Following your heart is a key to living a fulfilling life. Without following your heart, you may do things the right way only to find later that you’ve chosen the wrong things to do in the first place. You may live to meet other people’s expectations without ever finding what matters to you. At the end, you just live someone else’s life without ever living yours. Scary.

Follow your heart That’s why it’s important to follow your heart. In fact, I believe it’s one of the most important lessons for an effective life. The obvious next question is how.

From my experiences, here are some tips to listen to and follow your heart:

1. Align your heart with the right direction

If you have a compass, you need to be sure that it points to the right direction. To do that, you should ensure that there is no magnetic field around that can alter its direction. Similarly, you should ensure that your heart points to the right direction. Prevent other things from deviating it.

In my opinion, this is where spirituality comes into play. Spirituality helps you align your heart with the right direction. So hone yourself spiritually. Depending on your belief, you could pray, meditate, or read spiritual texts.

2. Trust your heart

This step is essential. Without trusting your heart, it will be difficult for you to follow the next tips. After all, how can you follow your heart if you don’t even trust it?

This step, of course, is not easy. Many people trust their mind more than their heart. But somehow your heart knows what is right, while your mind often just rationalize things to meet your or other people’s expectations. There is a huge difference between them.

The first tip above (align your heart with the right direction) plays a big role here. If you know that your heart is well-aligned, you will have a strong reason to trust it.

3. Forget your plans (at least for a while)

To follow your heart, you should not let your mind get in the way. One manifestation of your mind is your plans. So forget your plans, at least for a while. This way you free your mind to listen to your heart without being limited by your current plans.

4. Open your mind to new possibilities

Continuing the previous tip, to follow your heart you should open your mind to new possibilities. Often your heart will tell you something that is beyond what you can currently see. If you do not open your mind to new possibilities, you may not be able to perceive it. Even if you hear it, you may soon discard it because it doesn’t make sense.

5. Calm down

The voice of your heart is often just a whisper, so you need to first calm the other voices, especially the voices of your mind. You may want to close your eyes and take a deep breath to calm down your mind. Or you may want to meditate.

6. Listen to the small voice within you

Now that you’re calm and your mind is open, you can listen to the small voice within you. What does it say regarding the decision you want to make?

A sign that it’s the voice of your heart is you know it is right. You may not be able to explain why. You just know that it’s right.

7. Be careful of rationalization

The perpetual enemy of listening to your heart is rationalization. After you listen your heart says something, your mind will soon try to rationalize things. It may give you reasons why you should not do that or why you won’t be successful. For this reason, the first glimpse or impression you get is usually the right one. The later ones might have been polluted by rationalization.

8. Build the courage to follow your heart

After you know what your heart is saying, the difficulty lies in following it. Often following your heart takes courage to do something unpopular or even irrational. You might not have the courage to follow your heart right away, especially for big decisions in life. That’s fine. You could practice with smaller decisions. Just build the courage to follow your heart over time and be careful not to let rationalization comes and distracts you.

***

I’m not against being rational. Being rational is good and often necessary. But I think your heart should have higher priority than your mind. It should have the ability to override what your mind is saying. If your mind goes hand in hand with your heart, that’s good. But if it doesn’t, your heart should have the final say. After all, living your own life is much better than living someone else’s, no matter how good the latter is.

Photo by aussiegall


Categories: Attitude, Purpose

Please use your real name and note that I reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

  • johan

    “After all, living your own life is much better than living someone else’s, no matter how good the latter is. ”

    but why?

    my emotions, feelings, subconsciousness – my heart, so to speak – is just chemistry anyways. maybe the life of someone else in essence really is better for me, I just don’t know about it.
    I totally agree with you. most of the time the subconsciousness just really outsmarts your consciousness. but it just still somehow keeps me unsatisfied…
    but yeah i like your blog really =) keep it up

    • Rami meged

      I am having some trouble within my self fallowing my heart about a woman that I love very much and care about her dearly. I would like to have a dis cation about it with somebody.

    • Arun

      It doesn’t matter that our emotions and what not are comprised of other things (chemistry). Everything is the product of smaller things, and those smaller things come together to make larger things. I could point at someone and say that they’re just a walking pile of cells and DNA and what not, or I can point to them and say that they’re a mother, an athlete, a part of X corporation, etc. etc.

