Life has a tendency of getting a bit bumpy, doesn’t it? At times, I’ve found myself wishing that I had learned certain life lessons a little sooner. So much good can come from examining life lessons learned. It’s never too late to take a page from your own book, recognize the good and the bad and turn things around – or simply in a new, positive direction.
Here’s a few of my own life lessons learned that I would love to share with you:
- Live life in the here and now
There’s so many things to look forward to. The future holds hope and the promise of amazing things to come. In the midst of planning the next event, project or meeting, it’s so easy to forget to live in the here and now. Life is now. If you can learn to live in the right now, your life will be so much more fulfilling.
- Don’t let fear rule you
For many of us, fear is the worst thing that could happen to us. Fear of failing. Fear of starting something new. Fear of losing everything you’ve worked for. Fear of commitment. Fear of rejection. Fear of change. Fortunately, things are rarely as bad as they initially seem. In fact, reality is rarely as painful as our fears make things appear.
- Make time for relationships
Our modern world keeps us busy. Work. Computer. Meetings. Deadlines. It’s so easy to push the important things in life to the back burner. Worst case: you push things off for so long that they fade away. Life has a way of going on without us before we even realize what is happening. We need relationships. Keeping up with the people that matter most in our lives is so important. Relationships need time, attention and care. Don’t forget to treat the people in your life like they are everything to you – because they truly are.
- Failure isn’t always a bad thing
Deep down, I think we all fear failure. We hide from it, and avoid it at all costs. However, where there has been failure, there is also evidence of having tried. Without effort, failure can’t happen. Failure is a part of life. Until we learn to expect and accept it, we can’t learn the value of learning. Failed attempts provide us with opportunities to grow, learn, move on and succeed.
- Posturing creates walls
Each of us has insecurities to deal with. In fact, many of them affect our every-day more than we realize. Creating a persona to impress others or shield ourselves from pain is so easy to do. In an effort to present our best self, we diminish intimacy and authenticity. When we posture ourselves, people can see right through it. They can sense when you’re not being honest with yourself, or with them. Ultimately, it makes them push us away.
In the words of Charles R. Swindoll, “I know of nothing more valuable, when it comes to the all-important virtue of authenticity, than simply being who you are.”
- Find and follow your passion
I am passionate about what I do. You can like what you do without being passionate about what you’re doing. If you find something you love, hold onto it. Every day will feel like a gift to wake up to. Sure, even those that love what they do will have a tough day every now and then. But the satisfaction and joy from pursuing your passion will begin to spill over into every other aspect of your life.
- Pleasing everyone is impossible
So many people fail to learn this lesson until they are well into their later years in life. After years of trying to please everyone around them, they either lose their identity or suddenly realize it’s impossible to make everyone happy. Only then do they realize they’ve wasted so much time in not pursuing who they really are.
It’s human nature to want to belong and to be liked. We all want to be respected and to feel valued. However, the most successful people learn that you can’t spend all of your time seeking validation from others. Take a step back. Spend some time looking within yourself. There is a liberating feeling that follows the realization that you simply need to demand respect and stay true to your values. The right people will be attracted to this.
- Health is one of the most valuable assets
In the past, I’ve shared how pivotal it was for me when I took steps to regain my health. In focusing on self-control, I was able to get a handle on my health. The modern world we live in is so busy and distracting. Before you know it, you’re living in the fast food drive-through and relying on caffeine to power you through.
Your body and your health are an invaluable treasure. Appreciate, nurture and protect it. It’s something that’s so easy to take for granted while we have it, but devastating when we suddenly don’t. Treating my body as the temple that it is had both physical and emotional rewards for me.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NIV).
- Maintaining perspective is crucial – and a beautiful thing
It’s so easy to allow yourself to become worried and upset. I’ve experienced it. You’ve likely experienced it. We’ve all been there. We don’t reach these moments suddenly; we arrive at them over time because we’ve lost perspective. It’s easy to look at each hiccup, mistake or situation as a big, ugly monster rearing its head.
In the grand scheme of things, will it really matter 20, 30 or even 40 years from now? Getting caught up in the short-term prevents us from looking at the possibilities of the long-term. Unless it’s life-threatening, sometimes letting it go and moving on is best.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34, NIV).
- Above all, exercise gratitude
Focusing on everything you’ve been blessed with is a much better use of brain power. Gratitude truly multiplies positivity and well-being. It brings a sense of happiness and peace to your life. Plan a fun day with your family this weekend. Meet a friend at your local coffee shop to do some catching up. Cherish the smiles on your kid’s faces. Take your dogs to the lake for a swim. Go for a walk, and enjoy the changes around you as summer turns into fall.
Being grateful doesn’t always have to be about celebrating life’s big wins and accomplishments. Gratitude and happiness are, more often than not, linked with the little things in life. The things that truly matter.
Especially for the entrepreneur, learning is a gift. Key qualities – adaptability, empathy, humility, resiliency, flexibility, mediation, etc. – can only be gained through first-hand experiences. Would you jump at the chance to talk to your younger self and share the wisdom you have now? Or do you feel that doing so would take away from opportunities you had/have to learn and grow through life’s ups and downs?