How to Find Your Best Possible Life

Do you want to live your best possible life? If so, then there is a danger related to it that you need to be aware of. To explain it, I’d like to use a concept in mathematics called local maxima.

In mathematics, you often try to find the maximum value of a function. One example is finding the maximum revenue that you can get by adjusting the price of a product.

In a three dimensional space, finding the maximum value is similar to finding your way to the peak of a hill. In fact, the name of a technique for solving this problem is ‘hill climbing’. The technique helps you get to the peak of the hill you are currently at.

There is a danger here, though: it’s possible that you reach the peak of the hill you are at but miss a higher peak elsewhere! Why? Because you are climbing the wrong hill! You are optimizing the wrong thing. In this case, you will only reach the local maxima (the peak of your current hill) but miss the global maxima (the peak of the highest hill).

There is a profound lesson here related to personal effectiveness:

You could miss your best possible life because you are too busy optimizing your current life.

If that happened, your life would be suboptimal. You would only reach a local maxima but miss the global maxima.

Scary, isn’t it? It is, and the danger is real.

So what can we do about it?

I’m still working on it myself, but here are four tips from what I have learned.

1. Think Out of the Box

Why do people keep climbing the wrong hill? Well, a big reason is that they can’t see other hills out there. They can’t see other possibilities for their lives. They think that their current life is the only one for them.

This is the reason why thinking out of the box is important. You need to see the alternatives to your current life. You need to imagine how your life would be if it’s different.

To think out of the box, first, you need to recognize your boxes. What are the things that limit your thinking? What are the things that you assume can’t be changed? Identify them. Then think beyond them.

2. Be Adventurous

In addition to thinking out of the box, you need to have an adventurous mindset. There are at least two reasons why this mindset is important:

  • It makes you eager to try new, unfamiliar things. After all, doing something novel is what an adventure is all about. If it’s already familiar to you, then it’s not an adventure; it’s just a routine.
  • It makes you enjoy your journey despite setbacks. There will be some setbacks along the way; they are inevitable. But if you have an adventurous mindset, you will not consider them failures. Instead, you will think of them as just part of the game. After all, a game needs to be challenging to be fun!

One way to have an adventurous mindset is to think of your life as a giant video game, complete with its traps and levels. Aim to be the best player that you can be.

3. Diversify Your Life

Being on just one hill is a good recipe to miss your global maxima. The antidote? Put yourself on various hills.

For this, my best advice is to diversify your life. Meet new people. Start a side project. Go to new places.

Diversity can help you find opportunities that you would miss otherwise. It can help you find the right hill to climb.

It doesn’t mean losing focus, though. You shouldn’t spread yourself too thin. Instead, you could apply a variant of the 80/20 rule: put 80% of your resources on your current focus and the rest 20% on trying new things. Then, when you find something promising, you can shift more resources there.

4. Take Risks

To find your best possible life, you need to take risks. You need to leave your comfort zone. That means you should be willing to experience setbacks along the way.

To be able to take risks, build a cushion in your life. Then use the regret-minimization framework to motivate yourself. Aim to minimize your future regret and you will naturally take risks.

***

Your life is too precious to be spent in mediocrity. So think out of the box. Be adventurous. Diversify your life. And take risks. You will then find your best possible life.

13 Comments

  1. Olivier Nkurunziza
    Olivier Nkurunziza

    Dear Donald,

    Thank you a lot for this post. Indeed, We have to try new things, gain from diversity and take risks for reaching our full potentials.

  2. I Feel so inspired and motivated.I think about doing other things,exploring different avenue’s,meeting different people and travel,which I have not done,been busy working and maintaining a home and driving my children instead of myself.I am in my early 60″s , still working in a corporate environment and still have a urge to take risk,adventure and set myself free.

  3. Mary Ng Shwu Ling
    Mary Ng Shwu Ling

    Thanks Donald for this article!

    I am going to step out of my comfort zone and take the risk to do something that will take lots of courage on my part to serve God with the gift of music He has given me.

  4. Thank you Donald to encourage me and give me the tips of best possible life and am being inspired to do better in life and have a mindset.Indeed we have To try new things in life

  5. Hi donald thanck yu for your new and nice article. i agree humans life is full of vicissitudes and why people dont climb a right hill . That is clear they dont take risks so they cant see the other hils they just see the only hill in front of them . But when we take risks we should be ready to face with every problems and events we dont know what will happen for us so how can we have this preparedness ????

    • Hi Ava,
      To be prepared, I believe you need to build a cushion in different areas of your life such as finance and mental energy. The cushion will give you a buffer when bad times come.

  6. Thank you, Donald.

    I hope the hill that m climbing will give me a global maximum. I really enjoy to travel I will work on this one as well.

  7. Donald,thanks for this great inspiring article just let’s “think out of the box”

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