About five years ago I did two things that changed the course of my life and put me in a position where I could (or HAD to) quickly learn some very important lessons to live by.
– I lived in Africa for half a year, kind of on my own (you can read about it at www.africathings.wordpress.com–I plan on making some time before too long to finish that series). The biggest lesson I learned there: You can make HUGE things happen if you really want to.
– I arrived back from Africa to my hometown in Florida and promptly moved all the way up to frozen Minnesota, with hardly a penny to my name, and started figuring out life on my own. (A beautiful girl is a strong motivator.)
Both of those were scary things, and both changed my life in big ways. Strangely enough, moving on my own to Minnesota and starting school and getting into business has been way scarier and harder than going off to live in Africa. Especially learning what “grown up” life really entails: Interacting with bosses, writing resumes, learning how to interview, budgeting, building credit, saving money, renting, financial planning, insurance, networking, building relationships, dating, etc…
It’s been a struggle, but I am proud to say I am very happy.
Looking back, a few things stand out as the most important things that growing up and working on life have taught me. They’re definitely lessons you don’t learn in school. I pass them along as encouragement to young people getting started themselves, and encouragement we all need, no matter how seasoned we think we are at life:
1. Self-leadership absolutely comes first. You can’t control life, but you can and must control your attitude and behavior.
2. You can try to blame your life on others, but taking responsibility for all of it gives you the power to change your life.
3. You need help. And having the courage to find people who can help you and then actually ask for and accept their help will change your life in big ways.
4. The grass is not always greener on the other side. Pick your garden and cultivate it.
5. Having a passionate vision and setting serious goals is an incredibly powerful way of life.
6. Always be a student of life. Learn from books, learn from others, learn by experiencing, and learn by observing.
7. Make sure to have a balance in your life of creating, learning, and enjoying.
8. You are a whole person. Take care of your body.
9. Loving and being loved is absolutely essential. Caring gives life meaning. And giving is oxygen to your soul.
10. Happiness and peace come from the inside. Slow down and deeply experience your beautiful world.
I hope all this was encouraging for you. :)
PS. #9 needs some repeating. Until you grasp the significance of the people around you, I promise you will not be happy. Your life is insanely meaningful, and every interaction you have with every human being is insanely meaningful. Be incredibly careful, and be incredibly grateful. There is one more related quote that I couldn’t help but stop and meditate on for a while after I read it:
(Image sources: izquotes.com, azquotes.com, thechangeblog.com, lifehack.org and vitalitylink.com – credit and thanks to them for posting the inspiring quotes I’m passing along.)
What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned in life? Please pass these along and share your own! Let’s all help inspire each other!