3 min read

5 Key Principles for an Outstanding Life

The non-negotiables for my life, and why you should define yours as well.
5 Key Principles for an Outstanding Life
Photo by Jan Kahánek / Unsplash

As you may know, I am a strong advocate for journaling; I think everyone should be journaling at least occasionally for a variety of reasons.

I was sitting at my desk, late at night with the lamp on, a candle lit in the corner. Super peaceful, right? Well, not peaceful enough to ease my mind.

Oftentimes, larger-than-life questions plague my brain and until I sit and ponder, they are there to stay. At this particular time, my future was in question.

It can be worrisome to confront the future when it's so murky, but there is opportunity in every confrontation. Sitting here at my desk, thinking and thinking, I came to a realization. A solution of sorts.

Although I can't control what happens to me, there are some things or abilities that I know I want to have in my life. These are non-negotiables for me; even when the going gets rough, I'll maintain a small degree of control.

So, I wrote and I wrote, coming up with five principles and abilities that I refuse to compromise on in the future. Here's a glimpse at what I established:

1. Independence

Whether it be financially or emotionally, independence is a value I deeply believe in.

Making your own decisions and choosing what actions to take is a learning experience. By having independence, I am free from the whims of other people, free to do whatever I want.

Without independence, I fear I would feel smothered, unable to grow as an individual. Growth is essential, subsequently making independence a necessary characteristic of my life.

The day I become stagnant as a person is the day I failed to keep my promises to myself. That's no good.

2. Ability to Travel

More than anything else, I want to travel and see the world. I'm not sure where I got the travel bug from or when my obsession started, but I do know it's here to stay.

I enjoy talking about traveling, so it should not come as a surprise that this is a non-negotiable in my life. There are so many benefits and an array of adventures to be had in the process.

From seeing new perspectives, trying new food, and exploring new mountains, there is an entire world to be experienced. Knowing this, I can no longer be content staying in one place.

3. Control

A lot of enjoyment in life comes from control; I recently learned this in a book I read, called Flow. You can read that book review here. I highly recommend it!

With control comes serenity and unwavering confidence that things will be alright. It's much more nerve-wracking to stand by and watch things play out, completely out of your hands.

I desire control in many different facets of my life. I want control over my money and investments, I want control over my work-life balance, and I want control over my emotions. Deep down, I think we all desire this.

4. Impact

Wherever I end up, whatever I do in life, I want to leave a positive impact on those around me. This is something I'm passionate about!

The age-old question for many is, "What is my purpose? What am I here on Earth to do?" Life is spent trying to answer that question, yet very few ever truly answer it.

That said, I am content by trying to leave the world a better place than I found it through whatever avenue I end up choosing. I want to help others do what they love, or help them through whatever they struggle with.

I want to leave a lasting impact in both large and small ways.

5. Indulgence

American culture has created work-a-holics left and right. I don't want this for myself, at least not on somebody else's terms.

I believe that for all the hard work we do, we should have equally as much time to indulge and enjoy ourselves (within reason).

To appreciate and indulge in the little things in life is my goal. A fresh cup of coffee, a captivating book, an expertly crafted film, or a scenic hiking trail.

We should treat ourselves kindly and reward ourselves for our hard work. That is my belief, at least. The caveat is that you must earn it. Work hard and then enjoy prosperity.

I would urge everyone to participate in this make-shift exercise. I did not sit down with the intent to define the key principles in my life, but I am glad I did.

Others' non-negotiables may be very different from mine, and that's why I think everyone should take the time to define them for themselves. It is liberating to know that whatever comes your way, you will stay true to your defined values.

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