26 Things I’ve Learned in 26 Years

Since it’s nearing the end of the year and also my birthday, I thought I’d put together a nice list. It’s an odd number of years to start this… But it’s never to late to sit down and think about your priorities and ideals. It’s funny how things have changed since we were kids – a lot of the things in my list are things I was taught but never followed through on because I didn’t believe it. Now I try to bring those things back because it truly does help in living a happier life.

It sounds kind of hippy-ish, but if that’s really what it is, then the hippies had it right.
Here we go…

1. The importance of being nice. Sincerity can get you many places – even if you don’t think it works, it does.

2. Do less of everything and stop trying to impress people. People will remember you for you.

3. Quality over quantity. Not just for car parts, but for friends and family too.

4. Listen to your gut. If it feels wrong, it almost always is.

5. Don’t try to change something you can’t accept. You can’t mold things into what you want them to be. It’s easier to know when to cut your losses and when to keep them. Some people feel the rain, and others just get wet.

6. There is actually a difference between real friends and being friends. Real friends will be there when you need them and yes, you’ll have a time when you need them no matter how independent you think you are.

7. Modesty always wins. When you stop talking about yourself, you’ll find more reason to appreciate the things you actually love to do. People notice.

8. Learn to slow down. I mean, slow everything down. 26 years later and I wonder where it all went. We get so caught up in doing things so quickly that we forget that there are things that need attention on the way.

9. Smiling is powerful. Smile at everyone – your enemies, your friends, strangers… People overlook the importance of a smile. Smiling can mean the difference between a good first impression and a very bad judgement. It can also change a bad situation very quickly.

10. As corny as it sounds – family over everything. They are your foundation. Your problems are their problems, their problems are your problems. Embrace them.

11. Always be conscious about your surroundings and the things that happen around you. How you affect it and how it affects you. We often forget that other people also share the same space as us.

12. Your parents were always right. Take their advice into consideration – who knows how much longer they’ll give it.

13. Learn to trust the good in people. I really believe that everyone is inherently a good person, but don’t get a chance to show it. When you give them the opportunity, they will usually follow through. This is still tough for me to do.

14. Make a conscious effort to put media away. We all get caught up in staying up to date with everyone’s lives, we forget how to live our own. Go outside and experience what it’s like to sweat. Social media can never do that for you.

15. Hard work is underrated. In order to move forward, you need to work hard. Nothing great comes easy and nothing useless comes hard.

16. Pride can be a dangerous thing. Sometimes you need to stop and hold it back because it’s never worth letting it stand in front of you. Especially in a relationship.

17. You can’t motivate people to do things. You can only inspire them. We all want the best for people, but if they don’t want it too, the best does not come.

18. Expectations can be confining. Learn to let go of them and let things be as they are. When we set expectations of things – people, a job, or even a video game – we have already predetermined its outcome and it could be totally false, leaving us disappointed.

19. Empathy is one of the most important social skills and all it requires is you. Learning to put yourself in another person’s shoe can create a much more positive outlook.

20. Don’t let fear grow with age. As kids, we are fearless and we unknowingly let that grow into a wall that stops us when we want to try something new. That “something” could be great, it could mean new opportunities, but it could also mean failure. Don’t be afraid to fail – you will get up again.

21. Sometimes getting knocked down to your hands and knees can be a good thing (metaphorically). It can often provide a new perspective on how you are doing things in life.

22. Take a night or even a few days of thinking before making any big decisions. We get caught up in wanting things right away and realize we didn’t really need them.

23. Try to let go of the expectation of receiving something after you give something – it makes life much more simpler. When we don’t expect anything in return, giving is so much more gratifying.

24. Write things. Even if you aren’t good at it. It reminds you to be thoughtful of the things that happen in your life and how you deal with them. Your own personal insight is sometimes the most calming.

25. Jealousy can and will destroy you. It can do so in a minute or over a length of time. Eventually it will kill you on the inside and at the end of it all, you’ll wonder how you let it happen. Don’t let it happen.

26. Ask “why not?” more than “why?”. You’ll find that you will discover so much more.

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