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20 Life Lessons Everyone Can Master By The Age Of 40

20 Life Lessons Everyone Can Master By The Age Of 40

There are many advantages of hitting ‘The Big 40.’ The most valuable, however is that you’re at a point in life where you can begin taking the life lessons you’ve endured and make them work for you, instead of against you. The following are just some of the lessons people at the age of 40 have endured enough to have mastered by now. So now, it’s all about putting your mental skills into action and turning these lessons around into a direction that enables you to thrive.

1. Everything will be okay, and if it’s not, it’s certainly not the end of the world.

By this time in life, we’ve faced enough troubles to know that the hardship will soon pass. Children and young adults don’t have the life experience of enduring difficult times and situations with the confidence that it’s going to be okay. By thinking optimistically in a difficult situation, our sense of rationality boosts the ability to find solutions that will help, rather than hinder the situation. You can now take your knowledge and experience and help friends and loved ones to realize that there’s light at the end of the tunnel in all situations with confidence that it’s not the end of the world.

2.  Find what you love and own it!

As young adults, we often take to heart the input of friends, family members and loved ones a little too much. It may even distract us from going after what really brings intrinsic reward in life. My mom is a retired educator and when I told her about my first position as a special education teacher, she told me I’d hate special education.

A few days later, a 4th grade position became available. I took it because of what my mom said. It was okay, but I didn’t come home truly feeling in my gut that I belonged where I was. The following year, I took a special education position. As a result, I’ve been able to handle my own kids’ learning disabilities and help parents of other children cope as well. A time came where I had to trust my own strengths and passions. When I did, I took off and haven’t stopped since.

3. Don’t fear mistakes.

Failure is the pathway to success. There’s always something to learn from mistakes. Even if it’s simply that you know not to make that same mistake again. With past mistakes, you’ve agonized over what you ‘could’ve, should’ve, would’ve’ done. In reality, the best way to approach mistakes is to find some way to improve and move forward.

4. You deserve respect.

When my son was a teenager and had his friends over, at first I held the attitude of, “I’m your elder, so you’re going to respect me.”  I even went so far as to demand that they answer me with, ‘yes’ and ‘no ma’am.’  As time went on, I realized that by ‘demanding’ respect, it caused them to be intimidated, or at least, not want to be around me.

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Gradually, I began greeting them, joking with them and asking them questions about their interests. In a short amount of time, they no longer avoided me. In fact, they talked to me more, weren’t afraid to come to me when there was a huge problem and they began answering me with ‘yes’ and ‘no ma’am’ automatically, without insisting they do it. I earned their respect…and so it came automatically.

Society still commands respect for its elders. So emulate behavior that earns it. You’re considered older, wiser and more experienced to younger generations so find ways to encourage, be a positive example. By doing this, the respect will automatically come.

5. Romance is NOT the same as love.

Romance is conditional. It’s based on appearance, hormones, mood.  Love is unconditional. It is unconditional love that weathers the storms of life. The good, the bad, the ugly, the hurt, the financial strain, the betrayals and even the illnesses. It can bear all things and become stronger through life’s struggles and tragedies.

6. It’s never too late to live a life that makes you proud.

It goes along with the age old saying, “Keep doing what you’re doing, and you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.”  Only you have the power to change you, and you can do it at any given point and time in your life. By middle age, the perception of time is completely different. Time holds a more precious role, so you’re less likely to waste it and go after what you want with ambition and passion!

7. Remain calm in all situations.

When I was 20, I was in Burger King and a man started violently choking. I hysterically yelled out, “Call 911, he’s choking!” At the time, I was a licensed E.M.T. and had the knowledge and ability to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on him, but instead, I panicked.

About a year ago, while in church, the boy next to me was eating hard candy, and yes, he started choking. Without any hesitation, I got up and performed the Heimlich on him and out popped the candy. I patted him on the back and quietly went back to my seat.

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What would it look like if you were to fall apart in every stressful situation as a middle aged person? It’s expected that older persons are wiser, calmer and better at dealing with difficult situations. Approach chaos with confidence and wisdom from your life experiences. It’s time to serve as an example instead of being a middle aged ‘blithering bloke.’

