While it can often seem like we’re just adrift in the ocean of life, at the mercy of the waves and currents, the real truth is that we have so much power over our own lives that we don’t utilize. The goal is to shape and mold your life into the best possible life for you.
But how do we even begin to do this? How do we erase our social conditioning that tells us to “go where everyone else is going”? How do we hoist the sails and set off on our own course with hope and direction?
Join me as we cast off and look into 9 different ways to embrace that your life is what you make of it, and how to make it a happy life!
What does “Life is What You Make of It” Mean?
“Life is what you make of it” means that you are ultimately in control of how you respond to life. Everyone has ups and downs. No one is in control of the hand they were dealt. Will you let life just happen to you? Or will you mold what you are given to create a life of beauty and meaning?
Some of the most self-actualized and enlightened people on this earth were ones who suffered greatly. Buddha purposefully lived a life of poverty and suffering. Jesus was betrayed and crucified. Malala Yousafzai was shot in the face. Maya Angelou was raped as a young girl.
And yet these amazing people along with many others are famous for the understanding and love, beauty, and education they spread. They are true examples of how life is what you make it.
These 7 quotes and 10 tips will help you pursue that happy life and live a truly wonderful adventure!
“Life is What You Make It” Quotes
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”―Marianne Williamson, inspirational author
“Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be.”―Eleanor Roosevelt
“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.”― Pema Chödrön
“I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.”― Preeti Shenoy, author of the book Life Is What You Make It
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”―Helen Keller
“This life is what you make it. No matter what, you’re going to mess up sometimes, it’s a universal truth. But the good part is you get to decide how you’re going to mess it up.”―Marilyn Monroe
“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.”― Carol Burnett
Books by these extraordinary women:
10 Ways to Make Your Life Happy and Wonderful!
1. Live intentionally
The first and greatest tip to increase the quality of your life and how you respond to the ups and downs of life is to live intentionally.
This starts with awareness. Do you live on autopilot? Or do you do things purposefully every day? This purpose can show up in both little ways and big ways. For example, maybe you are an avid recycler and buy eco-friendly products because you want to make the world a little cleaner. Or perhaps you’re always conscious of putting your phone down when you’re with others so you can put your full attention on them.
Then of course, perhaps you’ve dedicated your life to educating others about racism or other social issues. Perhaps you are a teacher and dedicate your conscious energy to teaching your students music, history, or language.
And when little pleasures creep up on you, do you stop to enjoy them, or do you pass them by? Being fully conscious and living intentionally will help you craft your own happy life.
2. Listen to your instincts
Another way to purposefully make your life everything you’ve ever dreamed of is to listen to your instincts. Our emotions and our instincts aren’t valued as much as rational thought in our hectic, modern world, but they serve a great purpose.
Maybe your instincts told you that guy was bad news, but you went out with him anyway and he ended up cheating on you. Or maybe your instincts keep pushing you to learn how to ride horses. It’s something you always wanted to do since you were little and you never tried it.
Our instincts help to tell us when we’re on the right path. They help us avoid the “bad” situations and maximize the “good” stuff. To listen to your instincts, stop and listen to your body. What do you need? How can you best serve yourself at this moment? When a moment arises when the hair on the back of your neck stands up, stop and try to examine what your body is telling you.
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3. Nourish your body, mind, and soul
Life is what you make of it, so make the best of what life gives you by nourishing yourself. “Nourish” comes from the Latin nutrire, meaning to “feed and cherish”. By nourishing your soul, you’re intentionally giving your body life, vitality, and joy. You’re sustaining your life force. (Try laughter, pride, and acceptance.)
When you nourish your body, the same thing applies: you’re feeding your body the best nutrients to sustain your life and energy.
Our bodies and our souls are inextricably linked, so when you nourish one, you are automatically helping to feed the other. And when you give your body and soul exactly what it needs, you are helping to create the best circumstances for making your life into something wonderful.
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4. You can only control yourself
Everyone has people and circumstances in our lives that annoy us, frustrate us, and ultimately make life difficult. But this is one of those things that we are dealt and we can’t control. Trying to control others is not only equally frustrating, but it takes us away from our true path: our joy and love and pleasure.
So when we have someone or something in our lives that upsets us, there are a few ways we can approach it. First, if it is a coworker or acquaintance, try letting it go. Don’t give in to their negative vibes. If it becomes invasive and harmful, you can change your environment by getting a new job or the like.
If this is a friend or relationship that continues to harsh your vibe or even cause you pain, consider cutting that person off or ending the relationship. Only you can allow someone to treat you poorly.
