Today I want to share ten life lessons with you. I learned them when I was young by reading and re-reading some of my favorite books and quotes. And over the years I have validated each of them gradually with firsthand experience. Together these lessons have positively changed my way of thinking and my life. I hope they do the same for you.
1. Your thoughts create your reality.
You feel the way you feel right now because of the thoughts you are thinking, and you are where you are right now because of the thoughts you have thought over and over again. If the thoughts running though your mind are pure, positive and empowering, you will create positive and empowering beliefs about yourself and about life; and your actions, habits, and daily routines will be a reflection of these thoughts and beliefs.
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” (Read Change Your Thoughts.)
2. You will regret the chances you didn’t take.
The things you didn’t do when you had the chance. That priceless relationship you neglected. Those important words you left unspoken… Every one of us has experienced feelings of regret. But it’s not too late to set things straight. You’re still here breathing. Right now you have an opportunity to change your future. Right now you can choose to erase regret from your later years.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain
3. Change is the only constant thing in life.
What does this mean? It means that no matter how hard you try to avoid change, doing so is simply impossible. Period.
“Without accepting the fact that everything changes, we cannot find perfect composure. But unfortunately, although it is true, it is difficult for us to accept it. Because we cannot accept the truth of transience, we suffer.” –Shunryu Suzuki
4. What you resist persists.
The more you fight against life’s circumstances, events, people, ideas, etc., the more you will be contributing to their growth and persistence into your daily life. Learn to shift your focus from that which you are against to that which you are for, and to that which you wish to attract into your daily life. Over time you will watch your life transform.
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning.” –Lao Tzu (Read The Art of War.)
5. You judge others for the deficiencies you haven’t yet accepted in yourself.
The traits you dislike in others are mostly just a reflection of the traits you dislike in yourself. This concept can be difficult to grasp, and you might even be irritated by me mentioning it – especially when you are ‘certain’ that you are right and the other person is wrong, and that you are surely better off than they are.
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves.” –Carl Gustav Jung
6. You have far less control over the behavior of others than you think.
Isn’t it funny how the closer you are to a person the higher your expectations are, and the more rights you think you have to control their time and behavior? Don’t let your bad judgment get the best of you; the only thing you can control is your attitude towards them and their behavior. Nothing more, nothing less.
“Never underestimate your power to change yourself; never overestimate your power to change others.” –Wayne Dyer (Read The Power of Intention.)
7. You are what’s on the inside.
When you are happy and satisfied with yourself personally, you act in kind, happy and loving ways toward the people around you. Because you are comfortable inside, no matter how negative people might act toward you at times, you stay calm and collected, responding out of love and confidence to their behavior – for that is who you are on the inside, and you give out that which is within.
“When you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out – because that’s what’s inside. When you are squeezed, what comes out is what is inside.” –Wayne Dyer
8. You can’t force love in relationships.
Love between two people comes because both people want to share their love, not because YOU want it from the other person. Your family, friends, co-workers, lovers – they all love you because they choose to, not because you want them to. Love is meant to be felt, enjoyed and lived, not to be forced on anyone.
“You can’t force love, I realized. It’s there or it isn’t. If it’s not there, you’ve got to be able to admit it. If it is there, you’ve got to do whatever it takes to protect the ones you love.” –Richelle Mead
9. Sometimes the only healthy option is to move on.
When the time comes to move beyond certain things, ideas, or people, don’t resist it. Allow yourself to experience life. Allow yourself to grow, learn, and evolve. Allow yourself to move beyond the past on your path to happiness.
“There comes a time in your life when you have to let go of all the pointless drama and the people who create it and surround yourself with people who make you laugh so hard that you forget the bad and focus solely on the good. After all life is too short to be anything but happy.” (Read The How of Happiness.)
10. Life as you know it doesn’t last forever.
Nothing lasts forever, and this is exactly why you need to learn to detach from things, places and people in your life. When the time comes to say goodbye, let them all go and to do it with dignity and grace.
“Nothing lasts forever; so live it up, drink it down, avoid the negativity, take chances and never regret because at one point it was what you wanted.” (Read The Road Less Traveled.)