The world is noisy. There are many brilliantly simple lessons that can help you move to the next stage of life and unlock a little more of your potential.
But through all of the noise, these simple lessons are ignored and it’s not your fault.
We all gloss over life’s little lessons like “be a little kinder” and think to ourselves, “How the freaking hell is that life lesson going to help me build a rocketship, fly to Mars and achieve my lifelong dream?”
I get it; it seems like a stupid life lesson you could find on the inside of a Kinder Surprise or hiding in a kid’s television show such as Sesame Street.
It sounds warm and fuzzy like Big Bird’s gorgeous yellow locks.
It’s these simple life lessons that we gloss over though that matter, but only if we actually practice them and do so for long enough.
You can’t open the door for someone once in your life and expect it to change your life and then when it doesn’t curse at the lesson or call it stupid. You’re smarter than that.
These lessons are timeless, simple, and often glossed over. Give a few of them a go for long enough and you’ll see what I mean.
1. Go small consistently rather than big once in a while
She was a writer with huge dreams. She’d spent years working on her book proposal and dreaming of being a screenplay writer. All her energy and time was being saved up for that one big moment.
You know what happened? Of course you do. She submitted the proposal and got three rejections in a row, then lost all momentum. I met her in a public speaking class and it was sad to watch.
The only solution she had was to give up because she’d put everything she had into that one moment, expecting it to pay off like the capital gains on Prince Harry’s investment properties.
You can take small steps daily towards whatever outcome you seek and get so much further.
Most of the moments that change your life don’t come from huge risks and one-off actions; they come from what you do consistently.
2. You didn’t get rejected; you closed one door and opened another
Life is just one series of rejections after another.
- You get rejected at school
- You get rejected at home by your parents
- You get rejected by romantic partners
- You get rejected by companies through completing job interviews
- You get rejected by platforms that can help your work reach a wider audience
Given that rejection is guaranteed, the only way to deal with it is to reframe how you’re thinking about it.
You didn’t get rejected; you closed one door and opened another. One option was cut-off or removed and replaced by another choice. With this in mind, you won’t fear or be taken down by rejection again. And that sort of resilience is ridiculously helpful in life.
3. Back yourself like a venture capitalist
A venture capitalist really does one thing when you break it down: they find a startup founder and back them using their investor’s money.
They rarely back an idea or a company but an actual person with blood pumping through their veins, who they believe can do something amazing and, in turn, make a profit from. When they invest, they go all in and trust the person. They don’t dip their toe in or wait for a sign from the universe to tell them to invest.
Back yourself in the same way. Choose yourself. Accept yourself. Know that even you can do something phenomenal, but if you don’t believe, no one else can. It starts with you.
Invest your poker chips on yourself. Take the first hand. Lose. Get back up. Keep backing yourself — because you’re the only person you have control over.
4. Slow down chief
Been told to slow down? Of course you have. Ignored this tiny bit of advice and brushed it off? Probably.
Getting to your destination the fastest is not the idea; it’s the journey that you’ll look back on when you get there, and be proud of.
When we slow down and enjoy the process, we get all the fulfillment that comes with it and that adds a touch of meaning to our life that makes all the setbacks and obstacles worth it.
5. The people that scream at you often have their own problems
They might scream at you through social media or scream swear words at you in the car park when you accidentally cut them off or send you a nasty email telling you everything that is wrong with you.
What if all this anger had nothing to do with you? What if these people were frustrated with their own life and bringing you down was the only way to justify what was happening to them?
You don’t need to take all the crap that is thrown at you personally and blame yourself or change yourself because of it.
Most of the anger directed at you has nothing to do with you.
6. Read books over Netflix
“I’m relaxing,” you say. “Take a chill pill brudda,” you say.
This is an easy one. Streaming TV rarely teaches you anything and even when it does, you’ll probably forget it. Spend a disproportionate amount of the time you spend consuming content on books rather than Netflix.
That doesn’t mean you never watch TV again; it just means you allocate more time to books.
Books make you think. Books can be timeless. Books don’t require a whole season to get the message. Books can travel with you everywhere you go. Physical books have an interesting smell and feel good to touch.
Read a few more books and notice the difference. Expect nothing from each book and watch them give you things you never knew you needed.
7. Treat people beautifully
What does treating people beautifully mean?
- Smile at people
- Say nice things, or say nothing at all
- Give genuine compliments
- Be kind
- Help someone who clearly needs it
What you dish out comes right back at you in weird and wonderful ways that make doing a life sentence meaningful and enjoyable. If you feel the world is conspiring against you, experiment with treating people beautifully.
8. If it’s hard, it’s good
When given an easy option, how many times are you tempted to take it? Taking the hard option may seem like a stupid decision but even if it’s the wrong choice, you’ll learn more than you ever will from the easy option.
The job may be outside of your current skillset. Take it.
The guy/girl may be out of your league when searching for love. Approach them regardless.
The business idea may seem stupid and obvious but matters to you. Work on it.
Add just a few more hard choices into the mix and you’ll see results and parts of yourself on display that you didn’t know you had. When you have to work hard for it and struggle for it, you appreciate it more.
9. Say thank you a lot (and mean it)
Many people over your lifetime will help you for some unknown reason. Say thank you to them and mean it.
Realize that they helped you and they didn’t have to, and the least you can do is thank them for it — and if you really want to go crazy, pay it forward.
10. Give more than you take
It’s a simple formula with a powerful result. Give more to the world and the people you encounter than you get back.
Don’t keep score like Scrooge McDuck and count your pennies. Give away parts of yourself, and the value you have, more than you need to.
Too many people keep score of everything they do and then wonder why they feel broke in life.
11. People you know aren’t good for you do harm (and you know it)
There are people that enter your life and you know deep down they are bad for you. Why?
- They kill your dreams.
- They tell you it won’t happen.
- They never have anything nice to say.
- They squash your optimism when you feel good.
- They focus on the headlines the news presents and rationalize the world is screwed.
These people are harming you and you know it. It takes every little bit of willpower to stay alive and deal with the tidal wave of rejection each of us faces just to have food on the table and a roof over our head. You don’t need oxygen thieves taking away your peace of mind and your belief that you can do something with your life.
Take a break from them — or if you’re game, get them out of your life. You can’t achieve your goals in life when your mindset is blown up by a twelve-gauge shotgun every day that you didn’t even pull the trigger on.
12. Watch how you act when you win big
People can be all nice and lovely until they get a bit of success in their life.
Don’t judge yourself during your day-to-day life; judge yourself when you win big.
Does your ego blow up? Do you treat people like garbage? Do you talk down to people? Do you become lost in dreams of money and Lambos? Do you help people on your way up and while you’re on top?
If you can be just as humble and helpful when you’re a nobody, as you are when you achieve a big goal that others praise you for, you’ll do well in life.
13. Optimism vs. Doomsdayer Mindset
There are two ways to look at life:
- The world is screwed.
- The world is full of endless opportunities and humans will find a way.
Both mindsets are true. Both can be backed up by evidence. The mindset you choose from these two options can and will determine most of your life. It’s the single biggest contributor to everything you will do in life and it looks like the dumbest, simplest, most insignificant, tiny decision you could ever make.
Many of us make this decision without even realizing it. If you have chosen option one, then it’s not too late to change. If you have chosen option two already, then it’s going to be awesome to see what you do.
Appreciate the simple life lessons many gloss over because they count for more than the eye can see when put into practice for long enough.
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