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27 lessons on how to live your life as your art

New Year, New Start

What do you want your 2011 to be like?

I choose to make it an amazing year, and I’ll do so by working on my goals. At the very core of these goals, there are two ideas that drive me. One is the idea of minimizing stuff and maximizing experience. The other idea is to live my life as my art. This is how I choose to maximize experience.

The focus of this blog has been more exploratory and personal last year. That is, it was more about me than you. From this year on, however, I will write more and focus more on how you can minimize stuff, maximize experience, and live your life as your art. If you are interested in living a great life on your own terms, then join me and subscribe to this blog (via RSS or e-mail). You can follow me on twitter as well.

27 Years, 27 Lessons, and How to Live Your Life as Your Art

On 1 January 2011, I turned 27. I want to share with you some of the great lessons I learnt from my 27 years of life. For me, these lessons guide me in living my life as my art.

This is my birthday gift to you. (Who said you can’t give gifts to others on your own birthday?)

I hope at least some of them are relevant to you and there’s something you can take away.

  1. Don’t listen to non-sense. When people say that you won’t make it with what you do, they usually have no experiences in what you do and it’s not their business to tell you what to do or what not to do. You don’t have to be impolite to them, but it’s perfectly OK for you not to follow them.
  2. It’s OK to be different from other people. In fact, you are different from others by definition. There’s no reason why you should take extra steps to become someone who you are not.
  3. Create and walk your own path. You can choose the way you want to live your life. Yes, it might be difficult, but not impossible. Also, it’s more rewarding to live your life that way.
  4. Don’t apologize for being who you are. You don’t need to present yourself lower than you actually are. It’s not arrogant or impolite to mention how good you are, especially when someone gives you compliments. Just thank them and that’s all.
  5. Be able to laugh at yourself. Share your imperfections with others and have fun. In fact, showing your weaknesses is a very strong act. That’s what it means to live with a sense of ease and delight.
  6. Get to know yourself. You are better than what you assume yourself to be. Explore your possibilities. Be fair to yourself.
  7. Build a strong foundation. It’s essential if you want to get better at everything. For example, focus on fundamental moves (and principles behind them),  because they are much more important than flashy moves.
  8. Don’t live in the past. You can thank and acknowledge your past, and then simply move on to the future you want to head towards.
  9. Look for similarities. We make connections by noticing similarities within us. While differences are important in the sense that they can make us intrigued about others, never forget that other human beings from different backgrounds are just like you.
  10. Don’t beat up yourself. You are where you are, and there’s nothing so wrong about you being there that you need to beat yourself up. Instead of spending your precious time on doing nothing but criticizing yourself, do what improves your situation.
  11. Believe in yourself. That’s one way to interpret what it means to be confident. No matter what others say, you trust yourself.
  12. Be aware of hidden assumptions. It’s easy to misunderstand others due to the fact that they are talking about something totally different from what you are talking about. When you listen to others, make sure to clarify these assumptions.
  13. Don’t be afraid of loving or being loved. Loving and being loved can be risky, in the sense that you might get hurt and nothing in return. But, so what? Being able to love someone or some people as well as having someone or some people love you are both amazing things in themselves.
  14. Don’t make women your adventure. Take them on an adventure with you instead. In other words, don’t chase them, but keep chasing your dreams and invite them to come along with you.
  15. Love is inclusive, not exclusive. When you love someone, this love for that person is specific to that person, because love is about accepting that person as who she or he is; no one else can be compared with that person. Your love for Person A is different from your love for Person B.
  16. You can’t possess anyone. When you are in a relationship with someone, it doesn’t mean you own that person or that you are owned by that person.
  17. Curiosity is a key to a number of things. Curiosity is what relationships keep going. Curiosity is how we create things. Curiosity is what makes our lives amusing and amazing.
  18. Find your tribe members. They believe in you. They have similar interests with you. They are the ones that matter to you. Grow together with them.
  19. You can do what you love while helping others. It’s not mutually exclusive. You can read more on this lesson in Chris Guillebeau’s free PDF manifesto here.
  20. Let go. Don’t accumulate. These ideas apply to you if you want to have a fewer distractions in your life and to maximize your experiences. It’s easier to have less and to experience more than to have to manage many clutters in your life. Regarding a minimalistic lifestyle, Everett Bogue’s Far Beyond The Stars is a good place to start.
  21. You can interpret your childhood dreams in a creative way. Even if your childhood dream is something like “to become Pegasus“, it’s possible to find a way to become Pegasus, at least in a metaphorical way.
  22. You can learn from everything you experience. When you see your life from this angle, you can start becoming appreciative of what it has to offer. For example. my parents got divorced when I was 10 and my father past away when I was 14; these events made me a big impact on my life and I can say I made something positive out of these experiences.
  23. You’re resourceful. You might think that you don’t have enough. But it’s important to realize that you do, at least, have what you need to get yourself started. It’s much better to have this abundance mentality than to have the scarcity mentality, because you appreciate what you already have and think what you can do with what you have.
  24. Focus on sharing and giving rather than taking. When you involve other like-minded people in your life by sharing something amazing with and giving it to them, your life and their lives will expand more.
  25. Do it anyway. Making mistakes is fine. Reading or planning too much before taking action can only delay your start. Your preparation will never be perfect. Rather than trying to find the perfect timing to start something, start it as soon as possible.
  26. Have a healthy lifestyle. Being fit and healthy is essential for any kind of activities you do whether it’s something that involves your body or something that involves a lot of thinking. Eat properly and do physical exercises regularly. Breathe well. You’ll be able to play hard if you are fit and healthy.
  27. Your life is your art. Things you experience and fantastic people you meet and connect with contribute to your art; they give you stories, visions, sounds and everything else to your art.  Live with this attitude. Celebrate what your life has to offer. You’ll create an amazing art. A life full of wonderful moments.

These are the core lessons I learnt in my 27 years of life. If you are over 27, what were you like when you were 27? If you are under 27, what do you want to be like when you are 27? Are there any lessons you want to share with us? Do let me know in the comment section, via twitter, or via the contact form.

I hope your 2011 will be an amazing year!

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Photo: Aube insanité

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