We’re all searching for the secret to life. We’re all searching for that one thing that makes it all worth it.
But the trick is that the secret to a great life is different for everyone.
What’s more, it’s not just one single thing. Life is made up of many wonderful and amazing things, but the most wonderful thing is that as humans, we get to decide how we live this one and only life.
No other animal on earth gets to live with intention the way we do.
And yet, we squander this gift at every turn, feeling entitled and sorry for ourselves that things aren’t better.
If only we’d look at what’s right in front of us and recognize that we get to decide how the story turns out.
If you want to live a magical life, you can; it only requires you to take responsibility for where you are and where you want to go.
Here are 36 life lessons. Acknowledging them and accepting them will empower you to live the life you really want to live.
1. Your choices have created the life you have.
Everything you have or don’t have up to this point in your life is because of a series of choices you’ve made.
Whether you realize it or not, the way you react to life has led you here. If you want to change things in your life, all you have to do is make a different set of decisions.
2. Your feelings are caused by your thoughts.
You might think that you feel a certain way because of a situation, circumstance or person, but the truth is that you feel this way because of a thought you’re having about a situation, circumstance, or person.
No matter what happens, your thoughts create your feelings. When you change your thoughts, or at least, question them, you can open the door to new feelings.
3. We become what we value the most.
When you focus on the negative things in life, you get more negativity. When you focus on and value the positive things in life, you get more positive things.
The law of attraction might be real- whether you choose to believe it or not.
Just think about a time when you thought the worst thing would happen and it did. Or when you thought positively about a situation and that happened instead. It works.
4. Mistakes are the only way to learn new things.
We don’t fault children for making mistakes while learning to read and write, walk or run, so why do we think that once we reach a certain age we stop learning?
You can’t learn anything if you don’t fail. You need to fall and get up and fall again to learn how to stand tall and stay there.
It takes time. If you want to live an amazing life, be a lifelong learner and welcome the mistakes you make as learning opportunities.
5. Purpose in everything you do will create joy in everything you do.
Whether you’re emptying the trash can or planning a party, approach every task in life as if it’s your absolute pleasure to do it.
This will change your entire outlook on life and make for amazing opportunities for you to be happy and celebrate that happiness regularly.
Plus, when you have a good attitude, other people suddenly feel better too.
6. You must love yourself before you can love someone else.
No matter how much you try, someone else won’t make you happy.
If you’re desperately unhappy in your own life, pining the responsibility of your happiness on someone else will only make things worse. Own your ugly and then work on your happiness.
7. We all teach people how to treat us.
If someone is being mean to you, it’s because you’re allowing it. Nobody is making you stay there and take that kind of treatment.
If you don’t speak up, you continue to allow them to treat you as if you’re less than, and that’s not okay.
Speak up and stand up for yourself. If you can’t do those things, walk away.
8. People will judge you no matter what.
This is your ticket to happiness: no matter what anyone else thinks about you, this is your one and only life and you only get one chance to live it so why bother worrying about what anyone else thinks? Do what you want and you’ll always live an amazing life.
9. This too shall pass.
Regardless of the shitstorm, you might find yourself in right now or in the future, keep in mind that you’ve been through hard things and you’ll get through this too.
Everything passes if you let it. Don’t hold on to something to be stubborn. The sooner you let things go, the sooner you can move on with your life.
10. Always look for solutions instead of focusing on the problems.
Focus on the problem and you’ll never see the solution. Look for the solution and suddenly, there will be more than you could imagine.
Remember, we create what we focus on. If you’re problem-focused, you create more problems. If you’re solution-focused, you find solutions wherever you go.
11. We haven’t got that much control
There are so many factors that we can’t control in life. The only thing you can control is your reactions.
That’s where your real power is.
Perhaps Alan Watts sums it best for why we shouldn’t label any event as “good” or “bad”:
“The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is….The whole process of nature is an integrated process of immense complexity, and it’s really impossible to tell whether anything that happens in it is good or bad — because you never know what will be the consequence of the misfortune; or, you never know what will be the consequences of good fortune.”
12. Expectations and Attachments lead to suffering
Just as we don’t have control over everything in life, nothing will ever turn out the way that we exactly want.
