If Only I Knew What I Know Now - Part 1
By Lorie Rosenberg
Life is a learning process. As you go through the various stages of your life, your experiences and the knowledge you gain help determine the choices you make and the path you follow. Think about it...what if you could go back and make decisions based on what you know now? What different choices would you make? How would you redirect the course of your life?
There’s a phrase that says that hindsight is 20/20. If only you could know when you're young how you should direct the course of your life, you'd be able to accomplish so much more. But unfortunately, when you're young you haven’t had the experiences yet that will help you discern the choices you should make to achieve your dreams. You're young, sometimes foolish. And you believe you must do it on your own to prove your worth. My young niece would say, “I do it myselfs.”
When I think back to when I was growing up, I really don’t remember my parents guiding me very much with major life decisions. I don’t know if they didn’t understand what to tell me or if I never really asked. I think that parents then took a more hands-off approach to parenting and let their children make their own mistakes so they could learn from their successes and failures.
Today we tend to be helicopter parents, completely involved in our children’s lives. We want to influence them to make the “right” decisions, at least from our own perspective. And we don’t want them to make the same mistakes we did or to follow in a similar path. Do they, in fact, need that experience to be able to make better decisions when they’re on their own? I'm thinking "yes."
So if you think back, what would you have wanted to know that would have helped you make better choices for yourself? What information might have propelled you down a different path…one that may have been more fulfilling for you?
That being said, you can’t change the past; however, by using this same knowledge, there are things you can do now that will help you stop second guessing your “What ifs” and decide to work towards some of the goals and objectives you’ve left behind for one reason or another. It’s never too late to create a fulfilling and rewarding life.
If Only I Knew What I Know Now!
I’ve created a list below of some truths I’ve learned throughout my life. They are in no particular order of importance. And they may differ from what you’ve learned from your own experiences. What’s interesting is that when I created the list, it kept growing and growing…I guess I’m more mature than I want to be…operative word being “old.” So I decided to break up the article into two parts so I can elaborate on each one for you. Next month I’ll continue with some additional ideas to help you on your own path.
Your Age Catches Up to You
When you’re young, it seems like your life goes on forever. Will you ever get into high school? Will you ever graduate from college? And then what?
People are waiting longer to decide what they want to do with their lives, to determine their career path, or to start a family. I thought I was old when I had my daughter at 35. The thing is that what people don’t realize is that at some point you actually start to feel older…both physically and mentally. You don’t want to work as hard each day and you’re tired more often. You need to remember that you’re only young once, so you need to get out of it as much as you can when you can because you can never go back.
Don’t wait too long to get your life on track because it flies by before you know it!
Plan Better for Your Financial Future
In that same line, retirement sneaks up on you. You’re in your mid 50s and early 60s and you haven’t saved up enough to retire…for quite a few years. It’s important to plan adequately for your financial future. Rather than retire, you may choose to reinvent yourself and take on a less stressful job with minimal pressures…something you’ve always wanted to do. However, you need to be in a financial position to do so.
Money doesn’t bring you happiness, but it does allow you to live a lifestyle of your choosing. Plan ahead, keep a modest lifestyle so you’re able to save (don’t spend everything you make), and be in a position financially to decide the right time for retirement.
Self-Esteem Is Learned through Experience
We try to teach our children self-esteem, because we didn’t have much of it when we were kids. The problem is that it can’t be learned in the classroom or by parents telling their kids how wonderful they are. It’s a feeling that is acquired through overcoming challenges and achieving results by hard work and effort.
Letting our children fail sometimes and allowing them to recover, persevere, and achieve results builds character and self-esteem.
A Few Small Decisions Can Make a Great Impact!
When you think back on your life, you can reflect on a couple of decisions that changed the entire direction of your life…a chance meeting, a vacation you took, a class you attended in college, or a glance across a bar. Sometimes it’s these small decisions in that one moment in time that can propel you to places you hadn’t even imagined. And likewise bad decisions can have extremely bad consequences that can dramatically impact what you do with your life.
Unfortunately, you don’t always know how your decisions are going to impact you. That’s why you continually need to be aware of the decisions you make and always look for opportunities to make the best decisions possible with all of your information you have at hand.
It’s Not Where You Live, But What You Make of It!
People nowadays travel all over the country and the world and settle in places they never thought they’d be. I never imagined in my early years that I’d live in the south and I’ve been in North Carolina for 28 years. It’s a great place to live and to raise a family.
At one point in my life, I was disillusioned about what I was doing with my life. Instead of looking at what I could do to refocus my efforts here, I thought a new location would be the answer. I found out pretty quickly that it’s not the location that really matters, it’s what you make of the location you’re in. It’s about finding the right community to live in and surrounding yourself with people with like values and who support your goals and objectives. There are truly places to visit…and there are places for living. Make where you are the right place for you to be.
There’s No Failure…Only Feedback
Most of us go through life avoiding failure. And that’s not a bad thing. You don’t want to experience failure after failure or you might think that failure follows you. However, you don’t want to go through life playing it so safe so that you never achieve anything new. Sometimes in order to move forward you have to get out of your comfort zone and try something new and different. When you do that, you might fail a little bit before you understand exactly what you’re doing.
That’s why it’s important to view a failure as feedback. It shows you what you did wrong and what you may need to do to improve your effort and succeed the next time. When you view failure not as a personal disaster but rather as a “blessing in disguise,” you'll be better able to regroup after setbacks and continue to boldly go after your objectives.
If You Want to Succeed, You Need to Set Goals and Follow Through
There are people who win the lottery, who inherit a lot of money from a long lost relative, or who are just plain filthy stinking rich, and seem to have everything they want or need. Yet, most of us are not in that same situation. If we want anything we have to dream big, set goals and take action.
It’s a simple enough strategy, but difficult to follow when obstacles get in the way. That’s when many people quit because the challenge is too much for them to handle.
The simple truth is that if you want to succeed at anything, make a lot of money, or simply make a difference in the world, it’s accomplished by setting goals, focusing your efforts in that direction, and following through until you achieve results.
It’s Time to Go Create You!
No matter where you are, you have the potential for success. You have everything you need within you to reach your full potential…to live a life of significance and to fulfill your goals and dreams. There’s nothing that can hold you back if you know what it is you want to achieve, have a plan with specific steps to move you in the right direction, and the drive and motivation to see it through to completion. Isn't it time to Go Create You!
Click here to find out how to use this article in your newsletter, magazine, or website.