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21 Life Lessons Even Non-Christians Can Learn From Jesus

21 Life Lessons Even Non-Christians Can Learn From Jesus

Aside from being the Savior for Christians and even a prophet for Muslims, Jesus was a revolutionary figure who challenged traditions, religion, and beliefs. He was one of the first thought-leaders who inspired the world. Whether you are a Christian or not, here are 21 life lessons you can learn from Jesus:

1. Be clear with what you want.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” — Matthew 7:7-8

Jesus knew that clarity is one of the secrets to success. Be deliberate in living your life. Be clear with what you want to achieve. Know what to ask for and how to ask for it.

2. When you find “it,” take the leap.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.” — Matthew 13:44-46

When you finally find your life’s purpose, your mission, or your own dream, take a chance and take a leap in faith. You may or may not make it immediately, but you will definitely make it. The joy and fulfillment are also in the pursuit. Everything else is just icing on the cake. Jump into your purpose!

3. Be forbearing and love those who criticize you.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.” — Matthew 5:38-39

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?” — Matthew 5:44-47

When we are being pushed, it’s more natural for us to push back. It’s difficult not to fight back. But, when we pull them closer to us instead of pushing them back, imagine the surprise. There would also be less conflict. Besides, it’s more rewarding to love those who cannot love us back. Always respond with love.

4. Always go beyond what is required.

“If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.” — Matthew 5:40-42

Always go the extra mile—in your career, in your business, in your relationships, in your service, in loving others, and in everything you do. Pursue excellence in all your undertakings.

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5. Keep your promises and be careful with what you say.

“Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’” — Matthew: 5:37

“By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” — Matthew 12:37

There’s an old proverb saying, “Before you speak once, think twice.” Your words have power over your life and the life of others. Always be truthful in what you say and be trustworthy with your promises. When in doubt with what to say, say words of love.

6. How you look at others is a reflection of how you look at yourself.

“Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.” — Matthew 7:1-2

If you measure others’ success based on their finances, chances are that’s also how you measure your own success. If you measure their success based on their job titles, chances are that’s also how you measure your own success. Do you need to change the measure you use?

7. Follow the Golden Rule.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.” — Matthew 7:12

This is all the life lessons from Jesus combined. In fact, this is probably Jesus’s most popular lesson for Christians and non-Christians alike. What do you want others to do to you and for you? Do the same to them and for them. No matter what you believe in, you can never go wrong with the Golden Rule.

8. Forgive others… countless times if you need to.

“If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” — Matthew 6:14-15

“Then Peter approaching asked him, ‘Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.’” — Matthew 18:21-22

Unforgiveness weighs down not only the unforgiven person, but also the person not giving his or her forgiveness. Set others free by forgiving them and, ultimately, you set yourself free. Also, just like how you make the same mistakes over and over again, allow others the same room to make the same mistakes. Besides, nobody is perfect, right?

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9. You cannot please everyone. Move on.

“Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.” — Matthew 10:14

“Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished and said, ‘Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?’ And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.” And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.” — Matthew 13:54-58

No matter what you do or no matter how hard you try, you cannot please everyone. Not everyone will believe in you. In fact, the people closest to you may also be the people who do not believe in you the most as well. Move on and spend your best energy and your best effort for people who do. It might hurt at first, but that’s better than slowly letting yourself and your dreams die.

10. Prove your worth through your works, not your words.

“Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them.” — Matthew 7:17-20

We often tell others that we are more than they think we are. We live in a results-based world. Instead of just saying that we are more, let us be more, take action, and deliver results. That will be more than enough proof to them. Don’t just say good things. Do good things. Don’t just declare your big dreams. Take action and make them a reality.

11. Take the road less travelled.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” — Matthew 7:13-14

The majority’s decision is not always the right decision. Vox populi, vox dei (the voice of the people is the voice of God) is not always true. Not everyone is willing to go the extra mile to serve others. Not all companies are willing to give the best service and the best experience to their customers. Most of the time, doing the right things mean going against the flow and doing what’s not popular. If you are taking the road less travelled, you must be on the right road.

