7 lessons 99 percent of people learn a bit too late in life, according to psychology

Life is an unending lesson, an ongoing journey of growth and self-discovery. Yet, many of us tend to learn some of the most crucial lessons a bit too late, often when the opportunity to apply them has passed.

According to psychology, there are a handful of these life lessons that a staggering 99 percent of people come to understand later in life. These lessons could have made a significant difference if they were learned earlier.

We may not be able to rewind time, but we can surely make the most of the present and future by learning these valuable lessons now.

Here are seven such lessons that are often realized just a tad too late in life. Let’s dive into them.

1) Embrace failure as a learning experience

We have been conditioned to perceive failure as a negative outcome, a reflection of our inadequacies. This fear of failure often holds us back from pursuing our dreams or stepping out of our comfort zones.

However, according to psychology, one of the most valuable lessons we can learn is to embrace failure as a learning opportunity rather than a mark of defeat.

There’s an inherent potential for growth in every mistake we make. Every setback carries within it the seeds of creative possibility and innovation.

Instead of viewing failure as the end of the road, we can choose to view it as feedback, an invitation to adapt, and evolve.

Yet, most people tend to grasp this lesson a bit too late in life. The fear of failure prevents them from taking risks and exploring new horizons.

It is only after experiencing the inevitable ups and downs of life that they realize the true value of these setbacks.

By reframing our perspective on failure and embracing it as an integral part of our growth journey, we can unlock our full potential and lead more fulfilling lives.

But first, we must learn to let go of the fear and stigma associated with it. And unfortunately for many, this realization comes later than it should.

2) The power of self-awareness

In our fast-paced, constantly evolving world, we often get lost in the hustle and bustle of life, neglecting a crucial element of our existence – self-awareness.

I’ve personally found that living without self-awareness is like driving a car with your eyes closed. You’re bound to crash or get lost.

Psychology suggests that cultivating self-awareness is one of the most pivotal lessons we can learn. It’s the foundation upon which we build our understanding of ourselves, our relationships, and our interaction with the world around us.

Yet, most people discover the importance of this personal knowledge quite late in life, often after years of moving through life on autopilot, reacting to situations rather than responding consciously.

Self-awareness allows us to confront our fears, challenge our limiting beliefs, and understand our desires and motivations. It empowers us to take charge of our actions and decisions, leading to a more authentic and fulfilling life.

3) Taking ownership of your life

A profound lesson that most people learn late in life is the importance of taking full responsibility for their lives.

We often spend an inordinate amount of time blaming external circumstances or other people for our problems. This attitude keeps us stuck, preventing us from moving forward and growing.

Accepting responsibility for our actions, attitudes, and responses leads to personal freedom and resilience. It’s a shift from being at the mercy of life’s circumstances to being the director of your own life story.

I delve deeper into this concept in my video about feeling trapped by the corporate 9-to-5 system. In this video, I discuss how having a job can sometimes make you feel like you’re a slave, and the importance of taking control and seeking fulfillment outside of societal norms.

Taking ownership of our lives empowers us to make a meaningful change, not just in our individual lives, but also in the world around us.

If you found these insights valuable and want to explore living a life with more purpose and freedom, I invite you to join over 20,000 others and subscribe to my YouTube channel. You can do so by clicking here.

4) The essence of authentic relationships

One of the most poignant lessons that dawn upon us later in life is the profound importance of authentic relationships.

We live in a world where connections are often superficial and transient. The hustle of life, the chase for success often leaves us so consumed that we neglect the essence of human connection – authenticity and mutual respect.

However, as we mature and navigate through the intricacies of life, we start realizing that authentic relationships are not about the number of friends on our social media profiles or the popularity we enjoy.

It’s about being seen, heard, and valued. It’s about mutual respect, empathy, and cooperation.

Unfortunately, many of us discover this truth a bit too late in life. We spend our prime years chasing connections that lack depth, only to realize later that what truly matters is the quality, not the quantity of our relationships.

It’s through our connections with others that we find the courage to pursue our dreams, the resilience to overcome challenges, and the joy of shared experiences. None of us can thrive alone.

Therefore, let’s strive to cultivate relationships based on authenticity and mutual respect, rather than transient benefits or superficial standards set by society.

