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#5. Enjoy the ride. You only have one life to live.

If you learn only one lesson from this book, perhaps this should be the one. The major attribute that Whiners and Weasels share is unhappiness. Unfortunately, it is also a condition that affects a fair percentage of Warriors and Workers and all of those in between. And perhaps most sadly, millions of people are unhappy not because of any real condition in their lives that warrants their sadness, but just because they can’t allow themselves to enjoy the ride. Their minds won’t allow them to enjoy the obvious fruits of their labors that surround them. Instead, they feel needless tension and angst. They might not necessarily be whining about their situation, but they still live their lives lacking the enjoyment they could be experiencing.

I battle this condition myself all the time. Sometimes, I have to mentally slap myself when I realize I’m unduly depressed over inconsequential business problems, a stain on my tie, bad service at a store, or a new door ding on my car. I have to remind myself that I’m healthy and successful, with a beautiful wife and family and every possible option in front of me. It is easy to get overrun with the complications and distractions of life, to the point that you don’t realize how wonderful things really are. Many Whiners could find happiness just by realigning their attitude. “Don’t pay the toll twice” is also a good lesson in life. Certainly, it is important to seriously confront life’s problems and challenges, but once they are properly addressed, there is no reason to let these issues control one’s life.

Live for Today. It’s an extremely common human condition to “miss the moment.” How many of us have looked back fondly at younger days, perhaps childhood, high school, or college, when things seemed so much simpler and life so much more enjoyable? But in truth, if memory serves me correctly, during those halcyon periods, I—like most people—was looking forward to the future, without full appreciation of what was going on at that moment. I dreamt of the freedom of a job and the ability to travel, meet new people, and tackle fresh challenges. And I am sure that I have simply forgotten the problems and hassles of those earlier times. I think we all have to consider the possibility that right now we are living in “the good old days” of the future, and the key is to enjoy them.

And although I am a big proponent of proper planning and control of one’s life, rewarding yourself (by maintaining your guidepost and reward tools) makes life worth living. Taking constant inventory of all the good in your life keeps things in perspective, and with an optimistic and realistic viewpoint of your life, you probably won’t feel the need to whine.

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