You know, the fresh start of a new year…
It’s like a blank canvas.
We set new goals, we look forward to new opportunities,
And we hope that this year will be the best year yet.
But in order to achieve this, we rely on all those life lessons we learned in the past year.
They give us the wisdom we need to make changes in our life.
So to give you a kick start…
Here are 11 powerful life lessons you need to know to excel in 2015;
1. Worrying does not take away tomorrows troubles – It only takes away today’s peace
You’ve probably heard this a million times before…So then why is it so hard for us to actually stop worrying?
Believe it or not but 85% of what we worry about actually never comes true.
It just goes to show how much time we waste on worrying.
Often, we feel that by worrying, we are able to control a situation better. That somehow, we can prevent the worst from happening. Whereas in reality, worrying has no benefit. It’s a useless and harmful tactic.
This year…don’t let worrying;
- Cause you to dwell on worst case scenarios,
- Focus your mind on the negative,
- Cause you anxiety,
- Take away your peace of mind
- Stop you from taking risks
- Prevent you from enjoying the moment, and ultimately,
- Stop you from living a full and happy life
This year, try to resist the urge to worry and step into each day with courage and a sense of adventure.
2. Sometimes the most difficult people need your kindness the most
It’s never easy to show kindness to people who are rude or who irritate us, but sometimes they need our kindness more than anyone.
Everyone has their own story to be told. We will never know the full journey that people have gone through.
Sometimes, the most difficult people are hurting the most. Think about it…
If you grew up in a loving home, were always treated with love and respect, were never bullied and had opportunities to do what you love in life – how likely would you end up being a nasty or bitter person?
On the other hand, what if people constantly brought you down or you went through terrible hardships in life? Chances are, you might end up being less optimistic and less cheerful, and possibly even angry and bitter at the world.
If you want to make a positive change in the world, choose to show kindness to everyone – especially those that you think deserve it the least.
3. Setbacks and challenging moments in life are often opportunities in disguise for something bigger and better
For many of us, when challenges arise, we often feel overwhelmed. We feel trapped, down in the dumps and…well, they get the best of us.
But what if we could learn to actually appreciate set-backs, failures and challenges?
Sounds a bit odd doesn’t it? Appreciating unpleasant experiences?
Well firstly, challenging moments are simply inevitable in life. We are imperfect human beings living in an imperfect world – we will never have complete control.
But what many of us overlook is that….
The most challenging moments in our life are often the most rewarding experiences too.
We learn through our challenges, we grow stronger and wiser, we often grow closer to the people around us and new opportunities for something bigger and better often arise.
“Challenges is what makes life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful” – Joshua J. Marine
If we can learn to appreciate difficult times just as much as happy moments, just imagine how much easier it will be to see the light in the darkness and to push through our hardships.
4. If you don’t take control of your thoughts – they will take control of you
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” – Albert Einstein
If we tell ourselves something enough times, we will start to believe it.
It’s easy to underestimate the power of our thoughts…but take a look at this…
We have about 50,000 thoughts a day. If just 10 percent are negative – that’s 5,000 negative thoughts a day!!
That’s a lot of negative thinking. But what’s worse is that most of us think negatively more than 10% of the time!
We may not realize it, but those tiny negative thoughts add up. And they play a BIG role in how we see the world and how we view ourselves as a person.
Just imagine, if every day you looked in the mirror and told yourself that you were ugly or fat. Those thoughts would eventually start to consume your mind – and you would feel insecure and really bad about yourself.
We all deserve better than that.
On the other hand, what if you told yourself every day that you were smart, funny, beautiful, capable, worthy and kind.
How do you think you would feel?
We need to affirm ourselves, and lift ourselves up.
Telling ourselves negative things will not help us in any way. It has absolutely no benefit or good purpose. So why do it? Why bring yourself down?
We have a choice to feel positive about ourselves, about others and about our life.
5. Happiness is not found in seeking it for yourself – but in seeking it for others
Often when we think of happiness, we think of buying a nice house, going on holidays and doing all sorts of exciting things. And of course, these things help us to feel happy – but they are short lived.
The truth is, we are all on this Earth searching for a sense of meaning and purpose. It’s not enough to just live each day trying to fulfill our daily desires. There comes a point where we want something bigger – we want our life to make a difference.
Through enriching the lives of others and living a life of love, we will gain the greatest sense of fulfillment and happiness. Relationships are the oceans in which we find meaning, purpose and happiness.
“If you want happiness for an hour – take a nap. If you want happiness for a day – go fishing. If you want happiness for a month – get married. If you want happiness for a year – inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime – help others” – Chinese proverb
6. Love is a verb. Love – the feeling – is a fruit of love, the verb
Check out this powerful and eye-opening dialogue below;
Man: “My wife and I just don’t have the same feelings for each other that we used to have. I guess I just don’t love her anymore and she doesn’t love me. What can I do?”
Stephen Covey: “The feeling isn’t there anymore?”
Man: “That’s right, and we have three children we’re really concerned about. What do you suggest?”
Stephen Covey: “Love her”.
Man: “I told you, the feeling just isn’t there anymore.”
Stephen Covey: “Love her.”
Man: “You don’t understand. The feeling of love just isn’t there.”
Stephen Covey: “Then love her. If the feeling isn’t there, that’s a good reason to love her.”
Man: “But how do you love when you don’t love?”
Stephen Covey: “My friend, love is a verb. Love – the feeling – is a fruit of love, the verb. So love her. Serve her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her. Are you willing to do that?”
Wow. Isn’t that just so powerful?
One of the biggest killers of relationships is the belief that love is a feeling. And that if you don’t feel love, then there is little hope for the relationship.
