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Life Lessons from a 105-Year-Old

Life Lessons from a 105-Year-Old

I recently decided that I need to spend a little extra time with the women in my life, so I started visiting my 105-year-old great-grandmother at her home. This woman is extraordinarily special, and is capable of so much at her age. She continues to teach me new lessons, even unintentionally at times. She was brought up and has raised all of her kids in a rural farming area in Eastern Ontario, Canada. There are two lessons that she has taught me thus far that I feel will benefit you just as much as they continue to benefit me. These are life lessons from a 105-year-old.

1. Treat your neighbor the way you’d like to be treated

We have all heard the sayings “treat others with respect” and “treat others how you would like to be treated.” Both of these phrases come across as the same, but describe two completely different actions. My grandmother explained the importance of keeping a strong bond between you and your neighbors. It wasn’t a matter of giving respect and getting back; you earned it, and in return you received it.

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There are various ways in which relationships with our neighbors have changed over the years. I will give you a couple of examples of how we have grown more distant.

Meet and greet new neighbors

Rarely do I find myself approached by residents of an area I just moved into. In the past, as the “new family on the street” you would oftentimes find fellow neighbors casually bringing gifts to welcome you. Acts of kindness like these were a lot more frequent and random. My grandmother emphasized the fact that if she ever made too many baked goods, the extras usually went to the neighbors. Though some neighborhoods still show tokens of gratitude and acceptance, they have faded out for the most part along with common courtesy.

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Neighborly advice

When I am seeking instruction on how to complete a task, I usually use Google. Before the time of internet, our ancestors had to rely on the skills and assistance of others. If you were unable to build or fix something, you would oftentimes have to seek assistance from your neighbor. Payment wasn’t the main focus, either. Time and time again, neighbors exchanged favors rather then money. You treated each other how you wanted to be treated because you never knew when you would find yourself seeking help. Word spread quickly because everyone was so tight-knit, so you never wanted to burn your bridges with anyone for fear of a bad name.

2. Don’t go to bed angry

Another one of my life lessons from a 105-year-old is “Don’t go to bed angry.” One of the main reasons is the fact that we are ignoring what is bothering us, and therefore not fixing the problem. When we ignore situations that bother us and attempt to “sleep it off,” we are setting ourselves up for the same results when we are re-exposed.

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Example: When a wife does something that bothers her husband, the husband does not want to approach the situation due to fear of confrontation. This results in him bottling up his anger. The fact that he is not voicing his opinion on the matter not only leaves the wife thinking she has done nothing wrong, but also sets the situation up to be the same or worse next time it arises. By not approaching the actions we dislike, we are not finding a resolution and can soon expect the same feelings to re arise.

This fact was actually scientifically proven to be true. A group of neuroscience students from UMass Amherst found that when we go to bed immediately, or ignore a problem, it remains “protected.” This means that when you are exposed again, your response will likely be just as negative as the last time.

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Example: Someone witness to a gruesome accident that stays awake after the incident is less likely to have negative responses to crime scene images. You can read on the actual article here.

As you can see, there are various lessons that can be learned from someone who has experience. I continue to seek advice from my great-grandmother because I have learned that nothing teaches us more than personal experiences do. I will provide you with more life lessons from a 105-year-old as my visits progress.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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