To quote the great philosopher—Forest Gump—“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your gonna get.”

So true. But why is it that some people get boxes filled only with the finest chocolates? Life may certainly be unpredictable, but truly alive people approach life in a way that squeezes out the positives from the unpredictable.

Marcus Aurelius said, “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”

Here are 12 inspiring ways truly alive people approach life:

1. They’re unrealistic. 

They prefer to live in the ‘impossible.’ They believe that people crazy enough to think they can change the world, actually do (Steve Jobs).

For the longest time, everybody thought it was impossible to break the four-minute mile. Everybody except Roger Bannister. If he was realistic about things than who knows when, or if that barrier would’ve been broken.

Shoot for the moon, if you miss you’ll land among the stars—cliché, but truth. It is so much better to aim high, and potentially miss, than to aim low and be sure to hit.

2. They adjust with the seasons.

They understand that everything has its season. And they flow in synch with the lifespan of that experience. They know when it’s time to change careers; when they’ve outgrown a position, a relationship, or a stage in life—and they take the appropriate action.

To be truly alive, is to move with the seasons in life. They’re not living in winter and expecting warm weather. They don’t start a new career and immediately expect the big bucks. They understand when it is time to sow, and when it is time to harvest.

Don’t mistake a tough season—a tough experience—for a miserable year. Everything has its season.

3. They can laugh at themselves.

They’ve turned their ego into an Oopma Loompa that can be laughed at. They take themselves a little less serious than the world expects. Truly alive people get out on the dance floor even with two left feet, and get on stage like they’re singing in the shower.

What’s life without a ton of laughter? When people are laughing at you rather than with you, join them. It’s healthy not to take yourself too serious.

4. They keep adding to their Bucket List.

They see life as a journey of growth; not just collecting stamps, but new experiences.

Truly alive people know that without aspirations and goals, stagnancy will surely set in. Life becomes dull when it becomes predictable—even people in Hawaii can get bored of the beach.

So keep setting new horizons, when you knock something off your list, add another.

5. They take criticism like water off a duck’s back.

Truly alive people cause others to think about their own lifestyle. Some people get inspired, others get annoyed.

Trying to please everyone in life will only result in frustration. No matter how hard you try, there will always be those who find a way to criticise. You can either develop thick skin, or become a sponge soaking up all the negativity.

The former will keep you sane, the latter will drive you insane

6. They look in the rear-view mirror.

They reflect. Often.

Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

While you never want to dwell too deeply on a negative event, reflecting on what you have done well, and what you could improve on, is a great practice for making positive future decisions.

The past can be a great teacher.

7. Pain drives them, rather than defeats them.

They know at every given moment, they can choose to play the victim, or the victor. They see obstacles as opportunities, and turn their scars into strengths.

History has shown us that there is no situation so tragic in life, that the human spirit is not able to overcome.

8. They wear their heart on their sleeve

They stand for something, and they’re not ashamed of it.

Alexander Hamilton said, “Those who stand for nothing, fall for anything.”

The United States Declaration of Independence recognises the importance of expressing what you believe; that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness flourishes in the positive expression of your will.

Seek out the message that speaks to your soul. Embrace it. Unashamed.

9. They run their own race.

Because comparison is crippling.

It can quickly rob your well deserved celebration when you place your accomplishment next to someone who’s doing ‘better.’

There’s only one you in this world, don’t try and run like the person beside you. You have your own stride, your own style, your own voice, and your own pace. When you understand that—not only will you truly be able to celebrate your own victories—you can sincerely celebrate the victory of others without any jealousy.

10. They “re-calculate” after wrong turns.

We all make bad decisions. But losing a battle doesn’t mean losing the war.

Truly alive people allow their life-GPS to go into “re-calculating” mode. They roll with any punches and keep heading toward their destination. They are flexible with the journey because they are determined and sure about their destination.

Be absolutely clear on your goals, generate a powerful enough “Why.” If you stray off course, you’re strong momentum will carry you where you need to be.

11. They Don’t Bottle-Up Emotions.

In times of sadness, truly alive people allow tears do their healing work. If they’re upset with someone, they lovingly address the issue. When they’re celebrating, the whole neighbourhood knows about it.

When emotions trigger off the welling in your eyes, the release should not be restrained. You’ve been told to listen to your body when it comes to food, sleep, and rest—that advice should be applied when emotions are calling to be expressed.

12. They watch sunsets.

Because regardless of how hectic and frustrating the day can be, truly alive people know they can count on the simple, yet profound reminder that there’s always something to smile and be thankful for.

Let the sun set, and take with it your fears, concerns, and struggles.

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”

― Eleanor Roosevelt


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