The latest stories, straight to your inbox

The latest stories, straight to your inbox

Be inspired every day with Living North

Subscribe today and get every issue delivered direct to your door
Subscribe Now
Be inspired every day with Living North
How to Live Life to the Full
January 2022
Reading time 5 Minutes

Living North’s columnist Dr Maurice Duffy explains why we shouldn’t dwell on the past, or constantly worry about the future

But make an effort to do more of what makes us happy.

Everyone agrees Sir David Amess was an exemplary Member of Parliament. Always willing to consider opposing views and to debate issues, he was a man who tirelessly worked for his constituents and to champion their causes. He dedicated his life to the public and ultimately fell on the frontline, while actively engaged in service to the community. 

These terrible events may have been intended as an attack on our democracy, but in truth it was a futile act and a timely reminder that we are strongest when we stand together. My thoughts of course go out to the family and friends of Sir David Amess.

I was thinking about this when I was at the airport as I joined hundreds of people exiting the UK to go on holiday. So much excitement, so much energy, so many plans for their future, as if all of us plan to live forever. The fact is that we sometimes get so caught up in our busy lives that we forget to do more of what makes us happy. And whenever something good happens, we don’t take enough time to appreciate it. 

We want to please, to be accepted, and for that, we do all kinds of compromising — wasting precious time that we’ll never get back. Too many of us think that we have enough time, and we postpone our dreams. But we only have enough time if we use it wisely. So, whatever makes you happy, do it now!

I was writing down impressions as I watched the hordes pass me by, some of them quotes or just observations, and I thought I would share them with you.

Life is a first impression. You get one shot at it. Make it everlasting. 
Life is short. Stop worrying so much. Have fun. Be grateful. Be yourself. Don’t allow others to bring you down.
Life is a one-time offer. Life to your fullest. Forgive Quickly. Kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile.
Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realise it. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else 's life. 

From my experience of dealing with so many successful people, I’d like to share just some of my learnings:

1. The past is a place of reference not residency. Things in our lives happen for a reason. Even when at the time it seems like it’s the worst thing, going back over everything time and again with what you think should have happened is not going to help you move forward in your life. Why be bogged down with this negative thinking? Why be bothered with things in our past that we think should have been different? Why be bothered with people, things, and situations that are in the past that we have no control over? It does not serve a purpose and only keeps us stuck in the past instead of moving into the future.

So instead of sitting at our desk or on our bed, and wishing things had happened differently and how things ‘could have been’, why not think about the lessons that those memories have taught you? What did you learn from the past, what is it that keeps you in this negative thought pattern? Can you apply the lesson that life gave you at that time to make your future better? Whether you believe it at the time or not, eventually you will see that what happened in your past only made you a stronger person. What happened in the past only made you learn more about yourself and what you wanted from life!

2. Don’t let people with dirty shoes walk through your brain. People can be mean. I wish I could tell you that they’ll stop, or that you won’t have to deal with this in a few more years, but unfortunately, you’ll have to deal with bullies forever. You can’t stop them or control what they say or do; you can only control what you do.
Don’t give them the satisfaction of letting their words hurt you. If they want to say something rude and mean, let their souls be scarred with that hatred. Let them drown in their own unhappiness. You’re better than that. Don’t even look their way. Don’t allow their words to carry weight or merit. I know it’s hard, I do, but you do it a couple of times, and they’ll stop because without your reaction feeding them, that darkness that they’ve created – it starts to drown you and them.

3. Triad: mindset, focus and language. We can master our emotional state with a specific recipe of how we use our mind, focus and language. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Negativity cannot drive us out of pessimism: only positivity can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. If you don’t consciously adopt a mindset, one is subconsciously adopted for you. 

Live life fully while you’re here. Experience everything. Take care of yourself and your friends. Have fun, be crazy, be weird! Go out and screw up! You’re going to anyway, sob you might as well enjoy the process. Take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes: find the cause of your problem and eliminate it. Don’t try to be perfect; just be an excellent example of you.

Dr Maurice Duffy is Visiting Professor at Sunderland, consulting coach to the NHS, the Australian cricket team, Durham Cricket Club, international golfers, rugby and many sports people, and also coaches many senior FTSE 100 business leaders and politicians around the world. Find out more at or follow him on twitter @thebeaksquawks

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

Please read our Cookie policy.