Sometimes we get lost.
Other times we get distracted.
But most of all, we often get so consumed with the game of life–all of its pursuits, sensations, and experiences–that we forget the truths that lie at the core of our being. The truths that can guide us to happiness, success, and fulfillment.
We all need reminders to remember what matters most. To wake us up from the illusions we perceive. And to revitalize our quest for a meaningful life.
And with that intention in mind, of reconnecting ourselves to the wisdom intimately woven into the fabric of our existence, this article presents 40 powerful and controversial life lessons that can change the rest of your life.
1. Happiness isn’t found in objects, money, or success.
Temporary and fleeting pleasure isn’t happiness. Wisdom will show you the difference.
2. Seeking happiness prevents its attainment.
Happiness is a state of being–not something that you can acquire.
3. Natural leadership comes from authenticity–not charisma.
People follow, support, and respect people who live their truth.
4. Money, food, and sex are obsessions of the ego.
And focusing on them to the exclusion of other things restricts your growth.
5. Who you are in the material world is determined by how you cope.
Successful people are the ones that cope with discomfort by working. Smart people are the ones that cope using intellectualization. And so on.
6. Time is your most valuable asset. And you must use it wisely.
You can die at any moment. Stop pretending otherwise.
7. Societal privilege is real. Denying it is oppression in action.
If you love Muhammad Ali but hate Colin Kaepernick, if you quote Dr. King but can’t stand Black Lives Matter, if you say “All lives matter” but don’t protest police brutality or the prison industrial complex, you should study history and read more sociology.
8. All things–including success and failure–ebb and flow.
Every experience, no matter how good or bad, changes.
9. Every positive contains a negative.
Yang. Too much of a good thing can be problematic.
10. Every negative contains a positive.
Yin. Example: learning from failure.
11. Seeing people or things as all good or all bad prevents growth.
That’s called splitting–a primitive defense mechanism.
12. Self-help books make you feel better but don’t create lasting results.
If they did, the world would be a better place.
13. No matter how great you are, there will always be someone better.
This is the nature of relativity.
14. Social comparison–whether positive or negative–always leads to suffering.
Appreciate yourself. Appreciate others. Don’t compare the two.
15. Focusing on frustration and pain only increases its longevity.
If you look for it, you’ll find it.
16. Holding in feelings amplifies their power.
Contrary to popular opinion, suppression doesn’t make things go away.
17. Expressing your emotions leads to more fulfilling relationships.
Sharing is caring.
18. Most people don’t have the courage to live according to their values.
It’s much harder than you think.
19. Everyone is afraid of judgment. It’s how you respond that matters.
Do you overcompensate to pretend you’re not afraid? Do you get small and hope to disappear? Give this some thought.
20. Your past influences your present. Deal with it.
I don’t mean ignore it. I mean, find a therapist and work through that stuff. Learn and understand why patterns repeat. And then overcome them.
21. Every single person is flawed and has shortcomings.
Idolizing or demonizing is, once again, splitting. We’re all human, and that’s OK.
22. Fear prevents connection. To others and your highest self.
Fear is the closed fist. Always be the open hand.
23. Curiosity sustains success.
Approach each moment with fresh eyes.
24. Simplicity is velocity. In all aspects of life.
De-clutter. Cleanse. Appreciate the space.
25. You can’t move beyond your limitations on your own.
Suffering is co-constructed. We are all connected in its creation and undoing.
26. It’s OK to not be OK. And it’s OK to ask for help.
Practice self-compassion. Find a coach or therapist to engage in real self-development.
27. Small habits and routines sustain growth and prioritize health.
It’s the little things that count: sleep, exercise, nutrition, organization.
28. Falling short of your potential comes from doing what’s comfortable.
With so many stimulating screens and over-indulgent meals, it’s easy to grow complacent.
29. Growth is the result of moving beyond your comfort zone.
And it’s usually uncomfortable.
30. You only see change when looking in the past. So pause more frequently.
Meditate. Find stillness. And reflect to see the big picture.
31. Being is more important than doing.
Presence attracts abundance.
32. Your mind feels young. Your body doesn’t. Take care of it.
You need quality input to sustain quality output.
33. Your perspective isn’t the only correct answer.
We live in a multiplicity of truths.
34. Not-knowing leads to greater discoveries than thinking you know everything.
A full glass can’t hold fresh water.
35. While knowledge comes from the mind, intelligence comes from the heart.
Allow your intuition to have a voice too.
36. Your need for validation often comes at the expense of fulfillment.
If you are already whole, you won’t need confirmation.
37. Real confidence comes from congruence. Not nice clothes.
Be unapologetically yourself. That builds confidence, which cannot be purchased.
38. Practicing what you preach is more difficult (and rewarding) than hypocrisy.
Be different than the crowd.
39. Living from the heart rather than the mind leads to greater happiness.
When the two are in conflict, go with the heart.
40. Love is what connects us all. Feeling it more frequently leads to a better life.
And my hope is that by reading this article, you’ve found at least one thing that resonates with your experience and helps you on your journey.