10 lessons people often learn too late in life (a little toolkit for life)

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Life has a way of teaching us lessons, but sometimes the big ones come a bit too late.

It’s like looking back and saying, “I wish I knew that earlier.”

In this article, we’ll talk about 10 important life lessons that people often realize when a lot of time has already passed.

Learning these lessons early can help us live a happier and more meaningful life.

Whether you’re young or old, it’s never too late to learn and make a change.

Let’s dive into these life lessons and see how they can make a difference.

1. Health is Wealth

If there’s one thing we’ve all heard a million times, it’s ‘Health is Wealth’. But often, it’s a lesson we learn a little too late.

When we’re young, we feel invincible. Late-night fast food runs, skipping the gym for Netflix binges – sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

We take our health for granted until we face an issue or hit a certain age and realize that our bodies aren’t as invincible as we thought.

Here’s the thing: maintaining good health isn’t just about looking good or fitting into your favorite jeans – it’s about taking care of your body so it can take care of you.

Eat nutritious foods, exercise regularly, and don’t forget those yearly check-ups.

Remember, your body is like a car – if you don’t maintain it well, it won’t run for long.

Practical Tip: Schedule weekly meal planning and preparation to ensure you have nutritious foods readily available, reducing the temptation for unhealthy choices.

2. It’s Okay to Say No

Most of us grow up wanting to please everyone around us. We say yes to extra work, yes to helping out a friend even when we’re exhausted, yes to every party invite.

But sometimes, saying yes to others means saying no to ourselves.

Here’s a lesson people often learn too late: It’s absolutely okay to say no. Seriously, the world won’t end if you do.

Prioritize your mental and emotional health. If you’re feeling swamped, it’s okay to turn down that extra project at work or skip the social event if you’re not up for it.

Saying no doesn’t make you selfish or rude. It shows that you respect your time and energy.

So, give yourself permission to say no when you need to. Trust me, it’ll make a huge difference in your life!

Practical Tip: Practice saying “no” in less consequential situations to build your confidence, making it easier to decline when bigger things come up.

3. Money Can’t Buy Happiness

This one might sound cliche, but hear me out. I remember when I landed my first big-paying job.

I was over the moon – fancy clothes, expensive dinners, the latest gadgets – you name it, I had it.

But after the initial excitement wore off, I realized I wasn’t any happier. In fact, I felt more stressed trying to keep up with the lifestyle.

That’s when it hit me: money really can’t buy happiness. Sure, it can buy comfort and convenience, but not joy or peace.

Too often we chase after money thinking it’ll make us happy, only to learn too late that true happiness comes from things money can’t buy – like meaningful relationships, passions, and purpose.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s important to earn well and secure your future. But remember, life is more than just accumulating wealth.

Don’t lose sight of what truly matters in the pursuit of money. Trust me on this one; I learned it the hard way!

Practical Tip: Allocate time each week to pursue hobbies or activities that bring you joy, regardless of monetary gain.

4. Failure is a Stepping Stone to Success

Most of us dread the word ‘failure’. We associate it with defeat and disappointment. But did you know that many successful people actually view failure as an opportunity to learn and grow?

Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, failed a whopping 1,000 times before he was successful. When asked about it, he simply said, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

This perspective shift can make all the difference. Instead of fearing failure, see it as a stepping stone to success.

Every time you fail, you learn something new that brings you one step closer to your goal.

Don’t be disheartened by failure. Embrace it, learn from it, and keep going. Success might be just around the corner. 

Practical Tip: After a setback, take time to reflect on what you’ve learned and how you can apply these lessons moving forward.

5. Cherish Your Loved Ones

Life can get hectic, and amidst all the hustle and bustle, we often take our loved ones for granted.

We assume they’ll always be there, and we let opportunities to express our love and gratitude slip by.

The heartfelt truth is, nothing is permanent. Life is unpredictable, and we never know what the future holds.

The lesson that too many people learn too late is the importance of cherishing our loved ones while we still can.

Make it a point to tell your family and friends how much they mean to you.

Spend quality time with them, create beautiful memories, and never miss an opportunity to show your love.

At the end of the day, it’s these relationships and shared moments that truly enrich our lives.

