Life is jam-packed full of learning experiences, isn’t it?
We’re always finding out new stuff about ourselves, other people, and our understanding of the world around us. Some of these discoveries alter our basic approach to life, while others we choose to ignore.
You might be going about your everyday business when suddenly you have an ‘A-Ha!’ moment. A flash of fresh insight that fundamentally changes the way you view things. Forever.
Occasionally, major revelations strike from out of nowhere like bright bolts of lightning. They illuminate your existing attitudes and beliefs to such an extent that you can never again see life like you did before.
For most of us, though, it’s a far less dramatic affair. We usually have slow-burn realizations that dawn on us during the normal experiences of living. Yet even these gradual understandings can radically shake up your world.
I’d like to share with you 10 little revelations that have really transformed how I think about life.
1. Never apologise for who you are
Do you often find that you say sorry for not being who other people want you to be? Perhaps you don’t have a lifestyle they approve of or maybe you disagree with their values. It could even be that the person is so narrow-minded that they simply dislike you because of your personality or appearance. It’s hurtful to be rejected for being yourself. But, it’s just as destructive to change because someone else requires you to. Constantly trying to please everyone will always leave you feeling unhappy and under intense pressure.
Remember that you’re allowed to be just who you are right now, without having to justify or explain yourself to anyone.
2. It’s OK to put yourself first
From a young age we’re encouraged to be helpful and attend to others. As we grow older, however, it’s easy to lose the balance between looking after ourselves and caring for family and friends. We devote more and more of our time and attention to the needs of those around us and neglect our own. Eventually, everyone suffers because you’re too exhausted and stressed out to cope. It’s essential that you invest in yourself first so that you can be a source of support to those that rely on you.
Make your own care a top priority then you’ll be well-equipped to give other folk the attention they need.
3. Ordinary people can do great things too
I used to think that only geniuses and superheroes could achieve fantastic things in life. Or, at the very least, I felt that to have any success you had to be a totally go-getting, risk-taking, all out entrepreneurial maverick. At heart, I’m a cautious, down-to-earth kinda guy. My personal experiences, though, have shown me the potential that comes when you take positive action – even if it is only one step in the right direction. Extraordinary things are happening around us every day … all achieved by ordinary folk like you and me.
Believe that it’s possible for you to achieve big goals as well – if you put in the hard work.
4. Some things shouldn’t wait until tomorrow
It’s only natural that we plan and live out our daily lives safe in the knowledge that we’ll have another opportunity to do it all again the following day. Yet, this security can cause us to become complacent and put off certain things that we really should deal with today. What if we knew that tomorrow wasn’t going to happen? What would you do differently today? I’m sure that not many of you would race to finish that delayed report or rush to deal with the work in your overflowing inbox or in-tray. For me, when my dad died there were so many words that I’d meant to tell him but never did because I kept putting it off to another day, which never came.
Say and do those important things that really matter today … while you still have the chance to.
5. All you can ever give is your best
Are you putting yourself through a whole load of unnecessary pressure as you strive for perfection? It’s time to ease up and realize that there is no such thing as ‘perfect’. It’s an impossible quest and an unachievable aim. Think of this: when you give your best to anything you do, this is as close as you’ll ever get to it. But, instead of being an unambitious and defeatist attitude to have, it’s a completely liberating position to take: because your best is always good enough.
Be reassured that when you’ve tried your very best, there’s no more you can possibly do.
6. Do what you love whenever you can
Nowadays we’re encouraged to find and follow our passions in life and at our jobs. No one would argue with the worthy objective of loving what we do and doing what we love. Unfortunately, reality forces the majority of us to settle for the practical option of simply having to do what we must to get by … and to hang with passion! Don’t, however, give up on creating your ideal passionate lifestyle – there will be some area at sometime where it’ll happen.
Even discovering a mini oasis of passion in a desert of boredom and routine can be just the refreshment you need. Be on the lookout to do something you love at every chance you get.
7. You’ll always feel second best
Who’s got the best car, the most money, the greatest success? We all like to know how we’re getting on in relation to our friends, neighbors, and peers. Comparing ourselves with others can lead to healthy competition except when it provokes jealousy, resentment, and associated unhelpful emotions. It’s difficult not to feel slightly envious at someone else’s good fortune. In comparison to another person, we often find it difficult to remain objective about our own performance. I gave up judging myself against the benchmarks set by others because I was never satisfied with what I’d done, which isn’t constructive on a regular basis.
Keep your eyes firmly focussed on your personal journey in life, and you’ll always be doing well.
8. Playing safe keeps success away
Fear is one of the biggest obstacles to us going after what we truly want in life. The fear of failure, of looking like a fool, even the fear of success itself can prevent us from reaching out towards our goals. In the past, I was never a fan of taking risks, preferring to avoid situations where it was difficult to predict the outcome. But, I knew deep down that, if I wasn’t ready to take a risk and venture into the unknown from time to time, I was unlikely to get a hold of my dreams and ambitions.
Your comfort zone might appear to be a safe haven from the fear of failure, buht it’s a place where success also rarely visits.
9. Yes, you can beat self doubt
Confidence is a precious commodity that few folk possess in abundance. Everyone suffers from wobbles in their self belief. It only becomes a problem when it starts to limit what you accomplish in life. There’s no need to be a victim of a lack of confidence. Anyone can beat self doubt by using the right tools and techniques. I’ve found one of the best antidotes to confidence issues is to put on a brave front and face up to whatever it is you doubt about yourself. Of course, it’s a solution that pushes you right out there into uncomfortable territory – but it’s well worth it.
Self doubt can be healthy when it spurs you onwards and upwards to ever greater things, but it needs to be deal with when it paralyzes your enjoyment of the fullest riches of life.
10. There’s never a good reason to beat yourself up
It never fails to shock me how cruel we are to ourselves. We indulge in such self abusive thoughts that we’d class it as bullying if we overheard the words being spoken out towards someone else. All because we’re fallible and imperfect and human. It’s as easy to be positive as it is to put yourself down, so why do we prefer to engage in all this negative self talk? About 10 years ago, I recognized the damage I was inflicting on my self image when I was overly tough at not being able to adopt a healthier lifestyle. After I gave myself a break and stopped sabotaging my own happiness, I finally lost weight and got fit. Being kind to yourself is the ultimate gift of freedom.
Learn to accept and appreciate each aspect of who you are: all your strengths and weaknesses; the parts you love as well as those you dislike, and all the mistakes and triumphs. It’s this complicated mixture that makes you unique – and that’s definitely a fact worth celebrating.
What matters isn’t how tiny or massive the revelation is, but the power it has to transform how you view your life. Even small, seemingly insignificant events will have a big impact – if you let them.
I’m sure you too have had more than a few ‘A-Ha!’ moments during your lifetime.
What would you add to the list above? Which little revelations of your own have changed how you view life? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you.