There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’ve learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.
Life is a learning process. You can learn important life lessons by reading, watching educative videos, or through experience. You can save a lot of time and energy by learning from other peoples’ experiences.
33 Lessons in Life You Need to Learn
Here’re important life lessons you should learn early on:
1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems
Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.
There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people who are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.
Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.
2. Pace Yourself
Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.
Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit. Try these 7 Ways To Train Yourself To Be More Mindful.
Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.
3. You Can’t Please Everyone
“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.
You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected, and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.
Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values. This is What You Need to Do to Stop Being a People Pleaser.
4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset
Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.
We tend to take our good health for granted because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.
Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.
5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want
“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon
No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.
We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.
6. It’s Not All About You
You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?
It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.
7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing
No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.
We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.
Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.
8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice
That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse-quickening love, and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.
Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.
Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.
9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing
Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.
The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.
This is Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.
10. Patience Is a Virtue
One of the most important life lessons that you need to learn is the importance of patience. Patience is defined as an individual’s ability to wait for something significant to happen without feeling frustrated due to the delay. In life, you’ll have to wait for a lot of things without feeling negative.
Managing your money requires patience. You’ll have to do your best to avoid getting frustrated by the challenges and time required to pay off your debt, increase your income and enjoy your returns on investments. When you become patient, you’ll achieve your biggest goals and experience true happiness.
11. Your Comfort Zone Is Your Enemy
If you want to achieve your biggest goals in life, you’ll need to get out of your comfort zone. Also, achieving significant things with your money will require you to feel uncomfortable.
A good example of getting out of the comfort zone to achieve your financial goals is investing your money. Even if you don’t know everything about investing, you need to start investing early for your money to work for you. Another instance can be meeting with your employer to ask for a raise. While it’s a difficult thing to do, it will help you achieve your financial goals in the long run.
12. Be the Early Bird
In general, people who adopt something early or arrive first usually have an edge over latecomers. For example, arriving early at an event allows you to pick a good seat and meet important people. Starting early or being the first has lots of benefits.
You can apply this lesson to your finances especially when it comes to saving and investing. People who start investing early always have an edge over the latecomers. Your money needs time to multiply in the market. Therefore, always strive to be the early bird.
13. Starting Is the Only Way to Make Progress
This is one of the life lessons learned that is worth stating this year. The only way to make progress in every aspect of life is by taking action. No progress happens when you complain.
Progress automatically begins when you start. Setting goals is a huge part of starting. Getting one percent better every day is better than not getting started at all.
14. Live In the Present Moment
The majority of experts in the field of psychology usually tell people that a huge part of depression revolves around living in the past. Anxiety, on the other hand, is caused by spending a lot of time worrying about the future.
Focusing too much on the negative side of life or trying to come up with a perfect plan for the future can make you miss out on the present moment. Missing out on the present moment can lead to regret. Strive to focus on the present moment today to transform your life.
15. Being Nice to People Pays
We are all different and unique. Nobody is better or smarter than you. Therefore, you don’t have to boss people around or domineer them. Being nice to people especially when you are working your way up will help you achieve your goals quickly.
No one knows what life has in store for them. Being kind and supportive will go a long way in transforming your life. One day, you’ll need a kindness from other people. And you’ll always get what you give. This is one of the good life lessons to adopt early in life.
16. Set Boundaries
One of the best lessons in life that you need to learn in life is setting healthy boundaries especially if you are around toxic people.
Regardless of whether they are family members, or co-workers, being around toxic people leads to arguments, high blood pressure, and a negative attitude. If toxic people have to be in your life, you need to limit the capacity. Setting healthy boundaries and sticking to them will pay off in the long run.
17. Work-Life Balance Is Key
Most people around the world have a poor work-life balance. They spend most of their time working hard to increase their income, get a promotion, or avoid losing their job.
When you spend too much time in the workplace, you’ll start neglecting important people in life. Also, you need to take care of yourself and your wellbeing. By organizing yourself and managing your time effectively, you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish in less time. Focus on working smarter instead of harder.
18. Life Is Not Fair
In the end, one of the valuable life lessons that everybody learns is life doesn’t always go the way we want. This can lead to anger and frustration. However, in the end, life always has the best intentions for us.
When you acknowledge this lesson, you’ll start living fully because you’ll be aware of the fact that there is nothing perfect in life. Most people go through their lives feeling like the world owes them something. However, this is not true. You’ll have to make your way in life. And there’ll always be people who are more knowledgeable than you.
19. You Are Stronger Than You Think
Regardless of what life throws at you, you are stronger than you think. You can stand up for yourself and take everything that life throws at you. You’ll always figure things out even if it seems like an impossible challenge. As time passes, you’ll learn that you are stronger than you think and you can face your challenges confidently.
20. All Problems Have Solutions
This is an important life lesson that we all learn in life. When you are faced with a problem, it’s always important to put in the time and energy to find a solution. Even if you don’t find the best solution right away, don’t give up. There will be times when life will throw you a ball. And you’ll think that things cannot get worse.
At your worst moment, pick yourself up, think of the best solutions and focus on rising with more strength. One of the best ways to come up with solutions is by writing down your problem in detail and the best solutions. Also, don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it.
