A few weeks ago I gave some ideas on how you can stop and pause to take stock rather than being absorbed into those ‘to do’ lists. I also asked for your thoughts on what life has taught you, those lessons you would tell your younger self if you could. The thing with wisdom and often with life lessons in general is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned. See what you can learn from others.
When we’re young, we feel we need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything and do it all at the same time. Making plans for the future is very useful but rushing full-speed ahead is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by. Take time to weigh your options, enjoy every bite of food and look around you. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit and wait to see where your life takes you.
Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset
Health is an invaluable treasure. We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it until we have to. Appreciate your body, nurture it and protect it with rest, exercise, water and eating healthily. This goes for your mental health too. Mind and body work together.
Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems
Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts but it cannot solve your problems or fix a broken relationship or cure loneliness. The “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.
You Can’t Please Everyone
You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside. Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect and stay true to your values.
You Don’t Always Get What You Want
No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to and that’s okay. We have all of these expectations, predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like but all too often that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail, sometimes we just change our minds mid-course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.
It’s Not All About You
It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want? It’s normal to be aware of everything that’s going on in your own life but try to notice what’s happening around you and how things affect other people in the world.
Love Is More Than a Feeling
That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion doesn’t last long. Long-lasting love is not just a feeling but is a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful. Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.
People can’t read your thoughts
If you think something, say something. Don’t expect people to guess your thoughts and feelings. Don’t hold a grudge when people didn’t predict what you wanted them to do. Just tell them.
Just do the thing
Stop thinking and start doing. There’s nothing you can’t learn if you commit to practicing and getting your hands dirty. When you’ll look back a few months from now, you’ll be amazed at the amount of progress you made. If you don’t know where to start, choose at random. You don’t know what you don’t know. You’ll figure it out along the way.
There’s No Shame in Not Knowing
There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life. Besides, nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.
Nobody cares if you fail
Your biggest critic is yourself. Stop worrying about what other people think. The truth is that they mostly don’t think anything about your successes and failures. They’re too busy thinking about themselves. It may seem depressing, but it’s actually freeing. You’re free to try, experiment, fail and try again. Nobody cares anyway, so have fun!
Do things differently to think differently
You can’t expect to come up with innovative ideas if you do the same stuff everyone does. Read different books, watch different shows or go to different events because if you take in different things then you have something different to give out.
Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing
Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing. The fight we’re having or the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. It won’t matter years from now so unless it is life threatening then let it go and move on.
Don’t Take Anything for Granted
We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow. Nothing in your life is guaranteed to be here tomorrow. This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all. Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.
Always stay a student
You shouldn’t stop to learn once you finish school. Learning makes life interesting. To be interesting, be interested. When someone shares something, say “tell me more”. Everyone is interesting. People have lived many lives, explored parts of the world you haven’t been to, read books you haven’t read, had conversations you haven’t had. You can learn something from anyone if you ask the right questions and it is an extraordinary way to grow.
What have you got to share?