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10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Turning 40

10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Turning 40

Worried about turning 40? If so, you’re probably in the majority. But before you decide to buy that new Harley, take a look at a few things I wish I would have known before turning 40.

1: I Wish I Had Kept Track of Old Friends

My life got busy after finishing college. I ending up loosing track of many of the friends I met in classes and residence hall. I have some great friends that I’ve met in the years that have passed, but I wish I would have taken more time to care for relationships with the college roommates who helped me cram for big exams, took care of me when I was under the weather, or talked me through a difficult break-up. I had no idea at the time just how much of an impact those friendships really had on me.

2: I Wish I Had Saved More Money When I Was Younger

Back in high school, my economics teacher explained how if each of us saved a few hundred dollars each month, the magic of compound interest would see that we were millionaires by our 50s. I was way too young then to heed such sage financial advice, so of course I spent much of the next decade spending money on movie nights with friends, expensive restaurants, and the latest and greatest clothing. Don’t get me wrong, some of my favorite memories are from going out with friends, but as my 50s get closer and closer, I know that saving that money sooner would have made a huge difference. It could be the difference between retiring at 55 and retiring at 70.

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3: I Wish I Had Not Burned Bridges in the Past

In my teens and twenties, I burned a lot of bridges. At times, it was through stupid things like getting offended at a job and quitting rashly. In other cases it came down to cutting off contact with a good friend or ex-girlfriend over petty disagreements. What I didn’t know then was that every positive relationship can be built on in the future. You’d be surprised how many co-workers you run into who have connections with a company you were at previously, or how many people you meet who knew an ex or an old friend of your’s.

4: I Wish I Had Traveled More as a Young Adult

In some countries, young adults take a year off to travel extensively, while staying in hostels and backpacking. There are huge benefits to traveling while you’re young. However, instead of taking the time to see the world or volunteer abroad, I was anxious to get to work. With financial commitments that have increased as the years have passed, I seldom have the money to travel abroad. Unfortunately, I may have to wait until retirement to enjoy some of those experiences.

5: I Wish I Had Taken Better Care of My Body

While being over 40 doesn’t mean that I am ancient by any means, I can definitely see differences in my body. I wish I would have begun to focus earlier on caring for my joints while maintaining my weight. Instead I’ve spent far too much time focusing on heavy weight lifting without giving much regard to proper pain management. I also envy people who embraced healthy eating when they were young, maintaining a healthy weight and building good habits over the years.

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6: I Wish I Had Been Kinder to Others

Now that I am older, I realize how important small acts of kindness are. We are all connected in some way. There is no reason to become hostile with waitresses or customer service reps over petty things. Taking time for little things, like letting someone with two items pass me at the grocery store when I have an overflowing cart would have been, in retrospect, well worth the sacrifice.

7: I Wish I Had Learned to Not Worry Constantly

I don’t know if worrying is really the cause of some of these wrinkles and gray hairs, but I do know that constant worrying can affect the chemicals in the brain. Most things tend to work themselves out in the end. I’ve found that shifting my focus to the things I can control, helps keep the stress away and keeps me more in tune with my family and the things that matter most.

8: I Wish I Hadn’t Collected So Much “Stuff”

Over the years, I have filled my home with a lot of stuff that I didn’t really need. Many of these “useless” items were expensive. All of these things represent wasted money and require space, leading to the necessity for a bigger house just to store all of the stuff. In recent years I’ve tried to adopt a much more minimalist lifestyle, funneling more money into paying down debts and investing in things I really want/need. My “stuff” collection has dwindled, leaving my home and my mind more clear and free.

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9: I Wish I Had Known How Important Hobbies Are

When I was younger, I spent plenty of time on hobbies to keep me occupied in my spare time. Playing sports with buddies, hitting the golf range, or reading books were welcome breaks from responsibilities at school and work. As I’ve gotten older and the focus has shifted more directly to family and work, many of these hobbies have fallen by the wayside. Having a hobby is a great way to keep yourself active and keep your mind sharp.

10: I Wish I Would have Realized That the Mind Stays Young

Although I may look 40, my mind thinks I am a teenager in many ways. I still want to do many of the things I neglected to do at a younger age. This is actually one of the more pleasant aspects of aging because it means that I can still have fun and learn new things. I can choose to make new friends, change my diet, and go back to the golf course. Turning 40 has given me a new perspective on life, on my priorities, and what I want the future to look like.

Don’t slow down. 40 can be the start of your next great adventure, a time to invest in what matters the most, and a chance to start fresh! What are you going to accomplish in your next 40 years?

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Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/ via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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