EVERY RELATIONSHIP will come to a point where the pink glasses fade away and where the obsession you have for each other dies down.
You will start to see each other’s flaws and realize that your partner is not perfect.
BUT…if you nurture your relationship, if you actively show love to your partner everyday (even when it’s not easy), you will have a strong, happy and loving relationship.
7. Allowing yourself to feel bitter inside is like allowing the snake to poison you
When people hurt us or offend us, it’s often very difficult to completely forgive and let go.
So instead we hold onto a feeling of bitterness – but bitterness is like poison. Just like a small spark can turn into a roaring fire – bitterness, if not dealt with, will spread through your veins and poison your whole life.
Instead of feeling love, you will feel anger. And eventually, if not dealt with, it will turn into hatred.
Holding onto bitterness will only cause us more pain and suffering.
Imagine if a snake bites you – it’s not the snake that will suffer, right?
No, he will simply go along as usual as if nothing ever happened.
But you on the other hand, you will be poisoned. You will be the one to suffer from the snakes actions.
It doesn’t seem fair, right?
Well, think about the people who have hurt you as the snake…
Don’t let the bad deeds of other people cause you to suffer. Don’t hold onto grudges and let bitterness poison your life. Don’t let the snake win.
Rather, choose to forgive people who have hurt you. Choose to be happy. Choose to show love – not hatred – even to those who hurt you. And you will be free from the negativity of others.
8. You can never be liked by everyone
We often feel the need to be perfect in the eyes of everyone else and to be liked by everyone, yet we rarely consider ourselves good enough in our own eyes.
Maybe the reason we are seeking other people’s approval is so that we can feel good enough.
Why not cut to the chase and simply approve yourself – Tell yourself the things that you want to hear from others.
Tell yourself that you are beautiful, strong, capable and worthy.
Because the truth is, you will never be liked by everyone. You simply cannot please everyone!
And you don’t need to either.
What’s important is that you be the best person you can be. Have integrity, be kind, believe in yourself and show other people love – and the people that really matter will love and value you back.
And they won’t judge you because you make mistakes and because you are not perfect.
“Be who you are and say what you feel you because those who care don’t matter and those who matter don’t care” – Dr Seuss
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t try to please everyone. If someone doesn’t like you, be okay with it and remind yourself that you are good enough just as you are.
“One of the big lessons I have learned from my journey is you can’t please everyone, so don’t try.” – Chris Colfer
9. Everyone has a different love language!
We all have different ways that we give and receive love.
They can be broken up into 5 categories – also known as the 5 Love Languages.
But wait…did you know that your love language and your partners love language could be as different as Chinese and English!!!??
Most of us just assume that just because we feel loved in a certain way, other people do too.
But the secret to long-lasting relationships is knowing your partners love language – and making an effort every day to love them accordingly.
So here are the 5 Love Languages;
- Words of affirmation
- Quality time
- Receiving gifts
- Acts of service
- Physical touch
To get a specific overview of each Love Language – Click here.
Just remember, a hug for example, will communicate love to anybody – but it will SHOUT love to the person whose primary love language is physical touch. It is so important that you learn the love language of your partner and the people around you.
10. Self-awareness is one of the greatest kinds of freedom
Have you ever met someone who is very narrow minded? Or someone who gets very easily offended or angry? And you can never seem to get through to them?
Well chances are, those people don’t even realize that they are doing it – that’s because their pride makes them believe that they are always right.
“The way of a fool seems right to them. The wise always listens to advice”
Proud people are blind to their flaws. And they suffer for it. Their friends and family become frustrated with them, and they lose out on valuable relationships and experiences. Their lack of open mindedness and willingness to be aware of themselves keeps them stuck.
Self-awareness on the other hand is one of the greatest kinds of freedoms.
Awareness comes through;
- Choosing to be open minded
- Constant reflection on yourself
- Challenging your thoughts and opinions
- Recognizing your flaws, and
- Listening to the advice of others
And as a result, you’ll be able grow and become wiser, your relationships will flourish and you’ll be able to live a richer and more meaningful life.
11. Less is more
Ever noticed that the more stuff you buy – the more you want?
It’s like you just get sucked in…you buy a new top…and now you can’t stop thinking about that pair of pants you saw too.
And suddenly every shop you walk past draws you in.
I truly believe that materialism is a huge distraction in our lives.
We work extra hard and long hours just so that we can afford the best of the best.
But what if you could learn to live a minimalistic life and be satisfied with less?
For me personally, I would rather work 3-4 days a week (not 5+), live in a smaller house, live a more simple life, even buy second hand stuff!!….and have more TIME for my family and friends, and for doing the things I love.
Somehow we have all become accustomed to this big spending lifestyle where we are forced to work 5+ days a week…for our entire life! But it doesn’t have to be that way – it really doesn’t. You do the math. Think about all the stuff you buy each week/each year…and ask yourself if you could do without some of those things.
Less really is more. You just have to challenge your mindset and have the courage to go against the crowd.
2015 is YOUR year!
Let’s make 2015 the best year yet. You have the power to flourish, reach new goals, become wiser and realize those dreams!
Be proactive this year! But most of all…don’t be afraid to learn those lessons.
Make mistakes, stuff up 1000 times and just have one giant adventure.
And take these 11 lessons you’ve learnt today – and use them to help you excel in 2015.
This is YOUR year…if you choose it!
We’d love to know…what are your hopes and dreams for 2015? And what lessons have you learned in the past year? You can leave your comment down below 😉
Till next time, (And we hope you have an awesome year!)
Much Love, Bastiaan and Chantalle