Thinking Out Loud

Rules for Life

I’ve definitely reached a point in my personal and professional life where experience has taught me a few lessons and I’ve accumulated some of what my mom would call…”character”.

I am beginning to understand what I really believe in and what I think it important to me. I’ve also learned that you should listen to that little voice inside your head. Paying attention to that voice will keep you out of trouble. The other voice in my head is the one that pops up ‘after the fact’ to let me know that perhaps that wasn’t the wisest move or my finest moment, and i believe it is important to pay attention!

My inner voice has been shouting the following bits of advice to me and I’ve found when I ignore it, the situation usually doesn’t end well.

Mind your karma

By definition (in Hinduism and Buddhism) it is the sum of a person’s actions, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences or destiny. It seems that a lot of people seem to treat the concept of karma as ‘pay-back’ a kind of cosmic ‘eye for an eye’ where its all about revenge. When people talk about karma…its often in the context of  ‘karma will get you’…a type of a divine retribution. To me, I see the price of karma is a weight you have to carry. Its a blot on your conscious, a mark on your soul…like the proverbial albatross around your neck. Every time you do something that is not in tune with the ‘you’ that you should be, you have to own the responsibility for this. A lifetime of bad karma is something that will weigh you down and wear you out much more so than waiting for fate to ‘punish’ you for your sins. If our aim in life is to be the best versions of ourselves possible, the burden of bad karma is a heavy price to pay when we do something fundamentally wrong but it is how we learn to distinguish our own personal right from wrong.

Be careful with your words

To me this has two meanings…’your words’ are the things you ‘say’ and I don’t know too many people who aren’t guilty of thoughtless, heartless, impulsive words, whether it is in a moment of frustration or after a few too many drinks or perhaps when talking about someone behind their back. I guess in most cases the intent is never to cause harm, but to quote a song lyric “speak from the heart, not from the tongue” why not try to only use your words for good and (as we all were cautioned growing up) “if you haven’t got something nice to say…don’t say anything at all”

‘Your word’ is about credibility and reputation…are you a “man (or woman) of your word?” Can people trust you to do as you say you will or are you known as someone who cannot be relied on? Your reputation is everything and your word should be your bond

Be nice. Be kind

Let’s face it. Dynasty and disco died in the 80’s; the era of Alex­is Carrington is over. Some of the people I admire most in the world are the most generous and kind, proving that being nice and being successful do not have to be mutually exclusive.

I used to work with a girl who thought it was kind of cool to be known and remembered as the “mean girl” and although she always had lots of people around because sometimes mean is fun, it turns out in the end she had very few true friends!

Small acts of kindness and courtesy go a long way, so say please and thank you whenever possible. Manners are a simple thing to use and nothing annoys me more than rudeness

There is no elevator to success; you have to take the stairs.

I saw this on a poster years ago and it’s true. Hard work and dedication will get you to your goals; shortcuts and leeching off someone else won’t. My suggestion is just to accept that, settle in and do the work. If you do, you’ll realize that before you know it, the opportunities will start rolling in. One of my very good friends once said to me “Successful people do all the things that unsuccessful people cant be bothered doing” and in my experience it is so true.

Have good friends.

Friends (human or the furry kind) make life infinitely much better. They help keep you sane, are completely honest and have your back at all times. To have good friends, you’ve got to be one. It goes both ways. Good friends will understand you, forgive you and stick by you (even when you behave like an idiot)

Do your best.

Every day is different! Some days you roll out of bed feeling like you could take on the world and other days it’s a struggle just to get to the shower, but regardless its going to be a better day all round if you give it everything you’ve got. No matter what you achieve, if you gave it your all you will have a sense of satisfaction and a calm of knowing you “did your best”

Listen.

So many peo­ple are terrible listeners. Some feign interest while tuning you out, offer­ng a well-timed “mmm hmm” or “that’s crazy” for good measure. Others are too busy planning what they are going to say next. Then there are the egomaniacs who find every opportunity to refer the conversation back to their own experience. Don’t you just hate that? So the next time someone is talking to you, remember how it feels not to be heard – and then listen to them, completely.

It’s better to be over­dressed than under­dressed.

People will just assume that you’re just passing through on your way to somewhere more fabulous. You don’t have to be a make­up junkie to put your best face forward, but a little make­up never hurt anyone. There is something to be said for making sure you look your best at all times, that being said….the last thing you want is to look like a dog’s breakfast when you run into that cute guy you have been flirting with. At the bare minimum, wash your face, pull your hair back, mascara, lips, cheeks and brows. The goal is to look impossibly fresh like you just rolled out of bed looking that way.

Stay true to yourself

Don’t waste time, money or energy trying to be someone you’re not. Stay true to you and be your authentic self. Embracing/celebrating your uniqueness and being comfort­able in your own skin is the ultimate cool.

After all who cares what people think…as I get older I care less about what people think of or about me (or at least I try) so I do what feels right to me, when I want, how I want. Not recklessly mind you, I just do what I feel like doing without worrying what people think. Be yourself and ‘eff’ what everyone else thinks.

Your life is golden.

