ESSENTIAL TRAITS FOR AN EXCITING LIFE: WORLDS BEST TEACHERS ON HOW TO BECOME WISER, BRAVER AND SMARTER

BY KAMILA LANEWALA

“It is confidence in our bodies, minds and spirits that allows us to keep looking for new adventures, new directions to grow in, and new lessons to learn – which is what life is all about.”
Oprah Winfrey

An exciting life comes to those who seek it. However, most of us don’t seek it… why is that?

We are wired to explore and be curious as kids but as we age this innate need becomes stifled. Eventually we reach a point where our adult life becomes so focused on comfort and safety that it completely demolishes our contradictory urge for exploration and excitement.

We begin to view people leading fantastic, exhilarating lives as being somehow different from ourselves. They are the people who are stronger, braver and tougher than us. They represent the people we wish were like: the doers in life, the fearless, and the ones who always seem to have an endless supply of amazing stories comprised of priceless experiences.

While you may believe that cultivating an exciting life isn’t quite possible for you with all the responsibilities you have, we all have the capacity to live exciting and fulfilling lives. But how exactly do you do that? How do you become the person who is up for trying different experiences that are way outside your comfort zone?

It all starts with becoming the best version of yourself. By becoming completely in tune with your body, mind and spirit you can put everything in perspective, your outlook on life, your willingness to take reasonable and calculated risks and your capacity to stretch your comfort level to try new activities and pursuits.

This shift in your beliefs helps you have a better understanding about who you are, what you are capable of and ultimately gives you the courage you need to lead an exhilarating life.

I have put together a list of people who can help you become more self-aware and achieve personal refinement in various areas of your life. I hope that applying the wisdom of these phenomenal teachers helps you become the kind of person that pursues an exciting and fulfilling life.


GET TO KNOW YOUR INNER SELF

MARIA POPOVA: PONDER THE MEANING OF LIFE

If you have ever contemplated your significance among the billions of people in this world, or struggled with finding meaning and fulfillment in your work or relationships then Brain Pickings is an essential read for you. Maria Popova answers the existential questions we all struggle with by distilling works of great philosophers, psychologists, scientists, politicians and more into cohesive pieces of art to answer the grand question of how to live and what it means to lead a good and meaningful life.

Must Reads:

The Shortness of Life: Seneca on Busyness and the Art of Living Wide Rather Than Living Long

A Calendar of Wisdom: Tolstoy on Knowledge and the Meaning of Life


ALAIN DE BOTTON: BUILD YOUR CHARACTER

Have you ever wondered about what makes a great personality? Do you believe the way you think, feel and behave is an innate characteristic or is it something that can be nurtured and developed? If you believe the latter then the book of life website is an essential read. It is the brain child of Alain de Button who started book of life in conjugation with school of life to focus on the fiddly internal stuff around mental well-being, happiness and meaning. His aim is to help us face central challenges we face around emotional well-being and show us ways in which we can become better, kinder more thoughtful human beings.

Must Reads:

How to Be a Good Listener

Untranslatable Words


VISHEN LAKHIANI: MANAGE MENTAL HEALTH/STRESS

You may have had days where you were extremely overwhelmed with all the obligations you had to meet and had a hard time prioritizing your time. These moments of distress easily lend themselves to high levels of stress and anxiety. Vishen Lakhanis Company MindValley can help you alleviate stress by helping you develop mindfulness and becoming a more spiritual person. Mindvalley is a treasure trove of transformational knowledge that empowers you to expand your potential and lead an extraordinary life.

Essential Courses:

Eckhart Tolle: Realizing the Power of Now

OmHarmony


CREATE SOUL FULFILLING RELATIONSHIPS 

MARK MANSON: NURTURING A ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP

It’s a core desire that we all have to be in a fulfilling, healthy and loving relationship with a significant other. You may have been in relationships where the other person didn’t bring out the best in you or have dated numerous people but never truly felt a deep connection with anyone. If advice from friends and family regarding your relationship just isn’t cutting it then you may want to checkout Mark Manson’s website. He gives practical, research based advice on what to look for in order to determine if a person is a good match for you and how to approach romantic relationships as a whole.

