20 things I wish I knew when I was younger
1. Choose experiences over possessions. Research shows that a life filled with rich and varied experiences boosts happiness far more than possessions do. The thrill of a new possession wears off quickly whereas experiences can be relived in your memory and develop your character in a positive way.
2. Respect should be earned. “Respect your elders” is so outdated. While it’s true that older people often have fascinating stories to tell and much wisdom, this doesn’t automatically entitle them to respect. Respect comes from treating others with respect and setting a good example, not feeling entitled to it. People in authority often abuse their positions therefore, it is prudent to judge every equally until they show their true character. Then you can assign the necessary respect, if applicable.
3. Others don’t always know better/aren’t better than you. Never assume that other people know more than you do. They might, but there are also many who are just good at selling themselves – the gift of the gab. They can talk but they have little to back it up with. Don’t be taken in by someone who can embellish but as very little real substance to back up their verbal claims. I meet them all the time, people who buy into their own nonsense and start believing it. They take a smidgen of truth and blow it up to look much better than it actually is. Never be taken in. Real talent and knowing how to sell yourself are very different in their outcomes.
4. Critical thinking is a vital survival tool. Is your opinion your own or is it a re-hashed version of something someone else said or from something you saw on TV? Learn to question information and try to see all sides of an arguement before forming an opinion. The media very rarely present facts without their own interpretation.
5. A University Degree doesn’t automatically mean you will be rich. I used to think this was the case. Then I met a guy who didn’t even know where Zimbabwe was, nor could he tell the difference between “their” and “there” yet he was a multi-millionaire.He wasn’t academic but he sure knew how to thrive in business. I also met a University Professor – incredibly clever but only earning £50 000,00 per year (approx $78 000,00). There you have it. Another good example: Richard Branson. Dyslexic and dropped out of school and look where he is now.
6. The anticipation is far worse than the actual event. Why we put ourselves through mental torture, I’ll never know. We worry obsessively about the upcoming job interview, presentation or some other future event. We imagine all sorts of awful and awkward scenarios and makes ourselves sick with anxiety n the process. Then when we get to the event itself, we just get on with it and nine times out of ten, we conclude that it wasn’t half as bad as we had feared. Worrying ahead of time doesn’t help, prepare as you must in a practical sense but when the “what if” thinking begins, distract yourself…remind yourself it’s only your thoughts and gt back to being in the present moment.
7. Everyone can feel shy and experience self doubt/a confidence crisis. Yep, it’s true..even supermodels and celebrities (often they are more insecure than the average person!) feel self doubt and self loathing at times. It’s part of being human. Learning to accept and manage these naughty wayward thoughts is far better than beating yourself up for feeling that way occasionally.
8. Caution sets in as we get older. It’s a funny thing, I look at younger people now and sometimes think to myself, what do they know about life? But then I remind myself that it was when I was in my early twenties that I did really ‘ballsy’ stuff that I probably wouldn’t have the guts to do now (like applying for a job in Belgium that was French speaking when I only knew about 5 words of French). There are strengths in all ages. Being older, I am more confident and self assured but I do think I am becoming more cautious. It’s a good idea to try step out of your comfort zone in order to keep the caution in check.
9. You cannot control others, all you can control is your behaviour/reactions to what others do. We spend a vast amount of time stressing over what someone said or did, thinking up ways to fix the situation for the better.We focus on how we can get them to do what we want and sometimes try to manipulate them. The truth is, this approach never works. Other people have their way of thinking and doing things. If you don’t like it, you can either change your attitude to it or you can remove yourself from the situation. Believing that you can get the other person to be more thoughtful, kinder, more affectionate, less bossy is a waste of time. Focus on your reactions, how you perceive things and know your boundaries..work from there. You cannot fix other people…that’s their job.
