I recently heard author and motivational speaker, Simon Sinek, speak about his concept of “infinite organizations,” which are organizations built to create lasting impact beyond the lifetime of a single leader. After his talk I began to reflect and take his concept one step further and pondered what it would mean to live an “infinite life.” A life that creates ripple effects of value for ourselves and others during our lifetime and continues to leave a positive impact even when we are gone. As you prepare to make 2018 and beyond your best years yet, here are some things to think about:
When I think of individuals who have led an “infinite life” I think of individuals like Steve Jobs, who is no longer with us yet his technological contribution to the world still lives on and Anne Frank who left us at such a young age yet managed to leave a lasting impact on humanity with her honesty about her coming of age while in hiding. Or Nelson Mandela, who despite persecution and prison remained steadfast in his commitment to social justice.
Although these are all well-known names, there are countless “ordinary” people who live extraordinary lives and positively impact their families, communities and societies. The question is, how can we as ordinary people live extraordinary lives? I feel I still have a lot to learn but in my limited experience I have come to value the following principles to help me begin to build the foundation for an “infinite life.”
1. Have a Clear Purpose – Dr. Martin Luther King once said “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” In order to live an infinite life, I believe you must first clearly identify your purpose. Understanding your purpose will give you the motivation needed to keep pushing forward and will be the basis for what you leave behind.
For me, my purpose is broad…to lead the happiest, most fulfilling life and to help as many others do the same. I try to channel this purpose in everything I do. From as simple as being an encouraging friend, to a supportive family member, to an inspiring leader at work for over 200 employees, to an innovator who can potentially help millions of Americans build a stronger financial foundation for their lives through BankMobile.
Even when things don’t seem to be going my way, I sulk for a bit and then try to think of ways to transform this apparently “negative” situation into value for myself or others. Its amazing to me but since I have adopted this philosophy and life purpose I have seen my life attract so much good fortune as if the value I am working hard to create somehow also comes back to me. The universe is powerful and at times beyond the workings of our mind but I truly believe that if our purpose creates value for others that value will eventually trickle back to us in the most beautiful ways.
2. Never Remain Defeated –No matter how beat down or defeated you may feel at times, train yourself to pick yourself up. If you can pick yourself up, you can move forward to a bright future. It is a universal law that winter always turns to spring. Whatever you may be going through now will pass. Believe that with strong determination and courage you can change your circumstances. No matter what your present situation is, maintain hope. Hope is a powerful thing. Be certain that a wonderful future awaits you as long as you keep pressing forward. Such an attitude leads to miracles: ) Try it!
3. Show Gratitude Every Day – I’m sure by now you have read countless articles about the positive effects of gratitude on our overall well-being. I was astonished when author and motivational speaker, Shawn Achor shared that his research showed that only 10% of people’s happiness is based on their actual circumstances while 90% is determined by the way they perceive the world.
I often keep the following quote in my mind by Buddhist philosopher, Daisaku Ikeda: “The power of one’s state of life is indeed wondrous. The power of one’s inner determination is limitless. In identical situations or circumstances, people can achieve completely different results and lead completely different lives depending upon their life state and determination.”
By developing a life state grounded in gratitude we not only truly enjoy our own lives but are more likely to create an environment around us that is more joyful and positively impacts those around us.
4. Be a Constant Learner – They say knowledge is power. I believe it is so important to expand our minds with knowledge about the world so we can become more in tune of how we can create a positive impact through our daily activities personally and professionally. Now with thousands of podcasts and audiobooks available and news apps on every device, we can literally constantly be plugged into a source of knowledge whether we are commuting, exercising, going for a walk or getting ready for bed.
In addition to knowledge, I think its important for us to also expand our lives with “wisdom.” To me wisdom is different than knowledge. I view wisdom as a source of information that allows us to master the art of “living.” It helps us live more wisely, compassionately and courageously all which contribute to us leading happier, more fulfilling lives which will create ripple effects of value.
5. Have a Daily Practice – Whether it’s meditation, exercise, listening to music, or writing in a journal; we should employ a daily practice that will help us recharge our power source. This helps remind us of our purpose and how we want to live out the day. This will also naturally let the feeling of gratitude flow into our being. It is important to start the day with actions that will help us maintain the life state and energy we want to exude
6. Share Your Thoughts! – I would love to hear from you guys what you believe it takes to lead an infinite life. Let’s learn from each other!