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Life Lessons: 42 things I’ve learned by age 39.

42 lessons that life has taught me.

life lessons

Whether you’re 20 years old or 40 years old you have definitely learned some lessons in life.

Some lessons are more valuable than others and it’s worth remembering them to the end of your life because maybe thanks to them you will live a better life and will start to appreciate it more.

Here are some of the lessons that I’ve learned:

1. If you want to achieve something you need to be disciplined – motivation is not enough. You want to form habits that will keep you going instead of just relying on sheer inspiration. It’s even easier with obsession. 

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” ~ Jim Rohn 

2. I think it’s a great time to start an online business or a side hustle online. It may be hard at the beginning but it’s worth it. Do you prefer to work for 15 hours a day for 5-10 years to build you own business and then be your own boss to the end of your life or work 40 hours a week for 30-40 years building someone else’s business? Research shows that 75 percent of Americans are unhappy at work. Do you want to be one of them? Of course failure has to be taken into account, but what is risk free?

“If you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.” ~ Tony Gaskins

3. Time passes by very quickly. A lot of people I meet today are younger than me, which makes me feel old although I am not. This shows that before you notice you’ll be 40, 50 or 60 years old. That is why if you want to do something don’t put off your dreams for later thinking that you still have time. Because one day you may wake up and realize that it’s already too late. Make today count!

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” ~ William Penn

4. Some people learn only by making mistakes themselves. Although you might want to be helpful, it can be futile to warn these people. You can try, but most people won’t listen, so don’t waste a lot of energy on it. They may just need to burn their fingers to learn that the stove is hot.

“A smart man makes a mistake, learns from it, and never makes that mistake again. But a wise man finds a smart man and learns from him how to avoid the mistake altogether.” ~ Roy H. Williams

5.People are obsessed about how they look in other people’s eyes. Do you think you would really care about your outward appearance if you were the only person in the world? Stop worrying about what other people think and start living up to your own standards of character.

“Care about people’s approval, and you will always be their prisoner.” ~ Lao Tzu

6. I believe that people are good by nature, but too often they act like assholes. If that is the case, you better stay away from them and don’t try to understand them or please them – it’s not worth the trouble. 

“The world is so beautiful, but alas! There are so many assholes.” ~ M .F. Moonzajer

7. Travel as often as you can, especially if you’re still on your own – it may be more difficult once you have a family. People who travel seem to be more open-minded, understanding, more interesting and more enjoyable to be around.

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” ~ St. Augustine

8. Don’t get involved in a relationship with someone because you’re afraid to be single. Honestly, you are much better off on your own. It’s better to be single for your whole life than to find the wrong person who will drag you down.

“It is far better to be alone than to be in bad company.” ~ George Washington

9. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t succeed quickly. The Great Gatsby took 40 years to become a bestseller. Jack London received over 600 rejections before selling his first story. Success very often is a slow-growth strategy. Take your time. Be patient. The worst thing you can do is quit.

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” ~ Aristotle

10. Probably like many other people you too are looking forward to the future hoping that you will be happier and life will be better. Living this way you don’t pay attention to the present which is all you have. That “better” future may never come. Of course it’s good to be hopeful, but life is really not as long as you may think. Enjoy today while you have it! 

“The whole future lies in uncertainty: Live immediately.” ~ Seneca

11. If you’re going through something unpleasant now, something that makes you suffer, remember that you’re suffering for happiness. Of course this is not true in all cases but quite often it is. Think about an exam that you’re preparing for now. It may be very hard for you, but once you pass it, your life may change for the better. Or maybe you want to win that race and now you have to train tirelessly and suffer both mentally and physically to make this dream come true. Sometimes you have to suffer now for the longer game of happiness.

“To live is to suffer. To survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

12. You shouldn’t worry about what people say and think about you. And if you do, think about this: you live on a tiny planet somewhere in an infinite universe full of shining stars, galaxies, dark matter, other planets, black holes and whatnot. Why would you care what other small and frail people think about you?   

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~ Dr. Seuss

13. Death and change are two sure things in life. You won’t survive life. You will die. And change is also inevitable – whether you like it or not.

“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.” ~ Stephen Chbosky

14. Learn to appreciate what you have. Always remember that many people in the world don’t have what you have. When you think about them you may realize that your life isn’t as miserable as it may seem. Start a gratitude journal and each day write down in it what you’re grateful for. These could be some small things that you managed to accomplish during the day or anything else that you feel gratitude for. If you think about it you’re really lucky.  

