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7 Life Lessons I’ve Learned From How I Met Your Mother

7 Life Lessons I’ve Learned From How I Met Your Mother

I absolutely love How I Met Your Mother. Not only does it make you laugh and cry, it teaches you some great life lessons in each episode. We can learn many things from How I Met Your Mother, from what it takes to get your dream job, to finding love in our current modern world.

Spoiler alert: This article contains elements from all seasons, including the ending. Do not read on if you do not want to know!

1. It’s not about who wins; it’s about compromise.

“I guess sometimes you just have to set your ego aside…” Marshall

“… And remember that the love that you have for that other person is way more important than winning.” Lily

In season four of How I Met Your Mother, Lily and Marshall have a falling out over dirty dishes. Barney has managed to convince Marshall that he shouldn’t have to put his dirty dishes in the sink (which we know is bad advice). Several arguments later and my favorite HIMYM couple come to realize their errors (as they always do). They agree that it isn’t about who wins; it’s all about compromise.

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I have come to find that this statement is very true. For a relationship to work, you should learn to compromise. As Lily and Marshall said, the love you have for that person is way more important than winning. You have to learn to come to an agreement with your partner by meeting them halfway.

2. You won’t find love by constantly looking for it.

“You can’t force destiny. If it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen.” Ted

Ted has taught us a lot about finding love. The biggest lesson we can ever learn from Ted is, you won’t find love by looking for it. No matter how hard Ted tried, he struggled to find love and his happy ending. Yet in the end, he found love when he wasn’t looking. When he met his future wife, he did not do a typical “Ted” and go chasing after her, declaring his undeviating love for her. Instead, he decided to let it happen and, as we all know, it did.

Ted spent years of his life searching for love, instead of enjoying himself without the worry that he wouldn’t find it. I believe that there is someone out there for everyone, so don’t spend time looking for them. They will find you when the time is right.

3. Long distance relationships rarely work.

“Long distance is a lie teenagers tell each other to get laid the summer before college.” Ted

In season one of How I Met Your Mother, Ted fell in love with Victoria, who unexpectedly moved away to Germany. After debating whether to end their relationship or not, they decide that they wanted to try a long distance relationship. We come to find in the very next episode that this was a mistake. Ted finds that their phone conversations have become boring as they have nothing to talk about. He even finds himself falling asleep on the phone to Victoria! Their relationship finally comes to a abrupt end when Victoria discovers Ted is trying to sleep with Robin.

Although some long distance relationships can work, in my experience, I have learned they don’t. Even Lily and Marshall admitted when they tried long distance briefly, it nearly “killed” them. The problem is simple: you can’t fully develop a relationship without seeing each other. Yes, you can talk and text all you want, but being with someone in person gives you more intimacy (and I’m not just talking about sex).

4. Nothing good happens after 2 a.m.

“Kids, your grandma always used to say to me, ‘Nothing good happens after 2:00 a.m.,’ and she was right. When 2:00 a.m. rolls around, just go home and go to sleep.” Ted

The concept is simple, nothing good happens after 2 a.m. We come across this is the same episode where Ted breaks up with Victoria in Season one. Ted’s long distance relationship with Victoria has become stale, when Robin, the love of Ted’s life, wants Ted to come over to her place. Ted ends up lying to Robin, saying that he has broken up with Victoria and wants to be with Robin. When Victoria calls and speaks to Robin, she realizes Ted has lied to her.

We can learn from this that 2 a.m. is never a good time to make decisions. It is too late (or too early) to think clearly, so instead you should rest up and save your energy.

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6. You won’t get your dream job overnight.

This is a great lesson you can learn from Robin. Throughout the series, we watch Robin as she struggles to get her dream job as a TV Anchor. She spends years taking on horrid jobs, including doing the “fluff” pieces on the news to the dreaded 2 a.m. slot. We see Robin grow agitated as she worries she will never get her dream job. In the season finale, we see that Robin is finally a famous TV Anchor. Ted comments to Robin on this, saying that her face is everywhere, just before a bus passes with Robin’s face on it.

This lesson is very simple. You won’t get your dream job overnight; it requires hard work. If you want to be a writer, you can’t expect that writing one article will turn you into an overnight success. It takes time and practice to get your dream job. If you put that time and attention into your work, you will succeed.

7. Friendships come and go.

“And that’s how it goes kids. The friends, neighbors, drinking buddies and partners in crime you love so much when you’re young, as the years go by, you just lose touch.” Ted

In series nine of How I Met Your Mother, we find that eventually people move on and we lose contact with friends. The gang learn this when they are all debating on whether Gary Blauman should be at Robin and Barney’s wedding. When their arguing causes Gary to leave, our favorite gang come to realize that they might never see Gary again. This is when they come to realize that if you want that person in your live, you have to do something about it. As Ted puts it, “You will be shocked when you discover how easy it is in life to part ways with people forever. That’s why when you find someone you want to keep around, you do something about it.”

Over time, people change and with it friendships fizzle out. We learn this as years later on, the How I Met Your Mother gang no longer spend long nights down the bar. Robin, having not settled down and focusing on a career, loses contact with the gang and continues on with her own life. The biggest lesson we learn from this is that time changes people, and we must make the most of the time we have with friends.

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8. There is someone out there for everyone.

“You can ask the universe for signs all you want but ultimately we’ll only see what we want to see…when we’re ready to see it.” Ted

How I Met Your Mother has come to an end, but we can learn one big lesson from the finale. In the last double episode special, we finally get the opportunity to meet the mother. After years of searching, we see Ted find the love of his life. Unfortunately this reaches a unhappy ending when the mother becomes terminally ill and dies. Yet Ted is not left alone because he can, at last, be with Robin.

We learn that no matter what age you are, how many years you spend looking for love, there’s always someone out there for everyone. Barney teaches us this too when his baby daughter, Ellie, is born. He expresses clearly “You are the love of my life.”

So there we have it, my all-time favorite How I Met Your Mother Life Lessons, but what are your favorites?

If you liked this, why don’t you try:

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Featured photo credit: Alastair2003 via farm3.staticflickr.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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