Life’s Little Instruction Manual…Or Not

Ever wonder where you can find the instruction manual for life? You know, the “easy button”…the one person, place or thing that can tell us step by step how to go through life successfully and happily so we can achieve all the things we want to accomplish in this lifetime. I know I have searched far and wide for it throughout my adult life and have always come up empty handed.  Oh, I have found plenty of things that claim to be that instruction manual for life.  And I have found plenty of people who assert those things are indeed the perfect instruction manual for life as well.  And honestly, those things seem to work for those people, but when I tried to use those so-called instruction manuals for life, they just didn’t work for me.  No one, single “instruction manual” I came across worked for me, not even when I followed the “directions” from someone for whom it had worked quite well.  Finally, I had a little epiphany as to why I, and so many others, can’t seem to find THE instruction manual for life.  There is no single instruction manual for life – as much as we want there to be a single plan we all can follow, it just isn’t that easy.

It’s kind of like diet plans. You can follow the same diet plan that someone else did and your results can be (and likely will be) radically different. Why?  Well, in the case of diet plans, our bodies are all very different – we each have a different genetic make up, different metabolism, etc.  So the same diet plan will not yield the same results for all people…it can’t. And believing it will is just setting yourself up for failure.  We have to find what works for our bodies so we lose the weight, keep the weight off long term, look lean and toned, etc. (whatever your dieting goals may be).  And usually we have to incorporate some kind of exercise plan as well to achieve our weight loss/fitness goals.  Here again, the same exercise plan will not work for all of us either, just as the same diet plan does not.  The bottom line – it’s not easy…there is no simple answer…no single plan of action for all of us.

And so while for some people living in accordance with a particular religion or following a certain set of activities as a part of a morning routine or meditating everyday or eating a certain way or adhering to specific rituals may be the perfect set of instructions for their life, for you they just may not work. Or maybe some of those things work for you, but only when in combination with other things. Truthfully, it’s like trying to discover our own secret formula to life.

What works for me in my life is not the instructions for someone else to live their life by. It is merely an example of how someone can live their life. And while we can learn from other people’s examples, their examples are not something we can follow to the letter in our own lives if we expect results that will be true to who we are.  We each have to live our own story because we are all very unique human beings.  This is also why comparisons don’t serve us well, nor does expecting our life to turn out like someone else’s just because we did all the same things they did.  We all have our own lessons to learn, ideas to gather, experiences to have.  So do yourself a huge favor and stop looking for that one instruction manual to lead you through life.  Get out there and experience it, take note of what speaks to you and works well for you, and then do more of that.  Write your own instructional manual.

“You’ve got to live your life, you’ve got to enjoy it.” – Daniel Craig