12. Whatever you are feeling, spend some time in isolation.

“When Jesus heard of John’s execution, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.” — Matthew 14:12

“After the feeding of the multitude and dismissing the crowd, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone.” — Matthew 14:23

No matter how you are feeling, whether you are feeling anxious or accomplished, always find time to connect with yourself. No amount of other people’s encouragement can lift you up if you keep on bringing yourself down. Also, spend time alone to find the deepest desires of your heart — unadulterated by other people’s agenda. In the deepest, unadulterated desires of your heart lies your purpose and your mission.

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13. Be persistent.

“Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’ and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’ I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.” — Luke 11:5-8

When you are persistent, not only do you shake other people and even the heavens up. You also shake yourself up by becoming clearer with what you really want. Keep moving forward no matter how many times you have stumbled or been rejected.

14. Pruning hurts, but it is important to your growth.

“He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” — John 15:2

Why spend time on things and habits that do not deliver results or make you grow? Taking away some habits like watching TV and even some unhealthy relationships hurts a lot. But, it is required if we want to achieve our dreams and if we want to grow. Most importantly, pruning is required if we want to bear more fruit in our lives. Let go of the things and even people that do not bring you closer to your dreams.

15. If you want to give genuinely, give in secret.

“Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” — Matthew 6:1-4

A test of genuine giving is when you give without expecting any praise or recognition in return. Also, you can only feel the deep joy in giving when you give without anyone knowing. Give in secret and give anonymously. You will grow in generosity and gratitude that way.

16. Wherever you spend your money on, you value.

“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” — Matthew 6:21

When you spend your money on charity, you think more about helping others and making a difference. When you spend your money on your education, you think about your growth and personal development. When you spend your money with your loved ones, you think more about them and spending time with them. Be careful where you spend your money. Money has value for a reason. Spend it on things you deeply value.

17. Use it or lose it.

“For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” — Matthew 25:29

What is your passion? What is your God-given talent? Always sharpen the saw and use what you have been given. If you don’t, you will grow rusty and you might eventually lose it. If you are good at writing, write. If you are good at numbers, keep computing and analyzing. Don’t rob the world of the one thing that only you can do.

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18. Stop worrying and live for today.

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.” — Matthew 6:25-27,34

Yes, saving for the rainy days (and retirement) is very important. But, the present is all we truly have. Learn how to be more present by letting go of your worries and anxieties for tomorrow. Just do your best this very day and trust that tomorrow will take care of itself. Live your life one day at a time.

19. If you want to be great, serve.

“The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” — Matthew 23:11-12

Think about the great people who lived like Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Theresa, and Gandhi. They are forever immortalized because they lived their lives in service to others and to what they believe in. Also, the greatest companies in the world like Apple are the ones that serve the most through their products. The more you serve, the greater you will be.

20. Let go of differences in denominations, religions, and beliefs.

“John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.’ Jesus replied, ‘Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.’” — Mark 9:38-40

This is simply true,

21. At the end of the day, it’s all about love.

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” — Matthew 22:36-40

Jesus summarized all 613 commandments in the Old Testament into two. Jesus knew that, at the end of the day, all that matters is love. Love goes beyond scriptures, religion, race, and beliefs. Why trouble ourselves with our differences? At the center of it all is love. Even scripture says, “God is love.” Just like the Golden Rule, you can never go wrong with love. Let love be at the center of your thoughts, your words, your dreams and aspirations, your actions, and your whole life.

Bonus lesson:

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” — John 15:13

Are there people in your life you love so much that you are willing to die for them? When there is someone you love more than yourself, it’s the best feeling in the world.

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Carlo Cruz

Writer and Artist

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

  • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
  • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
  • Answer a few Superpower Questions

Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

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This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

5. Embrace Your Inner Weirdo

Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

  • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
  • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
  • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward.

Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

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“You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

Final Thoughts

Eleanor Roosevelt said,

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

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Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

Reference

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