Millions of people live their entire lives on default settings, never realizing they can customize everything. Don’t be one of them. Don’t settle for the default settings in life.

Dare to make edits and improvements. Dare to make your personal growth a top priority.

The truth is, you won’t always be a priority to others, and that’s why you need to be a priority to yourself. Learn to respect yourself, take care of yourself, and become your own support system. Your needs matter. Start meeting them!

Don’t wait on others to choose you. Choose yourself today!

Seriously, it’s not your job to curb or contain yourself in order to become someone else’s idea of a worthwhile human being. You are amazingly worthwhile and capable right now. Not because other people think you are, but because you are in full control of the next step you take.

If you feel differently, or if you’ve been holding yourself back recently, realize that the real battle is in your mind. And your mind is under your control, not the other way around. You may have been broken down by adversity or rejection or stress, but you are not broken. So don’t let your mind, or anyone else, try to convince you otherwise.

Heal yourself, and grow beyond the default settings in life, by refusing to settle for the way things have always been. Choose to take up a lot of positive space in your own life today. Choose to give yourself permission to meet your own needs. Choose to honor your feelings and emotions. Choose to make self-care and personal growth top priorities . . .

Choose to think better about yourself, so that you can live better in spite of the challenges you face.

And yes, we know that’s sometimes much easier said than done.

Are you ready for a great journey? Achieving real happiness and success in life is truly a wild one—a journey of unexpected and exciting twists, turns, and vital lessons. Yes, it’s wild how we outgrow what we once thought we couldn’t live without, and then we fall in love with what we didn’t even know we wanted. Life keeps leading us down paths we would never travel if it were up to us. Don’t be afraid. Don’t let your expectations of how everything “should be” blind you to the beauty of the life you’re living. Have faith. Trust the journey.

And of course, if you’re struggling with trusting the journey and taming your expectations right now, know that you are not alone. Many of us are here with you, working hard to let go, find more presence and acceptance, and get our thinking back on track. Let us share a quick metaphor with you:

Imagine you had a ripe, juicy tangerine sitting on the table in front of you. You pick it up eagerly, take a bite, and begin to taste it.

You already know how a ripe, juicy tangerine should taste, and so when this one is a bit tarter than expected, you make a face, feel a sense of disappointment, and swallow it, feeling cheated out of the experience you expected.

Or perhaps the tangerine tastes completely normal— nothing special at all. So, you swallow it without even pausing to appreciate its flavor as you move on to the next unworthy bite, and the next.

In the first scenario, the tangerine let you down because it didn’t meet your expectations. In the second, it was too plain because it met your expectations to a T.

Do you see the irony here?

It’s either not good or not good enough. This is how many of us live our lives . . . unhappily and unsuccessfully. It’s why so many of us feel let down, disappointed, and unexcited about almost everything.

Because nothing really meets our expectations.

Now, imagine you try this instead: remove your expectations of how the tangerine “should” taste. You don’t know, and you don’t expect to know, because you haven’t even tried it yet. Instead, you’re genuinely curious, impartial, and open to a variety of possible flavors. You taste it, and you truly pay attention. You notice the juiciness, the texture of the pulp, the simultaneously tangy, tart, and sweet flavors swirling around on your tongue, and all the other complex sensations that arise in your awareness as you chew. You didn’t know how this tangerine would taste, but now you realize it’s different from the rest, and it’s remarkable in its own way. It’s a totally new experience—a worthwhile experience—because you’ve never tasted this tangerine before.

Mindfulness experts often refer to this as “beginner’s mind,” but really, it’s just the result of a mind-set free of needless, stifling expectations.

The tangerine, of course, can be substituted for almost anything in your life: any event, any situation, any relationship, any person, any thought at all that enters your mind. If you approach any of these with expectations of “how it should be” or “how it has to be” in order to be good enough for you, they will almost always disappoint you in some way, or be too plain and unexciting to even remember. And you’ll just move on to the next disappointment or unworthy life experience, and the next, and the next, and so on and so forth, until you’ve lived the vast majority of your life stuck in an endless cycle of experiences you barely like or barely even notice. Take time to think better, and you will live better.