Sometimes you can find wisdom in places you don’t expect. It can come from a child who forces you to slow down and look at life from their perspective. Or a heated conversation that causes you to realize not everyone sees life from your point-of-view.
Of course, for many of us, our favorite place to find wisdom is in books. And I found a lot of it in a book targeted to writers titled Daily Writing Resilience, 365 Meditations & Inspirations for Writers by Bryan E. Robinson, PhD (also known as a Doctor of Philosophy).
What surprised me about this voluminous book of 365 tips is that 99% of the wisdom within it doesn’t apply just to writers. In fact, as I read the book, I realized the passages appealed to all people and that by dropping the words “writers” and “writing”, much of the tome’s valuable advice applied to everyone.
What you see below are 10 of Robinson’s life tips with his exact words in italics. In the passages that follow the italics, I’ve taken the liberty of doing a little editing of the author’s words and adding a few of my own, while keeping his intent. Enjoy.
10 Life Tips from Bryan E. Robinson, PhD
#1. Curb Your Perfectionism
Uncurbed perfectionism causes us to set unrealistic goals, try too hard, and over focus on our mistakes. It blinds us from seeing our strengths.
The only standard of perfection you have to meet is to be the best possible version of yourself. That means loosening perfectionism’s “iron-fisted grip’ and beginning the work of becoming yourself.
#2. Affirm Your Tallcomings
There’s a reason why the term tallcomings is not in Webster’s and shortcomings is. There’s no such word as tallcomings. I made it up because we tend to ignore our positive attributes and clobber ourselves with negatives.
While it’s important to recognize your limitations and failures, you can do it without dropping your head in your hands. To have an honest picture of yourself, you need to affirm the truth about who you are. This includes acknowledging your “tallcomings,” the many positive attributes you possess, as well as your shortcomings.
#3. Find Your Inner Sanctuary
The Rx for recharging our batteries is inner solitude. Within each of us there is a sanctuary to which we can retreat and gain insight and peace to help us navigate stressful moments. This inner stillness is a moment of reverie where neither thoughts or electronic devices are present.
You can create this inner place of calm, harmony, and peace anywhere, anytime: sitting at your desk and focusing on your breath for three minutes, meditating in a crowded airport, soaking in a warm bath. In this stillness, you rekindle your inner fire.
#4. Forgive Someone for Your Sake.
Are you eating rat poison, waiting for the rat to die? After a devastating experience, the hurt can morph into anger and cause us to become a storehouse of animosities. What purpose does this serve?Harboring resentments keeps the hurt at the center of your daily activities, depletes your energy, focuses you in a negative direction, and clogs your creativity. Releasing antagonistic feelings creates a vacuum that opens your portals, allowing positivity and your best self to emerge.
#5. Exercise for the Health of It
Physical exercise is a powerful remedy for stress relief, clear-mindedness, and productivity.
Make exercise the first thing you reach for before or after a long day. Instead of going to happy hour, go to the gym or take a walk. Studies show that regular exercise actually changes the molecular and cellular building blocks and slows aging cells. As one sage said, “if you can’t make time for exercise, you’ll need to make time for illness.”
#6. Make the Best of What Happens
If we can’t change our fate, our best option is to change our attitudes. That’s where our power lies.
When bad news comes, remind yourself that it isn’t final and you won’t have to stay in that place for long. Wait for it to pass, pinpoint the challenge contained in each negative situation, and ask, “What can I manage or overcome here?” or “How can I turn this matter around to my advantage?” What you learn from the situation will help you become a stronger person.
#7. Think with Your Heart
How often do we find ourselves overthinking our way through life, hemming and hawing over a decision? We need logic to a point, but too much reasoning can send our minds on a wild goose chase, lead to a whirlwind of confusion, and shut down our imaginations.
It’s important to know when to employ logic or cast it to the wind and think with your heart—the other knowing that exists outside of thought and reason. When you’re making decisions and the head and heart are in conflict, the heart rarely leads you astray. Once you consider the logic of a decision, add the test of closing your eyes, quieting the mind, and listening to what the heart says.
#8. Never Give Up
From the Chinese philosopher Confucius, who said, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop” to American inventor Thomas Edison, who said, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up,” the message has been the same. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
Everyone has days when hopelessness sets in. After a failure to achieve a goal, you may tell yourself you can’t go on and want to give up; it feels like that’s the only option. But it isn’t. You’re simply traversing a valley, a detour until you reach the mountain of success. Keep moving forward until the valley disappears.
#9. Honor Your Scars
The last thing people want to hear when we’re struggling uphill is that the journey will make us stronger. (But) when we strain against our limitations and burst through them, it enables us to grow and strengthen.
All of us have a bullet lodged somewhere in our hearts and souls—bullets that give us fodder for creativity and resilience. We can harness the strength that resides in those places where we feel broken, letting it drive us forward to success. As Earnest Hemingway said, ‘The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”
#10. Schedule Time to Quiet Your Mind
One of the best ways to quiet the mind is to set aside time for solitude and reflection.
Studies show that the contemplation of nature, meditation or prayer neutralizes stress hormones, putting the body at ease. You can achieve this state with the rush of a beautiful sunset, heightened bliss from deep meditation or a natural high that comes from spiritual connection through prayer. Make time for these moments to occur.