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7 Steps to Master the Art of Living

The Masters in the Art of Living

"The masters in the art of living make little distinction between their work and their play, their labor and their leisure, their mind and their body, their education and their recreation. They hardly know which is which. They simply pursue their vision of excellence through whatever they are doing, and leave others to decide whether they are working or playing. To them, they are always doing both." -James A. Michener

1. Operate With Integrity

You make little distinction between your work and your play. The word integrity is derived from the latin word for "integer", which means "whole". (Thank you, fourth grade math.) If you are miserable at work, and only happy on the weekends, you cannot honestly say you are operating with complete integrity. You are two different people, like Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, and your life is painfully compartmentalized. You are inconsistent in who you are, and that inconsistency illustrates a lack of integrity. And when you do work you dread, you cannot say you are operating in alignment with your own values, vision, and mission. You are not being true to yourself, so how can you be expected to be true to others? But integrity invites every area of your life to be aligned with your core values, and you make little distinction between any particular area. You love them all, because they are all expressions of who you are and what you believe.

"When you are able to maintain your own highest standards of integrity - regardless of what others may do - you are destined for greatness." -Napoleon Hill

2. Love Your Work

You make little distinction between your labor and your leisure. The idea that work should be a chore, and you should squeeze the rest of your life in the margins . . . is deeply, deeply flawed. It's foolish to wait until the end of your life to start enjoying it. And since your work will take up at LEAST one third of it, why waste a second on doing what you don't love. Your work should be the highest expression of your passion, purpose and potential. It is not a punishment or necessary evil. And if it feels like it is, you're doing something wrong. 

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. -Steve Jobs

3. Take Care of Yourself

You make little distinction between your mind and your body.  You recognize that all the parts of you are integrally related. (See that "integer" theme again?) You cannot feed your body and starve your mind. Or fill your mind and neglect your body. They are equal spokes to a wheel, and we know what happens to a wheel when it's not balanced:  it falls apart. You have to nourish both your mind and your body with what you consume, rigorous exercise, and sufficient rest. And according to Criss Angel, "when the mind, body, and spirit work as one, anything is possible." 

"Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what's left of you." -Katie Reed

4. Learn For Fun

You make little distinction between your education and your recreation. And you derive unreasonable joy from growth, learning, exploration, and discovery. You live in constant curiosity. You are humble by what you know, and excited about what you don't (yet) know. You are never bored, because knowledge and understanding is infinite, and so is the pursuit of it. Education opens up entire worlds to you, ignites a sense of possibility, and energizes you for both your work and play. 

"And then I realized adventures are the best way to learn." -Anonymous

5. Live Your Values

You make little distinction between your love and your religion. Your faith, your values, and your belief system are woven into everything you do. Your work will be a reflection of your love, and your love will be a reflection of your religion. Your life will feel aligned, and you will be operating in sync with your core. Your religion becomes less of a theory and more of a love affair. Your religion isn't confined to Sunday mornings. It's in your words, it's in your passion, and it's in your unleashed potential. You will not just talk the talk, you will walk the talk. 

"Values are like fingerprints. Nobody's are the same, but you leave them all over everything you do." -Elvis Presley

6. Pursue Excellence

You pursue your vision of excellence in whatever you do. Every job is a self-portrait of the person who completes it. So, as the saying goes, "autograph your work with excellence." King Solomon, a man known for his timeless wisdom, also instructed that, "whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." We are, you see, what we repeatedly do. So excellence is not an act, but a habit. And as such, you pursue excellence with the same consistency, discipline, and self-control required of any hard-earned habit. And you will always leave every place and project better than you found it. 

"Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence." -Jessica Guidabono

7. Defy Expectations

You baffle people. They are never really sure what you're up to -- whether you are actually doing work, or just having fun. Well, the answer is "yes". Because you are always doing both. And you get so much joy out of what you're doing, people have a hard time equating it with work, but you accomplish so much that people don't understand how you actually have time to play. You're an "enigma" -- a (wo)man of mystery -- and there's something irresistibly intriguing about you. 

"Life is more fun when you stop caring what other people think." -Blake Mycoskie


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