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10 Life Lessons You Should Never Believe In

10 Life Lessons You Should Never Believe In

As you go through life you probably encounter many different life lessons.  Some are very good pieces of advice and you should follow them.  But, some life lessons turn out to be false and you should be aware of the folly of following these life lessons.  Here are 10 examples of life lessons you should never believe.

1.  You should always follow your passion.

Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams calls passion “bull.”  The writer Dan Pink says the he “detests” the question “What is your passion?”  Following your passion is a common piece of career advice but not especially helpful when trying to figure out what you should pursue as a business or a career.  Instead, Dan Pink suggests focusing on what you actually do.  When you’re not at work, what do you do just for fun?  What are you good at?  What are you willing to put your effort into?  As Scott Adams points out, rather that passion causing success, “success causes passion.”

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2.  You need to do well in school to insure success.

Yes, school is important but what you soon discover after you graduate and begin looking for a job is that no one cares very much about what courses you took or what grades you received.  What counts is the skills you actually have and that you can show evidence for these skills.  Getting an “A” in a management course means less than demonstrating your management skills.  Having done well in school what you will discover is that it will often take more than that to succeed.

3.  You can’t teach an “Old Dog” new tricks.

Most people have heard that as you grow older it becomes more and more difficult to learn new things.  If you want to learn a foreign language you should start when you are young.  If you want to learn how to use new technology it helps to be young.  But, research on the brain and learning indicate that this is simply untrue.  The brain has a phenomenal ability to adapt and learn even as you grown older and the more you learn the better the brain can continue to learn and adapt.

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4.  You have to believe in yourself.

In order to achieve your goals and your dreams you have probably been told that you have to believe in yourself.  The essence of much self-help advice is that there is a power in positive thinking.  Affirmations are also based on this idea that you must visualize in a positive way the goals you wish to achieve.  But, as the author Dan Pink has pointed out, research seems to show that there is actually greater value in cultivating some self-doubt.  So, instead of confidently stating “I can” begin by asking yourself “Can I?”  This will put you in a better overall mindset for success.

5.  Life “back then” was better than it is today.

Ahh, the “good old days.”  Life was better back then.  But, nostalgia often blinds us to just what the reality was in those days gone by.  However far back you go in the past you can find indicators that things were not, in fact, as good as today.  Life expectancy is a good example.  The incidence of deaths from infections, childbirth, even the flu were much higher.  People had to spend more time acquiring food, clothing, and shelter and the rate of poverty was much higher than today.  As we look back to the past we often forget these realities which makes it seem as if life were better “back then.”

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6.  Getting ________ will make you happy.

Many people base their happiness on acquiring things.  The new house or the new car will make you happier than the one you have now.  But, once the novelty of having that new thing wears off, your happiness will return to its former level.  Or worse, you will discover that there is a newer thing to acquire and now you need to base your happiness on acquiring that thing.  In that case you have gotten on the “hedonic treadmill.”  You work harder and acquire more things but are still not any happier.

7.  You need another person to “complete” you.

We all have the image of love as somehow finding someone to complete us.  But, this presupposes that you cannot be a complete person without that other and that is not true.  It can also lead us to commit some to someone who may end up being wrong for us just to avoid being “incomplete.”  But, each one of us is a unique, complete human being on our own.  Being in love and sharing your life with someone special are wonderful gifts, but you should not view yourself or your life as incomplete if you are single.

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8.  Practice makes perfect.

For most skills improvement requires practice.  By some estimates it can take up to 10,000 hours to really master a skill such as playing a musical instrument or being a competitive athlete.  What can make this work seem so frustrating is that the “perfection” which is promised never arrives.  In fact, practice does not and cannot make you perfect at anything because perfection is an impossible to reach standard.  As the saying goes, “the perfect is the enemy of the good.”  We often use our failure to achieve perfection as a reason to stop trying at all.  Practice does lead to improvement and should be valued for that reason alone.  Set aside perfection and work on being good.

9.  Once I finish _________, I’ll have more time.

Everyone has probably said this at one time or another whether it is about something at school or work.  But, what you soon learn is that the free time you see in the future is always receding because once you finish your current project you’ll end up with another and then another.  As long as you focus on finishing things you will never end up with the free time you plan on having.  The key to breaking this cycle lies with not starting things.

10.  You can be anything you want if you work hard enough.

We are often taught some variation of this idea from an early age.  But, it ignores an important part of life: limits.  These limits are not necessarily a bad thing.  Creativity arises out of limitations as artists struggle against the constraints of their medium and skill.  Hard work can take you far but it cannot guarantee your success in everything you try.  Because of my physical limitations I will never play football in the NFL.  Because of my artistic limitations I will never play in Carnegie Hall.  Recognizing one’s limits actually liberates you from the burden of being able to do everything and focus on what you can do.  Ultimately, the fact that our life is limited is what allows us to give it meaning.  If you lived forever what would it matter what you did or when?  Likewise, if you really could be anything, what you chose to do would have less meaning.

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Last Updated on July 3, 2020

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

2. Focus on your breath

Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

3. Get organized and purge old items

A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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6. Smile more

Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

7. Don’t worry about the future

As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

8. Eat real food

The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

9. Choose being happy over being right

Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

11. Make use of filtering features on social media

You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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12. Get comfortable with silence

When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

13. Listen to understand, not to respond

So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

14. Put your troubles in a bubble

Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

15. Speak more slowly

Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

16. Don’t procrastinate

Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

17. Buy a coloring book

Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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18. Prioritize yourself

You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

19. Forgive others

Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

20. Check your expectations

Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

21. Engage in active play

Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

22. Stop criticizing yourself

The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

26. Manage your money

Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

27. Stop trying to control everything

Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

28. Practice affirmations

Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

29. Get up before sunrise

Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

30. Be yourself

Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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