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 !
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 http://headheartandsoul.wordpress.com .
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: http://www.abubakarjamil.com/life-lessons-series/
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.
photography by luigi diamanti: