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John Lennon’s Top 3 Tips for Getting What You Want Out of Life

Image by Môsieur J. (license).

“If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliché that must have been left behind in the Sixties, that’s his problem. Love and peace are eternal.”

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last few decades you know who John Lennon was. :)

So let’s just get to three of my favourite tips from him.

1. Work for what you want. Instead of getting stuck in complacency.

“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”

It’s easy to get stuck in complacency. To do what you always do and to take an easy way through things. To watch TV with a bag of chips on the belly instead of going to the gym. It’s comfortable and nice.

But if you want to get what you really want out of life you have to ditch much of that complacency. Because it uses up your time, energy and focus to just keep you where you are right now.

I think the best way to avoid complacency is to be aware of your behaviour so you don’t slip into that comfortable zone. To keep your focus on the right things to help yourself to grow. And not only check your own thinking and actions continually but also fill much of your life with people and information that will inspire you, challenge you and keep you in a supportive environment.

With your focus on the right things you can create proactive habits. Habits where you just do whatever you want to do (even if you don’t always feel like it). Habits where you expand you comfort zone little by little – or in big leaps if you like – instead of spending your time just in that narrow zone.

This doesn’t mean that you have to stop watching your favourite TV-show. It just means that you keep your focus on what you really want and to work towards that. It means to do what you really like doing. Instead of letting your focus slide into escapism or the easy or lazy way out all the time.

2. Live your life. Have experiences instead of hundreds of plans.

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

Plan your life. But don’t get stuck in planning. Or overthinking. Or overreading. You can’t avoid failure or mistakes by making the perfect plan. Things will go wrong. And that’s when you learn valuable things.

Experiences will make you understand in way that words from another person can’t. No matter if the experiences are “good” or “bad”.
There are always one or more lessons – or just moments – to take away from experiences. And in retrospect, some of the most negative experiences may become some of your most valuable experiences later on.

So be careful of trying to make everything just perfect before you get started. Plans or circumstances will never be perfect. Be aware if you are getting stuck in overdoing things. It can waste a lot of your time while life is passing you by.

Oftentimes it’s better to jump in and just do it. And then afterwards you can see what the actual results were – which are not always the same at all as you may predicted – and more accurately aim your focus and actions to improve your results when you take action the next time. Simply put: fire, aim, fire. Instead of doing it the more normal way where you aim and then you fire.

3. Be open.

“The more I see the less I know for sure.”

If you think you are always right then it will be hard to grow and expand your life and consciousness. Being open to learning and being open to the possibility that you may be wrong may not be as comfortable as thinking that you’re always right.

But being in a state of uncertainty at times is a way to expand your comfort zone and add new lessons and perspectives to your life. Staying complacent is a way to avoid uncertainty and the scary unknown out there.

And if you aren’t open then you can’t see the lessons that you can learn. Your mind will filter out stuff based on what you focus on and the questions you ask yourself. So make a habit of asking yourself: “what can I learn from this?” Then you open up your mind to learning something. If you think you already know the answers you will filter out the new and possibly important stuff that doesn’t fit into you being right or into your current view of the world and yourself. And so valuable lessons pass you by.

That would be sad, because that’s one of the nice things about life. It can surprise you a lot if you are open to it.

And you can get much out of life if you are open enough to step through the doors that open. Instead of making the common mistake of getting hung up on the door that just closed and staring at it until your new door of opportunity has closed too.

Don’t make that mistake. Instead, keep your mind open. And then you can choose to step through into something new.

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  • Me September 3, 2010, 4:30 pm

    I am so tired of television being blamed for societies ills. I had a horrific childhood. Television got me through it. No only was it an escape from my hell, but it was educational and it taught me how moral people live. Television raised me and I thank God for it.

  • Lucky Balaraman September 3, 2010, 5:46 pm

    What an iconic, luminous being he was…

  • Retirementlover September 4, 2010, 5:51 am

    I had the once-in-a-lifetime thrill of meeting John Lennon in Syracuse when he was in town to open an exhibit of his artwork. He was open, friendly, and nothing like I expected. Here was the most famous musician in the world who only wanted to talk about his art.

    Even then (1971 I think) he was moving forward. He wasn’t content to stand still and rest on his music legacy. I, and the others at the press conference, tried to get him to talk about Yoko or the Beatles. Very politely he refused. It was an awesome demonstration of someone taking steps forward whether others will willing to follow or not.

  • Nea | Self Improvement Saga September 5, 2010, 12:38 am

    “Life is what happens while you are making other plans,” As a recovering plan-aholic, I have a huge appreciation for this.