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” ~ Zig Ziglar

15. No matter what you achieve in life, how many battles you win, and how successful you become, at the end everyone will eventually fail.

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” ~ Michael Jordan

16. Life comes with suffering. We go through life trying to experience happiness and avoid suffering. But somehow the great, everlasting happiness that we’re looking for always eludes us and suffering, in different forms, finds us no matter where we hide. So we might as well just live our lives without fear.

“Don’t look forward to the day you stop suffering because, when it comes, you’ll know you’re dead.” ~ Tennessee Williams

17. Someday almost each of us will be entirely forgotten like we never existed. It’s quite possible that no one will remember about you. Do you remember about your great- grandparents? Will your children remember about them? The universe existed before you came into this world and will just as well exist once you’re gone. That is why make the most of the time that you have. 

 “There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.” ~ David M. Eagleman

18. Many or most of the problems that fill your head usually never happen in real life. Think about how may things you worried about? How many things you imagined could go wrong? But actually very few of them went wrong! That is just a waste of your precious time. You can get on the plane and be worried throughout the flight that it will crush, but you can also stay calm.

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” ~ Mark Twain

19. Once you’re old enough you start to notice that your parents are not always right like you probably thought in the past. But you also appreciate their efforts and you realize that most often they did whatever they thought was best for you at the time.  

“Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.” ~ Oscar Wilde

20. Even if you don’t have much talent but you’re not afraid to work hard, you will succeed. It’s because hard work always beats talent.

“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” ~ Kevin Durant

21. Don’t be afraid to fail! There are a lot of people who failed many times before they finally achieved success. Persistence is the key. Each mistake teaches us something. Only those who do nothing never fail. 

“There is just one thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure.” ~ Paulo Coelho

22. Small everyday steps will lead you to big wins. Planning is very helpful, but it means nothing without follow-through. In my experience, here’s what works: set a goal for a year and then plan what you need to do every month to achieve that goal. Then plan what you need to do every week to achieve your monthly goals. Then plan what you need to do every day to achieve your weekly goals. Don’t go to sleep before you plan what you want to work on tomorrow.

“Everything starts with one step, or one brick, or one word, or one day.” ~ Jeremy Gilley

23. Productivity is in fashion nowadays. Everyone wants to be more productive. Hard workers are praised. But don’t try to be a hard worker at the cost of sleep. If you sleep too little because you want to be able to do more, then probably you don’t realize how important sleep is. Personally I think that sleeping is a waste of time. On average we spend 26 years sleeping in our lives, but what can we do? Humans are probably the only animals who consciously deprive themselves of sleep.  

“Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” ~ Thomas Dekker

24. Try to read regularly, as much as you can. This will not only improve your memory and imagination but will also help you gain knowledge. And the first prerequisite to success is knowledge. If you’re very busy and can’t read one book a month, then try to read one book in two months. Or even one book in three months – it’s still better than not reading at all. Read 10-20 books on the given subject and you will know more than 90 percent of people. And maybe consider taking a speed reading course?

   “Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” ~ Jim Rohn

25. People spend way too much time in their heads. Don’t overthink and overanalyze what you said or did. Let it go. Don’t torture yourself with thoughts. Just get on with life and let it flow. If there are some things you need to do today, put your daily tasks on paper and just read them, but don’t obsess over them. When you write things down, it triggers your memory, leading to less worry. Your mind will be more still and at peace.

“Overthinking, also, best known as creating problems that are never there.” ~ David Sikhosana

26. Be curious and never stop learning. Don’t get satisfied with mediocrity but dig deeper and learn from those who are already where you want to be in the future.

“Formal education will make you a living and self-education will make you a fortune.” ~ Jim Rohn

27. Don’t ever forget that your time here on Earth is limited. You’re dying every day. Your telomeres get shorter and shorter. Awareness of this should give you courage and make you to finally start pursuing things which you’ve always put off until later.  

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” ~ Norman Cousins

28. Exercise regularly. If you feel old it’s probably because you do not exercise. Those who do something everyday to make their blood flow faster like for example riding a bike or swimming, feel younger, have more energy and enjoy a clearer mind. You will also become more disciplined if you exercise regularly and it will alleviate your depression. Exercising can have a positive impact on your whole life.  

