Do I have any regrets? I address that in the link provided but aside from that, you bet your sweet ass I do. But I’ve learned that regrets are simply times in our past that we wish we would have made a different decision. So as I look back now I think of them as divine learning experiences. Instances and circumstances throughout life that are unique to me. You probably have many of them as well – and I’m sure we have some similar ones. But just like my regrets are unique to me, yours are unique to you because our reactions to them were most certainly different.
Looking back here are 32 things I wish I would have known earlier. Feel free to agree or disagree, that’s what makes the world go round.
1. School is a passive learning experience. I was never captured by the material I was supposed to be learning and in turn sat in class waiting for time to tick by. The emphasis is on regurgitating “correct” answers to test questions which leads to students searching for only answers and never really understanding how or why they exist.
Concepts, facts, and procedures are prioritized and problem solving strategies, goal setting, strategic planning, and exploration into multiple ways to get to an outcome are often ignored. I’m hoping the educational system emphasizes more real world situations in the future like learning how to problem solve with others.
2. If you want to become an expert at something, read, read, and read some more. Go to amazon, search the subject you are interested in and read the top 5 selling books on the subject. You just bought yourself a 60,000 dollar education for less than $100 bucks.
3. Find a mentor – Have something to offer them. Who is someone you admire? Contact them, it’s easier than you think. Most people have a blog or an email address that is easy to find. Don’t ask them for anything, use your unique skills to offer them something they can’t do themselves, research that persons background, have work related to them ready to roll out.
4. Music is a powerful thing. Start your day singing and dancing in the shower. I don’t know of anything that can captivate your emotions or mood in such a dramatic way. I’ve cried out of nowhere listening to a song because it brought back a memory, danced in the shower and changed a bad mood into a good one listening to some fresh beats. Make a playlist, start your day with it. Keep it with you in times of need.
5. Instead of concentrating on making more money, start spending less. You can’t make more money in an instant but you can start spending less. Sell stuff, cancel cable or memberships, stop buying coffee everyday. Take a month and write down everything….EVERYTHING you purchase. It will open your eyes.
6. Sleep. No rest for the weary is complete bullish*t Sleep 3-4 hours a night on average for a month and let me know how your mood is and how effective you are. Any parents out there with babies? I’m sure you can relate.
7. Learn healthy habits as early as possible The sooner you can develop exercise and healthy eating habits the better. It makes it easier as you age – they become as simple as tying your shoe. Thank you Mom and Dad
8. Don’t try or pretend to have no fear. Instead practice being courageous. Fear isn’t going away anytime soon. You’ll always be afraid of something. Instead of trying to have no fear, practice courage instead. Start small and build up to the big challenges.
9. That guy or girl you are thinking about, just ask them out. Worst case scenario is they say no. I repeat. The worst case scenario is that they’ll say no. Offer to take them out for wine… everyone loves booze
10. The secret to happiness is found in a book: My hip hop loving broth Jacob turned me on to Sonja Lyubomirsky and her book “The How of Happiness.” If you are interested in being happier buy her book follow her 12 tips.
- Counting your blessings: Expressing gratitude for what you have (either privately – through contemplation or journaling – or to a close other) or conveying your appreciation to one or more individuals whom you’ve never properly thanked.
- Cultivating optimism: Keeping a journal in which you imagine and write about the best possible future for yourself, or practicing to look at the bright side of every situation.
- Avoiding over thinking and social comparison: Using strategies (such as distraction) to cut down on how often you dwell on your problems and compare yourself to others.
- Practicing acts of kindness: Doing good things for others, whether friends or strangers, either directly or anonymously, either spontaneously or planned.
- Nurturing Relationships: Picking a relationship in need of strengthening, and investing time and energy in healing, cultivating, affirming, and enjoying it.
- Doing more activities that truly engage you: Increasing the number of experiences at home and work in which you “lose” yourself, which are challenging and absorbing.
- Replaying and savoring life’s joys: Paying close attention, taking delight, and going over life’s momentary pleasures and wonders – through thinking, writing, drawing, or sharing with another.
- Committing to your goals: Picking one, two, or three significant goals that are meaningful to you and devoting time and effort to pursuing them.
- Developing strategies for coping: Practicing ways to endure or surmount a recent stress, hardship, or trauma.
- Learning to forgive: Keeping a journal or writing a letter in which you work on letting go of anger and resentment towards one or more individuals who have hurt or wronged you.
- Practicing religion and spirituality: Becoming more involved in your church, temple, or mosque, or reading and pondering spiritually themed books.
- Taking care of your body: Engaging in physical activity, meditating, and smiling and laughing.
