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20 Life Lessons Everyone Can Master By The Age Of 40

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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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Lynn Silva

Lynn Silva helps solo and entrepreneurs develop mental skills for business.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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