      It’s not that either observation is incorrect or correct, it’s just how things are. Everything is built from something else, and its been built to become something that’s the great sum of its parts. That’s the magic :)

  • http://www.selfgrowth.com/experts/stanley_f_bronstein_mr_achievement.html MrAchievement – Stanley Bronstein

    Those who refuse to hear a shout may struggle to hear a whisper .,,

    You are so correct. Listen to your heart.

    Stanley F. Bronstein
    Mr. Achievement
    Attorney, CPA, Author & Professional Motivational Speaker

  • Tiago

    I agree with you, that one should hear to the heart.
    The other tips are also valuable.

    However…
    “The heart is deceitful above all things
    and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it?”
    this is very true also.

    And about living your own life one must also be carefull, it can be a pitfall, a reason to stop learning, stop changing habbits, and stop growing…

    anyway, generally i liked this post a lot

  • http://justakrusen.blogspot.com Mark Krusen

    Home is where the heart is. I just hope my heart is a home for God. Thanks for the thought provoking post again.

  • http://www.jjaegers.qhealthbeauty.com Joe Jaegers

    The heart(guiding spirit) has choices driven by the values established by belief systems. The stronger and clearer the value system the more consistent and true the decisions of the heart. Although in the past I have thought of being guided by the heart as a comfortable easier way of leading one’s life, I have now come to believe it is a considerable though rewarding type of work. Just my rambling thoughts for what it is worth.

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    Johan,
    I believe everyone is unique, so no other people’s life can be better than yours. While their life may seem good, that is not the best for you.

    Stanley,
    Yes, listening to our heart is an art we should all learn to master.

    Tiago,

    The heart is deceitful above all things
    and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it?

    This is why I think we should align our heart with the right direction (tip #1). Otherwise our heart could be deceitful as you pointed out.
    And you’re right; we must be careful in living our own life. We should follow our life purpose, but we should never be exclusive and narrow-minded.

    Mark,

    I just hope my heart is a home for God.

    That’s a nice thought. I love it.

    Joe,

    The stronger and clearer the value system the more consistent and true the decisions of the heart.

    I agree with you. It’s our responsibility to build stronger and clearer value system and that requires work.

  • Linda

    Hi Donald,

    I realized that my heart was leading me one way, but I didn’t have the courage to follow through — but now I do :-).

    This book helped me process what my mind needed to do, so that I could follow my heart — “Live What you Love” by Bob and Melinda Blanchard. It’s realistic advice for making small or large changes in your life and helped me recognize and overcome the fears that had paralyzed my following my heart’s desires.

    Linda

  • http://www.selfgrowth.com/experts/stanley_f_bronstein_mr_achievement.html MrAchievement.com (Stanley Bronstein)

    I’m posting a link to this article in my blog, on Friday, as one of my top picks for the week.

    Stanley F. Bronstein
    MrAchievement
    Attorney, CPA, Author & Speaker
    Official Guide to Achievement on SelfGrowth.com

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    Linda,
    I’m glad to hear that you now have the courage to follow your heart :) Not many people can do that. Also thanks for the book recommendation. I’ll check it out.

    Stanley,
    Thanks! I appreciate it.

  • http://www.artofallowingmindset.com BZ Riger, a woman’s inner game to wealth

    The 8 steps to listen to your heart is a great place for people to really start connecting to and listening to their heart.

    In quantum mechanics and mystic traditions the heart is the most powerful electro-magnetic energizer in your body. It is the vortex through which you take what you want to manifest from thoughts and channel it through your heart with love so you can have what you want show up in your physical reality.

    Listening to your heart and using it as the vortex for creating your dreams will make powerful changes in your life.

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    BZ Riger,
    Interesting thought. Honestly, I don’t understand quantum mechanics and mystic traditions, but I agree that listening to our heart can make powerful changes in our life.

  • J.R.

    I like this one. I should have trusted my heart and conscious earlier; I guess I just didn’t know how. Or was maybe scared… I’ve been under a lot of influence in my life which led to a lot of confusion for me. And I kept blocking out my conscious, even when it was warning me against some of the people I trusted more than anyone. So, I guess trusting yourself is very important. I’d be very successful today if I did that.

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    J.R.,
    Thanks for sharing your experience. In my case, I often listen to my logical thinking at times when I should have listened to my heart. Trusting and following my heart is something I’m still learning.

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  • http://philips.wordpress.com Philips Kokoh

    I feel so grateful to read this posting once again, especially when I have to make a big decision now. Looks like something (perhaps my own heart) guiding me here and remind me to follow my heart and what’s matters in my life.
    Thank you for the posting.

