Bob Dylan’s Short Guide to a Happier Life

“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.”

“He not busy being born is busy dying.”

One of the most successful and enigmatic musicians of the last hundred years must be Bob Dylan. Throughout his career, albums and awesome songs he has constantly redefined himself and both confused and enthralled listeners.

Here is some clarity though, some of my favourite words of wisdom from Dylan.

Find what you love to do.

“A lot of people can’t stand touring but to me it’s like breathing. I do it because I’m driven to do it.”

I think this is a first step that many of us have a big problem with. Or just forget about. Because when you find something you really love to do it doesn’t seem like work that much anymore.

When you do something you love you don’t have to push yourself so much. You keep going because you like doing it, not just because your want to reach some goal (although that can be exciting too). Taking action also becomes natural when you doing something you really want to do. A lot of the time you can’t wait to get going with it.

So the problem many of us encounter may not be that we don’t know enough tips to keep ourselves motivated to keep going. The problem may be that we are working on the wrong thing all together.

So do you find out what you really want to do?

I certainly don’t have all the answers for that one, but one tip is just to explore life.

To just try things out and see what you love. It’s easy to have theories about what you or may not like. But you never know until you have tried it for a while in real life.

Understand that success is today too.

“A person is a success if they get up in the morning and gets to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”

When you read about success it often seems like something you should work towards. Something there in the distant future.

This way of thinking can lead to many ups and downs. Sometimes you feel really good and are working towards what you want in an effective way. Sometimes you feel like doing nothing. It can become a rollercoaster.

But one of the most important parts of success in area of your life is simply consistency. To get up in the morning each day and do what you know is right in your life.

Working out instead of coming up with excuses not to. Being kind and open instead of closing up and gossiping or trying to put someone down or making them wrong in an interaction or just in your head simply to feel better about yourself. Pushing a bit outside of your comfort zone instead of staying inside it and feeling safe.

How you live today and each today is very much connected to the most fundamental goals people have in life. To be healthy. To be effective and get the most important things done. To raise self esteem and self confidence and keep it at a high level (things that to a large part come from taking responsibility for each day in your life and doing what you know is the right thing to do).

So success is not about what you do in a few inspired rushes towards the goal. Things take time. Often more time than you might think. So keep an eye on where you are going. But keep your focus on the process instead of that alluring goal. Do it by making today and each day a success.

Life is change.

“There is nothing so stable as change.”

As humans, we often want to feel safe. We want certainty. And for a while we may think we have it. And then something always comes along to knock that feeling out of us.

So there is a superstition of safety. This is not just something negative though. It’s also created by your mind so you can function in life. No point in going all paranoid about what could happen a minute from now day in and day out. But there is also not that much point in clinging to an illusion of safety. So you need to find balance where you don’t obsessed by the uncertainty but also recognize that it is there and live accordingly.

As you stop clinging to your safety life also becomes a whole lot more exciting and interesting. You are no longer as confined by an illusion and realize that you set your limits for what you can do and to a large extent create your own freedom in the world. You are no longer building walls to keep yourself safe as those walls wouldn’t protect you anyway.

If you want to grow and move forward it’s not only essential to get used to the thought of life as changing and unknown but also to let go of the past. When you let go of the past then change becomes so much easier to handle. And growing becomes easier too.

Because if your goal is to get fitter, then when you let go of a self-image of being unhealthy and instead stick to the one where you are healthy you stop working against yourself. Your actions, thoughts and self-image are now aligned. And so doing the right things by eating healthy food and working out becomes the natural thing rather than something you have to push yourself to do every day.

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • It’s all about getting the best out of you no matter what. But that is hard to do when you are compounded by a lot of negativity in your life.

    The best thing to do is not minding the negative trials in your life but simply doing the things you want to do even if society don’t agree with you.

  • “A person is a success if they get up in the morning and get to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” Thanks for the article and sharing these truth-filled quotes! It’s all about following our passion and allowing our dreams to take shape!

  • Wonderful post Henrik!

    2. Understand that success is today too.
    Each moment is uniqe and we should make most of it. I really suggesst reading Eckhart Tolle’s “The power of now” book.

    I am really happy I discovered this blog. It’s wonderful. There should absolutely be more blogs like this on the net. Does anyone know for any forum where people interested in selfgrowth gather?

  • Sam

    Very impressive advice. Thanks

  • My life is changing right now. I took a job that I’m not quite familiar with. I have to admit it is scary but I try to take it as an invitation to grow and progress as a human as I explore other things that life has to offer.

  • Great content here!

    “You keep going because you like doing it, not just because your want to reach some goal .” SOO true..makes me think of this Hawaiian proverb Life is in the laboring, meaning that happiness lies in enjoying the act of doing and not just the prestige of accomplishing. Life is the journey not the destination! This is such a wholesome and worthwhile mantra.

    Also, loved the stuff you wrote about change and the illusion of safety. Any limits we have, they are there because we have created them, and it is up to us break through them.

    This was a GREAT post. I work for a company called Be Legendary and and we believe in consistent action that resonates around core values, and I just want to let you know, this is legendary!


  • Great content. I always knew Dylan was a master teacher. Well put :)

  • I love Dylan, Great music and change is always difficult as he so eloquently put it. You just have to rise above it and put the negativity out