Favorite Article

Maybe You Don’t Know What Love Is

The One Trait To Look For In A Partner


DEBBA HAUPERT: CREATE LIFELONG FRIENDSHIPS

You may have had a close knit of friends in high school and college but as you grew up, got married, followed new career paths you no longer lived in close vicinity to them and the bond that you may have once may not be as strong. Having a social circle is crucial in living a happy life so how do you create and nurture lifelong friendships? The Girlfriendology website has terrific articles on this precise question.  It was created to encourage women to appreciate and celebrate girlfriends, and to be the kind of friend we’d love to have. Even though the website focuses mainly on females a lot of their advice can be applied to male friendships as well.

Must Reads:

6 Way To Have More Supportive Friendships

Caring For a Friends Quality Of Life


MARK MERRILL’S: ACHIEVE POSITIVE FAMILY DYNAMICS

Most of us are fortunate to have a family to belong to since birth. A core group of people who are there for us through every time period of life – as we evolve through time from being young kids, teenagers, adults, spouses and parents. Over our lifespan there are times when our relationship with our family may become strained or our bonds may not be as strong as they once were. Mark Merrills website is a great resource to figure out how to instill more kindness/positivity in your family dynamics and establish those strong bonds.

Must Reads:

3 Ways To Love You Family With Technology

One Thing Every Relationship Needs


DO WORK THAT ALIGNS WITH YOUR SPIRIT

SCOTT AND CHELSEA DINSMORE: FIND CAREER FULLFILLMENT

Having a sense of purpose from the work that you do daily is a natural human inclination. We want to feel that we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves. Unfortunately getting to this point is not easy and some never really find work that truly fulfills them. However, if you are determined to find a fulfilling career then Live Your Legend is an indispensable resource.

Must Reads:

The 3 Simple (& Absolutely Required) Steps to Doing Work You Love

The World’s Most Powerful Question for Finding Your Life’s Work


RAMIT SETHI: CREATE YOUR VERSION OF SUCCESS

How would you define career success? We all have our own definition of success. You may place believe that a certain level of monetary wealth means success or perhaps you may believe that having a certain level of autonomy and flexibility in the work you do is the ultimate form of success. Reaching career success is not straightforward though, you need to navigate numerous challenges from finding the right experience, meeting influential people and negotiating what you believe you deserve. Ramit Sethi’s website I Will Teach You To Be Rich has terrific material on the best ways to strategize so that you can reach career success.

Must Reads:

Ultimate Guide To Getting A Raise And Boosting Your Salary

How to Use Little Tests For Big Career Wins


MICHAEL RODERICK & MICHAEL SCHEIN: CULTIVATE YOUR PERSONAL NETWORK

Think about the people you spend the most time with every day, how much of an impact do they have on your life? For most people their social circle has a huge influence on the kind of life they lead and the type of person they end up becoming. If this is the case then having a social circle that can guide you and help you achieve the career you desire becomes crucial. So, how do you start cultivating these social relationships? Access To Anyone has great tips and tricks on how to start building deep connections with people you admire and respect.

Must Listens:

Getting to the Man Behind the Curtain

Become a Cult of Personality


CREATE A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR FINANCES

CHRIS PEACH: GET OUT OF DEBT

Most of us have been in debt at some point in our life. You may have had to take out a loan to pay for college or borrow money to pay for your car/home. In fact the average American household has $130,922 in debt. The obligation to make monthly payments on acquired debt is extremely disheartening. Putting money towards debt prevents you from using it for other things you would like to prioritize like saving, travelling and spending money on experiences with people you love. Money Peach has practical advice that you can start implementing right away and start working towards a debt free future.

Must Reads:

What is the Best Method for Paying Off Debt?

The Main Thing About Car Payments: They Suck


PETER ADENEY: MAKE YOUR MONEY GROW

I didn’t pay attention to the need to invest/save for the future in my early 20’s. It seemed like I had all the time in the world to get started what I didn’t pay attention to was the significance of compound interest and the fact that the earlier you start the quicker you can reach your life/retirement financial goals. So if you like me are looking for the best way to start investing and utilize the benefits of compounding then the advice of Mr Money Mustache is a must read.

