How To Love Your Life

Three girls in a sunflower field

Three girls standing and smiling in a sunflower field

By Sam Makhoul

I’ve been asked time and time again, what are some of the practical things people can employ to be happier and more successful on a day-to-day basis? To begin with, focussing on the below eight areas will provide you with an excellent foundation for personal and professional success. 

Here’s how:

1. Health:

Cherish your body. Nothing else matters more. Focus on the energy you have. Eat well, exercise and relax daily. Fill your daily life with purposeful activities that give your body a reason to manifest energy.

2. Love:

Love yourself by looking after your health and guarding your mind against negative images, negative thinking and negative associations. Look your best by wearing clothes that make you feel attractive. Have the courage to show and give love to your life partner, whether or not they give it back. Tell your partner daily what you love about them – these words are powerful. Work just as much on your love life as you do on your work.

Family cuddling

3. Family

Support your family at all times. Give them the confidence to pursue their goals and dreams. Help them overcome obstacles. Focus on their strengths and good qualities. Remind them daily of their worth. Tell them you love them no matter what happens – whether they succeed or fail at anything. Spend time developing a relationship with all family members.

4. Work:

Choose to love your work. Always do your best. Focus on the difference that your product or service is making to society. Have empathy for your customers. Value the privilege of serving them from the heart. Be grateful that you live in a society where there is the opportunity to work. At all times be honest in the execution of your work. Master your job by constantly learning and evolving. Always ask yourself, “can I do this job better?” Be impeccable in your conduct at work. Be fearless in your execution.

5. Friendship:

Let your words, laughter and charm bring a smile to others. Help your friends see the lighter side of life and not take themselves too seriously. Act with integrity and hold true to your standards and beliefs. Never compromise them to be popular. Never pre-judge others. Be open to new friendships. Always greet people with a smile and a friendly hello. How others respond is their own reality and has nothing to do with you.

Man reading a book and drinking coffee

6. Learning

Commit to 45 minutes of learning daily about every aspect of your life and not just your work and wealth. Limit watching TV and other popular media. Watch uplifting talks by great thinkers on TED.com. Read books from pioneering minds. Attend courses and seminars organised by people who care and have something unique to share. Listen twice as much you talk. Discover your talents by having self-awareness for your thoughts and feelings. Live a conscious life where you decide what you want to listen to, read and watch. Develop a growth mindset.

7. Wealth

Invest in yourself first before you invest your money. If you have a business invest in your own field of dreams first before investing with others on the stock market. Live a frugal lifestyle and reduce your dependence on money. Spend less, save more. Say no to consumerism and your addiction to buying more and more things that end up collecting dust or in the landfill. Spend money on experiences. But don’t skimp on things that improve your life like better quality food or better quality education for you and your children.

8. Charity:

Learn about the plight of others in need. Don’t shut yourself out to other people’s suffering. Help others by giving your time and/or money. Charity does not have to be grand. A simple kind word of support is sometimes all that someone needs. Help a team member at work.  Share an idea that can help a friend live a better life or simply listen to them without distraction.

The Rich Get Richer – The Wise Get Wealthier

Two people shaking hands

Image of two hands holding each other

By Sam Makhoul

A dear friend of mine is slowly climbing out of a financial mess. He had invested his time, money and energy in the wrong areas and then, unfortunately, lost much of his savings.

He put his life on hold for much of the decade. He worked tirelessly because his plan was to make enough money so he could eventually retire and spend time travelling with his wife and being happy.

The following is a snapshot of what I shared with him – hopefully it will also help someone you know who may be experiencing some uncertainty:

“Imagine if you were a tall beautiful tree with two branches. The left branch reaches high into the sky with a barren trunk and the most abundant fruit is sitting at the very top.

“The right branch reaches away from the left branch but then curls back towards it at the very top. This right branch has an abundance of lower-lying fruit scattered throughout and is easier to climb.

“This ‘money’ tree is a metaphor for creating wealth. The left branch represents investing your money in shares, bank deposits or real estate.

“The right branch is where you invest in yourself. I see so many people trying to climb the left branch too early in life and then fall.

“They lose their money and become despondent. They end up quitting on the idea of being rich.

“The mistake they make is this. The left branch may or may not make you rich, but it will never make you wealthy. Only the right branch can do that.

“Being rich gives you money, but being wealthy gives you freedom. The irony is that most wealthy people I know have both freedom and money, and they all have one thing in common.

Being rich gives you money, but being wealthy gives you freedom

“They invest in themselves by climbing the right branch first. What does it mean to invest in yourself?

“It means to spend your time, energy and money improving the following areas of your life: health, love, family, work, friendships, learning and showing charity to others. As you invest more and more in these areas, you are climbing your way up that right branch and getting closer to the top of the left one.

“A funny thing happens when you actively live your best life. You put yourself in a position to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way.

“When you live a complete life that makes you happy, healthy and loved, you start to develop a positive frame of mind and a warm attitude. This attracts good things and good people to you.

“These often come with opportunities to work and invest in new ideas that excite you and make money for you. Then, and only then, should you invest some of your time and money on the left branch.

“Whether you make money or not, you will always have your wealth. No one can ever take that away from you.”

