On personal philosophies and life lessons.

You have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do. Act accordingly. - Colin Wright. 

Act accordingly

(This is a guest post + giveaway by Colin Wright.)

Just as our philosophies shape us, we shape our philosophies, deciding along the way who we are and how we want to express that to the world through our actions.

I was brought up Catholic.

That shaped a lot about my childhood, and no doubt still influences a lot of what I do today, if subtly.

It’s been thirteen years since I decided to change course, and I still get some of that Catholic guilt from time to time.

Figuring out who you are and where you stand on important issues is tricky, post-religion or not. There are no easy answers, and you’re forced to step back, take stock, and really figure out who you are and what you believe.

The responsibility is in your hands, and your hands alone.

And if you’re anything like me you’re not quite sure what to do with it at first. It’s a heavy burden. You look around for answers, and might walk in quite a few directions before you find a template to start building upon.

For me, that meant reading up on other faiths and belief systems and figuring out which pieces made sense for me. I discovered a lot that resonated, and tried different guidelines on for size, keeping some and discarding others.

It’s an ongoing process, and to this day, this many years later, I still look at it as less a set of tablet-chiseled laws and more a collection of good ideas that I know make me happy, and allow me to better pursue my own happiness in a way that enables others to do the same.

Defining the broad strokes is probably the hardest part of the process, especially if you’re trying to do so in a way that makes sense to others if you try and tell them about it.

It took me years to figure out that being happy and helping others do the same was a key component of what I valued, for example, and that viewing people as people first — rather than a collection of other attributes we use to segregate ourselves — was important to me.

Humanism.

It’s an imperfect term, because of all the historical baggage it brings with it, but it’s very close to what I want to express, and an excellent shortcut term. Look for shortcuts like that, but don’t cram yourself into a round hole if you’re a square peg.

The more you live a philosophy — understand what it is and try to adhere to it, despite the lack of an authority figure threatening you with punishment should you fail to do so — the more you refine it. Wear down the rough edges so that there’s less friction between you and living according to your philosophical ideals.

This sanding process led me to take apart the life I was building in Los Angeles, running a successful branding business and rushing headlong toward early retirement.

It had been a while since I stopped to reassess the path I was on, and it turned out as soon as I did, it quickly became clear that my priorities had changed.

The philosophies by which I was living my life were not synchronous with the philosophies I supposedly believed it. I stopped and re-calibrated  which resulted in my getting rid of everything that wouldn’t fit into a carry-on bag, scaling down my business, and hitting the road for a life of full-time travel.

I’d be lying if I told you it was easy.

I knew what would put me back on track, but that didn’t mean it was a cakewalk to tear down everything I’d worked so hard to build and start from scratch.

Sometimes sacrifices must be made on the way to philosophical fulfillment, and thankfully the rewards are worth the strain you face along the way.

Today, I’m happy to be able to say I’ve never been more philosophically satisfied.

I’ve figured out a way to do what I love, sustain it economically and mentally and physically, and share my work and experiences with others. It’s an imperfect kind of perfection, because I know it will change, just as it always has in the past.

But I actually look forward to those shifts: that my guidelines remain malleable and change with me means that they’re alive, not stagnating.

It means that I haven’t stopped growing.

The philosophies I adhere to today shape me, and will continue to do so in the future. And so long as I continue to be honest with myself, learn along the way, and share what I can with others (and accept what they have to share in return), I feel pretty damn certain the benefits of being morally mindful will just get better and better.

From time to time, take a step back and look at your big picture.

Who you are, who you want to be, who you seem to be through your actions, and how that reflects and adjusts who you are over time. If these things don’t align, do your best to figure out why, and how to rearrange (or change) them so they do.

There’s no right or wrong way to be, unless it’s out of sync with who and what you intend to be.

Take it all in, set your path, and very intentionally become the person you’ve always meant to be. 

Colin WrightColin Wright is a 28-year-old author, entrepreneur, and full-time traveler.

For the past four years he’s moved to a new country every four months based on the votes of his readers, where he does his best to live like a local, meet amazing people, and experience new things.

He’s published 12 books, and is the co-founder of Asymmetrical Press.


And now, for the goodies!!

Colin is giving away 3 kindle/ePub/PDF copies of his book Act Accordingly, to 3 kickass YLYW readers. Leave a comment below and tell us what the best version of YOU would look like to be in to win, Sparklepants (even if you’re not totally sure what that is yet). Oh & please like, tweet, pin, G+, send a message in a bottle to share this post, thanks!

About the book: Act Accordingly is a philosophical framework, intended not to serve as a one-size-fits-all template for living, but rather a set of tools that allows a person to craft and hone a philosophy that perfectly aligns with their background, experiences, goals, and ideologies. Covering topics ranging from confidence to logos to cultural relativity, Act Accordingly is a concise read for people who want to become the best possible version of themselves, but are not sure how to get started.
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  1. Kathy Knight says

    I’m not quite sure what the best me looks like. I’m still working on it. So far, I know I am at my best when I am happy, when I am doing things that make me feel good about myself–whether it’s the dishes that need doing, or beading a new piece of jewelry. My best me is the happy me.

