Eight Ingredients to a Life that Matters

Even the best of us can fall prey to equating success with money, but if you are committed to a happy, fulfilling life, the real success factors are those that can’t be bought.

I recently had the opportunity to attend a local seminar where Van Walthon expertly shared this wisdom with a good dose of humor, explaining his take on becoming successful: “The stuff that really matters most isn’t stuff.” Consider the following eight ingredients and where your own day-to-day recipe might need a little spicing up:

  1. Time: Do you feel accomplished at the end of each day? Do your investments of time each day reflect your values and your dreams? Walthon asks, “What is the best use of my time right now?”
  2. Relationships: If you aren’t a natural connector, don’t neglect this key ingredient! Who you know and how generously you have given to your relationships will equate with whether and how they share their own time, connections, knowledge, and talents with you.
  3. Knowledge: Walther stresses an important perspective: you were born a creative genius, so don’t sell yourself short. If you create a habit of learning, whether you enjoy reading, listening to podcasts, or watching videos,¬†you can continue to expand your horizons.
  4. Wisdom: Unlike knowledge, wisdom can only be cultivated through experiences, so take risks and experiment. Embrace your failures as lessons that will translate to wisdom.
  5. Talent: There is somebody in the world who would give every penny they have to have the talents you were born with. Invest your time and energy in those areas and you will realize enormous returns, especially in your quality of life.
  6. Character: Your character is carved like water bores through rocks. All of the mistakes, hardships, difficulties, and hard-fought wins can translate into integrity, dogged determination, accountability, and generosity. However, your attitude will ultimately determine whether your trials create future success or resentment.
  7. Attitude: Walther shared a quote from Viktor Frankl that is now hanging on my mirror: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.” Hopefully you are familiar with Frankl’s observations while at a Nazi prison camp. If not, make Man’s Search for Meaning the next book you read.
  8. Freedom: One of our close friends immigrated to the U.S. from Hungary as a teenager and his appreciation of every opportunity comes out in his resilience and excitement. He takes advantage of every freedom available to him and he has been a personal role model of how to live life fully. What opportunities are staring you in the face that you haven’t acted on?

These ideas are all well and good, but mean nothing unless you do something. I will be working on my attitude in response to challenge, starting with Frankl’s quote as a daily reminder. What will you do differently to create a life that matters?


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