- Death comes with no warnings.
We are reminded of this when someone we know dies and we think about how we just saw that person last week at the grocery store or talked to them on the phone the night before. A person can be with us one minute and gone mere seconds later, and it often happens on a perfectly normal day. Because of this, it is so rare that we get to bid someone a proper farewell before they die.
- Most of us aren’t giving our one-hundred percent.
There are plenty of things in life that deserve our every effort—passions, creative ventures, relationships, etc. But of all the things we long to pursue and achieve we are held back by being unsure about what we want and why we want it. We also fear that we will waste our energy and resources if the venture does not come to fruition, so our lack of full commitment leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure or mediocrity.
- All men are not born equal.
We like to think that a person is a person no matter his or her race, class, gender, etc. We all bleed red so no one is superior, right? Wrong. The homeless woman who wears thread for clothing and sleeps in the park down the road every night was not born equal to the likes of Donald Trump and Kylie Jenner.
- People are typically happy to see you do well as long as you are not better than them.
Friends and acquaintances will cheer you on, very earnestly wishing for your success, but they probably don’t want you to do better than them. What do you expect? Humans are jealous and selfish creatures.
- You can do everything right and still fail.
Life never hands us a free pass. Life is not kind to even the best, most hard-working people. Failure is inevitable and may come to us even when we are sure we are bound to succeed.
- Bad people are sometimes victorious.
Unfortunately, bad things happen to good people. But even more unfortunate is the fact that good things happen to bad people. Contradictory to what we grew up believing, villains are not always defeated by heroes in real life. We like to believe that karma will step in to dish out justice, but the universe doesn’t work that way either. In reality, a person can do a lot of bad things and still get away with it.
- You spend way too much time focused on the future.
If you’re always running you'll miss what’s in front of you. Don’t live your life in the future. Have some patience. With the right effort and energy, you will fulfill all your desires and be able to bask in the joy of the journey.
- Life is not full of second chances.
Second chances are hard to come by. Do not believe you will automatically be granted one, and do not use the far-fetched possibility of a second chance as an excuse to do a poor job the first time. Put your best efforts into doing anything in life because most of the time you won’t get a round two. And why leave that to chance?
- Most of us die regretting that we didn’t live the life we wanted to.
We spend our lives caring way too much about what others think of us; so much so that we end up dying having not pursued what we really loved and wanted to do with our life. A hospice nurse and blogger named Bronnie Ware asked her patients what their top regrets were, and the one mentioned more than any other among those she surveyed was: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
- Money is important.
It’s true that money isn’t everything, but it certainly is a necessity if you want to live comfortably. You don’t need to have a lot of money to be happy in life, but even our most basic human needs require at least a little cash.
- Great things take time.
Patience is a virtue many of us do not have. Unfortunately, instant results are rarely the best results. Our desire for instant gratification can greatly inhibit our potential and make us miss out on the joys of anticipation and progress. Value that arrives in an instant is often gone in an instant. But value that takes time and commitment to create often outlives its creator.
- You can be the kindest person in the world and someone will still find a reason to dislike you.
A person will always be plagued by nay-sayers and bullies regardless of how great that person’s character may be. It’s impossible for everyone in the world to love (or even like) you.
- Life is all about who you know, not what you know.
The harsh truth is that you can be extremely talented but unsuccessful because you don’t have enough connections to people with influence who can get you where you need to be to thrive. For example, securing that job you really want is made infinitely easier if you have a friend or family member to assist in the vital first step of getting your foot through the door.
- There are great people you meet that you will never see again.
The person you hit it off with in Biology class in college. The friendly man who struck up a conversation with you on the bus. The hilarious third cousin you met at a family reunion years ago. They were all great people you would love to see again, but some individuals are simply not destined to be a part of your life story.
- Time always flies by faster than we think it will.
The quick passage of time seems to hit us hardest on our birthday or at the beginning of a new year when we look back and realize we didn’t come close to doing everything we wanted to that year. It’s easy to get stuck in a routine and live day after day without realizing that life is slipping by fast and that time is precious. If you have something you want to do, do it now while you are here and able.
- Most people are in it for themselves.
