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If You Don’t Know These Life Truths By Now, You Probably Haven’t Learned Enough From Life

If You Don’t Know These Life Truths By Now, You Probably Haven’t Learned Enough From Life

Life is full of success and failure. What defines the difference between the two is what you learn from each experience. If you haven’t learned the following life truths, by now, though, you probably haven’t been paying attention:

1. Nothing tastes better in the microwave.

Take the time to put it in the oven. On that note, stop buying things that are microwavable. If a food is made to be cooked in 90 seconds or less, it is most likely full of cheese, sodium and saturated fat, and therefore terrible for you.

2. If he likes you, you’ll know, if not, you’ll be confused.

This holds true for both men and women. If you think there’s something shady going on, there most likely is. Trust your gut. Healthy relationships are based on good communication, and this means telling the other person that you care about them.

3. Your parents are usually right.

You shouldn’t have gotten that piercing in middle school and you definitely should have paid more attention when your dad showed you how to change a tire. They’ve been there, they know. Giving advice takes a lot of energy, especially when, nine times out of ten, it falls on deaf ears.

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4. Your parents are sometimes wrong.

It’s a terrible feeling to go to your parents and realize that they don’t have all the answers or, sometimes, the answer that you want to hear. Part of becoming an adult is making your own decisions because, in the end, you’re the one who will have to live out the results. Parents, by nature, want to keep you safe, and sometimes life requires us to take risks.

5. If you don’t exercise and eat healthy, you will get fat.

Unless you are a 16-year-old boy, you cannot eat 11 White Castle burgers and not pay for it later. The Center for Disease Control recommends that adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week and muscle strengthening on two or more days a week that works all major muscle groups. Running to catch the express bus once in a while does not count.

6. Too much sun is bad for you.

To quote Mary Schmich via Baz Lurhmann, “Wear sunscreen.”

7. Credit card debt is real and won’t magically go away.

In the United States, the average household credit card debt as of January 2014 is $15,270 dollars. Educate yourself about your finances because it is only going to get harder as you get older to catch up. Bank of America and Khan Academy collaborated on these great, easy-to-understand videos to get you started.

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8. Age is just the amount of years you have lived, not how many you have left, or what you choose to do with them.

Change careers. Start a new hobby. Move to a different country. You get one life, and who knows how long it will be. Age is only as important as you make it.

9. No one likes the drunk girl/guy.

When you can start to afford nice clothes, you don’t want your friends throwing up on them, and when you can no longer sleep until your 2 p.m. class, you don’t want drunk texts waking you up at midnight the night before work. Drink in moderation.

10. Fear is just an idea.

This is one of the hardest truths to learn. The only thing keeping you from achieving your goals, is fear: fear of rejection, fear of failing, fear of success, and fear of accountability. The great thing about ideas, though, is that they can be changed, improved, and even forgotten.

11. Tomorrow always comes, and the unfinished work of yesterday with it.

The daily struggles of existing can be stressful enough without adding the feelings of having to rush to finish something because you chose to procrastinate. Face your obstacles and tasks as they are presented to you and move on.

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12. Less is always more.

Less packaging. Less words. Less Justin Bieber, please.

13. You don’t spend enough time with your grandparents.

If you’re fortunate enough to have grandparents still alive, finish reading this article and call them. They have knowledge and wisdom beyond anyone else in your life and you will miss them more than you know when they are gone.

14. Not everyone goes to college, gets a job, and gets married.

Some people get married and then go to college. Some people never get married. Some people will never get a “day job.” The path outlined for us when we are young is far less linear than we’d like to think. It’s way more messy and confusing, especially when you realize you might not want these things once they are presented to you.

15. Commitment is the way to success.

This relates to relationships, careers, and general life goals. Jeff Goins explains it well by stating, “Greatness has a cost: commitment.” Being able to be patient and remain focused when things become challenging are what separate those who get what they want from those who end up with regrets.

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16. Change is the only constant.

By definition, in order to grow we must change. All we can do is prepare the best we can and then ride the wave we catch, or the one that catches us.

17. You are the only one that can make yourself happy.

There are plenty of people in your life who want to make you happy and will try, but in the end, they can only do so much. You may not be able to change your physical circumstances, your past experiences, or how terrible your sister-in-law treats you. Many times, you cannot control the emotions you feel either. You can, however, control your actions. Everything you do is a choice between at least two options: there’s great power in accepting that.

Featured photo credit: little kids/Chivali Chopra via Flickr

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Last Updated on August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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