Throughout your life, you’re going to pick up a bunch of different life lessons based on your experiences whether good or bad. A lot of the lessons that we learn and tend to actually remember come from the bad experiences. I think there’s a lot of truth in the saying that we learn more from our mistakes and failures than our successes.
The following are some simple lessons that I’ve learned either from my own experience or from observing or talking with others. I think it would be quite valuable to take the time each year or even each month or week to sit down and think about what you’ve learned that time period and then write it down.
I’ll continue to add more to this section as I discover and learn new insights.
Lesson #1: Don’t make obtaining happiness more difficult than it really is.
Advertisers have done a great job in convincing people that in order to be happy, one needs to buy a bunch of things, eat out at fancy restaurants, travel the world, and live in big homes.
Although there’s certainly some correlation between what we own and experience to our level of happiness, it’s not necessary. Some of the happiest people on the planet are those who don’t own much at all. In fact, the happiest group of people are kids. They laugh at anything and just freely express their feelings of joy.
Happiness is just an emotional state. You don’t have to have this and that to happen in order to be happy. If you do, it’s only because someone convinced you so.
Lesson #2: Gratitude is the key to happiness.
Getting more things might make you feel happy for the moment, but it won’t last. Want proof? Do you still feel excited when you walk into your house? You did when you first bought it. Do you feel excited about your current job? You did when you first got hired.
When the things and people we have in our lives are there long enough, we tend to take those things for granted. Some people can feel miserable even though they’re surrounded with things they once couldn’t wait to get.
Being grateful and appreciating what you have will bring you longer lasting happiness.
So how do you do this? Try sleeping in your car for a week; you’ll appreciate your house more. Try taking the bus to work; you’ll appreciate your car more. Spend a week in a homeless shelter; you’ll appreciate everything you have more. Spend some time with people who can’t walk; you’ll appreciate your legs more.
You get the point.
It’s fine to chase goals in hopes of obtaining another reason to be happy, in fact, you should, but don’t forget that you already have plenty to be happy about.
Instead of pursuing happiness, happily pursue more happiness. (Read that again and again until you get it.)
Lesson #3: Most of the best memories you’ll have will involve other people.
One of the most rewarding ways to invest your time is to spend it with other people. Life is a series of experiences, some good, some bad. Either way, it’s enhanced and made more memorable when other people are involved.
Relationships need nourishment. In order to create a deep bond with the important people in your life, you will need to make the time to connect with them. We all live busy lives and often times, we get so caught up with our careers and other commitments that we put the people most important to us on the back burner. How many people do you know who you used to be good friends with but now you rarely even talk to?
Relationships take work but because your life is enhanced by them, it’s a good idea to invest the time and energy in keeping them strong.
Lesson #4: Success takes a ton of work.
I have to admit that I’ve fallen for the whole easy path to success more than once in my life. The lure of achieving great results without putting in much effort is certainly enticing.
Look at the fitness industry and you’ll see dozens and dozens of products from miracle pills to exotic workout equipments. Not many of those infomercials convey the truth about getting fit. They make it seem as easy as possible in order to drive more sales.
The truth is, success in anything worthwhile is going to take a massive amount of work. If it didn’t, you would’ve already achieved it.
So the lesson here is to forget the easy path and take on the challenging path. When you come into the game knowing that it’s going to be tough, you’ll be a lot more mentally prepared to withstand any great obstacles that stand in your way.
Remember, there’s no shame in making success look hard. When you become successful, people will think you got lucky anyway.
Lesson #5: Don’t ever forget that you’re dying.
I know, this sounds harsh but it’s reality. The fact that no one really knows when they are going to die makes how we spend each living day a gamble. Do we make the most of the day or do we squander it believing that we have plenty more to go?
Most people die wishing they had a bit more time left to do whatever it is that they’ve always wanted to do. If you’re alive and well, realize that you’re in a situation that many people who’s time is coming to an end can only wish to be in.
Who knows, maybe you made the same wish and it was actually granted. Okay, that’s a bit far fetched but just pretend it really happened. How would you spend your second chance at life? What would you do differently?
The good news is, whatever it is you would do, you have the chance to do. Your life will end. That’s a fact. It could be decades from now or months from now. Who knows?
Either way, it’s probably best not risk wasting any of the limited amount of days you have left.
Lesson #6: Now is the time to take care of your health.
Far too many people wait until their health deteriorates to the point where their doctor has to give them “the talk” before they start to make some changes in their life.
You don’t have to deprive yourself of your favorites foods. Go ahead and enjoy them but know when to stop. It’s like drinking alcohol, it’s fine to have a few drinks as long as you don’t go overboard.
Becoming and staying fit comes down to discipline and realizing that the work you put in today is an investment in your future. The sooner you reach your ideal fitness level, the less you’ll have to think, talk, and stress about getting fit. Just get it done.