Throughout life we have the opportunity to learn many valuable lessons. Some things we find out the hard way and some the easy way. All too often it’s the former however, as expectations go unmet and disappointment ensues, which begs the question, why is it we seem to set our children up for a fall?
Think about it…we tell them that once a year some fat, jolly guy in a red suit will shimmy down the chimney and give them a bunch of stuff just for being ‘good’, even though we’ve spent most of the year thwarting tantrums and playing referee to sibling spats.
Irrespective of how ‘naughty or nice’ little Johnny has been, he will invariably end up with loads of shiny new toys, because we live in a material world and as Madonna so eloquently put it, we are all essentially material girls…or boys. You get where I’m coming from.
The point is, life might be far less disappointing and a lot more rewarding if we were never promised something for nothing as children. Or at least, if we could re-visit our child self and give them a heads up on some important life lessons, including…
1. The tooth fairy is giving you a head start, so take it! One dollar invested is worth a thousand spent unwisely. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth (pun intended) and always put your money into a worthwhile asset before you squander any excess on things you want but don’t really need.
2. Never trust a bunny with chocolate. We may as well get the entire hoard of mythical gift giving critters out of the way in one fell swoop, so let’s talk the Easter Bunny. Yes, the odd chocolate here and there makes a nice treat, but looking after your health should be a priority in life. In this world, you literally cannot afford to be sick, so please take care of that body – it’s the only one we’ve got!
3. Santa is setting you up to fail. Sad but true, I know. You get out of life what you put into it and there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Expecting something for nothing will only lead to disappointment and is a mentality that prevents people from taking affirmative action to improve their lot in life. No one is going to hold your hand and do it all for you. Which leads me to my next little insight…
4. Your parents did the best they can. At some point you have to stop blaming them for your misgivings and start taking control and responsibility. The sooner you realise this, the sooner you can get on with creating the life you want and achieving the success you strive for.
5. Education is important, but so is free thinking. Learn as much as you possibly can from your teachers, but never restrict your learning to set curriculums. Broaden your horizons, absorb all you can from the school of life and remember, you can never know too much. Become a critical consumer of information, because what you read, hear and see is not always what it seems.
6. Mistakes are just opportunities in disguise. Try not to dwell on worries and regrets. We all make mistakes, but the biggest blunder of all is failing to learn our lesson, apply it and move on. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, improving yourself and your path with every step you take and every gaffe you make. I’ll be watching you!
7. Do what you like…within reason. Follow your passion in life and chances are you’ll end up in the job of your dreams, with the man or woman of your dreams. Chasing money over happiness and personal fulfilment often leads to a life of emptiness and longing. Ask those who have achieved great success their secret and I can guarantee 99.9% will tell you the key is to do what you love. Above all else, know your truth and you will inevitably end up on the path that’s right for you.
8. Haters gonna hate. A wise man once said, “What other people think of you is none of your business”. This is a fantastic manifesto to live by. Don’t allow yourself to be brought down by the opinions of others. Be your own person no matter what and you’ll naturally draw people into your life that appreciate you just as you are. Remember, the lion doesn’t lose sleep over what the sheep think of him.
9. Procrastination is the killer of success. It can be tempting to put things off and promise ourselves that we’ll get around to that ‘one day’. Take investing for instance…many would-be punters fall victim to fear and uncertainty, opting to do nothing when the fact is, anything would be more productive. Harness that ambition and drive you have when growing up and remain pro-active throughout your life. You’ll be ever so grateful you did.
10. There are no problems, only solutions. Look for answers to your questions and stop dwelling on all those little molehills you perceive as troublesome mountains. A problem is just a solution waiting to happen, it all depends on your point of view.
Most of all enjoy the ride. Life just seems to get faster as we get older, so slow down, smell the roses and do all those wonderful things advised by common proverbs and clichés. There’s a reason for them. Just don’t be literal about it, because a bird in the hand can get really messy!