7 Lessons For Life
Updated: Jan 3, 2020
I often reflect on my own experience and everything I understand about the world and the people in it.
I try and draw some lessons from it all that I hope will help me better navigate my way through life.
I must admit, many of the lessons I’ve learned have come through personal trial and error.
Simply applying what I know and later really coming to understand it.
Extracting some kind of meaning from each and every interaction or experience that I have.
I guess the questions I’ve always been trying to answer are:
How is life best lived?
Is everything subjective, or is there some underlying objective reality to it all?
So in that sense, I don’t look to identify differences between people, but rather I start examining what we all have in common.
Those things that transcend time and space and hold some underlying truths about the nature of the reality we find ourselves in.
Based on that, I’ve been able to draw some lessons for life, lessons that I’d want to pass onto my own kids someday.
This is a work in progress and there are more to come, but for now, this is it, so here goes:
1. Live up to your responsibilities
Never shirk your responsibilities. Responsibility is something that you must assume voluntarily and once you’ve assumed it, life is no longer just about you, it transcends you – deeming it more meaningful.
2. Always keep your word
Your word is your bond. If you can’t keep your word, you lose all credibility; if you lose your credibility, then naturally, you’re not going to be taken seriously and people will isolate themselves form you. Keeping your word is at the heart of living with integrity.
If you can’t keep your word for whatever reason, then you should either die trying or you work to a make a full amends, no excuses, and no cutting corners.
3. Humility is the highest order virtue after Love.
Humility dissolves pride and the ego. In contrast, pride is what ultimately separates us from ourselves, separates us from others and dare I say even separates us from God.
Humility on the other hand is letting go and not holding on. It’s being open and not closed, listening not telling. It’s about approaching living with a certain tenderness and gentleness. It’s about never complaining, or making excuses and in always wanting to do good by others.
It’s not weakness, but rather requires enormous strength, it’s not passive, it’s active and it's trusting. Humility is ultimately grounded in gratitude and in Love and that’s a good place to live from.
4. Never be afraid to speak the truth
As Edmund Burke famously suggested, “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”. I believe that – if there’s something that needs to be said, then say it.
Only when you speak truth, do you begin to deal with the reality of any given situation. If there’s something that needs to be said, then don’t be afraid to say it (out loud), it's your responsibility.
5. Treat people kindly
Be kind, because everyone you meet is facing his or her own demons. Don’t judge and don’t make assumptions about people, you’ll never have the complete picture, so live and let live.
6. Time is your most valuable resource
Life is made up of time, if you waste time; you’re wasting away your life. That doesn’t mean you need to be doing something all the time, but it does mean you should always be present - you should be active and not passive. Even in rest, you are not escaping life, but rather going deeper into it.
Learn how to be more intentional about everything and make better use of your time, so that it better reflects everything that's important to you in this life. Understanding that every moment counts, goes a long way towards living a full life.
7. Health means to live a full human life
Health, wellness, wellbeing can be fad words thrown around as marketing gimmicks. But what does it mean to be well? My take, being healthy or being well, is to live a full human life.
To live up to your humanity, to those little things that allow you to transcend your mere biology, differentiating you from all the other animals - it also means accepting that nothing lasts forever. That’s not always easy, it comes with some pain and heartache – but ultimately, it’s part of the human experience, so your job is to learn to embrace it.
I imagine a few more lessons will emerge as I go, but for today, just wanted to take a moment to share those with you. I hope they help.