21. Forgiveness Sets You Free
You’ve probably heard numerous times people say that someone doesn’t deserve their forgiveness. And it’s true. Other people don’t deserve your forgiveness. However, you do. You have to release the hurt, anger, and frustration towards other people. And the best way is to forgive.
Anger and hurt are not only bad for the people close to you but also for yourself. You’ll never find true joy, inner peace, or happiness if you keep carrying and spreading hurt and anger. Let go of toxic emotions. And you’ll start enjoying your life to the fullest. Forgive other people for your sake.
22. Some People Don’t Want You to Succeed
This is one of the most important life lessons that you’ll learn in life. Your family and friends always want the best for you. However, they are afraid of losing you. They want you to stay safe and live in your comfort zone.
They don’t want you to do crazy things like moving out, starting a business, moving in with a partner, or starting a new career to name a few. You have to do what you want without worrying about what other people think.
Once you start your journey, the right people will show up. Stick to your path. Remember, it’s your life. This is the best lesson for life.
23. Help Others as Much as You Can
You need to start helping people as much as you can. It doesn’t have to be your family and friends all the time. It could be elderly at the parking lot, a single mom on the street, or volunteering to create animal shelters. There are a lot of ways to help people in your world.
Your world is transformed by your example and not your opinion. Instead of judging other people, you should reach out and help them. The one thing that you can do for someone can make a huge difference in their lives. Help people and they’ll help you.
24. Don’t Focus Too Much on Your Plans
Life teaches us lessons to prove us wrong by throwing weird obstacles in your path. You don’t have to live your life strictly according to plan.
The best part about life is there is no plan. You can spend your days creating plans only to have a random thing thrown at you. Learn to adapt and go with the flow. Be open-minded and flexible.
25. Nothing Is Permanent
In life, there’ll always be good and bad times. However, nothing lasts forever. All the horrible things that you are experiencing today will come to an end. A few years from now, you’ll be laughing at yourself.
Good things come to an end too. That’s why you need to avoid getting too wrapped up in the current happenings and cherish the good times.
Don’t be afraid if you are in the middle of a crisis. It will come to an end. Embrace the good experiences in life. And always keep in mind that everything is temporary.
26. People Change
Most of the time, we don’t give people second chances. We judge them by their actions or our assumptions. You’ll find yourself shunning people out or looking down on them. You should stop doing this.
The person you were ten years ago is not the person you are today. The same applies to other people. Don’t judge people. We all have a past. Some people have the best intention. And they want to change. Leave peoples’ past behind and avoid binging it up all the time. People need chances.
27. Family Is Not Always the Only Bond
This is one of the most important life lessons. If you stand up for what you believe in, you are going to lose some family members. You need to keep in mind that everyone has different beliefs, visions, and paths.
When you discover who you are, you’ll stop putting up with some things that you used to love or endure. Regardless of the number of people you lose, you need to stay true to your beliefs.
The right people will come into your life and they’ll become your new family. If your family rejects you for what you believe in, don’t fret. Let them go. One day, they’ll come back.
28. Don’t Hesitate When You Should Take Action
As the Roman saying goes, seize the day. In most instances, people fail to take action due to a lack of courage or confidence. This hesitation keeps them from taking a forward step.
By failing to take action, you’ll end up regretting or wishing you’d started earlier. When it’s time to take action, don’t hold back regardless of the outcome. Make up your mind and act because nothing significant ever happened by hesitation.
29. Always Keep Trying
Even when you have prepared yourself well, there’s a chance that you’ll not achieve your objective. Just like an athlete who prepares themselves for months for a single race only to fall in front of the finish line, you should never give up.
Keep on keeping on. And one day, the stars will be on your side. A good thing about life is not in never falling but in rising every time you fall. Making mistakes is part of life. To achieve your biggest goals, you have to learn from your mistakes and keep trying.
30. Flexibility With Your Goals Is Key
There will be times when you’ll take action and start using your plans only to find that you were wrong. You need to analyze where you are and what you can do to influence your future positively.
You’ll be forced to postpone or even change a specific goal to move forward. Being flexible and adapting to change is one of the best ways to win in life.
31. For Every Action, There Is a Reaction
Before you say something or take action, you should always think of the consequences. People might be unprepared for your message or fail to respond well to your gestures. That’s why you should always treat your words with caution.
Also, treat others the way you’d like to be treated. You can change your life for the better by keeping in mind that your actions always have consequences.
32. Live Your Life to the Fullest
Life goes faster than you think. Most adolescents and young adults tend to think that they’ll remain the same forever. However, years will pass quickly and you won’t be a young person.
You need to live your life to the fullest because it is short. And, you never know what tomorrow has in store for you. Every second wasted is a moment of your life wasted. Don’t let other people’s thinking control your life. This is one of the important life lessons to learn.
33. Don’t Take Anything for Granted
We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.
When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.
Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.
This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all:
Life can change in an instant.
Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.
It doesn’t matter how old you are or where you are in life. Learning is the biggest lesson in life. And it’s essential for anyone who wants to succeed in life. You need to keep growing and evolving to live your life to the fullest.
Remember, it’s your life. And you know what’s best for you. Don’t allow other people to think for you. Walk your path with courage knowing that life is on your side. Which lesson will you adopt today to transform your life?
Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com