Must Reads:

The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement

Why Hardcore Saving is much more Powerful than Masterful Investing


JOSHUA BECKER: MANAGE YOUR CONSUMPTION

The need to buy things is deeply ingrained our culture. We buy certain types of cars, clothes and homes in order to prove our worth to ourselves or others. We start building a relationship with certain “things” to a point where they become part of our identity. This is why some people pay a monthly fee to use storage spaces so that they can store material objects that they can’t fit inside their homes. If you want to start living a life that isn’t handicapped by an inordinate number of objects then Becoming Minimalist is a great place to get started.

Must Reads:

A Helpful Guide To Overcoming Consumerism

The American Dream Does Not Cost $130,000/year


LEARN TO COMMUNICATE IN ANY SCENARIO

JOE NAVARRO: EXCEL IN READING NON VERBAL CUES

Majority of the ways in which we communicate with each other is nonverbal. Our posture, eye contact, handshake, smile and tons of other subtitles give clues to other people about who we are and how we are feeling. If how you are perceived in the world is so greatly influenced by how you come across visually then having the resource to improve on your physical perception becomes critical. Joe Navarro a former FBI counterintelligence agent who distills nonverbal intelligence into applicable pieces of advice that we can use in our everyday lives.

Must Reads:

Becoming A Great Observer

What the Shoulders Say About Us 


JORDAN AND AJ HARBINGER: HONE YOUR CONVERSATIONAL SKILLS

You have multiple conversations over the span of a day. With each conversation you are either trying to get a message across or learn something new. You are born with the ability to listen, speak and vocalize your thoughts however some people are better at it than others. In order to hone your communications skills you need to understand areas in conversation that you could improve upon and take steps to grow in those areas. The art of charm has a number of podcasts/blog posts on doing just that.

Must Listens:

Conscious Listening: Why It’s So Valuable

How to Wow


AMY AND MICHAEL PORT: LEARN THE ART OF PUBLIC SPEAKING

I loved reading as a kid and would get lost in the stories among the pages for hours. The love for stories is why all of us like to watch movies and tv shows. If stories are such an integral part of our lives how do we get better at telling them? Are you the kind of storyteller that can keep people engaged for 30 minutes or the person who fumbles through a story quickly without ever getting to the point? Heroic Public Speaking teaches you how to master giving great speeches via the use of stories.

Must Listens/Reads:

The 5 Most Important Elements Found In the World’s Greatest Speeches

How to Become a Funnier Speaker: Secrets of Comedy Masters


MASTER THE ART OF PERSONAL GROWTH

SCOTT YOUNG: READ FOR GROWTH

There is no better way to glean wisdom from someone else’s life then via reading a book. A book is an inexpensive, convenient way to literally learn about anything you want. Reading helps us grow and develop our minds by helping mold our perspectives about various topics. If you want to start reading more and get more use out of the material that you end up reading then Scott Youngs website will teach you how to become an efficient reader.

Must Reads:

How to Stop Forgetting What You Read

How to Read More Books


TIM FERRISS: TREAT LIFE AS AN EXPERIMENT

How many times have you contemplated learning a new language or trying out a new hobby like dancing? How many times have you actually followed through with it? Most of us hesitate to step out of our comfort zone for the fear of the unknown/failure. However if we treated every foray into the unknown as an experiment then everything in life becomes a lot less intimidating. Tim Ferriss is a master at experimenting with the unknown and you can find a treasure trove of information at the fourhourworkweek website.

Must Reads/Listens:

The Value of Self Experimentation

Total Immersion: How I Learned to Swim Effortlessly in 10 Days and You Can Too


MATT WILSON AND JARED O’ TOOLE: SHIFT PERSPECTIVES THROUGH TRAVEL

I have a severe case of wanderlust that I wish I was able to feed more often. There is something about travelling that makes you come alive and grow as a person. The acts of meeting new people, discovering new places and being immersed in surroundings that are totally different from your day to day life by default makes you an open minded/interesting person to be around. Under30Experiences makes it extremely easy to travel affordably and experience the joys of travel with people who have the same hunger for exploration as you do.

Must Reads/Listens:

The Greatest Life Hack of All Time

How to Travel the World for $1500

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