I was thinking about how there are certain life lessons that everyone must learn to be able to achieve success in any endeavor and as I reviewed much of my own trials and circumstances, I realized that I worked through and “learned” most of these lessons, in some cases however, it did take a few times to get it. Learning these life lessons will lead to some of your biggest break-through’s in your life and allow you to achieve those huge goals you have been chasing. Which ones have you already truly learned?
1. Life lessons don’t go away if you don’t learn from them
As a matter of fact, if you don’t learn the life lesson the first time, it will come back again and again until you do. Often when it comes back, it will be an even bigger life lesson the next time. Also, it may not show up right away each time, it will come at a time when you have the most opportunity for growth or disappointment.
2. There are no “cheat codes” or “hacks” to create a short-cut to anything worthy
Anything in life worth doing, whether it’s developing a skill, building a business, establishing a relationship, etc, will require time, energy, and commitment. There are no short-cuts to get something that is of real value in life. Everything requires a trade-off of something of value. Similarly, there is no “easy road” in life. Again, if the experience is of value, then it will require something in return. Don’t get sold, by yourself or someone else, that there is an easy way. If you are only seeing an easy path, just know you are missing key important steps. Preparing for the challenges and having solutions to overcome those challenges will make the path easier, but nothing worthwhile is “easy”.
3. You must take 100% responsibility for everything in your life
This one is often hard for people to grasp, I know because it was hard for me at first. It took me a few years before it began to sink in, but it ultimately took three huge major setbacks to get me to embrace this realism. Everything that happens to you in life may not be your fault, but you must take responsibility for circumstances you could control. Not just the ones that were easy to accept, but be honest with yourself, could you have made better choices, which would have led to a better outcome.
By accepting responsibility for everything, this gives you control over your life, which is exceptionally important to people trying to achieve big things. Taking on this kind of responsibility for your life allows you to correct those poor decisions next time and removes the opportunity to place blame elsewhere. Being able to place blame on someone or something else is convenient, but hardly useful if you are wanting to achieve great things or lead a healthy and productive life. So, you must be willing to ask yourself, “what could I have done differently?”, even if it was simply how you responded to a disappointing or disruptive situation.
4. Small daily habits are more important than BIG infrequent “wins”
The value of small daily habits is always over-looked and much maligned in our society. Everyone wants the quick, easy solution, and those that market are keenly aware of how to sell us on the “huge overnight successes” in our world. However, they don’t show you the years spent trying to build to that moment of success. Even if you did get lucky and get a nice big win here and there, ultimately the challenge with that is you likely don’t know how you were able to do it and as such, can’t duplicate the result. This means you haven’t learned anything, you just got “lucky”, and although that sounds nice right now, what happens when the luck runs out?
5. Personal growth is far more important than personal achievement
Personal growth is what you learned from any experience you gain in life. To learn it means you have to pay attention to it (reference life lessons #3 and #4 above), but once you have learned it, it is now knowledge and understanding. You can now draw on those life lessons when you need to, thus allowing to help you in the future. Personal achievement is the reward we gain. Achieving that reward, although sweet in the moment, eventually fades and you are left to move forward towards your next goal. That knowledge you gained will be far more valuable than those awards you won in the first endeavor.
6. You are a direct reflection of who you spend the most time with
There is a fitting quote by the late, great Jim Rohn that states “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. You couldn’t sum this one up better than that. There are a number of ideologies as to why this holds true, but when you think about it, it is spot on. If you think about it from the perspective of running a race, if you ran against the average person who is overweight, seldom works out, and you can beat everyone each time, is that a true reflection of your skill? More importantly, do you believe that you will ever get any better if you ran that race every day for a year? No, likely you will regress, particularly if your competition never gets better. However, if you raced against Olympic candidates and got beat, even though you lost, wouldn’t you think you’d run harder and faster to keep up? As long as you didn’t quit over that year, you would certainly get substantially better, even if you never won a race, your individual time would improve, and that is personal growth.
7. You cannot stay the same forever and trying to will hurt you
Most people look for security and there is nothing wrong with that. However, a major life lesson to learn is that change is inevitable. Most people fear change and the reality is change is not always bad or good, it’s just different. But what we do know is, change WILL happen and trying to hide or avoid it will hurt you. Refusing to adapt to changing times will most certainly cause you to miss out, or worse yet, leave you behind. The potential growth is lost and as such you are mired into average, or even worse, over time, obscurity. Changing times will leave you behind if you don’t embrace the changes.
8. Change represents the biggest opportunities in life for growth
Recognizing that you can’t stay the same is very important, or it will hurt you. For growth and goal achievement, what might be an even bigger life lesson is recognizing change represents the biggest opportunities in life. Some of the largest business industries were created during significant times of change. Microsoft, Apple, Fed Ex, many massive business industries that we know today, were developed and grew during times of significant change, either in society or in an industry. The best way to recognize opportunity is to look for and embrace change.
9. That “gut instinct” in you always knows which decision is the right one
Some people call it a sixth sense, some people call it intuition, others still might call it the little voice in their head. Whatever you want to call it, it’s generally right. More often than not, if something doesn’t “feel” right, then likely it isn’t. There has been a lot of work done to help people understand their instincts and how to use them in making key decisions. In the end, this “gut instinct” is a combination of past experiences (logical), with current circumstances (current assessments), and a blend of feelings (emotional ties), that make up this voice. The key for this exercise is to help you understand that you must listen to this voice because it is always right.
10. Love and passion are phenomenal sources of energy, but they can burn you up too
This will be a difficult one to comprehend if you haven’t experienced it yet, and likely, if you are in it now, you won’t heed the warning. Love for another person or passion for something is a phenomenal source of energy and just downright feels awesome! However, a blinding passion or an unchecked obsession of love for someone, or something, can have catastrophic consequences. Now, I will likely get stoned for saying this, or at the very least, be told I am not romantic, however, nothing could be farther from the truth. After having been burned enough times myself, I have learned this life lesson all too well.
The point here is that anything that you make your everything will likely end badly for a number of reasons. Life is about balance, and although passion and love are important, and feel outstanding, when it is everything, this never ends well. There must be some opportunity to slow down and assess the situation before you keep moving forward at a thousand miles per hour and eventually careening out of control and ending in a fiery blaze. If the love or passion is real, it will still be there after slowing down occasionally to ensure you aren’t missing key warning signs which are really hard to see when you can’t or won’t slow down.
When I started this blog, I mentioned that these are life lessons everyone must learn and some are very hard lessons to learn. The reality is though, that everyone will experience them, sometimes multiple times, until they truly “learn” these lessons. It is one thing to experience these lessons, but without cognizant thought and reflection, there is no understanding to how you contributed to the setbacks or disappointments, thus you won’t learn. That is why you will find yourself in a similar situation again, and again, if you don’t learn these valuable life lessons.
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Good luck out there!