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Everybody learns a new life lesson at any random moment in their life. There are basic teachings that everybody should know, of course. Here, you’ll find 28 life lessons that older people want people to know. You’re not going to get it right all the time. But with these in mind, you’ll be able to make better choices for yourself and others.
The life lessons mentioned here are in no particular order. And most of us will learn these as we go through the scary journey of life. So, let’s get into it.
One of the hardest things to do in situations is to be bold. Know that your opinions and words show your character. So don’t hold back when you have to ask for something or defend yourself. You know your needs best, and no one will be able to defend them for you.
Be bold about what needs to be done. Your opinions and values as much as the next person. So, it’s never too late to start asserting yourself in different situations. Unless it’s a sensitive situation, don’t be afraid to speak up.
Learning to Say ‘No’
‘Yes’ opens doors. But the word “no” will carry more value when you realize the value of your mind and time. Many situations seem like they can award you with experiences. But, in the end, they end up only costing a chunk of your time and a lot of your focus as well.
Saying “no” to situations that you don’t feel good about will increase your self-respect. You will learn which people and places deserve your attention. And it will leave you with so much more to enjoy and value in life.
Be Proactive, Not Reactive
It’s very common for people to only react to everything that happens to them. But being proactive means acknowledging everything that happens in your life, and doing something about it. This also means that if something in your life has affected you badly, take a hold of it. You have the power to change your situation if you start being active against it.
Being proactive doesn’t mean only bad situations. You can choose to actively participate in good things too, and you might end up learning and earning friends and experiences. So don’t only react to the good and bad situations in life. Remember to take action no matter how small or personal it is.
Validate Your Feelings
You matter. You’re just as valuable as any other person. This means that every feeling you feel is valid too. If it seems like you’re being unreasonable by feeling bad about a small thing, try to understand why. Why does it feel bad to you? Is it because of how it happened, or is it because of your expectations?
Validating your good and bad feelings will make you much more aware of the things in your life. If you feel happy about something unusual, try to understand why. If you feel angry about something small, try to understand why. And know that these are okay to feel. It’s only essential that you get why you have these feelings. That is the key to understanding yourself.
Be Open to Ideas
The way you can keep learning every day is to open your mind. It sounds basic and overused. But, when they say open your mind, they also mean to consider opinions that go against what you believe in or don’t understand.
At the end of the day, we are all humans. We’ll have different opinions and ideas after a certain point. When you’re having a conversation or reading up on something, pay attention to the things you don’t understand. Ask questions. Try to understand challenging and controversial ideas. This might teach you things you never knew, or validate your values more.
Your Health is Your Biggest Resource
All of us have been blessed with health that we can take care of. As you get older, you’ll find that the first thing you start to lose is your quickly recovering health. So it doesn’t matter at what stage you are in your life, start taking care of your physical and mental health as much as possible.
Your body is what makes you able to do everything that you do. If you become ill or lose your health in some way, a part of your life is lost. So remember to take time every day to eat a bit healthier, or go for a short walk to clear your mind. Sound health will leave you feeling better even in times when everything around you seems tough.
Build Your Values – and Stand by Them
Your values build your integrity. Values can be anything from always being honest, to always making sure every person gets a chance to express themselves. These values are the ideas that you believe to stand by. And they are what show your character to other people and make you trustworthy.
A person who stands by their values is someone everyone can put their faith in. When you let other people know what principles you stand by, you’ll find like-minded people. And it’ll save you a lot of time by taking people who go against your values, out of your way. Therefore personal values are another resource that’ll help you navigate your life in a more assured way.
It’s Okay to Miss Opportunities
It’s true, every opportunity is worth chasing. But if you risk your well-being and health for it, it’ll never be worth the trouble. When you know yourself better, remember that not every opportunity needs to be availed. You’re allowed to rest too.
Opportunities will keep coming along if you allow yourself the time to rest and regroup. Your self-care time will help you choose chances and positions that add to your value then take away from it. Just because it’s hard work, doesn’t mean it’ll make your life better.
Happiness is Not a Goal
Since birth, the media has taught us that happiness is the ultimate goal. But that is a misinformed lie. That’s because if you waste your life away looking for happiness, you’re going to miss the moments that make up the important parts of your life. Happiness is something that you can find in your everyday life.
It’s a tough lesson to learn. But as people get older, they realize that the small moments in life carry more joy than big goals for happiness. So, try to notice the nice moments and think about how they make you feel. You’ll find happiness easier than you did before.
A Little Saving Can Go a Long Way
About money, a lot of people have anxiety. It also doesn’t help that most people don’t know how to budget or save for emergencies. One important thing to know is whenever you have a new income, you can save 10%-20% for a rainy day fund.
