How to Enjoy Life

I think I enjoy life more so than other people. Why? And how?


DOWNLOAD PDF: How to enjoy life


First of all, to be alive is a blessing.

We didn’t ask to be born, but now that we’re alive — we should enjoy life to the fullest maximum.

But we are alive. How can we enjoy life? Some ideas:

1. Make art

Abstract: Henri Cartier Bresson Seville
Abstract: Henri Cartier Bresson Seville

The first step to enjoying life: make art.

Art can be anything. Art can be your photography, painting, drawing, 3D sculpture, visualizations, dance, theater, music, standup comedy, improv comedy, the art of business, the art of conversation, or anything that requires your personal creativity.

Silhouette of man, rooftop bar in Hanoi.
Silhouette of man, rooftop bar in Hanoi.

Make art everyday. The more you make art, the more you will enjoy life, and the more excited you will be.

Dramatic picture of Hanoi woman. Background darkened, and her face and eyes brightened for dramatic effect.
Dramatic picture of Hanoi woman. Background darkened, and her face and eyes brightened for dramatic effect.

You will have the opportunity to continue learning about your art (by looking at art books, instructional books, attending workshops, experimenting, traveling).

To feel true joy in life, we all need a sense of progress, and a feeling like we are growing, and evolving.

2. Dance

Cindy bent elbow, dance. Saigon, 2017

I love music, and dancing. To me, dancing is one of the most primal instincts we have — all children dance when they are introduced to a catchy beat or rhythm.

Cindy. Saigon, 2017
Cindy. Saigon, 2017

The problem is that a lot of us are desocialized to dancing — why? Because we are afraid of looking stupid, or being judged.

Cindy silhouette and curved arms. Saigon, 2017
Cindy silhouette and curved arms. Saigon, 2017

Assignment: put on some nice music at home, and feel free to dance by yourself, with nobody else around. Taking it a step further — dance with your partner, friends, or strangers at a club, or any dancing establishment, or even in public.

3. Share your joy

Cindy with elbows flared outwards.
Cindy power pose. Saigon hotel, 2017

To feel more joy in your life, share your life and joy with others.

As humans, we are social creatures. To feel happier and feel more joy in life, we just be more social.

Cindy creator. Hands, reflection, flash, elevator, Saigon.
Cindy holding up her arms. Photo of a flash in front of elevator, Saigon 2017

To be social:

  • Meeting other people to share our joy for our hobbies or passions.
  • To teach what we know with others.
  • To engage in the art of conversation with others.

I enjoy life most when I am teaching and performing. I feel great joy in sharing what I know, and using this information to empower others.

Contact sheet of Cindy fashion shoot. Saigon, 2017
Contact sheet of Cindy fashion shoot. Saigon, 2017

Assignment: teach a free class, workshop, or even make a YouTube video sharing your knowledge with others.

4. Count your blessings

Cindy. Saigon, 2017
Cindy dancing with flower in our hotel lobby. Saigon, 2017

A life full of accomplishments without counting your blessings is a truly sad life.

To feel joy in life, we must acknowledge, and appreciate our blessings and accomplishments.

Cindy in elevator. Saigon, 2017
Cindy in elevator. Saigon, 2017

For example, I always count my blessings with Cindy before we sleep. In bed, I will ask Cindy,

“Cindy, what was your favorite things from today?”

I also on my own count my own blessings. When I drink my morning cup of coffee, I smile, smell the freshly ground beans, and count that blessing. I count my blessing of being born in America, and knowing English (the international language). I count my blessings for my physical health, and I also count my blessings of the difficulties I faced in life.

Cindy and eye shadows. Saigon, 2017
Cindy and eye shadows. Saigon, 2017

I count the difficulties I had in life as a blessing. Why? The difficult parts of my life is what made me stronger. I count my scars and find beauty in the pain and suffering in my life. Why? What didn’t kill me, only made me stronger.

