Most people go though their lives without really stopping to think about the way they want to live. Then, as they get older, they may look back with regret and wish they could have done things a little differently.
Here are some positive life lessons you should learn as soon as you can, so you can live your life in an enjoyable and meaningful way. If you take heed now, you can have a fulfilling life, and avoid the bitterness of regret later on.
1. Tomorrow Grows Out Of Today
When people want to change they’ll often say “I’ll start tomorrow”, not realizing how powerful today is. Everything you do today influences how tomorrow will turn out, because all choices have natural consequences.
If you spend today doing negative things, you’ll dislike yourself tomorrow. If you spend today learning, you’ll be wiser tomorrow. If you spend today making progress, you’ll be further ahead tomorrow. Remember, don’t do anything today that you’ll regret tomorrow. You can enjoy being a better person tomorrow if you do the right things today.
2. What Other People Think Doesn’t Matter
No-one ever lies on their deathbed and thinks “I wish I’d worried more about what other people think of me.” We can become paralyzed and anxious when we focus too much on what other people think, without stopping to consider whether their views are even of value.
People have different outlooks, based on their own personality and experience. Why would anyone’s views about you be more valid than your own? You may even be imagining that people are judging you when they’re not. The solution is to stop concerning yourself with others’ judgements – real or imagined – because they are irrelevant. No-one ever became truly happy by impressing other people.
3. You Can Be Happy Right Now
The human mind is perfectly designed for worrying about the past, fretting about the future, and not living in the present moment at all. You may tell yourself you will be happy when you’ve got X, or done Y, or finally dealt with Z. You may focus so much on your goals, that you don’t enjoy the journey.
But, you can have moments of happiness right now, wherever you’re at in the grand scheme of things. You don’t have to put your happiness on hold. Be grateful for whatever you do have, rather than not allowing yourself to enjoy things because they’re not exactly how you want them yet. Every moment is precious, and every day offers you new opportunities to be happy.
4. Connect Deeply With Other People
The deepest joy of being human comes from the connections between us all. We only get superficial happiness from things, money, status, and possessions. We find our deepest happiness from learning about, being with, and loving, people.
Whether you prefer to connect with big groups of people or a few select individuals, make the effort to deepen genuine connections as much as you can. Don’t let life, or being ‘too busy’, get in the way of catching up with close friends or family. To care, and be cared about, is one of the greatest experiences in life.
5. Freedom Comes From Accepting Yourself
Many people spend their whole lives picking on themselves, beating themselves up, and hating various aspects of who they are. But the more you fight against who you are, the more stuck and resentful you’ll become. It’s particularly pointless hating things about yourself that you can’t change.
If you want to improve yourself, that’s fine; self-acceptance enables you to undergo that process in a supportive, helpful way. Life is much less of a struggle when you treat yourself as you would a dear friend, accepting yourself as a human being, with all your flaws, idiosyncrasies, and strengths.
6. Don’t Take Things So Seriously
One piece of advice that older people often pass on is that taking life less seriously makes it much easier. When you take yourself and your life too seriously, you put an enormous amount of pressure on yourself.
Lighten up a bit and understand that life is not a test; it’s an experience. If you take it less seriously, you can enjoy the process more. Don’t treat everything with so much gravity that it makes your life dull and rigid. Allow yourself to have fun and be playful and spontaneous.
7. Let Go Of Perfection
You don’t have to have all the answers. You don’t need to always be right. You don’t have to aim for perfection — you don’t even need to be close. Making progress is much more important than seeking to achieve perfection. Perfection, after all, is unattainable; we are all so different that there can be no single gold standard for perfection.
Letting go of the need to be perfect allows you to dream and take chances, without worrying excessively about making mistakes. You can enjoy your successes more, and build on them, without condemning yourself for not getting everything 100 per cent correct.
8. Be Your Own Person
Many people make themselves very unhappy by living by other people’s value systems and following the crowd. We were all born as unique individuals, and we develop different preferences, strengths, gifts and characteristics.
The wisest people understand that we must live by our own values in order to be happy. We must choose what feels right to us, rather than blindly following other people’s paths. It’s important to build a life that’s right for you, no matter what anyone else is doing. Being authentic is the only way to find life truly fulfilling.
9. Life Is Short
If you are hesitating about following your dreams, or feel held back by fear, uncertainty, or limiting beliefs, it’s worth reminding yourself that you may not get another chance to do what you want. Life is short, and you only have a certain amount of time on the planet. Why spend a lifetime not living up to your potential?
If you feel you’ve already wasted time, start making the rest of it count. Unless you take your chances now, you may never get another opportunity.