This rainy day fund can go towards something that you want or even for emergencies. It helps to split your income every salary period into chunks that you spend on different areas. Putting the savings in a bank is an even better idea. You can manage to get a good payout by saving the fund into a compound interest plan.
Listen More than You Speak
A good way to keep learning throughout your life is to listen more than you speak. This will help you observe more and create fewer liabilities for yourself. Alternatively, it’ll also help you reach out to more people as a resourceful person.
When you listen more to people, you’ll find a lot more interesting sides of them. It’ll help them open up to you, and you’ll be able to gain their trust. And when it’s your turn to speak, you’ll be able to give more informed opinions.
Exercise Gratitude Every Step of the Way
Just like finding happiness in small acts, gratefulness in small ways also helps. When you have a good feeling, try to say it to yourself. “I feel thankful that that stranger just asked me about my day”. Sentences like these can remind you that there are things to be grateful for even when things seem difficult.
There’s an exercise a lot of people use. At the end of the day, they list out three things that happened that day that they are grateful for. You can share it with someone or just write it down in a journal. It helps put things into perspective.
Every Person You Come Across is Important
It may seem like it’s not worth paying attention to every conversation. But you might realize later that you missed out on so many personalities. So, try to hear out and understand every person that you interact with. This can be your teacher, a quiet co-worker, or even the person who sells magazines on a stand.
People are there only for people. When you value every interaction you have with people, you’ll learn more than you ever could from writing or other media. Try to take a chance on strangers. And you’ll find that everyone has something good to share with you and the world.
Travel as Much as You Can
Traveling is a privilege for a lot of people. If you have the resources to do so, travel as much as you can to wherever you want. You’ll even find that there are places close to you that not a lot of people have explored.
However far you can afford to go, travel. These journeys help people get to know people of different backgrounds and learn more about themselves. And even if it costs you money, know that the experience is worth all of the time and money you spent on it.
Something that Matters a Lot Now, Won’t Matter So Much in a Year
This one’s a hard pill to swallow for everybody. But it’s true. Things that seem like mountains to you right now, won’t matter half as much after a year or so. This is a good reminder to keep when you feel like you’re making a big or confusing decision. Take the step.
Of course, it depends on how much the decision affects your lifestyle. But if there’s anything that feels like a burden to you, keep this at the back of your head. A year from now, this moment will seem like a distant memory.
No Moment in Your Life is a Transition Period
“As soon as I’m done with high school, I’ll focus on my hobbies” or “After this winter, I’ll do the things on my bucket list.” Life is very short and constantly slipping away. So, if you waste your time thinking that you’ll do something after a certain time is over, you’ll lose.
Every phase in your life has things to give you. It can be good experiences or even lessons. So never put away the important things for a “transition” period. You exist now, and you can do anything you want. So make the best use of your time no matter what point it is in your life.
You are a Part of Nature
It’s very easy to get lost in the idea that humans are superior beings. As advanced as we are, it’s also important to remember that we’re also a part of nature. This means that we have to give back to the earth equally as we take from it. Make a note of this and be kind to animals, plants, and any part of nature that you can reach.
Being a part of nature is a beautiful thing. When you feel restless, take some time to go for a stroll in nature, or take care of your plants, or start making a small terrarium. Keeping a small part of nature with you will remind you of how easy it is to change and grow. It’ll also keep your mind fresh. And it’ll also remind you that you aren’t above any being, you’re equal to them.
Hard Work Doesn’t Get You Everything
It is a delusion that the media and our ideals have fed us, that if you work hard enough, you can get anything. This is simply not true. Many people are born with privilege due to their background or ancestry. This means that they get a head start in life that most others don’t. It’s a depressing realization. But it’ll also set you free from the idea that you have to work your hardest always.
Hard work is best when you’re reaching a personal goal. But, remember that there are people that are successful because of their privilege and not because of hard work. So, when you feel like quitting sometimes, pause and rest. Realistic goals will make things a lot easier.
It’s Impossible for Everyone to Like You
As humans, we’re always hoping that people will like us. But the truth is that most of them don’t. Think about when you walk into a room and meet a lot of new people. Do you like all of them? Nope. So is it realistic to expect that everyone will favor you? Nope.
It’s sad when you think about it. That’s just the way it is. You’ll realize that not being liked by you doesn’t affect other people’s lifestyles. And the same thing applies to you too. Just because not everybody will be in your favor, doesn’t mean you should hold back on expressing yourself. Speak out your opinions and express your thoughts without thinking about everyone’s reaction.
Acknowledge Other People’s Contribution
A lot of times, people forget to consider how much others around them have contributed to their growth. It can be personal growth, support through a hard time, or even help in a project. Make sure you take note of how much people are contributing to your matters and let them know you appreciate it.
