Changing one’s life often begins with changing little things first. For Leo Babauta, changing daily habits included eating healthier as a vegan, exercising, decluttering, and simplifying his life in order to feel balanced and renewed. “Once I figured out some things that worked with one habit, I started changing a whole bunch of different habits.” With a refreshed perspective on life and a new appreciation for mindful living, Leo began writing his blog, Zen Habits, and eventually wrote a book under the same name. He now strives to positively impact others through his work while living mindfully and compassionately.
Nurturing Positive Change
Leo is passionate about helping guide others towards a positive, healthy, and mindful lifestyle. Along with his blog and book, Zen Habits, Leo also creates online courses called “Sea Change” as part of his mission to help others find their path and change their habits.
“Mindfulness and simplicity are both at the core of all of that change.”
Leo is also working towards organizing live events and retreats where people “can get together and find the power of human connection to undergo transformation.” Leo recognizes the power of human relationships, and acknowledges that being open and honest with others can lead to the most profound kind of change in one’s life.
Shaped by Others
Leo acknowledges that who he is and where he is today is the result of many people. “I believe that we are all interconnected and we are constantly influencing who we are. And I believe that who I am is created by everyone who I’ve had contact with.” Rather than having an individualistic outlook on life, Leo encourages others to pay attention to, and give thanks to, those who surround us.
This philosophy is integral to everything Leo does. Since other people have positively impacted him and his life, Leo wants to do the same for others. Leo constantly keeps others in mind and often reflects on his own life experiences to connect with others and help them through their struggles.
“Connecting with people through a shared struggle and then helping them in a compassionate way really warms my heart.”
Shifting Your Focus to Serve Others
“One of the key things that I work with nowadays is helping people deal with struggles, uncertainty, and fear in their lives, and turning that into something joyful, grateful, and mindful.”
We often procrastinate or get distracted by our fears. Whether it’s a fear of failure or judgement, Leo likes to encourage others to think about who you’re serving, and the meaningful impact you will have on others upon completion of the task, rather than focusing on made up negative outcomes.
“If I’m not as self-centred (on fear) and instead focus on the creation that can help others, that’s a huge shift for me.”
Not only does Leo care about people, but, as a vegan, he is also mindful about “removing himself from contributing to the suffering of other beings.” Leo expressed, “for me, it’s an amazing way of life.” However, he understands that eating vegan isn’t necessarily realistic or desirable for everybody. Rather than pushing others to do the exact same things as him, he supports and encourages people to discover their own ways to make the world a better place.
Mindfulness & Self-Compassion
For Leo, mindfulness is “paying attention to what’s happening right now.” Leo aims to incorporate four main passions into his everyday life: meditation, reflection, creation and health. As a husband and father of six, it can sometimes be a struggle to include extensive exercises in each area, which is also where mindfulness comes in. Rather than being hard on himself for not following a strict regimented schedule, he practices self-compassion, allowing himself breaks and completing modified mindfulness exercises instead.
Self-compassion is something else Leo cares greatly about. If mindfulness means paying attention to the present, it also means paying attention to how we treat and affect others, as well as ourselves.
“Paying attention to right now is the door that opens to unseen worlds and amazing possibilities.”
Leo Babauta’s Questions for KYŌ:
- What are we creating together?
- Who am I serving?
- What is my intention for today?