10. Our education system has many flaws and is not all it’s cracked up to be. Oh..where do I begin? Our current education system seems like a mass brain washing factory. Kids are taught to conform and are kept in line by the fear of humiliation. Teachers know this and use embarrassment and singling out students for attention as a way to get them to do what is required. A negative system of punishment is still used…enforcing good manners and compliance through negative reinforcement (detention, removal of rights). Teachers let the power go to their heads and forget that off-the-cuff remarks may leaving lasting scars on self conscious kids who just want to fit in. Many schools adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to education, riding roughshod over more vulnerable students who may learn in different ways or take a little longer to grasp a concept. Oh and if you have dyslexia or dyspraxia (major ‘buzzword’ these days) then you will most likely be labelled stupid and grow up with self limiting beliefs, believing the teacher who treated you like an imbecile. One last thing – the subjects that are taught need to be modernised. What about emotional intelligence, emotional well being, learning to deal with rejection, failure and coping with uncertainty in life? The education system creates fertile ground for young people to believe that they must get a 9-5 job, work, get a pension and then retire.I have rarely met a school kid who enjoys school, we are teaching children that they have to put up with twelve years of unhappiness.
11. Spend time with inspirational, positive people. You are the sum of the people you spend time with. They influence how you see the world and how you make your goals.
12. Be the same person, inside and out. People who are two-faced and gossip behind other people’s back end up being trusted by no one. Say what you mean, be forthright and never change your basic character to fit in with the company you’re in. You will feel more confident and sure of yourself the more you stay true to the real you. Live with integrity.
13. Think positively about the the world – it will become a self fulfilling prophecy. When we hold positive ideas about the world around us, we tend to look for examples in real life that confirm our thoughts. If we harbour negative thoughts, we look for negative examples. Thinking positively about the world can allow happier things to enter. When we expect life to be a certain way, we end up carving out that type of life. Believe in the basic goodness of people.
14. Relationships very rarely run smoothly. This doesn’t mean they can’t be happy and fulfilling but most relationships go through ups and downs. Two people with individual needs, different backgrounds and ideas need to compromise constantly and there needs to be a certain amount of tolerance. People who believe relationships should just chug along without any effort will most likely end up single.
15. Learn to live with and accept uncertainty. We spend our lives resisting “what is”. We wish it were different, we see ourselves as victims and blame others. When we learn to accept the way life is and deal with the fact the uncertainty is just a part of life, just like sleeping, we tend to fare better.
16. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. In order for someone else to affect you by what they say and do, you need to respect who they are. Why is it them that we worry about what strangers think of us? When we allow others to stifle our choices we are doing ourselves a disservice. Drown out the ‘noise’ of others. It dilutes your essence. Instead, tune in carefully to your instinct and inner wisdom..follow that!
17. You teach people how to treat you. Example: Your date turns up late. You say nothing. Your date will make a mental note (most likely on an unconscious level) that you are easy going and that you don’t mind lateness. This may be true and it’s good to pick your battles but if you do mind, speak up.
18. Your thoughts create your reality. If you believe you can’t you are probably right. When we focus on our self limiting beliefs we put up mental barriers to success. Believe in possibilities and believe you can. Never fear failure – it shows you are trying. Better to try and fail than never try at all (the person who never tries is the one sitting back scoffing at your efforts as they fear you might succeed). Be a go-getter, not a nay-sayer.
19.Love and accept yourself. It starts with you. Love and cherish yourself and others will follow your lead. Treat yourself as you would a best friend.
20. Do some crazy stuff. Live dangerously. Take some chances and risks. Life isn’t a dress rehearsal, get out there and make sure you do whatever is on your wish list. Try to do as much you can so as to avoid regrets later in life. Be brave, and get adventurous. Life includes mishaps, mistakes, embarrassment, rejection and failure – just get on with it. Even if you make a fool of yourself…what’s the big deal? Who will care a year from now? It’ll give you something to laugh about – so get going and start embarrassing yourself…
Do you have any nuggets of wisdom? What have you learned from your life experiences? Please share in the comments section.
Photo by vwynx