Living is teamwork. We can’t exist without help from others, and neither can they. So when you get ahead in some part of your life, take a moment to think about who has been useful to you through the journey. That’ll help you realize that you’re not alone and that every person in your life is an important part of it.
No One is Born with a Purpose, They Find It as They Go
Another great myth people have been taught is that we are born with a predestined purpose. And you must be on the hunt to get it down and fulfill it. That is rarely the truth. As older and wiser people say, we find meaning in our lives as we live them. It can be one thing, or it can be multiple and change over the years.
If you ever find yourself lost and without a purpose, keep this in mind. As time passes, things will come and go for you. Some of them will carry so much meaning that they’ll become a part of you. These are the things that give your life meaning. And so even if there isn’t one purpose for your life, there are many things that make it valuable.
Don’t Overlook Your Local Area and Community
The place you live in probably has a lot of untapped potential. When you’re thinking of going out or traveling far, take a walk or drive around your locality. You might find natural places to sit and wander in, or cafes and shops that you’ve never been to. You might even meet people who live nearby and have a good connection with them.
It’s essential to have a good relationship with the people in your community. Unless they’re horrible people–which usually isn’t the case–go ahead and talk! You’ll be able to find so much more about where you live. And these meaningful friendships can become resourceful in many situations.
Romantic Relationships Aren’t the Only Connections You Should Cherish
It’s a common idea that people have, that romantic relationships are the most important people in your life. The friends, neighbors, and family that have contributed to your growth are just as important. So don’t get blind-sided by only one part of your life. Remember to check-in and cherish the friendships you have as well.
It’s worthwhile to invest a lot of time into your romantic relationships. But, invest just as much into other relationships in your life that you value. You’ll not only feel more fulfilled in all areas of connections. It’ll also let the people in your life know you care about them deeply.
To Get Something, Give First
This is not only about materialistic things. If you want a friend, become a friend. If you want love, give love to others. Spiritual connections don’t happen just because you have qualities. You have to give time and effort into giving as well. That’s how it returns to you later in life.
The best way to earn something like kindness and forgiveness is to give it away first. These things don’t cost money. So pay attention to where you’re giving away your time and attention. But give it freely, and you will receive it as such.
Unleash Your Creativity – without Expectations
Creativity is the human way of expressing ourselves. When you have ideas that involve artistic expression, note them down. If you can, work on them. These works and pieces make life more livable because it gives us a chance to be vulnerable in a beautiful way.
When you let out your creativity through drawing, painting, writing, music, etc., or any form of art, don’t burden yourself with expectations. Having a goal of how good your art should be can take away from it being an enjoyable experience. When you make art, prioritize expressing yourself properly first. Needless expectations will make it harder for you to be expressive.
Have At Least One Hobby
In the modern lifestyle, the word ‘hobby’ is reserved only for immature and young people. But life isn’t only about work and hustle. Sometimes you need to sit back and devote time to something you enjoy purely for your pleasure. So, explore different activities outside of academics and work. Try everything out at least once and try to find something you like.
Hobbies are activities that’ll help you regroup with yourself. Stress from every other aspect of your life can scramble your mind. Therefore when you do a bit of gardening or write some poems, or even listen to music for some time, it can help you reorganize yourself. You’ll be able to have some alone time and feel refreshed by doing something you love.
You might be surprised to know how many people live their lives without ever patting themselves on the back for their efforts. Yes, you don’t have to be selfish. But, you’re the only person who knows how hard you work and what you need. So, appreciate your efforts and give yourself a small treat occasionally.
A self-treat can be a fancy expensive coffee that you’ve never tried out. Or a 3-day vacation somewhere random. These small celebrations will help you see your hard work and even motivate you to improve. So, take some time to love yourself and show yourself the love you deserve.
No One has It All Figured Out
Finally, the last word of advice you get is a reminder that no one has life figured out. Everybody, including your idols and people you look up to, are winging it. They take their experiences as they come and suit themselves accordingly.
Take life easy. Yes, the time is very short. And yes, there are many things to do. But, make sure that you don’t lose yourself going in one straight path. No one knows how to navigate life perfectly. So let yourself a little loose sometimes. You can figure it out as it comes.
Life doesn’t have a manual, unfortunately. Everyone including you, me, and everyone around us are grabbing life lessons as things happen to them. As you read this article, make a note to notice the lessons you learn as you grow up and change.
The list of life lessons here are things that wiser adults wish they knew earlier in life. Personal growth, financial wisdom, and being a part of society, every part of these have taught them different lessons. So hopefully, you have something to take away from this list too. Don’t get caught up in getting everything right. It’s normal and okay to make mistakes!