From the Archives: 20 + 1 things that I have learnt in life

15 May 2012

Over the past few years, I’ve had some incredible conversations with people that have really shaped the way I see the world and the way I live my life.

Here are some of the snippets of advice and experiences that I have taken on board, and which I think represent who I am today and the way I do what I do:

  1. Do things with a smile – if the task is inevitable, you might as well make yourself feel better (or make someone else feel good) doing it.
  2. Never take yourself too seriously – no matter how ‘important’ or ‘awesome’ you think you are. Serious people are boring.
  3. Open up your senses – eat slowly; stop taking pictures and enjoy the atmosphere; smell the roses.
  4. Value your friends – commit to spending quality time with them and never be too ‘busy’.
  5. Find something that makes your eyes sparkle – the thing that makes you really excited.
  6. Be around people who make you want to DO things – the people that give you energy and share your enthusiasm (even though they have no idea what you’re on about sometimes).
  7. Forget about the ‘competition’ – you can only achieve what you are capable of achieving, and go with the confidence that you can go far.
  8. Look good to feel good – I am guilty of wearing my pajamas out of the house too much. Sometimes looking the part gives you just the right kick you need.
  9. Do things with a bit of fight – and always be present.
  10. Sit at the table – even when you don’t feel good enough.
  11. Find joy in simple, maybe even mundane, things – I really enjoy the time that I spend on moving things: aeroplanes, trains, buses, long car rides .etc because I find that it really helps clear the mind.
  12. Find a favourite writer, musician, artist – it keeps you sane.
  13. Never limit yourself – thinking too far ahead can be a scary exercise but never close doors for yourself (unless of course you need to close doors to open new ones!).
  14. Talk to people – friends, family, new people, old people, strangers, the person that makes you your coffee every morning. There are so many interesting and incredible stories just waiting to be uncovered.
  15. Aspire to be like the person you look up to and respect – and not for a job or salary bracket.
  16. Write thank you cards – and always be grateful for the people who have helped and looked out for you.
  17. Never be too big, nor too small – never think that you are ‘above’ someone else just because you have achieved x, y and z, and also never think that you are below someone who has achieved x, y and z.
  18. Be frugal, but also have fun spending your money – see money as a means to an end, and spend it on the things that make you (and other people) happy.
  19. Believe in something – whether it be a religion, karma, or in another person. I have a rather strong but probably irrational belief that things will always work out for the better.
  20. Come to terms with yourself and who you are – knowing your limits and understanding what is truly important to you is one of the most gratifying and freeing experiences.
  21. Prioritise your time – life is a gift, so really prioritise the things that matter to you: for me, these are my relationships.

 

Some people use death (what would you do if you knew you were to die tomorrow?) to help them make difficult choices in life. I always think about it in terms of regret – would I regret doing this, or not doing this, ten, twenty or thirty years down the track? It makes the temporary pain bearable and it stops fear from speaking for you.

We are individually small, but we can all do big things.

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