It’s Monday night, but the musics got me feeling like Sunday Morning. Beginning the journey of the first day of experiencing the last year of teenage hood. In a reflection of the past year, I would have to say learning from all the kinds of unexpected lessons in life is something that I could not regret. Every experience we face in our daily lives, shapes us to the person we are in this moment. Feeling nearly two decades is no over exaggeration but a mile stone to be celebrated. We would hope that as we grow older, we become wiser, we grow more mature, we grow more confident and when we do grow older we realise that wisdom and maturity is not based upon age. Here are 19 lessons I have learned in the last 19 years:
1) Make failure make you stronger, never the opposite. If there is anyone who is hardest on themselves that I know, it is myself. I have pushed myself harder than I know of anyone to the point of crashing down. I have given my self the pep talk many times of telling myself you are going to reach the top. I have pushed myself the wrong way and many times this has created a rocky graph that shows the rock bottom of the ocean and sometimes the sky. Hitting the bottom makes you feel weak and smaller than anything you know. It can make you lose the will to live and feel unable to pick your self up again. If you feel you are going to fail, you have already failed. Preparing to fail is failure to prepare. There are many countless quotes that will give perspective in our lives, but it all comes down to the way we use it and live it in our lives. Use your weaknesses to make you stronger. Don’t let others tell you what to do all the time. Don’t let anyone’s words bring you down. Don’t fall to others unkindness, always hit them back by being ten times kinder to them. In the end, you decide what to absorb and what to slide out of the ear. Choose to absorb the positive.
2) Trust your instincts. One of the biggest lessons I had to come to terms with, is that if something doesn’t feel right. Stop. Think. Take Action. I really feel everything happens for a reason, as when I went to university, two years later, I left and decided to study fashion. I strongly believe it was for a reason. It felt right, and I don’t regret it. Trust your instincts. Sure, there will be people who tell you different. There will always be people who say, you should do it this or that way. If it feels right to you and it makes you happy, that’s what is most important for your life. We should always do what we feel passionate about in life, rather than what we think will earn lots of money. Passion will always win out, and will always be the success in our lives. If you love what you do, you will be truly happy.
3) Have good friends. I cannot stress this one enough. You surround yourself with good people, and you will feel good. You surround yourself with bad people, and you will feel bad. It’s as simple as that. If you surround yourself with people who always talk about others, then you can be sure they are talking about you when you aren’t around. Everyone has experienced having a friend/s that they had to leave. It’s for the best. It reminds ourselves what we believe in and what kind of energy we want to surround ourselves with. Surround yourself with positive people, kind people and people who make you feel good. They will encourage you in your life and you can encourage them. They are the people who will help you when there is no one else. We all need that friend who will be there for us no matter what situation we are in.
4) Don’t care about what other people think. This was and still is at times a hard one for me to grasp. I can never get over why some people can be so harsh.There comes that point in your life you have to say to yourself, you know what, I’m not going to let what other people think bother me. I make the choice of what words I let affect me. I’ve learned that 9/10 times people are judging. I mean, heck, sometimes I judge unconsciously, because we are only human. Even if it’s the smallest thing, that someones hair is out of place. It’s judgment, when we decide, guess, believe and make an opinion out of it regardless of if it is a fact or not. Very often it isn’t kind or it isn’t the truth, because how on earth do we know that when we decided that the person opposite us on the road, who has an angry face, has just been had a terrible day at work or has had an argument before they left the house, but naturally when they push us accidentally we think of it as rude. Sometimes we can let it affect us. There is no need. Perspective. I’m still learning on this one. But seriously, the only way to be happy is to let go of other peoples thoughts and take hold of your own.
5) Believe your mind not your emotions. I am the most emotional and sensitive person that I know of. There are so many times that emotions lie to us. They may make us feel as if it’s the end of the world, but our mind tries to tell us that there are so many options that things will work out. However, as humans it is easy for sadness, anger and hatred to shout loudly in our hearts, and for the clarity to be clouded. I’m sure, many of us after shedding tears, we feel more realistic and clear about things once again. Don’t let your emotions ever tear you down. There are many ways in which it can. It has affected me privately and publicly. I have cried in memory, in two of my previous jobs. I have broken down from stress. I have been perfectly shattered by bad news. I suffer from panic attacks and anxiety, but listen, I can’t let it take over my life. Your mind is right. Even though we may feel one thing will tear everything apart, our mind tells us there are thousands of ways to resolve it. Every mistake has so many ways to resolve. Our mind is extremely powerful. Everything you think, determines your actions. What you put in, you get out.
