How to Add ZEST to Your Life!

A few years ago, my wife and I watched a movie called “Last Holiday” starring Queen Latifah. It was about a woman who had a “book of possibilities;” things that she wanted to do in her life, but she never did them. When she found out that she only had 3 weeks to live…she finally went out and started “living” them.

I know it’s a familiar premise…we could probably think of a hundred other movies that have a similar theme, but the question is: are we “listening” to the message of those movies?

Power up with Zesty-Os!!

After the movie ended, my wife told me that I was one of those people who “lives” every day with a zest for life. It kind of caught me off guard, but I have to admit that she’s right. I like to go out and make every day a new adventure.

You know you can do it, too. I’ll teach you!!

What is entailed in creating or living a zesty life?

Well, for one thing, you have to know what constitutes “zest” for you.

For some that might mean being able to get out of bed, for others it might mean jumping from an airplane at ten thousand feet with nothing but a parachute. Of course these are extreme examples, but you have to determine what constitutes “zest” for you!!

One big quality of a zestful person is integrity.

In the afore-mentioned movie, there were some characters who had money and power, but no integrity. There was one fella in particular who tried to “buy” the zest for life…but because he was a manipulative, bitter, unfaithful cad, he ended up being disliked, despised, and despondent. No zest whatsoever!!

So what’s the lesson then? Integrity is made up of moral fiber, self-love, and character. If you use integrity in your everyday dealings, it makes you feel good about yourself…and, you also have empowered others around you when you deal with them honestly. That’s a zesty feeling!!

But that’s only part of it…

Another way to put zest in your life is to do things that you love to do…or things that you have always wanted to do but never did. Queen Latifah’s character had always wanted to visit a certain hotel in Europe and meet a certain chef who works there. She cashed in everything she had (remember she only had 3 weeks to live anyway) and took the trip. While she was there, not only did she meet the chef, but eventually she got to help him in the kitchen…(a dream come true). She also spent a lot of time in the spa being pampered and massaged, and she did the dive off of the dam with a parachute. Wow!!

I’m not telling you to cash in all your properties and splurge…one of the things my wife mentioned last night was, even though we don’t have the money that it takes to do some of the things that we want to do (world travel, buy a plane, etc.), it doesn’t matter…you don’t need money to be zesty!! And who knows, those are things to “live towards,” (as opposed to “work for”).

So let’s address that part of zest now!! Direction is part of being zesty!! You have to know where you are going. If you are wandering around in circles or you’re stuck in a rut…if you’re doing the same thing day in and day out, how much zest are you going to have in your life? Little to zero!! Work towards something. Have the end in site!! Just know this…there will be obstacles!! Anything worth working towards will have barriers, bumps and booby traps. If you are willing to face the challenges, if you are willing to do whatever it takes, if you are willing to reach the finish line, then your “ZEST” factor will increase incredibly…especially when you finally reach the goal!! It actually is a great feeling (zest) when you overcome an obstacle, so you should look at an obstruction as more of a booster than a barrier.

Many years ago, I landed a gig in Japan, but I had to have my passport within 2 weeks. Normally it takes 6 weeks to get a passport. I had to drive to California from Las Vegas and stand in a line, that had already started forming around the federal building at 4:00 a.m., and pay extra for a passport. But I received my passport by 2:00 p.m. that day.

I felt “zesty.”

Now, you may think that that was the “obstacle” part of the story, but it was not!! In order to get all the paperwork done, I had to make a copy of my passport and give it to the person who was handling the travel for the entertainers. A couple of days later, as I was packing, I could not find my passport…I searched high and low…I tore the house apart…I went to everyplace that I could have left it or dropped it or lost it…but to no avail!! So that evening, I drove back to California, waited in line again (this time I ended up closer to the front of the line since I knew what to expect), and paid for another passport. I went to Japan and did the gig (Whew!!!…ZEST!!!) I came home 6 months later.
Epilogue (which really has nothing to do with zest, I just thought you’d like to know how the story ends): One day, about a year later, I happened to be in the Kinko’s where I had made a copy of my original passport. One of the employees recognized me. They had found my passport in one of the copy machines…I had left it there after making the copy!! DUH!!

While that whole event was stressful and frustrating, in the end it was invigorating, exciting, and something I can now laugh about!!

And now, for the syrupy saying to compliment that story: If Life is the journey, then Zest is the passport to your favorite destinations. Hokey, right? (Whew, good…that’s what I was going for.)

One last thing…passion is one of the most important parts of ZEST!! If you can be passionate about everything you do, even the mundane things, then you can consider yourself a zestful person.

Take pleasure in every bite…take pleasure in every step…take pleasure in every breath of air…take pleasure in every meeting…take pleasure in every conversation…take pleasure in every _________________ (you fill in the blank). Pleasure and passion are huge parts of zest!!

In conclusion, if you have the integrity, the do-things-that-you-love-to-do, the direction, and the passion instigated into your life…you will be living a great life!!

That’s how to have ZEST!!

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