I’ve been on this earth for nearly two and half decades. I haven’t celebrated any of my birthdays. There is nothing much to celebrate, but there is lot to feel bad because years are passing like seconds. I thought I’d share a handful of lessons I’ve learned as a helpful guide for those just starting out.
This post is for my next generations all over the world, whom I miss greatly.
The 26 Lessons I’ve learned in my 26 Years of Life’s Journey…
- Life is really valuable; make use of every moment learning new & useful things.
3. Goals aren’t as important as we think. Try working without them for a week. Turns out, you can do amazing things without goals. And you don’t have to manage them, cutting out on some of the bureaucracy of your life. You’re less stressed without goals, and you’re freer to choose paths you couldn’t have foreseen without them.
4. Always swallow your pride to say you’re sorry. Being too proud to apologize is never worth it -your relationship suffers for no good benefit.
5. Slow down. Rushing is rarely worth it. Life is better enjoyed at a leisurely pace.
6. Fear will try to stop you. Doubts will try to stop you. You’ll shy away from doing great things, from going on new adventures, from creating something new and putting it out in the world, because of self-doubt and fear. It will happen in the recesses of your mind, where you don’t even know it’s happening.
Become aware of these doubts and fears. Shine some light on them. Beat them with a thousand tiny cuts. Do it anyway, because they are wrong.
7. When your beloved ones ask for your attention, always grant it. Give them your full attention, and instead of being annoyed at the interruption, be grateful for the reminder to spend time with someone you love.
8. Don’t go into debt. That includes credit card debt, student debt, home debt, personal loans, and auto loans. We think they’re necessary but they’re not, at all. They cause more headaches than they’re worth, they can ruin lives, and they cost us way more than we get. Spend less than you earn, go without until you have the money.
9. Life is exceedingly brief. You might feel like there’s a huge mass of time ahead of you, but it passes much faster than you think. Your kids grow up so fast you get whiplash.
You get gray hairs before you’re done getting your bearings on life. Appreciate every damn moment.
10. If you find yourself swimming with all the other fish, go the other way. They don’t know where they’re going either.
Be different to be Irreplaceable in the world.
11. Mistakes are the best way to learn. Don’t be afraid to make them. Try not to repeat the same ones too often.
12.Failures are the stepping stones to success. Without failure, we’ll never learn how to succeed. So try to fail, instead of trying to avoid failure through fear.
13. Rest is more important than you think. People work too hard, forgets to rest, and then begin to hate their jobs.
People who try to do too much because they don’t know that rest is where their body gets stronger, after the stress.
14. There are few joys that equal a good book, a good walk, a good hug, good thoughts, good health, or a good friend. All are free.
15. The destination is just a tiny slice of the journey. We’re so worried about goals, about our future, that we miss all the great things along the way.
If you’re fixated on the goal, on the end, you won’t enjoy it when you get there. You’ll be worried about the next goal, the next destination.
16. A good walk cures most problems. Want to lose weight and get fit? Walk.
Want to enjoy life but spend less? Walk. Want to cure stress and clear your head? Walk.
Want to meditate and live in the moment? Walk. Having trouble with a life or work problem? Walk and your head get clear.
17. Giving is so much better than getting. Give with no expectation of getting something in return, and it becomes a purer, more beautiful act.
Too often we give something and expect to get an equal measure in return — at least get some gratitude or recognition for our efforts. Try to let go of that need, and just give.
18. Competition is very rarely as useful as cooperation. Our society is geared toward competition — rips each other’s throats out, survival of the fittest.
But humans are meant to work together for the survival of the tribe, and cooperation pools our resources and allows everyone to contribute what they can.
It requires a whole other set of people skills to work cooperatively, but its well worth the effort.
19. Gratitude is one of the best ways to find contentment. We are often discontent in our lives, desire more, because we don’t realize how much we have.
Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, be grateful for the amazing gifts you’ve been given: of loved ones and simple pleasures, of health and sight and the gift of music and books, of nature and beauty and the ability to create, and everything in between. Be grateful every day.
20. Compassion for other living things is more important than pleasure. Many people scoff at vegetarianism because they love the taste of meat and cheese too much, but they are putting the pleasure of their taste buds ahead of the suffering of other living, feeling beings.
You can be perfectly healthy on a vegetarian (even vegan) diet, so killing and torturing animals is absolutely unnecessary.
Compassion is a much more fulfilling way to live than closing your eyes to suffering.
21. Taste buds change. I thought I could never give up chicken, but by doing it slowly, I never missed it. I thought I could never give up junk food like sweets, fried crap all kinds of unhealthy things … and yet today I would rather eat some fresh berries or raw nuts. Weird, but it’s amazing how much our taste buds can change.
22. Love comes in many flavors. I love my parents; completely and more than I can ever fully understand. I love them each in a different way, and know that each is perfect in his or her own way.
23. Use the magic of compound interest. Invest early, and it will grow. Live on little, don’t get into debt, save all you can, and invest it in mutual funds. Watch your money grow.
24. All we are taught in schools, and all we see in the media (news, films, books, magazines, Internet) has a worldview that we’re meant to conform to.
Figure out what that worldview is, and question it. Ask if there are alternatives, and investigate.
25. Learn the art of empathy. Too often we judge people on too little information.
We must try to understand what they do instead, put ourselves in their shoes, and start with the assumption that what others do has a good reason if we understand what they’re going through. Life becomes much better if you learn this art.
26. Do less. Most people try to do too much. They fill life with checklists, and try to crank out tasks as if they were widget machines.
Throw out the checklists and just figure out what’s important. Stop being a machine and focus on what you love. Do it lovingly.
Please feel free to share your story and any lessons you learned, you experienced, you came across in your life, in the comments below.