“We do not stop exercising because we grow old—we grow old because we stop exercising.” ~ Kenneth Cooper

29. Go for a walk with your mom and dad; watch a cartoon with your niece; have dinner with your brother or sister; play with your dog; have a conversation with a friend you haven’t seen for a long time. Today you may think that these are petty things, but one day in the future you will start to appreciate these moments.

 “Enjoy these little things for one day, you may look back and realize they were the big things.” ~ Robert Brault

30. If you want to help others you first should help yourself. You may think that it’s selfish to think of yourself when there is so much suffering in the world. But in my opinion you first need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others later. If you don’t like other people it’s quite possible that you don’t like yourself too. Work on yourself first!

“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.” ~ Mandy Hale

31. Have you noticed that not doing something usually gives more pain than doing it? Sometimes when we don’t have the courage to try something out we suffer more than we would if we eventually decided to do this even if it didn’t work.

“You don’t get over the fear of doing something by not doing it.” ~ Zero Dea

32. What is life? What really happens after death? Does God really exist? What is the nature of existence? Deep down, we all know that we don’t know the answers to these fundamental questions, but we ignore that. It’s okay to not know everything, as long as we keep searching.

“If I cease searching, then, woe is me, I am lost. That is how I look at it—keep going, keep going come what may.” ~ Vincent van Gogh

33. There are diseases that don’t happen overnight, we often “work hard” for them for many years of our lives. By making poor life choices we often go down the path of self-destruction.   

“Sickness is the vengeance of nature for the violation of her laws.” ~ Charles Simmons

34. Being happy is important, but I don’t think this should be the goal of our lives. We should rather try to be useful, helpful and valuable. And who knows, maybe in being useful and helpful to others you will also discover your happiness.

 “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” ~ John Holmes

35. Don’t be so quick in judging someone else’s mistakes because you know nothing about their fight with their own weaknesses. Maybe what looks like a mistake to you is a victory for them.

“Brave men rejoice in adversity, just as brave soldiers triumph in war.” ~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

36. Everything has come to an end – this is the law of nature. Immortality, which some people would like to attain here on Earth doesn’t make sense – it’s impractical. In the end nothing will survive and we need to come to terms with this fact.    

“The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.” ~ Bruce Lee

37. Being a good example is way more important than just giving advice. No one will trust you if you say one thing and then do the opposite. If you set a good example people will naturally want to follow you.  

“You cannot say one thing and then do another and expect people to just do what you say. Words you say mean nothing, but doing—setting an example—says more.” ~ Catherine Pulsifer

38. We are poor judges in our own cases. It’s difficult to see our own lives from an unbiased perspective. The cure to this is to avail ourselves of people who will tell us the truth. This usually means they’ll help us see past our faults and into our strengths. But it also might mean that we need to hear some hard truths sometimes.

“Butterflies can’t see their wings. They can’t see how truly beautiful they are, but everyone else can.” ~ Naya Rivera

39. Satisfaction is your choice. If you don’t like your life, choose to do something about it and make a change. Otherwise, if you are unsatisfied, that is really up to you because life is what you make of it. It’s not what you sit around waiting for. Even if you only have a little, you can choose to be happy with that instead of being miserable by always wanting more.

“When you are discontented, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes, I already have everything that I really need.’” ~ Dalai Lama

40. Celebrate the little things. When you’re on your way to meeting your goals, it’s good to stop and congratulate yourself for even the little accomplishments. That way, you get all of the benefits of quick gratification, added to the huge delayed gratification at the end when you meet your final goal.

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh

41. People like you not for who you are but for the impression you make on them. Since no one really knows you except for what’s on the surface, they can really only like the impression you make on them.

“I understand how a first impression is often just that: a quick snapshot that, on its own merit, is meaningless.” ~ Adriana Trigiani

42. Train your brain. It’s a muscle and if you want to keep it in good health you need to take care of it not only by sleeping enough and eating nutritional food, but also by reading every day, learning languages or learning how to play an instrument or just by doing anything else that can improve its functioning. You need to challenge it. Probably you don’t care much about it now when you’re young, but you will appreciate it later in life. If you think that your memory is failing you, you can learn how to improve it in 30 days.  

The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous.” Carl Sagan

There are a lot more lessons to be learned in life because there is a lot more to discover and experience. Never forget your lessons – they will guide you on your journey through life.     

What are the most valuable lessons that you have learned in your life so far?

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