This is one of those hard truths we all learn the hard way. Although we don’t like to admit it, humans are selfish. Looking out for yourself first isn’t the worst thing when it comes to personal growth and achievement, but it does affect the people around you when they are prioritized second. It’s common for a person to use and associate with others to get something more out of life. We care most about ourselves every time. That’s just the way it is.
- Our gadgets, clothing, and food are mostly products of human slavery, poverty wages, and cruel working conditions.
Those of us fortunate enough to live in a first-world country are painfully blind to the exploitation of the less fortunate that it takes to bring us all our creature comforts and luxuries. Chances are someone who works ten hours a day for a pitiful salary probably had a hand in producing the shirt on your back and the device you are reading this on.
- One day you will be completely forgotten by everybody on Earth.
Your children will remember you. Your grandchildren (maybe even your great-grandchildren) will remember you. And the generation or two after them will likely hear stories about you. But eventually the memory of you will fade and no one will remember you ever existed.
- We decide who we are before we know who we are.
When we reach the age of eighteen, many of us feel as if we are pressured into deciding who we are. It’s the time when we are forced to choose to begin college, pursue a career, or start a family, among other things. But no one knows who they are in their teenage years! It’s hard to avoid, but don’t make permanent choices as a teen or in your early twenties. Life takes a long time to figure out, and finding a passion may take even longer.
- You are terrible at a lot of things.
Don’t try to chase every single opportunity that comes your way. The truth is that we’re not as good as we assume we are. In fact, we are awful at so many things. And it’s okay to set aside the things that are not working for you. Your time is better spent focusing on endeavors you are truly good at.
- You cannot grow if you are always comfortable.
If your life is simple you will become weak. You need to put yourself in new, uncomfortable, or intimidating situations to thrive as a person. As the historic psychologist Erik Erikson speculated, it’s a matter of generativity versus stagnation.
- People judge you based on your appearance.
Our subconscious mind constantly sizes people up, and the first thing it notices is someone’s appearance. Like it or not, you are judged every day based on how you look. Studies show that more attractive people have more opportunities and are treated better. We like to say looks aren’t everything, but they do matter a lot in daily life.
- It’s easy to get stuck.
Life is hard and we all run into obstacles. Setbacks are unavoidable. So you better get used to enduring a bitter slap in the face every now and again.
- It’s hard to get unstuck.
When life slaps a person in the face most have a tendency to shy away and become discouraged. Giving up is easy. We think “I don’t want to go through that again so I’m going to stop trying.” On the other hand, getting up is difficult and no one will do it for you. It’s up to you.
- You will start to lose people you love.
With time you will begin losing loved ones, friends, family members, and others you care about. People are not permanent. The reality is that we will all have to live through the deaths of older loved ones, and we may also be around longer than those who should far outlive us. And not only will you lose them physically. Eventually they will fade from your mind, becoming a distant memory.
- Success is mostly based on luck.
Sure, hard work and determination don’t hurt your chance of success, but whether or not you do well in life is greatly dependent on luck. It comes down to what opportunities you are born into, your timing, the influence of your personal connections, and the willingness of your surrounding culture to accept your ideas and be influenced by you.
- We don’t appreciate what we have.
Often times what we do have is already good enough, but we only care about what we don’t have. This is good in the sense that it drives us to achieve more, but it’s sad that we constantly feel the need to chase a new high while there are so many things to be thankful for right in front of us.
- It is impossible to please everyone.
Sorry, people-pleasers. It’s true. Someone will always be hurt. Someone will always be mad. Someone will always be let down. Someone will always be disappointed. Just relax and quit trying to make everything perfect for everyone.
- It’s okay to be alone.
It’s okay to not be around people 24/7. In fact, it’s a great way to reflect, recharge, and relax. People often equate being alone to being lonely, but they are two very different things. It’s extremely healthy to de-stress with some alone time. Learn to be comfortable with yourself and don’t be so restless about being alone!
- You can’t change situations you don’t take responsibility for.
Sigmund Freud once said, “Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” Don’t let this be you! When you blame outside forces for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility, surrendering power over that part of your life. As soon as you stop making everyone and everything else responsible for your happiness, the happier and more productive you will become. Basically, if you’re unhappy now, it’s not someone else’s fault.