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    Philips,
    I’m glad this post can somehow be helpful. Good luck for your decision.

  • http://noworriessurfclub.com Livinluxury

    As I was driving to work this morning, I thought to myself, “What is a fullfilled life? and am I living it? In view of my life I would say, yes. My heart has lead me to where I am today. Driving in traffic is not part of why I fill fulfilled, but it’s a stepping stone toward the direction I want to go.

    Thank you for hosting a positive message for society.

    Sincerely,
    Livin’ Luxury

  • rizza

    …but what if you followed your heart yet the results are not good?

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    Livin’ Luxury,
    It’s my pleasure.

    Rizza,
    For me, that’s not a problem. It’s still better to live my own life than living someone else’s life, no matter how good the latter might seem.

  • http://NA Thom

    I agree that we can think ourselves out of taking actions that would be good for us, so I feel it’s important to strike a balance between your heart and your rational mind. You need both inspiration and perspiration to succeed!

  • Rhaine Robinson

    “The heart is deceitful above all things”

    I too fear that the heart is deceitfull in its very nature. can such raw emotions be expected to be understood easily?

    Nonetheless i too hope i can find the courage to follow my heart.
    Thanks for the post

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  • Domarina

    I love this whole concept – trusting your heart. Did you know that your heart controls everything? No sickness can stay in a body that is emotionaly healthy. I recently read a self- awareness book that was written by a woman who beat breast cancer just by following what her heart wanted – not what doctors, her family, friends, society was saying, feeling or believing what was right. She knew what was right because she trusted her heart. She was so determined that she already beat breast cancer with all her “heart” that one day a fluid leaked out of her breast and the doctor said she was cured “miracally.”

    I have changed dramatically this year just by following my heart. I am closer to God, and closer to myself – my heart. I have a LONG way to go but even all the small but important descisions I have made based on my heart have created such beautiful opportunities and changes along the way. Some people think I am crazy because I have changed so much. I am more mateur and have stepped many many feet forward without crushing on anyone :)

    This also lead me to continue sharing Mona Vie with all those who take the time to listen. Mona Vie means Tree of Life. It is a nutritional beverage helping alot of people. Even those closest to me thought I was crazy in believing in juice to help those around me – but when we were created, all things natural were created and they were good. If you would like to know more and are open for more information please e-mail me. I would love to hear your story, share ideas and listen to what your head and your heart are telling you.

    My e-mail is domarina.monavie@gmail.com

    I am in the process of developing my own and unique web site. I have alot of ideas. That too, when you begin to listen to your heart, your inner voice screams potential and so many ideas start to flourish. It’s up to you to make things happen. Einstein said “What you think, is what you create”

    Thank you and I look forward to meeting some great leaders out there! We are all born to lead and make a difference! All the power to you.
    Domarina
    Toronto, Canada

  • Vanan

    I believe that the heart is sincere in its feelings and if you carry out the actions from within, they will bring you the ultimate happyness and the most memorable memories.

    Enjoy!

  • Haylie

    when it comes to finding the one, how do you know your heart is right?

  • gina

    great post, just printed it off to read! thanks xx

  • Lembayung

    I read your post from my warm friend who sent it to me. It is very enlightening yet quite challenging. I started learning to listen to my heart in the last September and still struggling until now. I am glad that I’ve started it. There are so many things I’ve experienced since I did it.

    Your article helps me much as a beginner in this path.

    I like it a lot. Thank you, Donald. Keep on spreading your positive energy to the world.

  • Omar

    Hello,

    We know the heart is a mere organ that pumps blood, whereas the mind is the organ and place of intellect, thinking, memory and reallization. So, how can we LISTEN to an organ that just do mechanical work, and ignore the center of intellect, sensitive nerves and capillaries, the processor which manipulates tremondous operations icluding the heart itself? CAN I GET AN EXPLANATION AND CLARIFICATION ABOUT THIS?

    Greetings to all, :)

  • steven

    Simply amazing! Most people never, never have such an opportunity to follow their hearts because they are sooo busy planning. Planning thuis great life they envision only to find later that it was all a waste of time and energy.

    Your heart knows the path, it is your road map. Want to be great at life? Learn to follow your heart and the rest will be trivial.

    E Jeffry

  • Jenn

    I have had this article bookmarked for SOOOOO long! I have referenced it many, MANY times and have shared it a countless number of times. I have never left a comment, but should have a LONG time ago! Awesome!

    • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/ Donald Latumahina

      Thanks, Jenn :)

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