Some Life Lessons

Thursday, April 03, 2008

There are some things in life that I wished I'd known much earlier. Of course, there are still many things that I have yet to learn, but I'm glad I've come a long way. I think more people ought to learn these as early in life as possible. Here's a list of some things that I believe shows you that you've grown.

1) Make important decisions by yourself. Far too many people have been brought up sheltered by their parents. I'm not saying that parents should ignore their children, but there has to be a limit as to how far you hold your child's hands. Letting them face the world and guiding them along the way is much better than trying to shield them from everything and direct them all the way. This has to be adapted according to age, since younger children probably need more protection, but when adults (read those hitting above 20) are still being shielded from the 'terrors of the world' and told what to do, there's something seriously wrong. It's bad enough that so many people refuse to grow up without having their parents condone it. We should all move past the 'mummy / daddy will settle it for me' stage and start being more independent. I look up to my parents, especially my father, because he learned very early on in life how to take responsibility of his life and make important decisions. That's the thing about parents back then. They knew that once a child got past high school, the child should be making these decisions for himself, like what to do for the rest of their lives. While parents can have preferences, it is the child who ultimately decides and lives out that life. If you'd brought your children up right, they'd know how to come to you if they needed your advice.

2) Realize that the world is not fair. It's great to have a sense of justice. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world. There will be a lot of times when you may have done everything you can, put in your best effort, and still be let down. You will fail in one area of life at one point or another. It's what living is about. No matter how good you think your talents are, in studies, in sports, in music, in arts, in communicating, there's always someone much better than you. I'm not advocating that we just accept this and lose all hope, but identifying that the world owes you nothing is a very good starting point. By realizing that the world is not quite perfect, we prepare ourselves to handle defeat and disappointment. Sure, things may not always go the way you want them to, even if you feel you rightfully deserve it. If you understand the world, then just keep on going without giving up and eventually, the world will give you your chance. It's when people don't grasp this concept that they immediately lose all hope and spirit when faced with an 'unfair' defeat. You don't have to be that weak.

3) Understand that people will let you down. Yes, no matter how much you may trust someone, there are bound to be times when they disappoint you. This does not mean that they are not worthy to be relied on, but that as humans they are also susceptible to mistakes. People who don't get this are usually unforgiving and hold grudges. They need to understand that people cannot entirely fulfill your expectations, particularly if your expectations go beyond their abilities. The closer we get to people, the higher the expectations we have for them, and sometimes it just gets to a point that it cannot be fulfilled. Pointing the finger at them isn't going to help. The worst kinds are those who get all bitter when it does happen. You need to understand that people imperfect.

4) Be open minded. There are many things to learn in this world, and the mark of a great person is one who's willing to evolve and become better. Far too many people I've met say they're simply the way they are and cannot change. I believe this to be a fallacy, and is more stubbornness than anything else. Being closed minded is simply being unable to accept that there are alternatives, and that you have the ability to make changes. Just because you were brought up one way doesn't mean you can only make decisions and think in that way. You have the choice of evaluating what's good and what's not. True, changes do not come overnight, but believing that you CAN change is important, because without it, you'd try once, fail, and give up. The sad truth is that so many people simply stay 'the way they are' and years later, they're still the same, facing the same problems, doing the same things, making the same mistakes. They were never open minded enough to consider alternatives to their attitudes and choices. They are bound by their close mindedness. Being open minded is a CHOICE, as are a lot of other things in life. You have to be able to accept the things you have no choice over (like your height or family background) but that there are a lot of areas in life that you DO (like your attitude, actions, words)! Making mistakes in your attitudes, actions and words is fine, but making the same mistakes over and over and claiming "I'm just like that" is a lousy excuse for you to not even try to change.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it does provide a glimpse of the things that people, including myself, ought to understand so that they can live life the best they can. Learning this in your head is not enough as it has to be transformed into attitudes and actions, but knowing this is the first step to living a better life.

Posted by Gerald at 4/03/2008 02:07:00 PM