    • says

      That’s great, Kathy! In fact, you did just tell us what your best self looks like – you, happy :). How does it get any better than that, ay? Just a matter of knowing your values, stakes in life, personal philosophy, and living by them. Thanks for sharing, mucho good energy to you.

  2. Diana says

    The best version of me… well I’m still figuring out a lot about who I want to become, but so far I know I want and need to spend more time doing the things I am passionate about (which is becoming easier, because only now I am beginning to realize what I AM passionate about), and I’ve already gotten pretty good at choosing to be happy every day, over and over again – and that’s something my best self will continue doing, and even improve at.
    I guess my best self also feels her feelings, and is grateful, and doesn’t judge others, and gets things done before taking breaks, and loves herself unconditionally, and loves others the same way.
    Just the things that I have noticed making me happy and making me come alive – my best self does them, often and with pleasure.
    Still on the journey, but I am confident that I am walking in the right direction (and frankly, I’m enjoying the view a lot, too).

  3. Kristen says

    I have spent many hours trying to find what truly resonates with me, in terms of what my purpose is. Up til now, my life has been a roller coaster with many twists and turns. I feel as if I have been sent here to help others and in my heart if hearts that makes me happy. However, I dont feel “my life” has yet started. I am 28, Ive worked tirelessly and dont have anything to show for it. I cant even make enough to get a place of my own and I am stuck. Its almost as if I am behind glass, watching everyone live their lives. Meanwhile, I have nowhere to move. No matter which direction I try to go. So….I suppose the best version of me would be out in the world accomplishing all I have wanted to accomplish. Taking care of my family and their needs. Making people happy. Leading a fulfilling life of which I can truly be proud and leaving an imprint on this world somehow.

    • says

      Hey Kristen! Congrats, you win one of the copies! Email me at tia at coachtia.com please, so I can send you the links. Thanks :) Tia.

  4. Melissa says

    I’m at what I consider a pivotal point in life and focusing on what life really means to me. Time is a gift not to be taken for granted! Time spent in prayer, time with family & friends, time at work, time doing nothing, etc..each of these are what allows me to define who I am. Discovering life each day brings with it happiness, joy and sorrow. Which with an open mind, heart and soul I am striving to become a better person each day. As for ME…the best is yet to come and I can’t wait!!!

  5. says

    Colin you are only 28 and have 12 books published so far….WOW!!!! I am impressed – well done. As for what the best version of myself is well I have come to the conclusion that the best version of me is the one that you see right here today. I don’t say that easily as it is always tempting to believe that there is a BIGGER and BETTER version of me ‘out there somewhere’ HOWEVER it is becoming important, if not vital for me, to learn to be happy with who I am RIGHT NOW and to embrace the doubts, insecurities and uncertainties that are a part of that. Quite honestly I have become tired of striving to become something that perhaps I already am? I’m at a bit of a turning point – not even sure if this makes any sense but there it is. Thanks for your post.

  6. Bev says

    I am now retired and trying to put everything I have learned in my life so far toward improving myself. I would weigh 50 pounds less, stand taller and straighter and prouder. I want my self-confidence to show. Improvements in my habits and routine and self-discipline would be obvious. I will use action and accountability to make all my goals and plans and dreams come true. The best version of me would include the unconditional love of a man I admire and enough money to travel to Italy, Switzerland, Germany and England. I am working daily on being positive and committed to living happy and healthy and improving myself. I also hope to share my attitude and outlook and love and knowledge with my family and friends.

    • says

      I love your clarity, Bev! One of the copies is yours! Please email me at tia at coachtia.com so I can send you the links. Thanks :) Tia.

  7. says

    The best version of me is when I am experiencing and creating joy, love and peace in my life while serving others in an empowering and fulfilling way. Sometimes that takes form in raising my two little men. Or when working with clients to improve their health and happiness. Sometimes it is in the rare quiet moments I get for myself to read or reflect. It is always when I sing. My goal is to do as many of these each day, connecting with as many people as I can with love, with positive energy and a warm smile. A good cup of coffee and an ocean breeze are icing on my cake!

    Light and love!

  8. says

    I loved this account! Thank you for writing it, Colin, and for sharing it, Tia.
    The best version of me would listen to the feedback from her body all the time. She would mostly exist in that energy space where she is minding her own business (not that of others or of God) and looking after herself. That would put the best version of me in the excellent position to be of service to others.
    Great question.

  9. Suzanne says

    The best version of myself is someone who can use my creativity to inspire and motivate others…sharing my knowledge and support.

  10. Ruth says

    The best version of me is excited for work in the morning, runs often, smiles A LOT, and is generous with her time and heart.

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