I’ve lived a lot of life in my nearly 32 years on this planet.

I’ve loved and lost a handful of times. I’ve lived in nearly 15 different places with dozens of roommates. I’ve mourned the deaths of countless family members and friends. I’ve seen breathtaking medieval castles and pristine beaches and picturesque mountaintops. I’ve met some truly beautiful souls.

But no matter where I go or what I endure or whom I meet, there are some unshakeable and essential truths that I’ve sensed in the undercurrent of it all. Like walking barefoot outside on a spring morning before the dew’s evaporated away, I’ve tried to soak up the tiny drops here and there to remind me that I am connected to the oneness of all things—the endless cycle of evaporation and precipitation, inhaling and exhaling.

Just like those tiny dewdrops, we will all eventually evaporate to rejoin the clouds and cease to exist in the form that we’ve known in this life. So, we need to make the most of the time that we’re here and able to experience this gift with our senses.

Below, I share 12 essential truths I’ve perceived amidst the organized chaos of our world. I hope they help you seize the moment. I hope they help you lead with compassion. I hope they help you bloom.

Because your beauty deserves to be seen.

1. Everything is energy.

Your mood. Your thoughts. Your actions. Your interactions with others. They’re all different energy frequencies. And they can either raise or lower your core energy if you give them the ability to do so. But not if you learn to sit back and allow the energy to move through you instead of interrupting your own frequency. Like body-surfing a wave in the ocean, it will go beyond you unless you decide to ride it—unless you latch onto the energy as it moves.

Similarly, you are responsible for the energy waves you create that emanate outward from you. When you enter a room or a situation, try to be as aware and as cognizant as possible of the energy and vibes you’re bringing with you. Truth is, they will impact others whether you intend them to or not.

You’re the only one who can center yourself. Take responsibility and own your vibes.

2. Simpler is better.

Our consumerist culture will tell you otherwise, but don’t believe them. More is not more. Less is always more. At least in a spiritual sense.

When you strip your life down to the basics you actually add meaning and become more fulfilled because you’re focusing on what really matters—people and experiences as opposed to possessions and achievements.

Have you ever heard of Occam’s Razor or the Law of Parsimony? It basically says that the simplest solution is usually the right one. Again, this idea of paring down and shedding the weight of objects helps you not just declutter your home—it helps you declutter your heart. Simplicity is a fundamental law of life.

And an easy one to overcomplicate.

3. Laughter is contagious.

Ever wondered why we use words like “infectious” to describe someone’s laugh? That’s because laughter really is contagious. Hearing a random stranger’s chuckle sounds so ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh when you hear it. Laughter is the fingerprint of the happiest part of your soul.

So, laugh often—and boldly. Seek out people and places and experiences that make you laugh. When you’re going through a tough time, laughter can help remind you not to take life so seriously; laughter can help remind you of who you really are. Because if your laughs echo from the depths of your belly, what you’re really hearing is the echo of your happiest essence within. And there’s nothing truer and more pure than that.

4. If you can’t find a way, make one.

There are so many obstacles and hurdles in life. Truth is, you may even be one of the biggest ones getting in your own way.

But you can clear those obstacles and hurdles if you get creative and jump high enough. Or simply run around them. Or duck under them. Or knock them the hell over.

Finding your way forward when you can’t seem to get your footing is one of the most fulfilling challenges in life. Because it pushes you to find the path that makes the most sense for you. When you think you’ve run out of places to turn, and you seem to hit a dead end, turn it into a fork in the road and forge your own path into the unknown.

Bottom line: Don’t trap yourself in a cage. Break free by realizing that you already are free to do whatever you think you’re capable of doing. There’s always another option at your disposal if you’re willing to see things in a new light.

5. Nothing is ever guaranteed.

Tomorrow’s not promised, so don’t take one single second for granted. Even the greatest athletes of all time eventually die. Even people who’ve been married for decades get divorced. Even best friends grow apart. Tragedy can strike at a moment’s notice.

So, say what you need to say. Take risks and be vulnerable. Have compassion for others—and especially for yourself. Get it all out there.

Because you never know at the time that you’re saying your final goodbye.

6. You can’t control what happens, but you can control how you look at it.

So much of what happens in life is completely outside of your control. You don’t get to choose the circumstances you’re born into or the genes you inherit. You have no say in the weather conditions or when it’s going to rain. You can’t control what other people think of you—no matter how hard you may try. You never know when death or disease or “drama” will strike.