11. Combine your passions, holding yourself to one specific thing is a tragedy. You probably are passionate about many things. To restrict yourself to one is a crime.
12. Meditation is highly underrated. Practice it early and often. Want to improve your attention, creativity, lower stress, reduce depression, feel more rested, and increase your energy. Not to mention some of the most successful people in the world practice it daily.
13. Instead of searching for the right answers, start asking better questions. You’ll create clarity, challenge assumptions, and Inspire yourself and others to think in unconventional ways. Here’s three to get you started.
- What can I learn from this?
- Do I have any past experiences I can draw from?
- Is it worth it, and am I capable of it?
14. When you tell someone you love them look always look them in the eyes, let them be the first to look away. It goes a long way. Try it now.
15. Live your life like you are writing your eulogy. Always be thinking about how you want to be remembered. Our lives truly are a book with blank pages. You have the ability to write anything you want. Tell a great a story.
16. There is an opportunity to give back around every corner. Do so often. I’ve never met a person that has regretted giving back to others. Buy the guy behind you his coffee, offer to babysit for your married friends. Seek ways to give.
17. Practice gratitude every day. I’m guilty of taking things for granted. Develop awareness by practicing gratitude. It has been proven time and time again to enhance your quality of life.
18. Time is relative. You do not need to do anything by a certain age or time. Finishing school, getting married, finding a job, retiring at a certain age is nonsense. You’re driving the car, go as fast or slow as you see fit. Don’t believe me, here.
19. Don’t text message so much, make phone calls. Don’t email so much, write letters. Don’t conduct virtual meetings, meet face to face when possible. We live in an age that is increasingly getting less and less personal. There is something to be said for truly connecting with someone. These small acts go a long way.
20. Never take away someones hope. It may be all that they have. Shame on me and you if we do.
21. Keep a pen, piece of gum, and twenty bucks on you at all times. Great ideas come at the most random times, someone always is looking for a piece of gum, and twenty bucks can get you in and out of a lot of trouble
22. Become a superhero at least once. Even if for only a minute. It’s the relentless pursuit of a better world in which everyone involved is proud of. Superhero’s never blame other people, their job, or their circumstances. They believe outside forces are not the things that hold us back but the only thing that can do that is YOU.
23. Everything you do is customer service. Be good at it. #Truth
24. If you achieve a goal – savor it but soon after ask yourself this. What’s next?
25. Eat lunch with a complete stranger. Talk only about them. Everyone has a story to tell. Take time to listen. You never know what you might learn.
26. If you exchange words with someone ask them their name. Not just their first but their last as well. Shake hands, look them in the eye, and smile. This goes for everyone you meet. I just broke my foot last night. Doreen wrapped my leg, Bruce took my x-rays, and the couple next to me, Mr and Mrs Dixon suggested that I ask for the good drugs Connecting with as many people as possible is a good thing. It’s the main reason I write.
27. Get comfortable with change. Death and taxes are not the only guarantees in life. Change is. You are constantly evolving. Mind, body, and spirit.
28. Baby steps are cool but… Baby steps are cool and lead to long lasting change – but their is nothing better than a gigantic accomplishment to tickle your fancy.
29. As you get older take the time you spend with children as a learning experience. They can teach us a thing or two. Spend the afternoon with a four year old – act like one yourself. Report back to me with how you feel.
30. Everything you do matters. Write this down and carry it with you ALWAYS.
31. Never stop believing you are capable of great things. The minute you do the Universe gives up on you. Keep believing. You will be rewarded.
32. Life is not a competition.
I think many consider life to be similar to the game of Risk, where the object is “World Domination.” World domination here is defined by taking over territories and eliminating all the other players. Funny thing about the game is if you win you are left with the brief satisfaction of “THE WIN” but then you soon realize you are all alone in your territories because you eliminated everyone else.
I’ve realized that this great journey known as life is less of a game of competition and more of a game of solidarity. Solidarity being the unity and agreement of individuals in pursuit of a common interest. That interest in this case is HAPPINESS. I don’t know one person that doesn’t want to be happy. It is the one common idea that we can call agree upon. The currency of life if you will. Everything we do revolves around it. We buy things, nice cars, big houses, and fancy gadgets not for their functionality. That being to get us from point A to point B, to provide a roof over our head and for shelter. But because we tend to think that the bigger and better will bring us more happiness.
I want to express that this is not a cry to live life as a minimalist or without possessions. It is just to generate thought and awareness about why we are doing what we are doing. Why we eat the way we eat, work the job we currently work, drive the car we currently drive, and live life the way we currently live it.
What are some lessons you have learned over the course of your years? I’d love to hear them in the comments and I’m sure others would too.