Try to let go of the way you think things should be and simply enjoy life as it is.
13. Everything is imperfect, even you
Nothing in the universe is perfect. You’re going to have your limitations in some aspects of life. The more liberating way to act is to accept them and move on.
14. Worrying is a waste of a time
Worrying will never change what’s going to happen. It’s far better to dedicate your energy to something more useful.
15. The best lessons will come from hardships
Unfortunately, the times you hit rock bottom are the times you will learn the most. The good news is, you don’t have to fear those rock bottoms because valuable lessons will come out of it.
16. We confuse being productive and with being busy
Just because you’re being busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive. Many of us can get bogged down in tasks that aren’t really moving us forward in the long run.
17. Most of us don’t need more, we need less
So many of us are constantly desiring and wanting becaus we think it will improve your life. But the truth is, it won’t. Being happy involves appreciating what you have, right here, right now.
18. Our society is way too focused on outer beauty
If you focus on outer beauty, you’ll never live a truly meaningful life. It’s better to develop meaningful relationships to experience true fulfilment in life.
19. Most arguments are pointless
If you get angry with someone because they disagree with, you’re wasting valuable energy. Anger rarely leads to anything positive. It’s better to have discussions and learn from each other.
20. It’s easier to hold on to the way things are, rather than accepting change
Change is the only constant in the universe. No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to stop the natural force of things.
It’s better to grasp the good moments while you can, while continuing to flow with the universe.
21. Love yourself and others will join you.
When you know your worth and adore yourself, others will easily fall into line and see your value too.
22. You need to make time to make time.
If you never have enough time to do anything, it’s because you never stop making the time to make time. The intention to live is key if you want to live your best life.
23. Give your time to people who matter the most.
Near or far, make sure you tell the people you love that you love them. Don’t let time slip away.
24. You’re not a special flower.
We are all special flowers, but not for the reasons you think. It is a miracle that you are alive. Don’t squander it with entitlement and foolishness.
25. Happiness breeds more happiness, not things or people.
If you’re cranky, you’ll attract cranky people into your life. If you’re happy, you’ll attract happy people into your life.
26. You are universal energy.
Yes, you are human. But you are also universal energy at work. Do amazing things with that gift.
27. The journey is all that matters.
Who cares if you cross the finish line, come in first or last? Who cares? The journey is what matters most. It’s all that you’ll remember.
28. Your reality is grounded in your thoughts.
If you think life sucks, it will suck. If you think life is good, it will be good. Pay attention to what you’re thinking and suddenly life will open up to you.
29. Don’t let the fear stop you.
You’ll always be afraid. Just do what you want and the fear will fall into place.
30. Always start something before you’re ready because you’ll never be ready.
There is never a perfect time to do anything except right now. You might never get another chance like this one.
31. You can love people you never expected.
Open your heart and your mind. Your world will get much bigger. And a lot happier.
32. When you are grateful for what you have, you have more to be grateful for.
Give thanks and you’ll get things to give more thanks for – it’s how the world works. You get what you focus on, remember?
33. There is beauty in every corner of the earth.
Look for it. You’ll see new things you never imagined.
34. Your life has value just because you are alive.
You are one of a kind. Really and truly. Cherish that.
35. Worrying will age you faster than anything else.
No need to get caught up in the details. None of this will matter a hundred years from now. Focus on what is right in front of you today.
36. Feed your soul.
Give your mind, body, and spirit what it needs and you’ll never go wrong again.
Putting yourself first
What’s your number one goal at the moment?
Is it to buy that car you’ve been saving up for?
To finally start that side-hustle that’ll hopefully help you quit your 9-5 one day?
Or to take the leap and finally ask your partner to move in?
Whatever your goals are, there’s a hidden trap in how you set them.
The trap is this:
You’ll only experience genuine life satisfaction when your goals are aligned with your values.
Because when values and goals are aligned, you enjoy the journey much more. And this makes achieving your goals much more likely.
If you find it hard to articulate your deeper life values, I suggest downloading the free values exercise by career coach Jeanette Brown.
It takes only a couple of minutes and will reveal a number of powerful insights about your underlying values.
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