21 Tips for a More Joyful Life

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"Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day."

- Henri Nouwen

Just recently, Jenni and I said goodbye to our daughter, Bianca, as we left her at the student flat where she will be based for her second year of university life.

21st around the corner

In the car on the way back home we both remarked how quickly time passes and how, before we know it, we will be celebrating her 21st birthday in 2012.

The inspiration

Yesterday I finished re-reading a message passed on to me by trainee and good friend Piet Bosman. It comprised some very sage advice for living a more fulfilling life, by another gentleman called Wolfgang Riebe.

The message inspired me to put together my own 21 top tips for living a more joyful life - something I may be tempted to share with my daughter on her big occasion next year!


Bill's 21 Tips

1. If you are ever inclined to think you got a raw deal in life, realize that you may have deliberately designed it that way yourself.

2. Don't spend your time comparing your life to others. Their life is their life. Your life is your life. Make the most of it.

3. Live in the moment. It's all you have. You can't change the past and the future only exists as a concept.

4. Practice inner calmness. When you feel anger or rage building inside, do a mental count to fifty while considering how inconsequential your cause of frustration is in the bigger scheme of things.

5. Learn to see the funny side of life. Laughter is, indeed, the best medicine!

6. If life ever feels tedious and the routine is getting you down, look up at the night sky, drink in the spectacular wonder of the cosmos and ask yourself whether your creator designed life to be this way or if it is of your own making. Then take action to change what you're doing.

7. Get your life into balance. What do you feel you need most from life right now. Chances are it'll be something that's missing from your life. Find a way to put it - but not too much of it - back!

8. When it comes to going after what you love in life, never take no for an answer.

9. When feeling fearful, uncertain or overwhelmed have the courage to take a small action. You'll immediately feel better.

10. Don't pursue money without knowing very clearly why. Money is a wonderful commodity when you use it to bring more joy to your life. Money for money's sake is meaningless.

11. Just as no two human beings have the same fingerprints, so each of us has a unique outlook on the world. Learn to tolerate, appreciate and embrace diverse views and perspectives.

12. Live authentically. You cannot derive fulfillment from pretending to be someone you are not.

13. When you encounter a problem think about how this represents an opportunity, be thankful for it; learn and grow from it.

14. When characteristics of other people annoy you, search to find where those characteristics exist within you.

15. Take plenty of time to recharge and reflect. Frequent time-outs are what bring meaning and enjoyment to life.

16. Your thoughts are the most powerful creative force you possess. Don't waste them by focusing on what's not possible or undesirable in your life.

17. Trust your inner being and your inner voice. It is pure, unpolluted by the views of others, miscommunications, limiting beliefs and worst fears.

18. If there's something you really feel like doing, do it, now, before the opportunity passes by.

19. Confront the fears that hold you back, head on. Soon your hesitant, frustrated nature will give way to an adventurous, joyful nature.

20. Put yourself first, not in a selfish way, but in a way that appreciates how much more you can be and do for the world if you lovingly cultivate your own strengths and abilities.

21. Practice the three Gs: Gratitude, Graciousness and Giving, to make your life a really special one.

Till next week...

Warm regards,


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