6) Listen to your parents. This has got to be at the top of the list. Our parents only ever want the best for us. There are definitely exceptions where I disagree, because nobody is perfect. I remember when I had flute lessons in Auckland, I had heard this particular story several times, where the parents wanted their daughter to go to university to study medicine, when deep down they wanted to study music. Out of respect, they studied medicine. Sure, you will receive a job that makes a difference and earn a steady income. But, in life, we cannot live for others, because at the end of the day, we are on this earth to live and what’s living, if we don’t go for what we are passionate about, right? The other every reason to listen to our parents, aside from this exception, is that our parents want the very best for us. They love us so much, and we often can forget as typical teenagers, that if it weren’t for them we wouldn’t be breathing on this earth. I really do appreciate everything my parents do for me. The words our parents tell us is out of love and care. Those small and big advice’s such as just be yourself, still stay with me till this day.
7) Kindness is never wrong. We all get the best feeling, when someone smiles, compliments or speaks to us in a genuine manner. Being kind never hurt nobody. I need a t shirt that says that boldly, because it’s easy to bounce off others energy. Do you ever notice, some people, you can just talk to without a care in the world, and some people you feel more restricted and over think what to say. I wish that on this earth we could all peel off that layer of what ever it is that goes on in our mind, when we are not completely kind. When we are not completely genuine. When we are acting or conforming to certain topics. That we can do simple kind gestures, without having to prove anything or having to receive anything in return. That as humans if we can remember to be selfless and not sweat the small bad things but appreciate the small good things.
8) Attitude is everything. How many of us have had quite an attitude when we argued with our parents or had a fight with our friends in high school. I am so sure, nearly all of us have had at one point. The biggest thing to remember from those lessons, is to replace it with a positive attitude. I am big on this one, because as a person who tends to be more quiet, lemme tell you, I have definitely been spoken to in all kinds of ways. But what I have learned, is that people who are loud and outgoing are not necessarily confident. Of course, everyone is different so who is to say, right? It is the same, as a quiet person is not necessarily unable to talk to others, being rude or awkward. As a quiet person, I can say that talking comes naturally when I feel comfortable. It can come off as rude, when I feel terribly shy talking to someone and then it’s awkward for the person. What ever it is that we think or feel about something, we decide it. People can say change this, change that. But at the end of the day, it is only you that can decide to change yourself.
9) Positivity is contagious. A smile is so contagious. When friends laugh together, I can’t help but laugh with them. When I hug someone, I can feel the warmth. Positivity is living everyday with no doubt and only optimism. Do you ever have those moments, where you really bounce off someones good vibes? Or when you listen to music and can’t help dancing or singing. It feels good. From primary to high school to adulthood, you learn that when you wake up in the morning and decide to be happy or unhappy, you will usually be right. Just the same as when you decide you will fail, or succeed, you are also right. I’ve heard the phrase said to me many times “Don’t worry, Don’t think about it.” And of course I still worry and think about it. But people are right. We forget to think about all the beautiful great things, that we blind ourselves with the worse. Remember all the beauty in this world, even when the news shows a corrupted world.
10) Don’t take yourself too seriously. There is a time and a place for everything. Obviously there are situations we need to be serious and formal. I remember a saying, that says No matter what the situation, there will always be a person that takes it seriously. It’s easy to get caught up about something, and over think it. A serious face can only be broken with a smile. If we take life too seriously, we lose the fun in it. Sure, if someone takes their work seriously, that’s important, but remember to not lose the enjoyment in what you do.
11) Whatever you’ve been through, someone has been through it too. I remember in my early teens, having the thought that, oh goodness nobody knows how I feel. Considering there are 7 billion people on the earth, there is bound to be at least one person on the earth who has felt it too. Even though we feel differently, we have all experienced the worse and the best of something. Whether it is divorce, a loss, a struggle or a bad experience. You are not alone. I remember saying to my parents, everyone elses families are so normal. Oh how innocent I was. Not at all. No family and no person is normal. As the next lesson says ‘Nobody is perfect.’
12) Everyone makes mistakes. Nobody is perfect. Preach this one, because we forget it often. At least I know I do. I can really beat myself up for making the smallest mistake, but what’s the point? Either I can fix it or I can waste time being upset about it. As a self confessed emotional person, it’s something we need to accept. Our mistakes are designed to strengthen us. Think about it. If we never make mistakes, we never learn. When you learned how to walk as a baby, if you didn’t fall, how would you learn to get back up and keep trying and get better? Your imperfections make you beautiful. The flaws that you may magnify, are very often, hardly noticed by others.
