Life's Too Short to be Ordinary

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Career change, career transition, fulfillment, purpose

Life's Too Short

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Every morning, we are born again”  Buddhist Maxim

How do you get through the day?  A simple question.  What keeps you going when the going gets tough?  One common way is to put our heads down and soldier on.  Humans have a remarkable ability to put on a suit of armour that protects them from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.  Another way is to ride the emotional roller-coaster.  Like all roller-coasters we tend to feel sick with fear and anticipation on the way up and scream on the way down.  These approaches both get us through the day, but it feels like a struggle to survive.

Life shouldn’t be ordinary and it shouldn’t just be keeping our head above water.  It’s too easy to forget that our days are limited and precious.  I’ve found that creating some daily principles for living help me to be more intentional every day.  It gives me a foundation for how to approach life.  These rules help me to live life to the full.

What do daily principles look like?  Well here are mine:

  1. Life is a Precious Gift – Make the most of it
  2. Treat others as you’d like to be treated
  3. Be authentic and true to your values
  4. Find joy in everything you do
  5. Inspire others to make the most of life
  6. Work is love made life – put your heart into everything that you do

I created this list a few weeks ago.  I took myself out on an hour long run with the plan to capture the essence of how I’d like to live my life.  Running is my most creative place and the ideas just started to flow.  At the end (after mopping my sweaty brow), I wrote down my first draft.  I stewed on these for a day or two, made some changes and suddenly I had this powerful list.  Now I have this list up in my office, on my fridge door, and carry it around on a card in my wallet.

We are born again each morning .  I love to review these ideas every morning to get my head in the game.  I’m able to set my intention for how I’d like to be that day.  Just to be reminded that life is precious every morning is crucial.  When I wake up feeling sad, stressed or unexcited I’m reminded to find joy in life. Most importantly the principles take away the temptation to simply survive – I remember that life is too short to be ordinary.

What are your principles?  How do you remember to live life, rather than just surviving it?  Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Picture credit – Moustaque

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  4. The Lost Art of Being Happy – 5 Steps to a Happier Life
  5. Make 2010 your Best Year Yet – Six Steps to Lasting Change


  1. Phil
    February 9, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    What are the principals you live life by? How do you remind yourself of them? Is life too short to be ordinary? Let me know.



  2. February 9, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Permalink


    Good post!

    I wake up every morning raring to learn something new. Adopting that attitude changed everything for me. Instead of waiting for life to come to me, I go after life.

    Participation is key!

    thx, Giulietta, Inspirational Rebel
    .-= giulietta´s last blog ..Psst! Here’s the “secret” to achieving greatness. =-.

  3. February 9, 2010 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Hi Phil – Life is absolutely too short to be ordinary. Or maybe for me the principal is that life is too short to miss the extraordinary that’s alive within the ordinary. I love what you say here about how good we are at soldiering on. We sure can get sucked into that warrior role, where life is a fight and a grind rather than something new to be lived each day. Also, thanks for coming over and leaving your comment on my blog!
    .-= Patty – Why Not Start Now?´s last blog ..Meaning Mondays: The Purposelessness Edition =-.

  4. Phil
    February 10, 2010 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Giulietta -

    I love your passion for learning and your determination to go after life. It is so liberating when we realise that there is so much out there we don’t know and start to explore the possibilities. I love the concept of getting out there and just doing it!


  5. Phil
    February 10, 2010 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Patty -

    Everyday has the potential to be extraordinary if we allow it. Finding the good in every situation transforms the way the world appears. It is so much easier when we accept and enjoy what is. Thanks for your comment – and the great writing you do!


  6. February 10, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    This is great, and so clear and motivating! Love it! I am going to share this and your site on my blog THANK YOU!
    .-= Kay´s last blog ..Simply Stated… =-.

  7. Phil
    February 10, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Kay – thanks so much for the appreciation. Go spread the word – life is too short!


  8. February 10, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Hi Phil, the idea with this list is brilliant. I know lots of people review their goals every day, but having a list that captures the essence of how you want to live your life is so much more powerful! Thank you, I resonate deeply with every point on your list.

    P.S. you have an awesome blog here:)
    .-=´s last blog ..How To Get In The Flow or How To Connect With Your Inner Genius =-.

  9. February 10, 2010 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the pick me up Phil! I needed to read this blog post today. Its been a long day followed by a long few weeks. One of those moments when I needed to be reminded that there is more to life than the daily grind. I especially love #4 – Find joy in everything you do. I have definitely lost touch with the joy these days!
    .-= Carly´s last blog ..Words of wisdom from Andrea Jung, Avon’s CEO =-.

  10. February 11, 2010 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    Great post, funny I am working on something similar. It’s important to understand what guides you. I like the 6 you have outlined.//Marc

  11. Phil
    February 11, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Lana -

    Thanks for the complements! I’ve used this for myself and also quite a few of my clients and its really powerful. I only recently found your blog but I think it is excellent too.


  12. Phil
    February 11, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Carly – chin up! Life is sometimes sent to test us a little bit, and its how we respond that shows our mark as a human. I know you’ll be strong and get through everything with aplomb. Stick to your principles and keep smiling.


  13. Phil
    February 11, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Marc – great to hear you’ve been developing your own principles. They are such a simple yet powerful way to live intentionally. I can’t wait to read your post when it comes out. Thanks for the comment and your brilliant blog.


  14. February 11, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Lovely post, Phil. Having a set of principles can really strengthen our resolve in pursuing whatever our mission is. I have several but my number one is to act from a place of love. For many years, I prioritized other things but in the last few years, to quote Lenny Kravitz, “let love rule” has proven to be a poweful principle.

  15. Phil
    February 12, 2010 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Belinda – I love that Lenny track – it is on permanent rotation on my ipod. Keep on spreading the love and thanks for the comment!


  16. Amy
    March 8, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    hi phil- this is a brilliantly inspiring list- my mantra is “I just want to live an extraordinary life” and I try to do that every day (some days are easier than others!)
    Keep on inspiring us…
    x amy

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