Life is full of lessons. Some of them we learn early on, like don’t touch a hot stove.
However, sometimes the harder ones can take much longer to learn, and usually, we have to undergo some kind of struggle to grasp the concept that life is trying to teach us.
Why does it take so learn to learn these life lessons?
It took me two years to learn to drive a stick shift. I fought it until I realized I was paying $30 a day for Uber. There was never an “aha moment” when I felt ready to drive; I just trusted myself and did it. I wish I had the guts to ‘take the wheel’ sooner.
Part of the reason it can take a while to learn is that life has become easier with instant access to food, clean water, and healthcare. It’s hard not to take things for granted.
Have you ever noticed how a domesticated animal loses the urge to hunt? Instead, it begs for food and depends on the system that’s domesticating it—never fully reaching its potential. Much like domesticated animals, our lives are too comfortable.
Our comfort slows down our progress. If we live like tomorrow is guaranteed, we’ll struggle to overcome even the slightest adversity. Most people spend their entire lives caught in a loop that began during childhood.
Why not take the proverbial ‘wheel’ and start making progress now? Here are five lessons in life you should avoid learning too late.
5 Lessons in life you learn today
1. Read more books.
I wish I became a reader sooner. Growing up, I thought memorization was more important than application. I dreaded reading. The ‘cool’ kids didn’t read. I wasn’t cool, but I wanted to be; and book nerds never won Prom Queen.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that reading is one of the few ways to introduce the mind to ideas and circumstances it’s never encountered.
Reading expands our awareness and helps us to see from different perspectives. Rather than watching TV, try reading a few non-fiction books (especially Robert Greene books).
2. You do not think like who you want to become.
Imagine everything in your life is exactly how you want it to be. You have the perfect relationship, an overflowing bank account, and lots of promising business opportunities on the horizon.
In that state of mind, would you respond to people or circumstances as you do now? Would you continue to dress the same? Do you have the same daily routine? Would you tolerate the same treatment from others? You must let go of your ego and become childlike in your thinking. Assume you know nothing.
3. Stop trying to change your environment and implement actual change.
I saw a survey by Crazy Egg that said 30 percent of people find more happiness in spending time with friends and family than anything else. However, our friends and family can be our biggest weight when making lifestyle changes.
Imagine how challenging it is to get an entire group of people to question their beliefs, then it is to move to an environment where the people are like-minded. This is one of the toughest lessons in life to acknowledge early on.
4. Don’t spend time, invest it.
We spend so much time thinking and planning that we don’t take enough action. Everyone seems to have the next great idea but rarely sees it through to fruition. We waste hours gossiping on the phone and drinking at the bar.
We have pointless meetings with people we’ll never see again, and build ‘collaborative’ friendships just to avoid having to do the hardest work on our own. We’re rewarded for being lazy. As a result, we waste a lot of time.
Imagine if we treated time like money. Every second could be invested and multiplied in the long run. We could invest 4 or 5 years in our 20s and enjoy 20+ years of financial freedom later in life. A crazy night of partying could set you back 18+ years.
It’s just like how a productive summer could allow you to graduate early. Time is far more important than we realize. There is no such thing as a week-END, or ‘time off’. When we come to this realization, we can make progress in life. Spend (or invest) time wisely.
5. Don’t talk badly about others.
Gossiping is one of humanity’s favorite pastimes. Who doesn’t like people watching? I find observing people and animals to be one of the most interesting experiences. But it can become overwhelmingly negative if you’re people-watching with the wrong people.
All the time spent being judgemental could have been spent being productive. Obsessing over Kimye, or talking about whether Kevin Hart cheated on his pregnant wife, isn’t getting you any closer to your dreams. If anything, it’s getting you further away from it.
One last take away about learning life’s lessons
The only thing worse than learning something too late is being too stubborn to learn at all. Be flexible, open-minded, and take the lessons as they come!
Decide today to change your habits. Note these important lessons in life. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Jump, and you’ll develop wings in flight.