32 important life lessons from 32 years
Sometimes so many questions accumulate in your head that you just have to find a way to release them. Olesya Novikova, a writer, journalist, blogger, and traveller, recently shared the life lessons which she has discovered over the 32 years of her life so far.
We thought we’d share Olesya’s thoughts with you — there’s a lot to think about here regardless of your age and experience.
Everyone has a fear. Even beautiful, talented, smart, and lucky people. We’re scared to start something new, to go out of our comfort zone, to take a risk, to do something that we never done before. We fear for our families, for our jobs, for our life, and for many other things as well. Fear will always exist. No matter how much experience, confidence, recognition, money or talent you have, you’ll be scared to a greater or lesser degree each time when you conquer a new height or do something new. But this is fine. This means you’re still alive. You have to keep going on. Go through and past your fear, and don’t try to get rid of it.
Changes will keep happening. Stability is illusory. We’re constantly on the move. We keep changing — outwardly and inwardly, and these processes don’t stop even for a second. A sane person doesn’t have the chance to pose the question — to change or not to change? He or she can only answer a different one: ’’Do I have control over these changes that are taking place, and to what extent?’’
’’Quickly’’ means ’’slowly, but without interruption.’’ There’s no need to do something quickly, intensely, or forcefully. Just do it regularly. The most important thing is to keep the rhythm going. Do it little by little, but constantly. And after some time, if you look at it from the outside, it will look like you did it quickly and efficiently.
Create more than you consume. Otherwise, you’ll be left with only a hopeless consumer lifestyle leading to no meaningful conclusion. ’’Everything is good, but there’s nothing good’’. A person must always create something, willingly and with love. This is a formula for good mental health. Curiously, this is the only way to enjoy the pleasure of consumption that won’t destroy the pleasure itself. You can consider this process as a spiritual version of having good metabolism.
’’Today’’ is what you did and thought yesterday, and ’’tomorrow’’ is what you do and think today. Repeat this phrase like a mantra for as long as you realize that no one else is responsible for the problems you come up against.
There are no guarantees at all. This is a basic rule of the universe which you need to take into account when making all your decisions and preparing all your plans.
The era of sacred knowledge is over. Now, it’s the era of informational hygiene. For several years already, knowledge hasn’t helped any of us achieve anything or attain a meaningful existence. The internet has devalued knowledge. The ability to concentrate on a given task without losing interest is now more important. And this skill is directly affected by the storm of information battering your mind at any given moment. The more verbal ’’garbage’’ is around, the weaker your concentration becomes. The more the thoughts of others circulate in your mind, the harder it is to hear your own voice. The online stream of information weakens your ability to discover yourself.
Joy and pleasure are not the same thing. We never experience real joy while eating a chocolate cake, drinking a glass of wine or smoking a cigarette. We don’t experience joy while buying new shoes or perfume. Let’s call things by their proper names — in these cases, we just get pleasure. And that’s another story. By its nature this feeling is very short-lived, and it’s inextricably linked to further dissatisfaction, boredom, satiety, and the desire for a new portion of pleasure. Don’t be afraid to give up pleasures, be afraid not to experience real joy.
Suffering exists. Buddha was right after all. Suffering exists. Everybody suffers. Both those who have nothing and those who have everything. Those who don’t suffer in the present will make the transition to a state of pain at a later date. Maybe because of the falling currency or because of a terrorist attack. Maybe because of finding out that someone doesn’t love him or her anymore. Or they’ll get upset because they don’t get a reply to a message they sent, or they don’t earn enough money, or for literally any other reason you can think of. Suffering exists. We will always find a reason to suffer. Just accept it, and do your best to ignore it.
Not everyone can be happy. Can everyone be happy? Yes, sure! But only in theory. In practice, only those who have disciplined their minds can be consistently happy, calm, balanced, and benevolent. Only those whose minds are trained and capable of not worrying about everything around them. Only those who manage to retain a sense of joy not only in agreeable circumstances but also in unpleasant situations. Otherwise, there’s an endless stream of events which will evoke only pain, irritation, and anxiety. And some situations are more serious than others. A person who reacts emotionally to every little incident can never be happy inside.
Joy means retaining a balance in your mind. If somebody had told me this five years ago, I would never have believed it. When you dream all day and night of finding your one true love, creating a family, a well-paid job, an opportunity to work for yourself, to travelk, you think that you know what joy is. At least, what your own joy is. Of course, you can’t always be satisfied with everything. Sometimes you suffer. And this is fine. The most important thing is that you know what to strive for. Looking at your dreams, you realize where your sense of enduring joy comes from. Joy is a state of complete peace of mind, which is achieved by overcoming the blind, automatic reactions of the mind to events. Practising a form of deep meditation is perhaps the only healthy way to discover and attain this state true maturity.
Know the importance of fruit and its physical effects. Fruit is not acidic, it’s alkaline. To divert into science for a second, all kinds of ripe fruit and vegetables have an alkaline reaction, helping to neutralise excess acid in your body. Things like meat, sugar, fat and dairy products have the opposite effect. Not many people know this — try googling it!
’’My body itself knows what is better for it’’ is one of the most insidious mind traps. An alcoholic’s body wants to drink; a smoker’s body dreams of a cigarette; our bodies are always hungry for chocolate and fries. How can the body know what is better? Our minds live by automatic responses that don’t let us make necessary changes; our bodies obey our habits and our chaotic impulses.