  • Daniel M. Wood September 5, 2010, 8:17 am

    Very true Henrik,

    Taking action (the sum of your first and second tip) is really what makes a life what it is. If you chose to watch others live it or just sleep through it is your choice, but whatever you do you are taking a form of action and you always have the chance to make your life what you want it to be.

    The thing most people forget is that they are responsible for their own lives.
    Many people get stuck in blaming others for where they are today, not willing to take the action to change the situation they are in.

    My friend is a great example. His dream is to be an archeologist, he has been studying by himself for over a year and was just prepared to start taking a formal course, with a friend of his, but it turned out the friend didn’t have the necessary qualifications so it ended up with none of them taking the course.
    My friend is now, dissapointed is probably the best word, has quit studying on his own and I am not sure that he will ever go through with it. In his mind it is all “the other guys fault”.

    Taking action and making things happen is up to you, no one else.

  • Allen Loomis September 6, 2010, 8:37 am

    I think you have a great blog here and was wondering if you would be interested in exchanging links. Please comment back on my blog and let me know!

    Success Demands Action

  • Kate September 6, 2010, 9:38 am

    I think we always have to be open to learning….and learning is never ending, the more you learn, the more you realise how much more there is to know!

  • Innerpositiveness September 6, 2010, 11:16 am

    It’s difficult to fight complacency because we all tend to want to curl up in our comfort zone and not think about jumping head first into the unknown. But being complacent now is a surefire way to boredom and dissatisfaction later on in life! Thanks for the great article!

    Susan | http://www.innerpositiveness.com
    Work, Life, Happiness, Innerpositiveness

  • marion September 6, 2010, 7:44 pm

    Three simple points – but what an impact they make on life if followed. I have got the hang of points 2 and 3 but I am still working on point 1.

    Although I know my comfort zone is not really that comfortable it is an effort not to slip back. New habits are the best way to keep moving forward that I have found. I think too it is worth remembering that a small slip is not the end of the world – you can still get back out there.

  • Darren Poke September 7, 2010, 5:51 am

    Nice one Henrik,

    I especially like the final quote. Lately, I’ve increasingly realised that the more I know, the less I know.

  • Derek Evans September 8, 2010, 10:02 pm

    Good read, everyone should approach life with an open mind, most people get in a rut and just set up camp, instead of taking the steps to get out of it.

  • James St. James September 10, 2010, 4:54 am

    This is my first time on your Blog – I will definitely be checking it out again! I just started my own called Revolutionary Alternatives which really focuses on conscious positive living – which is unfortunately “Revolutionary” in this world.
    James St. James

  • Trisha D September 10, 2010, 7:32 am

    I always like to keep my mind very positive, so I always am aware if I begin to have negative thoughts. When this happens I feed my mind with positive thoughts through motivational cd’s or books. I found the best products ever at http://www.NikkZorbas.com You must be willing to take the next step! Be proactive, no one will do it for you!

  • Jacob Sokol September 11, 2010, 12:17 am

    “If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliché that must have been left behind in the Sixties, that’s his problem. Love and peace are eternal.”

    And when we realize that, we are free to love ourselves, at peace!

  • Mathieu September 11, 2010, 9:24 am

    Very good post. I like the “fire, aim, fire” approach. I think it is more relevant to say “aim, wait, aim again, look at the forecast, fire meekly” kind of thinking that permeates stuff like investing in mutual funds :) Personal development is about being bold, and finding your ideal life is about taking risk to know what to do in the future and what your real interests are.

    Being open is also very important. We often have prejudices, but behind those prejudices lie things that will help us more in life than staying with what we already know.

  • Arina from Arina's Self Help Blog September 14, 2010, 6:30 pm

    Now, this is a truly terrific way to appreciate the legend as a “free thinker” and not just an outstanding musician. It would sure help lots of people whose lives revolve in too much caution, overly thinking stuff and choose to be on one-way streets – at all times. There’s so much about life, there’s a lot to learn. Even people who have mastered setting goals and enjoying success do take risks as they work hard, value failures and limitations as lessons and appreciate other views while having focus. Thanks, John Lennon. Your insights to life equal the music genius that you are! Great post!


  • Wes September 20, 2010, 2:57 pm

    More solid advice.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this.

  • Lissa September 21, 2010, 10:05 am

    Balance is the key. My partner is future-minded and I’m of the day. He keeps our schedule full of things to look forward to and I try and make today the best day we’ve had. It’s a good combination because one without the other can cause us both to miss out.

  • ExtraStout September 23, 2010, 12:00 am

    John Lennon also said “Imagine no possessions”.

    At the time, he was worth $100 million dollars.

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