Life is full of twists and turns, and it can oftentimes be difficult to stay on top of it all the time. But it’s during these times of distress, not comfort, when you face growth and long-term fulfillment.
Here are 10 life lessons to keep in mind.
Time doesn’t last forever
Have you been working towards a lifelong goal?
Time is fleeting. As you grow older, you’ll gain more wisdom, money, and memories, but you’ll also have less time to experience it all. Aligning yourself with what you truly want can help make your time on Earth feel more fulfilling. Maybe that would entail some tough sacrifices at the present moment – like stepping out of a toxic relationship or fixing a bad habit. These sacrifices may sting, but you’ll eventually grow out of the pain and enter a new, happier era of your life.
You need to take the risk.
Do you replay a “what-if” situation that never seems to escape your head?
As you grow older, you’ll start to look back and ponder on your past self’s choices. In Erik Erikson’s stage theory of psychological development, people at an old age will start to reflect on whether they’ve lived a meaningful life. Many are at peace with the decisions they’ve made. But some would feel a sense of despair and look back with feelings of regret, shame, and disappointment as they tackle the reality of their mortality.
Are you still mentally healthy? Then you’re still young enough to risk for your happiness. You may fail a couple of times, but ignore that nagging voice in your head to stop – do it anyway!
Don’t act like someone you’re not.
Do you put up a fake front in front of others so that you won’t feel out of place?
It’s normal to feel the need to fit in a crowd. It’s how our ancestors made sure they didn’t get left behind to fend for themselves. It’s a shared human trait.
But if you don’t stick up to what you believe in and demand your dues, you’ll live under a false, masked identity of your self. You may end up as someone that constantly wanted to please others at the expense of your own happiness.
Take care of your body.
Do you diet, sleep well, and regularly exercise?
Just like your life, you only have one body. Your early years and the habits you built up to dictate the way your health will transform and grow in the future. Do you drink a full glass of water with your meal? Do you run or do yoga? How about sleep a good 8 hours every night? Set up a weekly habit to build up your healthy habits so that your future self will be happy that you’re still healthy at 70.
Don’t be tough on yourself.
Do you talk negatively about yourself?
Making mistakes can be distressing at times. Especially if your mistake has negatively impacted other people. You may resort to thinking negatively about yourself during those moments, calling yourself a failure, dumb, or stupid.
But by beating yourself down, you’re structuring your mind into one that regards pessimism as a normal mode of thinking – even if it’s not. A self-defeating mind can also decrease your motivation, worsen a state of helplessness, and can even cause depression. (VeryWellMind, 2020)
Build strong relationships.
Do you have a hard time opening up, even to your friends?
People who have good relationships with family, friends, and loved ones not only have fewer health problems during their old age, but they feel more fulfilled too. Studies show participants with larger social networks are 45% less likely to suffer from mortality. Fostering a positive social life can impact how you’re life will pan out. Whether you find your circle in school or years after work, having genuine bonds with people is one of the most important things in life.
Life throws curveballs.
Have you been waiting for something great to happen, only for life to take it away from you?
No matter how ready you initially were, sometimes, your plans don’t always go your way. Factors outside your control could stop or hinder your plans, and you’re just left to react to them. During these down moments, it can be tempting to stop and give up. But while it may seem difficult to rise again, know that it’s within your power to revisit it in the future if it’s truly something you’re passionate about.
Material goods don’t bring your life joy.
Do you live extravagantly?
Money is an important tool, but it can lead many people astray. If you let it dictate you, you’ll focus your efforts on just increasing a number in your bank account while sacrificing the things that makes life truly worth it.
Life isn’t about wearing that new watch or that luxury bag. If you spend your time chasing after material goods, you’ll take time away from the other parts of your life as well. Reflect on what’s important to you. Chances are, it’s something that money can’t buy.
Don’t give up too quickly.
Remember when you started a good habit strong, but failed to follow through after a while?
You can’t achieve something without putting in the effort. Sometimes, this effort will last you many hours and weeks before you’ll truly see results. This can be daunting for many people, even causing them to stop right as their journey starts to kick off.
You don’t have to work all at once to get ahead and succeed in what you set yourself out to be. You just have to do small, consistent steps every day – and after some time you’ll see your efforts bear fruit.
Be grateful every day.
Each moment, each day, each second that passed won’t return. While some days may be hard, or even months and years, life only appears to you once. The people you know and love won’t be there forever, and after some time, you’ll be gone too.
Life isn’t always beautiful, otherwise, we won’t know what separates the bad days from the good days. And we can’t love and treasure those good days that do happen. Focus and be grateful for those good days as days that make life worth living, and you’ll realize that your life’s book isn’t all that bad after all.
Have these life lessons helped change your thinking? Are you planning to use them in your day-to-day?
Life isn’t a linear path. It’s full of ups, downs, and in-betweens – and there’s no right or wrong path.
Without the expectations of others and money, choose the path that you feel the happiest in, and don’t be afraid to take the plunge. Your future self will be happy you did live for your own conviction and passion.
Scott, E. Feb 25, 2020. The Toxic Effects of Negative Self-Talk Retrieved at https://www.verywellmind.com/negative-self-talk-and-how-it-affects-us-4161304
Newall, N. E., Chipperfield, J. G., Daniels, L. M., Hladkyj, S., & Perry, R. P. (2009). Regret in later life: exploring relationships between regret frequency, secondary interpretive control beliefs, and health in older individuals. International journal of aging & human development, 68(4), 261–288. https://doi.org/10.2190/AG.68.4.a
TopThink. Oct 24, 2019. 10 Lessons in Life People Learn TOO LATE. Retrieved at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnqgzei7VqU
Cherry, K. Apr 21, 21. Integrity vs. Despair in Psychosocial Development. Retrieved at https://www.verywellmind.com/integrity-versus-despair-2795738
Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Layton JB (2010) Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review. PLOS Medicine 7(7): e1000316. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316