Food affects not only your body but also your mind. In the same way that alcohol significantly changes your consciousness, blunting it, certain kinds of food can have a similar effect, but it’s less pronounced and more unconscious. Food can slow down and refocus your thinking process. Moreover, it can weaken your control, your power of awareness, and your clarity of perception. A slightly ’’blurred’’ state of mind becomes a norm for you, so you forget what lightness and clarity actually mean. The most ’’clean’’ kinds of food are fresh fruit, vegetables, cereals, and that which is cooked with a minimum amount of oil, spices, and salt.
You need money only in order not to think about money. Money doesn’t solve the central question of humanity. It don’t make people happy. But the opportunity not to think about money, at least in everyday life, significantly releases energy for something else.
We have more similarities than differences. The value of personal uniqueness is greatly exaggerated. All the answers and solutions have already existed for a long time. In focusing on your own uniqueness, you don’t have the chance to push away your ego and perceive reality with all its real answers.
The best way to stop an addiction is not to have access to the thing your addicted to, at all. It’s impossible to drink one glass of wine if you’re an alcoholic. If you’re trying to quit smoking, you can’t still have a smoke from time to time. You’ll be constantly in a state of mental torture. You’ll go up and down. You’ll always have disruptions. This rule is immutable for all kinds of addiction.
You will never be fully prepared for change. We are never fully prepared for twists of fate or changes. There is always a strong ’’but…’’ and the temptation to postpone changes until a more favorable time. There is no point waiting for complete internal harmony. You just need to make a decision, relying on the thought that ’’it’s high time’’ to get things done.
Life is a book where the first chapters weren’t written by you. Sometimes even the subsequent chapters aren’t either. We’re composed of beliefs and we make up models of the world around us. And this world isn’t just abstract. It’s a concrete office, a house, a street — the places where we spend our life. It’s our friends, colleagues, parents, and the salespeople whom we meet every evening. It’s a news feed on social networks and so-called Facebook friends. We automatically absorb the opinions, positions, and viewpoints of other people. We imbibe them along with the air, regardless of whether we agree with them or not. And when we don’t agree, it’s also a moment of automatic denial. In childhood, this process was completely out of our control. The essence of your personality was forged by other people, and parental input (if it was ever there) wasn’t dominant in this. What and who you consider yourself to be and what you should be afraid to lose, according to some psychologists, is just a mosaic of your environment. There is nothing to lose. Isn’t that great news? At least in that case, you can redraw everything however you like.
A result is a bunch of attempts at something. It’s not a single well-aimed shot. And it’s certainly not just good fortune.
What helped you at one stage may one day prevent you from going on to the next stage. Sometimes it’s important to give up that which has helped you in the past. Here’s an example: rules for small businesses don’t work for huge corporations. It’s impossible to grow without giving up some of the rules, even if they helped you to grow up yesterday. This also applies to your personality, a person’s values, and their plans.
Outside of your comfort zone, there is a discomfort zone. And there’s no flowers and chocolates there. But you have to go there anyway if you want to achieve something.
There is no life without a purpose. The only question is whether you create these purposes yourself or leave it to your instincts to decide them for you.
Laziness doesn’t exist. There are unloved activities, there’s such a thing as a lack of energy and a lack of wide vision and ability to be excited about new perspectives. But there is no such thing as laziness.
You can’t find yourself; you can only create yourself. There is nothing and nobody to look for. You’re always here, in the here and now. Your path is what you have under your feet right now, nothing more — it’s not anywhere else. You can only distinguish between the right path and the wrong one by using your awareness. You pave small, but definite goals. If these goals are determined by others, or if they chaotically grow as a result of duty, it’s not your path. It’s just a bunch of separate episodes of your life.
You don’t need alcohol. At all.
Your unrealized potential will hurt you one day. It’s useless to hide this fact and instead stick inside your comfort zone. As they say, you are responsible for the talent that has been entrusted to you.
Banks should pay you, but not vice versa. This is the only possible way to be financially healthy. Never, never, never buy anything that you haven’t earned enough to pay for. Never. Especially if you want something big. We pay banks not only our money but also our energy. As a result, you don’t have the energy to take that risk and make adventurous plans. Breaking out from such a situation once that decision is taken is hardly going to be possible.
You need to learn how to work under pressure, and how to relax. Every movement requires exertion. If you make this move reluctantly and out of necessity, you’ll spend twice as much energy. In this case, you spend some energy on the physical and mental effort, and the mental stress saps the rest of your energy. That’s why you need to learn how to deal with stress when it appears and how to love it. If you сan put yourself under strain voluntarily, considering it only something positive, you’ll expend much less energy. The second part of success is the ability to relax, to accept things as they are, to let go of your expectations. You can’t move on if you only know how to be stressed, but don’t know how to relax.
’’Yes’’ and ’’no’’ are two answers that you need to learn as soon as possible. Learn how to say ’’yes’’ to situations and people in spite of the absence of guarantees, internal readiness, and changing circumstances. Learn how to say ’’no’’ first of all to yourself: to your weaknesses, your fears, and your selfishness. And only much later, learn how to say ’’no’’ to others.
There’s a difference between great things and good things. The latter you forget about, the former you don’t. A truly creative person is different from someone who simply does his job well. Creators put their tasks above themselves, dissolving their egos in the process. They work consciously and with love, not because of a sense of duty or a lack of choice. A marketer can be a true musician while a proper musician can be just a mediocre craftsman for their entire life.
Every sign that you meet on your way through life can be interpreted in at least three different ways. 1. Maybe this is a real sign! 2. Perhaps there are no signs at all. 3. Maybe this is a test. Maybe fate just attempted to knock you out of your stride by testing the sincerity of your intentions and your decisions.