In the case of a family member, you may want to consider setting some healthy boundaries that allow you to have a relationship with them while being able to maintain your priorities, values, and daily life.
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5. Life is what you make of it, so ask for what you want
In her book, A Woman’s Guide to Power Unbound, Kasia Urbaniak describes just how powerful an Ask can be, and how it can change your life.
It is unfair of you to expect others to know exactly what you want. Not expressing your wishes can be frustrating to the other person and severely disappointing to you.
When you ask for exactly what you want, you’re expressing to the other person just how much you value their presence and relationship, and you set both yourself and the other person for gratification and a deeper level of connection.
Asking for what you want, whether it be from a significant other, friend, sister, or father, can help you truly make the best of your life.
6. Surround yourself with others who treat you well
Another of the famous quotes from Preeti Shenoy’s book says:
“Sometimes all one needs is a strong anchor, a person you can trust blindly. Someone who will lead you on, be there for you and never let you down.”
It has been said that you need to choose your friends wisely. When you surround yourself with true friends who you trust unconditionally, you automatically grow. Their power and strengths help you grow, and your own strengths help them as well.
When you have a truly good relationship with someone, they:
- are a safe space for you, emotionally and physically
- listen to your ideas without judgment
- give you support through your endeavors and challenges
- spend time with you
- don’t take from you more than they give
And of course, it goes the other way. Be a good friend and share these traits with them as well, and you can be there for them through their tough times as well.
7. Clear the clutter and focus on the good stuff
Our lives are so weighed down with clutter, both of the physical kind and the emotional kind. Modern life is filled with junk mail, fast clothing and fast food, free giveaway prizes, and gifts that we didn’t really want in the first place.
These low-quality items jam pack our lives with stuff that take up our time, space, and energy.
Get rid of the stuff that doesn’t serve your life. (This is especially helpful as parents.)
This doesn’t just apply to things, of course, but also how we spend our time. Social media has been proven to be associated with less life satisfaction.
Decluttering your space, time, and commitments is a way that you can take the wheel of your own life and stop living on autopilot.
8. Have the right mindset
The older I get, the more convinced I am that having a positive mindset is at the root of all life happiness. This, of course, doesn’t mean you avoid negative emotions or pretend that you’re happy when you’re really sad. Toxic positivity is just as detrimental to your life as a negative mindset.
But when you’re realistically optimistic in life, you actually notice more good things happening.
If you’re constantly thinking of red cars, when you go for a drive, what do you think you’ll see a lot of? Red cars, of course. The same thing happens with other concepts.
When you’re thinking of great things happening, you’ll probably notice small little things that lift your spirits and you won’t sweat the bad stuff as much. If you are constantly dwelling on the negative stuff, you’re more likely to notice the things that are “bad” for your life and have a harder time seeing the good things.
It’s not that the good things actually happen more… they don’t. But how you look at it makes all the difference. If you need to learn how to have a more positive mindset, try affirmations.
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9. Believe that you can do anything and act like it!
Similar to having that positive mindset, an unwavering belief in yourself and your capabilities will take you far.
When we don’t believe in ourselves, we’re less likely to apply for that promotion, go after the girl or guy, or try a new skill. But calculated risks like going for a job that’s maybe a little above our level, or asking someone out, or trying something new can be exactly what your life needs to go to the next level.
If you don’t believe in yourself or have a healthy confidence level, you may be protecting yourself from embarrassment. Sure, getting passed over for a promotion, getting rejected, or falling on your face can be humiliating. But it’s also transient. The embarrassment doesn’t last long before life moves on.
Which would you rather have, a life of regret because you didn’t go for it? Or a life of depth and meaning because you dared to take that risk?
READ MORE: How to Seize the Moment in Your Life!
10. Dream big, make a plan, and DO IT!
The ultimate way that life is what you make of it is by dreaming big and going for it.
We all have dreams. We all have things that light our souls on fire. Living intentionally and crafting our own perfect life means that we’re giving credit to those impulses we have. Passion drives the world, so live your creation.
Do you want to start an eco-friendly candle company? Do you want to have a passion for music and want to share it with children? Have you always fancied yourself a writer?
You don’t have to start huge. Start small and work your way to the ultimate life of your dreams!
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Life is what you make it, without a doubt!
These 10 things will help you create your life and live intentionally! Don’t live your life “on the conveyor belt”. Get up and do what sets your soul on fire!
What kind of life do you want? How are you intentionally creating your ultimate life?!