You know that saying that tomorrow is never promised? Well, people say it all the time because it’s not. Which is why you should always love the NOW that you are so blessed to have. Don’t let anyone bring you down and tell you otherwise. So, move to London. Jump out of planes. Shave your head. Have babies. Climb mountains. Whatever it is that makes you happy is what you should be doing. Trust me when I say this life is golden it’s the only one you have!

If all you do is look at life as all the things that have gone wrong, then you are doing a disservice to your being! By changing the way you look at things life can get better and your situation doesn’t seem THAT life threatening. Life is too short and to get the best of it, you have to SEE the best of it!

Be your own best friend.

If you can’t love and enjoy your own company, no one else is going to do it for you, plus why would people want to be your friend and hang out with you if you’re like the doomsday of life!) Learn to love and revel in yourself and everything else will fall into place. Yes, this includes a great careers, the love of your life, kids, friends and all those other things in life that you might think are unattainable

Life is short and before you know it, 15 years have passed, your family is all grown up, and your life has passed you by. Sometimes stopping to literally smell the roses will do wonders for your happiness and wellbeing. It can be stealing away into a nice bubble bath or a weekend at a spa. Whatever your pleasure is, take the time to enjoy YOU.

Nothing that anyone else says or does really has anything to do with you

I know this is a challenging concept for most people to take on, but other peoples reactions to you, your words, your actions and your choices have everything to do with them and very little to do with you. If you concentrate on being the best version of ‘you’ that you can, then you have no need to worry about the opinions of others. We all carry our own baggage and apply this to every situation and how people respond is totally their choice based on their emotions, thoughts and experiences. You can learn from the wisdom of others but remember that perspective is everything.

Your life…your choices

People make different choices. Don’t be jealous of another person’s life. Why? They chose differently. Those choices weren’t for you to make. If they were, you would have made them. Don’t try to be like someone else, that person is taken.

We are all pretty much where we got ourselves and we have the opportunity to make changes. Someone you might look at with envy or judgment is just living the life their choices have created for them…the power is in your hands.

I hate thinking what if? Maybe? I wonder…. I am a firm believer in that everything hap­pens for a reason BUT I also feel that if we don’t take those chances walk that new road, we will never discover out true potential. Yes, we make mistakes but those have proven to be great life lessons that I cannot nor would want to take back!

Live your life to the fullest exactly where you are right now. Yesterday is over, what happened two hours is over, and tomorrow who knows. But right now it’s your choice to be happy, sad, excited, frustrated, whatever emotion you want, it’s yours to choose. Just be sure to live it, accept it, be happy, choose love and most of all be present.

Fake it ’till you make it.

Little known fact: I’m shy; like, naturally introverted….often mistaken for snobbery or arrogance but actually good old-fashioned shyness! The thought of speaking to strangers freaks me out and often, I just want to be left alone. Fortunately, I can’t go through life hiding from mankind, so I’ve learned to fake being an extrovert. I smile, try to work the room, rely on self-deprecating humor all in an attempt to get out there. And you know what? I start believing that I’m this confident funny, sexy, witty, human being and my body language changes a bit. Before you know it, that awkward feeling goes into hiding and I’m actually having fun.

Read.

Pick up a news­paper and buy a few books (cook­books, self help books, romance novels, thrillers, whatever!). Nothing is better than getting lost in a good book and/or learning more about the world around you. Plus it gives you some­thing to talk about when stuck next to someone you don’t know.

Worry about yours and I’ll worry about mine.

I hate nosey gossipy people. Mind your own business. Worry about your own issues, and I’ll handle my business. Don’t poke and prod for information (clearly if I didn’t share that means I don’t want you knowing). This also goes for my shopping habit, what I eat, where i go on holiday, what I wear, what car I drive, and how I live my life. When you’re wanted, you will know.

If the Choo fits, wear it

I’m a shoe-aholic and my closet is proof of it. I’ve never met a pair I didn’t like or fall in love with. I think shoes really make the outfit and every woman should have a great shoe collec­tion at her disposable at all times. The best part about shoes… they always fit.

Learn how to make a good cocktail.

Everyone can open up a bottle of wine or make a vodka soda but if you can make a great cocktail then you’ve won points in my book. Next time you’re out at a bar, chat up the bartender and ask him how to make a martini. Pick up the ingredients and practice at home. It may take a few tries but once you nailed it, you and your loved ones will be happy.

Don’t assume

Some of the worst situations I have got myself into have come about when I have not communicated clearly! I say this all the time “it’s the shit you don’t say…not the stuff you say that will get you into trouble”. Never assume that you understand someone else’s position or opinion if you haven’t asked them and never ever expect anyone else to mind read yours!

Be honest with your­self about your body.

It took me years to figure this one out and I have the photos to prove it! At some point in your life you have to face the music, we all have parts of our bodies we love, and others we hate. So not every trend or style you are dying to try is going to work for you. Just like not every hairstyle will work with your hair

For instance I have a typically kiwi hips & thighs and I am never ever going to have a flat stomach (no amount of dieting or ab-rolling exercise is going to change that) A big part of grow­ing up is accepting yourself and not trying to fight what you have…or don’t have.

