We’ve all received advice that we wish we had taken but didn’t.
But it doesn’t mean we can’t learn from our mistakes.
So here are 20 pieces of wisdom worth listening to.
You might have heard some of them before, but sometimes it takes hearing them multiple times before you learn the lesson.
1. Perfection is the enemy of progress
Standing in front of the mirror pointing out your flaws will make you old before your time.
Don’t waste another second trying to be anything except what you are right now.
As Master Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh says below, if you’re always trying to change yourself, you’ll never be happy. True happiness and power come from being who you indeed are:
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. It would be best if you accepted yourself. When you are born a lotus flower, be a beautiful lotus flower, don’t try to be a magnolia flower. If you crave acceptance and recognition and try to change yourself to fit what other people want you to be, you will suffer all your life. True happiness and true power lie in
understanding yourself, accepting yourself, having confidence in yourself.” – Thich Nhat Hanh, The Art of Power
2. Have the courage to take risks.
One of the nursing leaders has a saying: “Jump off the cliff, and the parachute will appear.” How could this make any sense?
It is scary to lean in. However, this is natural, and many people cannot overcome this instinct.
Yet, this saying is daring you to be different. It is asking you to be confident enough to believe that there is a safety net even though you can’t see it, that things will work out well despite your not knowing how at the moment. It suggests that the rewards will be more than worth the risks for those with this kind of bravery.
3. Now is all that matters.
Time spent worrying about the past or fearing the future takes you away from the beauty of the present moment.
The present moment is the only thing that exists. So don’t live for the future or resent the past.
Eckhart Tolle says it best:
“Time isn’t precious at all because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time — past and future — the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.” ― Eckhart Tolle.
4. Complaining won’t help you
For some people, complaining seems to be a way of life. However, being around chronic complainers can be frustrating and draining.
But guess what? Life is hard for everyone. It’s not supposed to be easy. So if you want a different life, go out and get it. No one is going to change it for you.
Complaining won’t help you, or anyone changes their life for the better.
5. No one knows the path forward, and there is always uncertainty
Those who say they know how things are going to work out with you are just plain wrong.
There are so many decision points, unseens, and unexpected that there is no way to predict an outcome with any certainty.
However, your guts and imagination will see you through. Between your inner reserves (cores) and your ability to keep your goal(s) in your mind’s eye (vision), you will be able to roll with the punches and come out victorious on the other side.
6. Spend time on your relationships
An essential thing in your life is your loved ones. They make life worth living.
Don’t forget to give people your time. Work to show people you care. But, please don’t assume they know.
Try to look out for your close ones and understand what they’re going through.
7. Reactions are all that matters when things go bad
No matter how bad things get, it’s how you react that’s important. Giving up is a bad idea; pushing forward is always a good idea.
As Charles R. Swindoll said, the most important thing we have control over is our attitude:
“We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, which is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.” – Charles R. Swindoll
8. You don’t need to compare yourself to others
You can’t compare yourself accurately to anyone. We all have different circumstances in life.
The only person you should be comparing yourself to is your past self.
Accept who you are and what you have. Please realize that we’re all unique with incredibly different circumstances. It’s impossible to compare.
9. It’s essential to keep hope
It’s crucial to keep hope, even in tough times.
Change is built into the nature of things: nothing is inherently fixed, not even our identity.
Therefore, no matter how bad the situation, it’s important to remember that change is only the law in the universe and it will eventually pass.
According to a Buddhist monk, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, the nature of karma gives up hope:
“In the five reflections, the reflection on karma is the one that gives hope. You realize that you’re in charge of your actions. You’re not simply a victim of fate or of the stars or of some other being acting through you. You’re the one who’s making the choices. That’s what gives you hope.”
10. Help others as much as you can
Sometimes it can help to stop focusing on your own problems and instead help people with theirs. Not only will you help them out, but it might just make you feel better about yourself.
Compassion is also about understanding the basic goodness in all people. It helps you connect wholeheartedly with others, which can be a great source of joy.
Seek to live in a way where you treat everyone as you would yourself. Once you begin doing this, you’ll realize the true power of compassion.
Master Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh offers some great advice:
“When we come into contact with the other person, our thoughts and actions should express our mind of compassion, even if that person says and does things that are not easy to accept. We practice in this way until we see clearly that our love is not contingent upon the other person being lovable.”
11. Trust your intuition
How many times have you chosen to act in a way that contradicts your true feelings?
And how often have you regretted it after the fact?
Our intuition is powerful and recognizes subtle things about a situation that we can’t quite put into words.
The more we listen to our intuition, the more we have confidence in our judgment.
Trust what you’re feeling, and hold firm to it.
12. Learn to be comfortable with discomfort
How many times have you avoided taking beneficial action because it was just a little uncomfortable?
We all do it because we hate experiencing negative emotions like anxiety or fear.
But the truth is, you can’t avoid uncomfortable situations and feelings forever.
And if you want to grow and improve yourself, you need to be okay with feeling uncomfortable now and then.
13. Take care of your health
Every action you take impacts your health in one way or another.
This goes for the present, as well as how you’ll feel decades from now.
It’s essential to take care of your health if you want to live a quality life. Stay active, eat well, and you’ll feel better in the future.
14. Appreciate what you have right now to be happy
So often we think that we will finally be happy when we reach specific goals, but if we always adopt that view, then we’ll never be satisfied at the moment.
The key to being happy right now is to appreciate what you currently have.
Through practicing gratitude for the things you have, you’ll be able to see how much you’ve already done and accomplished and find solace in what you have been able to create in your life thus far.
15. See failure as a learning experience
It hurts to fail or make a mistake. That’s why so many of us avoid trying new things.
But growth and learning only occur when you take a chance and learn from your failures.
Thomas Edison said it best, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
16. Stop worrying about what other people think
Nobody truly understands who you are and what you’ve been through in life, so why care what they think about you?
The only people that matter is the people you love that already love and accept you.
Other people’s opinions don’t matter.
17. Always take a step back and reflect before making big decisions
Making a big decision when you’re feeling angry or emotionally overwhelmed will never work for you in the long run.
Make sure you take a step back and analyze your situation correctly before deciding the heat of the moment.
Be cool, calm, and calculated with your choices.
18. You can’t buy happiness
Many of us believe that the only way to become happier is to make more money and buy new things.
It’s essential to be able to earn enough to live a comfortable life, but if you think that buying a Ferrari will make you happy, then you’re in for a rude awakening.
Health, happiness, family, friends. You can’t put a price on those things. And what is what will make your life meaningful and fulfilling.
19. Be proud of your hard work
Our society focuses so much on “talent,” but what’s more important than talent is the work you put in.
You can’t control the gifts you were given when you were born, but you can control what you do with those gifts.
Work hard, show grit, and persevere throughout your life. That’s what matters.
20. Making everyone happy is for the birds
You can’t make everyone happy, so don’t try to.
People will never be happy. You do you before your time runs out.
If you stand for something, it’s impossible not to step on someone else’s toes. Trying to please everyone will mean that you won’t get anything done.
If you want to achieve your goals, then forget about the need to please others.
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