8. You win some, you lose some.

In all situations, there are winners and losers. You can’t always be the winner so lose gracefully and put into use what your parents drilled into you about not being a sore loser. There’s always a ‘next time.’

9. The term ‘Overnight Success’ really means 2 to 10 years.

Everything takes time and the best things in life are earned through consistency and patience. This doesn’t necessarily mean that if you just work hard, you’ll have everything you ever wanted. There’s definitely such a thing as working smarter. In order to discover ways to work ‘smarter’ it takes years of experience.

10. Maintain your focus.

Having good focus is directly connected to self-discipline. There will always be distractions, especially in the digital age. Making every single party and social event just isn’t as important now. Use your experience, wisdom and instincts to focus on what’s truly important in life.

11. Not everyone is always going to like you.

This is a difficult concept to grasp when you’re young. We all want to be liked by everyone. It’s impossible, and it takes too much energy trying to please everyone. Be yourself, as authentic as possible because it comes naturally and reserve your energy for going after your goals.

12. You simply cannot control everything and everyone.

It took years for this to really sink in, but now that you truly know this, you’re able to enjoy life, and people a lot more. Peace comes easier when you’re not stewing over how to control any and all situations.

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13. Energy is everywhere and you can use yours to either work for you, or against you.

Disliking, not forgiving and trying to change others takes more energy then just letting it go and minding your own business. Now that you’ve mastered this, you can choose wisely where to expend energy to create the ideal life for you.

14. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

It’s not that you condone everything that happens, or everything that people do and say. It has more to do with accepting people and places exactly as is and still being able to thrive among them.

15. Money is not the measure of success.

You’ve learned to make your happiness with what you have. If you haven’t, you can start right now. Think about the home you have, your family and friends. You’ve built relationships and gained experience for a good solid two decades and now you have the chance to enjoy what you’ve built, with or without cash.

16. It’s not about what you have. It’s about what you do with what you have.

So you used to be a great athlete but with age, the body begins to fail. You still have the talent and experience so use your focus and energy on coaching, writing, sponsoring athletics. Such is the same with many other aspects of your life. For example, modeling. You may not be able to land the assignments like you used to, but you still have a gift with fashion, make-up, and photography. You can take your life experiences and cater to your age, your health and your condition right now. Take what you have and thrive beyond your 40 years!

17. You really do reap what you sow.

This includes both your thoughts and your actions. You know that when your thoughts and your actions promote, encourage and emulate humility, your life is blissful. Work hard, be honest, love, forgive and most of all, stay in the game of life. It’s what has brought you success in past years and what you’ll thrive off of in the years to come.

18. Happiness doesn’t just come to you automatically. You make it with your thoughts and actions.

I have two side jobs to help pay tuition for my girls’ private school. One is putting up 60 ‘Open House’ signs for a housing development on the weekends and the other is a paper route that entails getting up at 4 a.m every Saturday. Sound dreadful? Not in the least. I make it fun for the girls and I. I choose to approach these jobs with adventure and gratitude. As a result, the girls are learning how to work hard, be responsible and that even dreadful tasks can be rewarding. (Now if I could just get them to enjoy cleaning their rooms!)

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19. The past has passed for a reason. So let it go.

It’s exhausting hanging onto all those negative emotions. With age, letting go of the past becomes easier. You’ve seen and felt the residual of hanging onto the past. Most of all, our energy, and time are more precious. If you’re still hanging onto past incidents, it’s never too late to let go.

20. Life is short and can end in an instant. Live it to the fullest.

Experience over the years has made us realize that people could be gone from your life in an instant. Every single day counts. It’s important to take life’s lessons, learn from them, and live every moment so that you have no unfinished apologies or business.

If you’re familiar with the story of wandering in the desert for 40 years, in reality, life today is similar. You spent your first 40 wandering, searching, testing the waters. Now that you have the experience and knowledge from ‘wandering the desert,’ you’re armed with everything you  need to make the next 40 years amazing. So go…put your experience and your mental skills to work and make it another amazing 40!

For more amazing tips on how to thrive after 40, learn how to look younger than your age here.

Featured photo credit: lostinreviews.com via lostinreviews.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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