Life’s lessons…. the first 7 that come to mind anyway!

Mmm…. Interesting title. I can’t possibly imagine that I’ve yet learnt enough to earn the right  to commit these to print…. but I’ve decided to write what I believe I have learnt to date. As my first baby is soon to flee the nest, not so much flee as ask for a lift to the station to spend a few weeks at university before coming home at the end of term, but it feels like a pivotal point and started me on a reflection of what words of wisdom I’d like to impart.

So, this is for my children so that they may shorten the learning curve and start where I am now, giving you many years to learn so much more than me… that should appeal !

  1. Be yourself, everyone else is taken. You have been given this life. It will have it’s fair share of adventure, heartache, fun, excitement, love and laughter but remember to have fun. If you’re not happy then do something about it. Take responsibility for your life, and change the things you don’t like. It is not someone elses fault if you are unhappy. It’s just the way you have chosen to react to a situation.
  2. Everyone sees life from their own perspective… this doesn’t make them either right or wrong, it just is. They have as much right to these views as you do of yours. If you had lived their life you may well have come to the same conclusion. Respect their views, and always be curious so that you can expand yours.
  3. Take time to observe. Sometimes we are so busy living our day to day lives and doing what you’d call ‘stuff’ that we forget to step out for a minute or two and take time to observe ourselves, dispassionately, to see if we like who we are, who we are becoming, and where our current path is taking us. We have a choice and are always in charge of our own destiny. When you step out to be the observer rather than the main player you can see life is full of possibilities – all you need to do is choose.
  4. Your Grandmother was a firm believer that ‘there’s no such word as can’t’. Because I was a contrary child I made it my mission to prove her wrong. I now realise, too late to tell her unfortunately, that she was right. If there’s something you want to do, know that you can. This needs some thinking about as your first reaction will be that ‘ I can’t just be the Prime Minister though can I?!’ But take a while to think about it. If you had a passion to be the PM, and you thought it was possible, what would you do first. You’d join a political party, you’d volunteer to help in campaigns, you’d get noticed, you’d speak at conference, you’d stand for parliament yourself eventually.. soon it no longer seems a childish dream but a real possibility. The key is to find your passion and to follow it – by taking the first step, and then when you’ve achieved that, the second. Of course you are at liberty to adjust your passion as you go through life. It needs to be what the label says, and not a noose around your neck. You’ll feel energised and happy when you’re following a true passion and doing it to fulfil your own life.
  5. Practise humility. This word has been done a huge disservice over the years, and the dictionary ‘s definition implies meekness and timidity. I’m using it here as possibly the most powerful lesson yet. By assuming others know more than you, that they have a valid contribution to make and that you can learn from them allows you to put away the ego, turn on the beginners mind and approach anything with an open curiosity, eager to learn and with nothing to prove. From this position there is no fear about defending a fragile position, your growth is accelerated and as you expand you will bring others with you. It is one of the most important lessons and practiced by great leaders. Ask questions, seek information, and allow others to reveal their greatness to you – they will gladly follow.
  6. Value your energy. So often in life we find ourselves in jobs that leave us feeling tired and drained, or in relationships which do the same. Find what energises you, what excites you and leaves you feeling fulfilled and full of energy. Never allow yourself to take this for granted or just give it away. Passion, living with heart and soul if you like, is a key to happiness.
  7. Love yourself. Not in the strutting in front of the mirror hair gel sort of way (!) but in an unconditional all encompassing sort of way. If you can’t love yourself you cannot love another. This principle involves a total acceptance and understanding of who you are, your values, strength and a sense of purpose. If you can live with integrity, knowing you are living in a way that upholds all the above, you have love to give away. Forgive yourself when you fall, we are only human after all, and realise that others don’t necessarily share your values and will have a value system of their own. Respect that and accept that they too may fail at times. We are all, after all, on life’s journey together and can learn from each other.

So, there we have it.. the first seven life lessons. Maybe I’ll add more before the youngest flees the nest, but this seems a reasonable start…..

5 minute challenge:

What are the first 7 life lessons that come to mind when you think of passing on your wisdom to the next generation? Challenge yourself to spend a few minutes jotting these down and then question how well you live up to them yourself. What adjustments do you want to make in your life to live with heart and soul so that you’re making the most of your life. If you’re interested in doing further exploratory work on this subject take a look at .

This and other articles make up  a Life Lessons Series which have been put together by the very talented and inspirational blogger Abubakar Jamil. You can follow the series by clicking on:

Thanks for reading. Please let me know any ideas you have on the subject and add some life lessons of your own in the comment box.