Don’t buy any­thing too tight and think you will one day fit into it. You won’t. You can always take something in. You can’t always let it out.

You have to appreciate and know your own individuality, to know how best to dress it up and show it off to the world.

Trash the ego.

I learned a long time ago that my ego was basically useless. There’s a big difference between decent self-esteem and acting based on ego, and I’m a firm believer that everything feels infinitely better when you’re willing to really put yourself out there, laugh at your own mistakes.

Laugh often, especially at yourself.

I try to do this often. Life at times can get quite serious, but for the most part, it is not. In order to get through the crazy times, sad times, embarrassing times, sometimes you just need to stop, and put things in perspective and laugh it off! It is all about perspective.

Beauty is as beauty does

Real beauty comes from within, it’s in how you treat people you interact with, how you carry your­self through life, how you behave in every circumstance. If you are a loving and kind person, that will elevate your pretty and cute all the way into beautiful, and it will radiate from inside you.

Positive energy attracts positive energy. It’s that simple and living this way will affect every aspect of your life: career, love, fa­ily and friends.

Be yourself

Another thing I have realized now that I am older is that I’m the only me I have. I have worked really hard and earned every line on my face. There is nothing I can do about them (well…except for the botox….hahaha!!) but suffice to say, I am very happy in my own skin. I have always been told I am too opinionated but you know what? I don’t care, because that’s what makes me ME. Being another version of yourself that you feel is popular, more acceptable, or more attractive than what you think you are, has got to be exhausting. I say what I think, cuss too much and spend too much money on shoes and there is nothing to be gained from suppressing that, so now I don’t!

Always give a proper hand shake.

I don’t think I can even fully explain how turned off I am by a man who shakes my hand with a limp wrist. The same goes for women, only I’ve noticed that women who don’t know how to shake hands often just give you the tips of their cold fingers. Not only is it rude, but it’s also gross. I don’t want to touch the tips of your nasty digits. Thanks. Long story short, if you don’t give me a proper hand shake, I will never take you seriously in life, career or otherwise.

Know that some­times revenge can be sweet but the BEST revenge is simply living well.

I first heard this motto during an episode of “Seinfeld,” and I’ve followed it ever since. Ok, try to follow it. It’s really, really hard, guys…but it’s the truth. I’ve encountered people in my life (as I’m sure you have as well) who have just been shitty to me, simply put. Sometimes I think back and wish I could just scream “Oh yeah?! Well look at me now!” But you know what? What would that really prove? That I like to brag? Sometimes, yes. By simply just living my own life, making my own choices and having fun, I’m getting all of the revenge that I really need, and that’s gratifying enough.

Never save your favorite possessions for special occasions – wear and love them every day.

When I was a little girl, I’d visit my grandma and was confused by the nasty cover over her perfectly lovely leather couches– she was always so afraid of getting it dirty that no one was allowed to breathe on it. As I grew up, I realized, we all have plastic-covered couches in our lives – perfume we save for date nights, lingerie or sheets we save for the right occasion. In my experience, that ultimately results in it being our very favorite items that we will never use! I wear my favorite lingerie even if I’m all alone in my apartment, watching soap operas and it always makes my evening feel just a little bit sexier!

Never underestimate the power of a smile.

Anyone ever tell you to smile until you mean it It’s a real thing! A few months ago, I took a meditation class and learned about the concept of the “yoga laugh” – basically, your body cannot tell the difference between a real laugh or a created laugh – so if you go through the motions of laughing, you really will begin to laugh and no matter what is going on, your mood will lighten, and you will begin to feel better. I’ve tried to incorporate that into my life as much as possible, and it really does work!

Live in the moment.

I believe there’s no time like the present. The past shaped us and the future is full of opportunity, but as we get caught up in what’s next we often miss out on the present. Once in a while, stop and look around to realize how awesome life is right now.

Take risks.

Whether it’s allowing yourself to fall in love, sporting a bold lip color for the first time or backpacking around South American on a budget… allow yourself to take risks. I took a chance on quitting a well paid corporate job to start Morgan & Morgan and never looked back. While it may be scary (it’s only human), risks can lead to great things!

Regret is pointless…you can’t get yesterday back. In fact, you can’t get the past 5 minutes back, so why spend another 5 minutes worrying about something that can’t be undone? In every experience there’s a lesson, so learn something and move forward.

Embrace color.

A lot of people swear by a closet of black and gray and it’s a pretty easy thing to do – you basically never go out of style. But it’s crazy how mixing bright colors into your wardrobe can not only make what you’re wearing more fun but it always brightens your mood (and makes other people smile). Even if you can’t commit to buying an entire piece of bright clothing, then just try a bright lip, a bright pair of shoes or even a scarf!

There are no secrets on the Internet.

None, whatsoever! Google knows all and sees all, and everything you put on Facebook becomes part of the public domain. Just before you hit the ‘post’ button, take just one second to consider whether this is the real authentic ‘you’ that you want the world to know about (forever) Big Brother is real, so be a lady, okay?