So much of our life is wasted on worry, anger, pain, heartache and regret. While some of it is necessary and inevitable, most of it is usually the drama in our heads… we waste our energy sweating over things that don’t even really matter. But it’s also true that every single person must walk his own journey… you can’t always learn from another’s experience. Parents often want to protect their children from things they know better, but in doing so you often take away the magic of living and learning. The more life you experience, the more you learn. And to make life truly meaningful and worthwhile, it is important to take life lessons from others journey, even as you create your own path. I have five lessons that I stick to no matter what:
- Life is in the NOW. The past is really over…and the future is not promised to anyone. Don’t wait for amazing things to happen in life… learn to appreciate and love what you have. Also don’t stop from doing things to create your amazing life!
- Fear is an illusion. Most things we fear actually never happen. And if they do happen, it’s rarely as bad as we fear it to be. In fact most tough experiences teach us about our strengths and make us better human beings.
- Things gather dust. Accumulating things often feels like achievement or catharsis from the stress of getting things done. But reality is that it just adds to your burdens. The less stuff you have, the more free you are. Purchase consciously. Instead contributing to others lives will give you a deeper sense of fulfillment whether it’s buying stationary for a poor kid or helping a deserving kid with his college fee. The earthquake was a great reminder for me to not obsess over my collection of books and things.
- Relationships matter most. At the end of everything, it’s always about the people in your life. They matter the most … they are the ones we share this journey with… they are the ones who make life meaningful through laughter, challenges, tears and joy. Make the people that matter feel you care by doing little things that make them feel you really do. Give hugs, take time to listen, have meaningful conversations, show empathy. Friendships and relationships need time and attention. Nurture them with loving care. You can’t change anyone, neither can you control relationships. Embrace your differences and honour each person’s individuality. Small expressions of kindness can have enormous impact on people’s lives. Your family, your coworkers, your boss, your friends, your grocery supplier, the house help – each person in your life must be valued. Also know that your kids aren’t you – teach them, love and support them, but know that they must live their own lives.
- It’s never too late. Anything can be accomplished at any age and despite any circumstance you may be in. Do not give up on your dreams however simple or complex. You may not always achieve great things but you would have the satisfaction of having tried. Age is just a number. Your chronological age must never define you… Don’t allow a number to hold you back from experiencing life, having fun or being the person you really are inside!