Adapted from the Basic Goodness blog.
1. Be fearless
Being fearless does not mean being without fear, being fearless means admitting your fears and going beyond them. A courageous person is not in denial of his or her fears, holding up a mask of invulnerability but is willing to face their fears and work on them. They have the courage to do things that frighten them when the situation calls for it. They know that the path towards fearlessness is endless.
2. Be resilient
A person should be flexible and reliable at the same time. If necessary they can start all over again at any given moment. Whatever happens; their house was burnt down, their crop failed, they lost their job: even if they have mourning to do they start all over again. Accept fate but don’t become a victim of it.
3. Live, speak and listen from the heart
Do not hide feelings and intentions. Do not be afraid to be gentle nor afraid to be sad. Be in touch with your emotions and be able to express them. Have the courage to live your dream and the space to listen compassionately.
4. Own your anger
Transform your anger into compassion. You can be angry, strong, decisive and courageous. Your anger serves your presence and the presence of others. It is not a humiliating or destructive type of anger. The latter happens when a person is a slave to their anger, that’s the anger of the coward trying to overcompensate their feelings of inferiority. This is just as sad as a person completely disconnected from their anger. Mature anger, on the other hand, is a big turn on.
5. Make meaning
Try not to become a person of success, try to become a person of value. Einstein said that. I think that’s true and important. If you fill your days with doing something that pays the bills but is essentially meaningless you are wasting your precious life. Yes, even if it pays the bills so handsomely that you can spend 2 months per year on adventurous holidays and eat in fancy restaurants, you are still wasting your life. A person with values has the balls to travel outside their comfort zone to make a sincere attempt to contribute to mankind. He or she works for the greater good instead of for the sake of protection of their self image and clinging to the illusion of safety.
6. Own your edge
This life is a journey and we all are somewhere on our path. Be honest about where you are at in your development. Don’t pretend to be wiser or more evolved than you actually are. Don’t shrink so that others won’t feel insecure around you. Know your strengths and your weaknesses and do not be ashamed of either. That there is always work to do should be a given. Know where you have your work to do and be willing to listen and learn from those who have done that work.
7. Be vulnerable
A coward is always trying to hide their weak spots, a real person works on them. They are willing and able to reveal themselves even in the midst of pain. They are vulnerable because they want to be vulnerable. By opening up in every moment they are continuously practicing their courage. It’s a way of defeating cowardice.
8. Practice a martial art
When push comes to shove every person should be able to defend themselves, the people they loves, and their honor. Just like we teach our children to swim to prevent them from drowning, a person should know at least enough basic fighting skills so they can throw a punch in case of an emergency. They have spent enough time in a ring or dojo to ensure a deescalating presence. They do not panic, are not easily provoked and have some strength and skills.
9. Have a sense of humor (don’t take yourself so seriously!)
A real person can hold both the utter importance and the utter unimportance of life at the same time. They can see their own failures and flaws and joke about that. Since they know their self-image is just an image they feel no need to defend that image. They can uplift a tense situation with a joke, but they aren’t the immature joker that abuses humor as a tool for escaping intimacy or sabotaging intensity. They have the capacity to light up the room and embrace life.
10. Develop body, mind and spirit
Be devoted to the development of body, mind and spirit. Not to stay ahead of other people, not out of fear of being defeated, but because you have more to offer when you are healthy and present. Taking care of your body makes you fit and strong. Taking care of your mind makes you clever and sharp. Taking care of your spirit makes you wise, warm and compassionate. Know that your body and mind are mortal but that the love you spread during your life remains.
11. Be real
In the end, know that you are just a person. A real person does all these things because that’s what they are: a human being. They have basic human needs and inclinations just like everyone else. But someone trying to be real is just doing their best to make the most of life and have some fun while doing that. Their sweat is honest. Their heart is open. Their back is straight.