5. Novelty

Cindy with cocktail. Saigon, 2017 #cindyproject
Cindy with cocktail. Saigon, 2017 #cindyproject

I also think to enjoy life, we need novelty, variation, chance, and randomness.

If you had 100% the same routine everyday for the rest of your life, you would be miserable and bored to death.

I think the secret is to have some routine and predictability in some parts, and some variation in other parts of life.

Tree trunk. Saigon. 2017
Tree trunk. Saigon. 2017

For example, I wear the same all black outfit everyday. I drink the same espresso everyday. My diet is mostly the same, I eat mostly meat and veggies.

Sculpture. Saigon. 2017
Sculpture. Saigon. 2017

Everyday I also make videos, and write. But I add variety by reading new books, variety by looking at new photos.

Abstract branches on pavement. Saigon, 2017
Abstract branches on pavement. Saigon, 2017

Cindy and I like to frequent the same restaurants, but if we do — we will make sure to order new dishes. Or we will try out new restaurants or coffee shops.

6. Not getting too comfortable

Laughing Cindy at Ciao Bella. Saigon. 2017
Laughing Cindy at Ciao Bella. Saigon. 2017

Also, I think avoiding comfort is a key to enjoying life.

Life that is too easy, has no challenges, or no difficulty is boring.

Cindy bending backwards. Saigon, 2017 #cindyproject
Cindy bending backwards. Saigon, 2017 #cindyproject

For example, I only have fun in the gym when I challenge my muscles, to try to lift heavier weights.

Cindy center eye. Prague, 2017
Cindy center eye. Prague, 2017

Photography is only fun when I challenge myself, to make more dynamic and innovative compositions.

Cindy in bed. Prague. 2017
Cindy in bed. Prague. 2017

My personal studies on philosophy are only fun, if I strive to deepen my thoughts, to add more complexity to my thinking, yet while also simplifying some ideas.

Comfort is the road to waste.

7. Realize life will never be perfect

Cindy and me about to eat Indian food. Prague, 2017
Cindy outside of Indian restaurant. Prague, 2017

The last thing — to truly enjoy life, I think we must accept and acknowledge that life will never be 100% perfect.

Cindy with red scarf. Prague, 2017 #cindyproject
Cindy with red scarf. Prague, 2017 #cindyproject

Regardless of the pain, difficulty, or suffering in our lives — we can still feel joy. That’s the secret.

Silhouette of Cindy. Prague, 2017
Silhouette of Cindy. Prague, 2017 #cindyproject

If anything, if we felt 100% infallible happiness without any pain or difficulty — what would differentiate us from a rock?

Man with hand on face. Prague, 2017. Shot on Leica M240
Man with hand on face. Prague, 2017. Shot on Leica M240

To be human is to feel the full gamut of emotions — anger, fear, depression, joy, excitement, and surprise.

I also think that emotions are all relative and contrast:

  • Without pain we cannot feel pleasure
  • Without hunger, we cannot enjoy the taste of food
  • Without suffering in life, we cannot feel true joy.
Prague, 2015. Curtain
Prague, 2015. Curtain

So friend, always count your blessings, seek to make art, and know that no matter what happens in your life — you can always interpret it in a positive way.

Me and Cindy in elevator. Berlin, 2017
Selfie of me and Cindy in elevator. Berlin, 2017
  • Whenever life gives you shit, figure out how you can turn it into gold.
  • Always turn any potential disadvantages into a benefit.
  • Memento mori: realize one day you will die, so enjoy every day like it were your last.
Memento Mori ERIC KIM
Memento Mori ERIC KIM selfie.
Kyoto selfie with Cindy. Reflection, 2017
Shot through the reflection of an aluminum espresso machine. Kyoto selfie with Cindy. Reflection, 2017. Orange and Blue.
Selfie in Uji, Kyoto 2017
Selfie in Uji, Kyoto 2017
Selfie with your life partner, will bring you joy.

Smile,
ERIC

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