Nine Life lessons
By: Mary-catherine McClain, PhD EDS
1) Goals are important
When individuals are not focused on something, both in the short-term and long-term, it is easy to feel lonely, empty, and without a purpose. Goals can provide a sense of direction, meaning, and show gradual progress. This week, consider making goals over a 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 month period, as well as over the next 5 and 10 years. Consider your personal, spiritual, social, occupational, and physical parts.
2) Other people’s opinions don’t matter
Basing self-worth and self-value on the opinion of others is unhealthy and unsustainable. When we are dependent on others for love and happiness, it is easy to get hurt and to feel rejected, devalued, and unimportant. Remember, you choose how you add and build value in your own life. Seek your own self-approval.
3) WE DON’T HAVE MUCH CONTROL
Individuals crave certainty and control. However, upon reflection, control is often an illusion. For example, think about your body—your hair grows by itself, the heart beats by itself, and sweating happens without our control. To be human means to accept our limits. Focus on the present and what you do have control over (e.g., how you feed your body, scheduling appointments, how you reach out to others).
4) FAILURE IS THE ROAD TO SUCCESS
Don’t avoid making mistakes and failing. Consider re-framing failure as the road to life’s greatest and best lessons. “Failure” provides growth, strength, and resilience and is actually just a stepping-stone for the next experience.
5) A PERSON ISN’T DEFINED BY WHAT THEY OWN
Material items do not add value to a person. You leave behind all material things, and material things can be destroyed in an instant. Focus on what actually creates meaning and value in your relationships, friendships, and overall life.
6) THINKING VS DOING IS NOT THE SAME
Daydreaming serves a purpose, but it will never lead to action without some type of moment. Clients often say I’m waiting for the “right time.” The truth is that there is never a “perfect” moment to go back to school, to get married, to have children. Re-examine fear behind your decision and start taking behavioral steps one at a time.
7) CHANGE IS THE ONLY LAW IN LIFE YOU CAN COUNT ON
Change is the only constant in the universe. No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to stop the natural force of things. We’re all getting older. No matter how hard we try to pause moments and be still, life will continue to pass by. How do you want to use this time?
8) No one lives for Forever
When we’re young, we don’t appreciate this fact. We think our elders will live forever. They won’t. And if you forget this then you won’t make the most of these relationships while you have them.
9) WORRYING IS USELESS
This quote from Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh says it best:
“Worrying does not accomplish anything. Even if you worry twenty times more, it will not change the situation of the world. In fact, your anxiety will only make things worse. Even though things are not as we would like, we can still be content, knowing we are trying our best and will continue to do so. If we don’t know how to breathe, smile,and live every moment of our life deeply, we will never be able to help anyone. I am happy in the present moment. I do not ask for anything else. I do not expect any additional happiness or conditions that will bring about more happiness. The most important practice is aimlessness, not running after things, not grasping.” – Thich Nhat Hanh