1. FIGURE OUT WHAT MATTERS: What really matters to you? Knowing this makes every single decision in life easier. Make choices inline with the things you care about. Do people matter? Technology? Progress? Contribution?

2. MIX IT UP: Make sure your life is a healthy mix of family and friends, work and play, health and exercise, vice and charity, care and consideration, nurture and growth for yourself as well as others. Don’t grow lop-sided.

3. GROW YOUR MIND: They say when you stop learning you start dying. Don’t stop. Science shows that people who use both their hands and their brains regularly are healthier, happier and live much longer. There are lots of ways to grow besides up and across!

4. LOOK UP: Always have a goal to aim for, dreams to achieve, someone to look up to, someone to respect, a goal to get to, a cause to fight for… the moment you think you’re on top of the world, you start to drop. Make life a series of horizons.

5. LOVE: Love people, love animals, love friends, love family, love plants, love pets, love strangers, love life. Love is another one of those things that makes you happier and healthier for longer. Make time for that beautiful thing.

6. YOU’RE IN CHARGE: The moment you realize that your life is yours and you are in charge of it is the moment you empower yourself for greatness. Forget about your childhood, forget your sob stories. From here on, own the things that will happen in your life.

7. STOP: It’s so easy to get caught up in school, in classes, in work, in going out, in friends, … that you end up in a whirlwind of action. Stop and Be every once in a while. Listen to your self. You might discover incredible things about ‘you’. You might hear the cries asking you to change course.

8. KNOW YOURSELF: Know yourself. You hear it everywhere. But how?! Easy. In your stopping (see #7) figure out your values, your beliefs, your area of power. What do you do that makes you feel amazing? Let who you are steer the direction of your life. You can’t fly across a desert if you’re a sailboat.

9. FIND YOUR VALUE: People cannot give you value if you feel you have none. They cannot make you feel worthless if you know your true value. This power is yours alone to master. Embrace what makes you different and special. And put it to good use!

10. PICASSO’S COMPETITION: There’s no better way to put yourself down than by comparing yourself to a master, a superstar or a genius. You can’t compare grapes to pineapples. Your only comparison should be yourself, yesterday. Improve on that today (research deliberate practice!) and you’re making progress.

11. HAVE A GREAT ATTITUDE: Towards yourself! If you make mistakes, be compassionate, forgive yourself. If you’re right, be gracious. If you don’t know, say so. If you’re teaching others or learning something, then you’re doing it right. Also, know that most of the times, it’s not about you. Be compassionate towards others.

12. LISTEN: Listen to yourself, your heart, your gut… Some of the most famous people (Bill Gates, Will i Am, Jennifer Lopez) make their biggest decisions based on their gut. Your intuition is incredibly powerful. But to hear it, you need to listen.

13. ASK FOR HELP: Know what your weaknesses are and ask for help in those areas. If you don’t know your weaknesses, ask those closest to you, they can see it and will tell you nicely — one hopes! Find the win-win for everyone involved and if you can’t, then graciously accept a hand and be thankful it’s there.

14. EXPERIMENT: It’s ok not to have a clear idea of what you want, or where you’re going, or what the hell you’re doing. . The only way to find out is to experiment. At least then you’ll know what you don’t want. Try, try, try!

15. EMBRACE THE F-WORD: Most successes are based on failure first. Starbucks for example started out as a standup coffee bar with blaring opera and menus only in Italian. It failed first, and lessons were learnt — thank goodness.

16. BE YOUR OWN HERO: You are an individual with your own thoughts, unique talents, abilities and ideas. Fully embrace them. Don’t try to mould yourself into the image of someone else. Be an X-person and share your power.

17. RECIPROCATE ENERGY: Life is energy. It’s a zero sum game. If you give, be open to receiving, and if you receive often, work on giving. And don’t limit this exchange to people. Plants and animals and earth matter (pun intended!)

18. BE OPEN TO POSSIBILITY: Things are only impossible until someone figures out how to get them done. Believe that you can be that someone. Focus on the obstacles and you’ll crash into them. Look for the white spaces and you’ll find them. Let possibility and creativity lead the way.

19. LEAVE NO WHAT-IF BEHIND: No regrets! The worst thing you can do to yourself is look back on a life full of What Ifs. Be brave, chose pain over fear. Pain educates, fear inhibits.

20. DO THE EXCEPTIONAL: Don’t focus on being exceptional. Exceptional people earn the title by doing exceptional things. People are lazy by nature. Do tiny things that most people don’t push themselves to do, become the exception.

21. HARD WORK IS THE KEY: They say that everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die. It’s true. Everyone wants the prize, no one wants to work for it. The only way to live a successful and fulfilling life is by doing the work. And bonus, mastering a skill is the third element of true happiness.

Kathy

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