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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 March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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