What’s the secret to staying happy, relaxed, motivated, and performing at our best? Look no further than the Huichol people, an indigenous tribe from the mountainous region of central Mexico.
The Huichols are some of the happiest, healthiest, wisest people on earth. Many of them are shamans, and a surprising number of their tribe live past 100 and work in the fields up till the day they die.
As a young man, I traveled to Mexico and was invited to live with the Huichols for 12 years, where I became the adopted grandson of a shaman named Don José Matsuwa, who lived to be 110. I learned many life lessons from the Huichol shamans, the most important of which was that small behavioral changes can make an enormous difference in how we live, love, and thrive in our everyday life.
Here are six small changes you can make in your life to be more like a shaman.
6 Life Lessons From a Shaman
1. Make challenge normal
When we view tasks as giant and overwhelming—such as filling out our kid’s financial aid forms for college, or painting the house—we get discouraged, feel defeated before we even start, and dread every moment of the task. The Huichols plant one kernel at a time and keep at it until, seed by seed and row by row, they’ve planted a steep hillside with corn. They believe challenge is a normal part of life and makes us stronger, smarter, and more resilient.
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2. Make the task you’re doing your priority
The Huichols have a simple yet effective way to cope with all that they have to do in a day: Think of the task as your top priority, rather than a means to an end. A shaman might tell you that sawing through a giant tree trunk using a hand tool is daunting, but moving the saw back and forth with precision and consistency isn’t. The same is true for your activities. Place all your focus on what you’re doing right now, and don’t let discouraging thoughts or interruptions distract you.
3. Be the person you hope to become
We tend to make goals for ourselves that place us in the future, instead of in the