Because at the end of our journey, it’s not what we have but who we have in our lives that matters.

5) The pursuit of prosperity

One lesson that seems to dawn on most of us a bit too late is the true understanding of prosperity. We often measure prosperity in terms of monetary wealth, fancy cars, or luxurious homes.

But is that all there is to it?

True prosperity is not just about accumulating wealth. It’s about aligning our financial decisions with our deepest values and using money as a tool for positive change. It’s about cultivating a sense of purpose, creativity, and ethical participation in the economy.

However, this realization often strikes us later in life, when we’ve spent years pursuing wealth without understanding its true essence.

In my video discussing the dark side of entrepreneurship, I delve into this misconception. Society often celebrates the dream of getting rich through entrepreneurship but fails to put a spotlight on the resilience and mindset required to get there.


I emphasize that it’s crucial to find fulfillment from the journey, even when it’s challenging, rather than living our life solely for the outcome.

So let’s redefine prosperity. Let’s make it about more than just material wealth. Let’s strive for a life rich in purpose, filled with meaningful work, authentic relationships, and contributions to a better world.

6) The illusion of constant happiness

We live in an era where we are constantly bombarded with messages about the pursuit of happiness. We’re told that happiness is the ultimate goal, something we should strive for at all times.

But is this constant chase for happiness truly beneficial?

The counterintuitive lesson many people learn late in life is that chasing happiness can actually lead to the opposite – a sense of dissatisfaction and unfulfillment.

Happiness is not a constant state. It’s a spectrum of emotions that we experience, and it’s completely natural and normal to have periods of sadness, frustration, or anger. These feelings are as much a part of our human experience as joy and contentment.

Moreover, focusing solely on being happy can blind us to the value of other experiences and emotions that can lead to personal growth and understanding. It’s through embracing life’s challenges and fostering meaningful relationships that we find true contentment.

So, rather than pursuing an elusive state of constant happiness, let’s strive to embrace all facets of the human experience – the highs, the lows, and everything in between. This is where true fulfillment lies.

7) Embracing the power of creativity

We often view creativity as a gift, something that only artists, writers, or musicians possess.

However, one crucial lesson that most people learn too late in life is that creativity is not confined to specific professions or people. It’s an inherent human trait.

Creativity is the essence of our humanity. It’s not a special skill reserved for a select few but an inherent capacity within all of us.

Every decision we make, every challenge we face, is an opportunity to tap into our creative potential and find innovative solutions.

But in a world that often values conformity over originality, many of us suppress this innate creativity. We follow preset paths, adhere to societal norms, and stifle our creative impulses.

With time and experience, we start realizing the transformative value of creativity in all aspects of life – be it problem-solving, building relationships, or expressing ourselves.

So let’s embrace our creative potentials. Let’s view every challenge as an opportunity for creative thinking and innovative solutions.

After all, creativity is not just about creating art; it’s about creating a life that resonates with our true selves.

Reinventing the wheel of life

The beauty of life is that it’s a constant learning process. Each day brings with it new opportunities, challenges, and lessons. Each experience, each interaction teaches us something about ourselves and the world around us.

Unfortunately, we often miss out on these valuable lessons because we’re so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, in societal expectations, or our own fear of failure.

But it’s never too late to change. It’s never too late to learn and grow. As we navigate through this journey called life, let’s strive to embrace these lessons earlier. Let’s strive to live with more authenticity and freedom.

For more insights and discussions on living a life with more purpose and freedom, I invite you to join over 20,000 others and subscribe to my YouTube channel by clicking here.

As we part ways today, I leave you with this question: Which of these lessons resonates with you the most and why?

Reflect on it. Maybe it’s something you’ve been subconsciously aware of or perhaps it’s a fresh perspective.

Either way, let this be the starting point for your journey towards an authentic and fulfilling life.

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Justin Brown

Justin Brown is an entrepreneur and thought leader in personal development and digital media, with a foundation in education from The London School of Economics and The Australian National University. As the co-founder of Ideapod, The Vessel, and a director at Brown Brothers Media, Justin has spearheaded platforms that significantly contribute to personal and collective growth. His deep insights are shared on his YouTube channel, JustinBrownVids, offering a rich blend of guidance on living a meaningful and purposeful life.

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