wished) way of life? Personally, I think people are born diffrent someone has the power to live its own not being in the crowd, but most of us must follow the crowd. If not there will be mess.

  2. Thank you so much for this! Unlike many blog posts on a similar topic, you actually give concrete steps. While I do many of the things you suggest, the way you describe the actions made me think – I had never perceived them in that way.

  3. Hi Steve,

    another wonderful post. Among many great posts, for me this is possibly your best yet. As you know I’m a big believer in enjoying every moment, but I particularly like the balance you offer with your point #4.

    Superb stuff!

    • Hey Alan, I’m glad you love the post. I really think it is important to enjoy every moment, but you can’t only think about the present. There really should be a balance in how you approach the present and the future.

  4. A great article. Thanks.
    I found it on a Study Abroad newsletter. I want to reinforce that international travel fits in all your catagories and Study Abroad is now an easy, affordable and fun way for young people to travel.
    Just one example is our two week program in Greece and the Greek islands.

  5. I absolutely love this!

  6. I agree with alan, this is probably my favorite and one the best of the best posts you have written.

    I really loved how you laid it out here. I think for me, it’s embracing the unconventional that helps push me to my limits. It helps me see who i want to be and not get lost in the crowd.

    My weakness has always been meeting people. I’ve always been a loner in so many ways but since i’ve been travelling, i’ve tried to meet more people at least online and it’s been amazing. I really want to do more of it and especially more in person meetings too which is hard right now with kids and living someplace new.

    • Cool – good move Annie.

      I think that happened to me once before when I was 18, but it was my mum so it probably didn’t count.

    • Hey Annie, I know what you mean about getting lost in the crowd. If you follow what everyone else is doing, you’ll never get noticed. Embracing the unconventional is just a great way to make sure that you’re not doing what everyone else is doing just because it is the norm.

      As for meeting people, I think that you need to just make it a habit. I know that I used to talk to everyone around me whether I knew them or not. It’s amazing how friendly some people can be if you just open up to them. Online can be a great place to meet people too. I know I’ve met some great people through this site.

  7. what is the reasoning behind wanting to stand out and be noticed? Why do we need to get noticed? Not all standing out is “good”.

    • You want to get noticed because the alternative is to never do anything noteworthy. Yes, not all standing out is good, but usually great things happen when you do.

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