Warmest wishes,


photography by luigi diamanti:

21 Responses to Life’s lessons…. the first 7 that come to mind anyway!

  1. Oh Sarah I hope some day your son Alex reads this and realizes what a loving mum he has. I especially like you point about humility.

    • Hi Marion,
      Thank you for your lovely comments. My son is in Canada at the moment blissfully unaware of his inspiration… but I think, when the time is right, he will get to read this and hopefully he too will understand the message it conveys.

  2. We often hear the words in a post, but rarely do we actually hear the love and caring. This is a truly, excellent post. Thanks also for your 5 minute challenge — a little self-reflection is good for the soul. Have an awesome day.

    • Thanks Kelvin, really appreciate you reading my blog and your thoughtful comment. I’m delighted you enjoyed the self-reflection…. food for the soul, I always think! Enjoy your awesome day and please pop back again soon.

  3. […] Life’s lessons…. the First 7 that Come to Mind anyway! […]

  4. Farnoosh says:

    Sarah, this is great. I loved that you addressed it to your son. Also I am working with Abubakar on pulling all the Life Lesson Series, including yours, into the ebook that I am sure you read about on the instructions page. This would be a sweet addition no doubt!

    • Hi Farnoosh, Thank you so much for your comments. They’re much appreciated. The Life Lessons series sounds a fascinating project and I’m keeping up to date with the other contributors. Please do let me know if I can be of further help. We’ll speak again I’m sure….Meanwhile, good luck with inspiring and collating.

  5. Kerry says:

    This is a great post Sarah-the 7 lessons you have chosen are strong and valuable and ones that I try to follow myself. Fantastic! I also believe that gratitude every day is important-see what you ‘have’ rather than what you ‘don’t’ and good throughts fuel good things!

    I second the comment that your son is lucky to have such great advice from Mom!

    • Thanks for your kindness and comments Kerry, much appreciated. Seeing the glass as half full and being grateful for that is a wonderful lesson. Do pop back again and share your ideas. They’re most welcome.

  6. Sarah,

    Thank you for your wonderful and valuable contribution to the Life Lessons Series.

    • Thank you, Abubakar for allowing me the privilege of contributing. It was a pleasure to be part of such an inspirational series. The standard of writing had been outstanding and I’ve been so moved by the ideas shared by all the wonderful authors. Highly recommended reading.

  7. uzma7 says:

    Hi Sarah. That is a great list. Truly more so because its addressed to your son, so it has the wisdom only a mother can emanate. What I loved the most was the point on being humble. There is so much more learning, peace and even power in humility. Spiritual humility, everyday humility, humility of the heart. Thank you so much for this list. And all the very best to your son. He’s got a great set of principles to guide him through. God bless

    • Thank you Uzma for your warm comments.They’re much appreciated. Humility is such an effective word and so under used. I’m glad it resonnated with you in such a powerful way. I hope you’ll pop back from time to time and we can share more ideas.
      Warmest wishes

  8. uzma7 says:

    Absolutely. You have a new regular reader,my friend. The best thing about the blogosphere I’ve realized is that one meets some really great people and makes lovely friends 🙂

  9. Hi Sarah,

    I heartily enjoyed your message to Alex. As I read I thought this is what all parents want to say to their children, it is for me anyway. This is truly an inspirational article for both parents and children. Thank you for sharing and taking part in Abubakar’s project.

    • Thanks Sandra for stopping by and for your lovely appreciative comments. It’s been wonderful to be part of such an inspirational project and amongst such wonderful bloggers. Hope to see you over this way again. You’re most welcome.

  10. Haider says:

    Hi Sarah,

    A great list of lessons.

    When it comes to optimism, we’re often advised to see the cup as half full, but it’s sometimes useful to acknowledge the empty half, too. This is especially the case when it comes to learning. It creates a sense of humility in accepting that we don’t know everything there is to know, and that we’re open to learn from others, and fill our cup even more.

    Nice to see you’ve joined the list of contributors to the life lessons series! 😀

    • Hi Haider,
      Thank you so much for your encouraging words. Learning expands the mind so much and it has been a wonderful experience to take part in the Life Lessons Series and be amongst great minds. We all have so much to learn from each other and this has offered a wonderful platform from which to do it. I do hope you’ll be stopping by again sometime.

  11. I really like what was said about learning to love yourself before you can love other people. I have found this to be very true.

    • Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. If more people could learn to love themselves the world would be a better place. Congratulations for taking that step yourself. Hope you’ll pass by this way again and share your ideas.

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