1. Figure out why.
Ask yourself why you work for the insurance company. Ask yourself why you live in the city. Ask yourself why you married him. Answer the question with brutal honesty. If the answer is not LOVE, then quit. Move. Leave. Seriously. Find a way. Don't kid yourself. Love is the only good reason to do anything.
You gotta spend less cash and save more. I've learned this one the hard way. Looking back, all those possessions never helped. They just lead to more stuff. Pinch those pennies. Being thrifty is the new cool.
3. Quit boozing.
And smoking pot. And smoking butts. I don't even need to mention the powders, do I? Drugs give you nothing but a headache. NOTHING. Never have, never will. Forget cutting down. That's just an illusion. It maintains the farce that there's something valuable to be gained from a drug. There isn't. Quit today and you'll feel better than ever. Trust me, I'm living proof. (Call me if you want help. For real.)
4. Stand up straight.
Mom was right. Posture matters. Shoulders back. Chin up. Eyes up. It's easy AND it works.
This is not about sex. It's about attention. Human connection. We're monkeys; we need each other. Look that person in the eye. Compliment them genuinely. Stop talking about yourself. Ask questions and LISTEN.
When you do something well, pat yourself on the back. Tell yourself how kick ass you are. I'm not kidding. DO IT. Don't wait for other people. They're too busy. You gotta compliment yourself. Everyday.
Duh. (And you don't need a fancy gym. Try walking. Or a bike.)
8. Reach out.
If you're not Tweeting, Facebooking, Google+ ing, Linkedin-ing, blogging, Foursquaring, or YouTubing, then you better start. At the risk of re-stating the obvious, social media is here to stay. If you fear superficiality, or lack of privacy, or lack of interestingness then, pardon my French, get your head out of your ass. It's the way we monkeys communicate anno 2012. Despise it at your peril (but keep your eye on that privacy thing. The jury's still out on that one.)
Sit down. Close your eyes. Picture yourself singing that song tomorrow night. See the room. Hear the audience. Talk yourself through the experience, one step at a time, in the most vivid detail possible. Feel it. Smell it. Live it, in your head. When the real thing happens, your brain will go, "hey, I've been here before."
10. A risk a day keeps the doctor away.
Go tell her you love her. Start your own French traiteur in Amsterdam. Quit the big corporation that's giving you the run around. Make babies. WHATEVER. Find your own risk and bloody take it. TAKE IT NOW. All the cliches about the comfort zone are totally true. Get the hell out there and do something, man!
11. Embrace nervousness.
If you get nervous, be grateful. That beating heart? Those sweaty hands? That shaky tummy? All good, my friend. Being nervous means you're strong, not weak. Embrace it. Forever.
12. Fuck perfectionism.
We're flawed. Accept it. Your unpainted kitchen cabinets? Your kids' potty mouth (I wonder where they get it?) Your unsatisfied customer? Learn what you gotta learn and then celebrate your imperfection. It's what makes you interesting.
We've all got issues. We've all messed up. I don't care what it is, you gotta forgive yourself for it. Just say the words, "I forgive myself. It's OK." Et, voila. Make sure you mean it though. Truly, genuinely, wholeheartedly mean it. You can't fake it. Forgive yourself for that thing you did. Today.
Commit to something selflessly. I don't mean stuffing five euros into a can to support the hungry kids in Somalia. I mean actually giving your time, your energy, your heart to an activity. Coach the kids. Tutor at the school. Clean the playground. Volunteer at a hospice. Something. Anything.
15. Refuse to participate in the culture of fear.
Fear sells. Now more than ever, it seems. Yes, it's a jungle out there. I know. But you've got a choice, regardless of your politics, religion, social class, or background. You can choose LOVE over fear. HUMANITY over hate. BROTHERHOOD over alienation.
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