But you can always control your response. You can always choose what your path forward will be. You can always select the route of the highest possible good. And, in that regard, your perspective really is your superpower.

That divorce? Pshhh. You got this! You can grow from it.

That pink slip? No sweat off your back! You can turn that setback into a comeback in no time.

That diagnosis? Honey, you’re so much bigger than any health condition you could ever endure.

So stop resisting and start getting grateful. The Universe does not make mistakes. Your challenges (and joys!) are there to knock you over the head and teach you something. It’s your job to find out what that something is.

7. Someone always has it better—and worse—than you.

It could always be worse. And it could always be better. That’s why it’s important to focus on your own journey and not compare your curriculum to anyone else’s in the School of Life. Because, if you do, the only thing you’ll find is that it’s all relative. What you perceive as a major milestone may only be a drop in the bucket to someone else. And what they may consider a challenge may be a walk in the park for you.

Hold others in the same compassionate light you’d want in return.

8. Life goes on.

Robert Frost once said, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.”

John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

Heraclitus once said, “There is nothing permanent except change.

You get the point. Life itself is in a perpetual state of flux—of ebb and flow.

Look no further than to your local river or lake to observe the tides going in and out. When it seems like life is flooding you with more than you can handle, know that the tide will eventually go back out. This too shall pass.

Everything has a finite end. The worst storms, the longest winters, the biggest stars—they will all diminish with time.

And so will you. But life goes on.

9. Love is never wasted.

We all came from dust and will return to it at one point or another. It’s what you do to spread love in between those piles of dust that really matters. That’s your legacy. That’s what you leave behind.

No act of love, no matter how minuscule it might seem to you, is ever a waste. Love is the substrate of the entire Universe. It is the very catalyst for positive change and growth. Love is MiracleGro for the soul.

So, how could it ever be wasteful to spread love? How could you ever express too much love?

It’s not. And you can’t. Because it’s what drives our very existence.

10. Practice everything in moderation—especially moderation.

Nature is always in a constant state of flux between two extremes.

Winter and summer. Day and night. Inhaling and exhaling.

You are no different. As Mother Nature cycles through her rhythms naturally, you, too, should aim to find balance.

But don’t be afraid to live a little. So long as you’re respectful of others and of yourself, and don’t throw things off that balance.

We’re here to consciously celebrate life and beauty and love, after all. And if you surrender to the present moment while you do it, you’re honoring the true nature of life and the blessing you’ve received by being granted the chance to live it.

11. Words have power. Actions bring that power to life.

Never underestimate the power of your speech. Words can break others down or build them up. Try as hard as you can and as often as you can to use your words to do the latter. Because words matter—a lot. And they are imbued with the exact energy you used to speak them into existence.

The same goes for your actions. What you say and what you do should be consistent and reliable. Be impeccable with both and you’ll always maintain your integrity—you’ll always live in your light.

And should you ever falter in your actions, use your words to heal and then back it up with action. And should you ever falter in your word, use your actions to heal and then back it up with words. Together, they craft your character. Together, they can help you be a force of good in this world.

12. You are the one you’ve been waiting for.

Allow me to be blunt for a second: No one is coming to save you. No one is going to put in the grunt work for you and get the job done. No one is going to say sorry on your behalf. No one is going to stay up late and get up early and work three jobs to pay the bills for you.

You are the only person who can change your circumstances for the better. You are your own savior. You are the answer.

And the very things you’re waiting for are exactly what you should give. Because, in the end, you’re just projecting your own strength and grit and courage onto someone else. But the reality is that what you were searching for was within you all along.

And still is.

For even more essential wisdom, check out 16 Life Lessons I Wish I’d Learned Sooner.

Which of these 12 truths resonated with you most? Any of your own that you’d add? Tell me in the comments below—or Tweet me at @crackliffe.


  • Chris Rackliffe

    Author and Storyteller

    Chris Rackliffe, or @crackliffe, as he is fondly known by friends and colleagues, is an award-winning storyteller, motivator and marketer who has driven over one billion clicks and over six billion interactions as head of social media for some of the biggest magazines in the world, including Entertainment Weekly, Men’s Health, PEOPLE and more. With a B.S. in Advertising and Psychology from the University of Miami—and a Ph.D. in the School of Life—Chris tells first-person stories that cut straight to the heart. Chris has made it his sole purpose to empower and uplift others and help them find peace, perspective and power through what they’ve endured. You can read his work as published or featured in BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, TIME, Women’s Health and many more.