Let’s not wait for a wake-up call to appreciate the people who love us. Start today – a loving word, a warm hug or a simple ‘I appreciate you’ can make all the difference.

Practical Tip: Set aside designated time each week to spend with loved ones, whether it’s a meal together or a phone call to catch up.

6. It’s Never Too Late to Learn Something New

When I was in my mid-thirties, I thought I was too old to learn how to cook. I had always been terrible in the kitchen, and I just assumed that ship had sailed.

But when a friend gifted me a cooking class for my birthday, everything changed. Despite my initial hesitation, I attended the class and found a new passion.

Now, I whip up meals that would give any chef a run for their money!

This experience taught me a valuable lesson: It’s never too late to learn something new.

We often limit ourselves with the belief that we’re too old or it’s too late to start something new.

But the truth is, learning has no age limit.

Whether it’s picking up a musical instrument, learning a new language, or even starting a new career – if you have the interest and determination, go for it.

You might just discover a hidden talent or passion that you never knew existed. 

Practical Tip: Enroll in a beginner’s class or workshop for a skill you’ve always wanted to learn, and commit to attending regularly.

7. Perfection is Overrated

You know that perfect life you see on social media? The one with the flawless selfies, the chic home decor, and the picture-perfect meals? It doesn’t exist.

Yep, you heard me right. It’s all a carefully curated illusion.

The truth is, nobody’s life is perfect. We all have our struggles and challenges, no matter how picture-perfect things might seem on the surface.

Chasing after this illusion of perfection can leave us feeling constantly inadequate and dissatisfied.

Perfection is overrated. Life is messy and unpredictable, and that’s what makes it beautiful. Instead of striving for an unattainable ideal, embrace your unique journey with all its ups and downs.

It’s our quirks, imperfections, and struggles that make us human and relatable. 

Practical Tip: Practice mindfulness or gratitude journaling to shift your focus from perfection to appreciation of what you have and who you are.

8. The Importance of Self-Love

Self-love, it’s a term we hear a lot these days. But how many of us truly understand and practice it?

It’s often a lesson learned too late in life: the importance of loving and respecting oneself.

Self-love isn’t about being narcissistic or self-absorbed. It’s about acknowledging your worth and taking care of your own needs.

It’s about setting boundaries and not settling for less than you deserve.

Treat yourself with kindness and compassion. Celebrate your achievements, learn from your mistakes, and above all, love yourself unconditionally.

Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for all other relationships in your life!

Practical Tip: Establish a daily self-care routine, whether it’s reading, meditating, or taking a nature walk, to nurture your well-being.

9. Life Isn’t a Race

Growing up, I was always in a hurry. I wanted to graduate early, land a good job, and buy my own house – all before my friends did.

It felt like life was a race and I was competing with everyone else.

But over time, I realized that my constant rush to get ahead was leaving me stressed and unfulfilled.

That’s when I understood a crucial life lesson: Life isn’t a race.

Everyone has their own pace and their own unique journey. There’s no set timeline that we’re supposed to follow.

Life isn’t about who gets to the finish line first, it’s about enjoying the journey and making the most of each moment.

Don’t rush through life trying to keep up with others. Focus on your own path, your own goals.

Because in the grand scheme of things, it’s not about who finishes first, it’s about who enjoyed the ride. 

Practical Tip: Remove comparisons by limiting social media use or unfollowing accounts that trigger feelings of inadequacy or competition.

10. It’s Okay Not to Have All the Answers

We often feel like we’re supposed to have everything figured out.

We stress over making the right decisions, choosing the right path, and planning our future perfectly.

But here’s a raw truth: It’s okay not to have all the answers.

Life is unpredictable and full of surprises. No matter how much we plan or prepare, there will always be twists and turns that throw us off course.

The truth is, nobody has everything figured out – and that’s okay.

Give yourself permission to be uncertain. It’s okay to not know what’s coming next. It’s okay to explore, make mistakes, change your mind.

In fact, it’s through these experiences that we learn and grow.

Remember, life isn’t about having all the answers; it’s about being brave enough to question, explore, and embrace the unknown.

Practical Tip: Embrace a growth mindset by viewing uncertainties and challenges as opportunities for personal and professional development.


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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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