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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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http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/17-lessons-love-has-taught.html[/seealse]

Featured photo credit: Alastair2003 via farm3.staticflickr.com

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Jessica Charlotte

Jessica loves sharing her tips on life. She writes about happiness and motivation on Lifehack.

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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

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