Life is a learning experience and the lesson is never over. We can live long, full lives and still be learning right up until the day we die. The list we’ve compiled isn’t the end-all of what you need to know in life, but it’s a good starting point if you’re trying to find a more fulfilling, mindful existence that brings you more peace. These lessons can help guide you through the more difficult tasks you will face with a solid foundation. Read these 10 guidelines so that you can move through life without the constant heavy hand of fear on your neck and learn to appreciate the life you’re given.
1Don’t structure your life around the pursuit of money.
Money is a necessity in our society. It allows us to have roofs over our heads, feed our families and clothe our children. To say you don’t need money is laughable and often only eschewed by the people who already have plenty of it, but there is another side to it. While it may be a necessity, the pursuit of money without end is one of the worst things you can do for yourself.
Working non-stop hours when you have enough, pursuing the life of a millionaire or only doing what you do to become rich is not a fulfilling existence. What you may have in money you will lose in time. Our lives are finite and our relationships are fragile. At some point you will have to learn that living for the pursuit of money is really living for the pursuit of greed, and there is no amount that will satisfy a greedy heart.
2Don’t keep toxic people in your life
Sometimes they are friends, lovers or even family members, but one thing all toxic people share is that they don’t deserve your love. Loving a person who abuses you, tears you down or belittles you will suck the life and generosity out of you. Keeping them in your life is like pouring your love down the drain. You do not owe people your love. To be loved is an honour, not a right and it has to be earned continuously. Don’t feel that you need to stick by people who only bring you misery because of what society may think, because of some perceived debt to them or because you married them.
3Being happy later
This one can go hand in hand with working yourself to death. Choosing to put off your own happiness is incredibly damaging, not only to you but also to those around you. People wait to leave loveless relationships or dead end jobs because they are waiting for the right moment. People believe that they will have time later in life to be happy, but in reality we never know when our ticket may come up. It’s important to take the time to pursue what makes you happy, even if that’s as simple as going for walks in the woods by yourself or as big as starting your own business. Putting off your own happiness does nothing but cheat yourself.
4Don’t be a chronic complainer
Hate your job? Hate your spouse? Hate your junky old car and the colour of your hair? These are all legitimate complaints and we’re all sick of hearing them. Not only do chronic complainers push people away with their negativity, they also absorb that negativity. The more you look to find only the darkness, the more of it you will find. Stop complaining and start changing the things in your life that upset. Find joy in the little things and appreciate every day that you wake up.
Even in the worst moments, we can find joy.
5Don’t live in fear
Contrary to popular belief, we are living in some of the most peaceful and abundant times in the history of mankind. People are generally kind and giving and do not enjoy hurting other people. Living in fear destroys your quality of life. It makes you bitter and resentful and unkind. Living in fear doesn’t protect you; it only stops you from appreciating your life. These unhealthy fears have sparked wars and caused murders. They make people angry and vicious. You have to learn to move away from fear and find more peace in your life. If it helps, turn off the news.
6Money is cheap, debt is not
Getting a loan can be a ridiculously easy process. You can buy a bigger house, a faster car, and nicer clothes all on credit. It’s easy to live outside of your means, until the bill comes due.
Learning to be financially responsible is one of the most important things you will learn. Know where your money goes and exactly how much you make. Don’t see credit cards as a source of reward or a loan as free money. While banks may be willing to give you plenty they won’t help when it comes time to pay them back.
7Take personal responsibility
None of us have flawless lives. We are petty and cruel at times, we can be selfish and shallow and quick to judge. That’s okay, where it stops being okay is when you can’t accept that about yourself. You have to learn to take responsibility for your actions and for your mistakes. Placing blame on those around you, the system or law enforcement won’t change the situation you’re in and won’t help you. To do that is to say that those people all have more power over your life than you do, which is just plain wrong. You are the master of your fate; embrace it, warts and all.
8Learn to care for the body you’re in
You only get one body in this world and it is your source of movement, of thought and of pleasure. Treat it well. Learn the fundamentals of nutrition and feed your body well. Learn the joys of exercise and sport and move your body. Taking care of yourself is not a pompous or shallow thing to do (unless you lord it over people). Caring for your body is something we do so we can stay on earth longer with those we love. It’s what we do so that we can better see and enjoy the world we’re in. Your body is your temple and you won’t get another one.
9Don’t stay mad forever
It may seem cliché but staying mad at someone forever only hurts you. Even if the person who hurt you is unrepentant, you have to find it in yourself to let go of the injury so that you can move forward in life. Learn to let go of the injuries committed against you because they will only stop you from enjoying your life. Many times, the person you’re angry at may not even realize you hate them.
10You don’t know other people’s burdens
Someone cut you off in traffic or gaze away in the middle distance while you talked to them? Maybe they were just being jerks or ignoring you, but maybe they also had something happening to them or going in their life you couldn’t begin to fathom. We all are going through tumultuous journeys and we have to learn to move softly in the world and be aware that everyone is fighting their own battle.
The next time you find yourself frustrated or annoyed with someone, consider that they may have just been fired, they may have a loved one who is very sick, or they’ve just received news that makes them so deliriously happy they can barely think straight. Empathy is an incredible thing.