13) You can, never you can’t. Back in high school, you would hear this a lot: “I definitely failed that”, “I did terrible”, “I didn’t study for it.” Did they know they were setting themselves up for failure then? Even though, it was quite a negative environment to hear it constantly, it did teach me a lesson, from others perspective. The better you prepare, the safer you know you know it. Only you can determine if you feel ready, and if you’re still doubting yourself, then it’s only pulling you down. I wish in school they would teach us to have more self belief in ourselves, rather than spoon feeding the information, and expecting us to magically learn everything. It’s a lesson to learn from though. Self belief is the only way you can keep moving in an upwards direction. When I say I can’t, I take one step back and it will take me twice as much effort to get my feet back up. Truly, I believe that nothing is impossible. If you believe in something so deeply, go for it. Just do it. And in the words of Rachel Gadiel: Get Sh*t Done. Do it. Take action. You can. You can. You can.
14) Laughter is the best medicine. It loosens your body up and makes you feel good. Who doesn’t love a good laugh. The things of childhood that I miss the most, is how much I laughed everyday. You can bet, that I would laugh at the pointless things that weren’t funny, but somehow I could see the interest in them. As we grow older, for some reason our level of laughter is restricted. I wish even to smile, would occur 10x more than we do now. Laughing drowns sorrow away better than alcohol disillusion does so. Laughter is the most attractive thing. Happiness spreading around you and good energy in the air. Laugh, it feels good :)
15) Life is about happiness. At the end of the day, no matter how seriously we take our lives, we want to be happy. It’s as if someone ( I would use the chocolate example, but there are people who dislike chocolate) said I don’t like music. I wouldn’t be able to believe them, because music is life. And no that is not a cliche. It’s just one of those things, that anyone will like because there is an endless genre, range, instruments and emotion of music. It’s a universal language. Happiness is a universal language too. We all speak it, but how many of us really take action for it. I have had days where I felt like I wasted it away, and I have had days that were unforgettable. Happiness is a choice, not a destination. You can have nothing, but be completely happy. You can have nothing and be completely unhappy. You can have everything, and have all the gratitude of happiness. You can have everything, and be completely unhappy.
16)Think good thoughts. I have to confess that I am guilty of being negative at times. We all do. Especially in such a fast moving world. Taking a step back to stare at the beautiful sky or the birds flying across does not happen as much anymore. I wish it did. I truly do. That’s when we realise, that thoughts are literally the food for our soul. What we feed to ourselves, we will react on. Typically, if we tell ourselves, it’s a great day and the people around me are such great people. I really see something good in each person and I truly believe that the world will become a better place. It’s more likely we will project a positive ray into the world and spread goodness. Likewise, if we sway towards negative thoughts, telling ourselves, it’s just another day to push myself through, I have to go do this and that. Why, what am I doing. Then we will project that. Energy is projected like imaginary colours. Good thoughts show in the eyes. Don’t let anyone affect you, if you have good thoughts you will have a good life.
17) The best things in life are free. It’s true. Sure, who loves a good shopping spree. I know I do. But, the best things are these: The warm sun on the skin, swimming at the beach, spending time with family and friends, hugs, sleep, good memories, good health and most of all – love. At the end of the day, the true thing that makes me happy, is loving others and feeling the love of others. In a materialistic world, it’s easy to lose sight on what matters. But when your health does crumble, and you feel the pain and suffering, that is the moment you appreciate good health and the feeling of the sun, laughing with friends and the good memories. Appreciate the beauty in your life. If you are living and breathing, that is the most beautiful gift!
18) Money can’t buy happiness. It really can’t. I know many people will disagree. And that’s okay. Personally, I believe that no matter how much we can afford, with technology (eg. cars, phones), food, living, travel and objects, true happiness comes from people. Think of it. When you share food with people, travel and meet people, go shopping with a friend and so on. You create memories and experience with people. It’s the relationship we have with people that is true happiness. Trust, Faith, Selflessness, Kindness, Honesty, Humour, Love. That, money really can’t buy.
19) Speak up. Don’t ever let nobody put you down. Stand up for yourself when you need to , keep quiet when it is wise. Wisdom is more vital than being smart and the most intelligent being on the planet. Intelligence is knowing what is fact and what is fiction. Wisdom, is understanding what is right and what is wrong. Speak up on what you want to say. As a person, that has truly struggled with this one simple thing for so many years, I make it my goal to become more expressive and to not be afraid. Fear will stop you in a way that you cannot imagine, but Faith will open so many doors for you. Believe in yourself, Be brave and stay true to yourself. Live happily, Choose happiness, Love fearlessly and embrace life with open arms. You only get one life.
Miguel – Sure Thing
Frank Ocean – Thinkin’ Bout You