7 Morning Rituals for Success

Coffee mug that says begin

Alarm clock

By Sam Makhoul

Developing a ritual for the first 30-45 minutes of your day can be the difference between a mediocre life and a motivational one. I (Sam Makhoul, founder of A Higher Branch) created a morning ritual that sets me up mentally and emotionally to tackle the day like an athlete.

I follow this ritual no matter where I am in the world – workdays, weekends or on holidays. You should develop a set of rituals that work best for you.

Check out the go-to seven-morning rituals that set me up for a day of success.

Morning Ritual 1: Deep Breathing:

Lady taking a deep breath

Start the morning by going outside, barefoot on the grass. Breathe in for three seconds, hold in for four seconds and out for five. Do this five times and set reminders to do this throughout the day to combat shallow breathing.

Deep breathing oxygenates your cells and signals your mitochondria to release energy. Do it frequently with tall stretches to really feel the benefits.

Morning Ritual 2: Morning Detox Elixir:

Lemon in a glass of water

Drink your first litre of water within the first hour of the day, dehydration means low energy. Don’t reach for a coffee when you wake up, water is cleansing and helps activate your metabolism.

My morning elixir recipe has helped me to avoid cold and flu for the past 12 years. It’s made up of:

  • A cup of warm/hot water
  • Lemon juice
  • Turmeric
  • Crushed ginger

Sip this during your morning routine before you leave the house.

Morning Ritual 3: Supercharge Your Central Nervous System:

Personal trainer helping a man do a push up

Either jog for 15 mins or do five minutes of push-ups or squat jumps, followed by a semi-cold shower or a swim. It’s cold in winter, but the effects of cold water are invigorating and much more sustainable than caffeine.

Morning Ritual 4: Meditation Is Detox For The Mind:

Man sitting on a rock meditating

Spend 10-15 minutes meditating using the Headspace app. This helps you filter out any background noise and helps you zone in on what’s important. It also helps you live in the moment for the rest of the day so you can really listen to people.

Morning Ritual 5: Journaling Is Clarity:

Lady journaling in the morning with coffee

Spend five minutes re-reading your goals and your bucket list and then write and visualise what you want to achieve for the day. Not just for work but in all aspects.

For example; what you will eat, when you will exercise and plan your social agenda with family and friends. You should also use the journal to reflect on how you feel if something is bothering you.

It helps you witness and process your feelings. We all experience negative emotions, the key is what you do with them.

Morning Ritual 6: Prepare And Pack:

Two containers of food

The most common reason people don’t eat well or exercise is that they are unprepared. Taking 20 minutes to prepare food and workout gear is probably the best thing you can do to set up your day. My prep includes a superfood smoothie for breakfast that I sip throughout my morning containing a combination of nutrients.

Morning Ritual 7: Podcast Your Commute:

Headphones plugged into a phone listening to podcasts

Podcasts and audiobooks are a great way to learn and grow whilst making use of dead time like travel time. Some of my favourite podcasts are The Tim Ferris Show, TED Talks Business, TED Talks Health and Comedy Central Stand-Up.

At A Higher Branch, we also have our own podcast that features many thought-leaders from Australian and across the globe. There are thousands of podcasts and audiobooks to choose from.

Why Forgiveness Is Essential to Your Success

Sign saying forgive

Image of the wording "forgive:

By Dr. Guy Winch

However you define your success and wealth, one thing is for certain, you can never achieve it if you are not grateful for the present and have a clear vision for your future. A vision without current state gratitude only leads to anxiety, and gratitude without a vision for the future inevitably leads to stagnation and general apathy.

What Does This Have To Do With Forgiveness?

You cannot practice gratitude and have a beautiful vision for your future if you are hanging onto past grudges and regrets. You simply cannot. Gratitude and vision can only be effective if they are felt in your body.

If your body is filled with pain and blame there is no room to feel gratitude for the present and excitement for the future. Therefore, you need to release yourself from the prison of your past.

Symptoms:

Whatever affects your emotions affects your body. Your body holds onto emotions and this is often reflected in posture and tight areas such as the neck, jaw, back and hamstrings.

Here are more insidious symptoms: 

  • Anxiety and stress
  • Quick to get angry
  • High blood pressure
  • Poor sleep
  • Lower immune function
  • Increased risk of depression
  • Significant decrease in energy levels 

When you let go and forgive something or someone (including yourself) from the past, the reversal of these symptoms can sometimes be instant.

How Do You Practice Forgiveness?

Forgiveness does not mean showing weakness or condoning wrongdoing. We can forgive someone without excusing their behaviour.

Forgiveness is not the same as reconciling. Reconciliation may follow forgiveness, but we can forgive without re-establishing the relationship.

Forgiveness is not based on the other person apologising. It does not mean forgetting or pretending it didn’t happen and it doesn’t mean trust either. Trust needs to be earned.

There is one powerful practice you can learn that can completely release you from your past. It is founded on the principle that forgiveness is not about changing the past, it’s about changing the future.

This practice needs to be communicated by a trained professional. It is not something you can coach remotely or on a YouTube tutorial.

It is highly personal and based on your genetic propensity; your unique emotional state and what you need to let go of. In other words, forgiveness is something that needs to be practised.

Written by Dr Guy Winch. Check out his profile here.