If Only I Knew What I Know Now - Part 2
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?
Last month, I began writing this article and found that there were so many lessons I’ve learned over the years that I couldn’t fit them into one article. That’s why I decided to break the article into two parts so I could share more of these lessons that may help you in your own growing process. They're listed in no particular order of importance, and, of course, they may differ from your own experiences.
You see, we are all on different paths, but the truths about life are somewhat similar. When we understand what we want to do, where we want to go and how we want to live, the process is a little simpler to follow. Unfortunately, as with any growing process, we sometimes don’t know what we need to know to make the path a little easier to follow.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Life is About Continual Learning
Sometimes when people become adults and finish high school or college, they think the learning is over. But truly it is just beginning. At each stage in our lives, we are continually growing and adapting to change. We develop our career, we parent our children, we manage our teenagers (or at least we try to) and then we navigate aging and retirement.
At every stage we need to learn new skills and coping mechanisms to adapt to the different challenges in life. My feeling is that when we stop learning, we begin the dying process, because we’re not rejuvenating the brain and replacing the neural pathways with new ones that will keep us young and vibrant.
You Are What You Eat
Today we’re bombarded by every type of food imaginable. There are all kinds of restaurants where you can get Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican and other varieties of foods. There are also hundreds of fast-food restaurants where you can get food fast, cheap, and easy. The problem is that most of these fast-food restaurants offer tasty but unhealthy food. And the portion sizes are larger than ever before. “Do you want to supersize it?”
I don’t know about you, but I was taught that you eat everything on your plate. Yet most of the time, the portions are enough for two people. And we wonder why our population is becoming so overweight? Plus, when you try to lose some weight, there are hundreds of diets and weight loss products that tout the reasons why they’re exactly what you need to rid yourself of your excess weight!
What I’ve discovered over the years is that the best foods for you are the meals you prepare at home…whole foods without all of the processing, the kind my mom used to make. They include fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. At home you can manage your portion sizes. And you can limit your use of refined carbs including sodas, fruit juices, pastries, white bread, white pasta, white rice and others.
The key to weight management and good health is to create an eating plan that you can live with and manage. And if your pants get too tight, it’s time to regroup, step up the exercise, cut back on the junk, and get back to a weight that’s healthy for you.
It’s Not What You Say…It’s What You Do!
It’s interesting that many people will advise and offer suggestions on what others should be doing, but their actions don’t demonstrate what their words are saying. It’s okay to say what you would do in a particular situation, but your actions must reflect that.
True character is shown not by what you say on a day-to-day basis, but how you live your life and the actions you take to achieve your goals and improve the world around you.
Surround Yourself with Nurturing People
An important part of your health and well-being is your social network. It’s the people you surround yourself on a daily basis. That’s why it’s really important to have caring, nurturing people in your life who support and encourage you. And sometimes that means letting go of relationships that are toxic to you and tend to bring you down.
The key is to minimize contact with those people who undermine you and hurt you emotionally and surround yourself with people who boost you up and help you to be your best self.
Striving for Your Greatest Good in Life
Everyone has special gifts and talents, but unfortunately many people squander those gifts because they don’t feel they’re good enough or they’ve been told they don’t measure up. It’s important not to let anyone or anything get in the way of your goals and dreams.
Now sometimes you need to be realistic. Not everyone can be an NBA basketball player. But even Muggsy Bogues, who is 5’3”, played for the Washington Bullets from 1987-89 and finished his career with the Toronto Raptors from 1999-2002. Isiah Thomas, who is 5’ 9” and currently with the Boston Celtics, is the shortest player to play in multiple All-Star games and to record a triple-double in a game. Those are two examples of people who by all standards shouldn’t have been in the NBA, but they were. Anything is possible with the drive, motivation and the will to succeed.
Collect Experiences Rather Than Stuff
Most of us get caught up in the material world. We strive to have a wonderful home, a stylish car, good clothes, and all the comforts of life. And while I really enjoy the beautiful art and treasures I’ve collected throughout the years, in the end it’s really the experiences that I’ve had with my family and friends that truly fulfill me. It’s being there for a friend with a difficult decision to make or who’s ill and needs comfort. It’s experiencing a beautiful wedding for a close relative or sharing grief at a funeral.
Exploring different parts of the world, trying new types of food and learning new languages all are experiences that broaden our perspective and enrich our lives. So instead of collecting stuff, isn't it time you collected meaningful experiences?
It’s Not Weak to Ask for Help – You Don’t Have to Do it Alone
We were taught in school to work by ourselves, probably because this is the easiest way to grade someone’s ability. But really, people work best when they are collaborating on a project. It allows the flow of creative juices and ways for innovative ideas to be born.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Everyone has different skills and attributes that are unique to themselves. Sometimes another skill is really needed to solve a problem and that’s when it’s important to ask for help. When people with unique perspectives come together, there’s nothing that can’t be accomplished.
Work Isn’t Work When You Enjoy It
When you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re going to be happier. It’s that simple. And that is why it is so important for you to find out what it is that you truly love doing.
Many people don’t love their jobs, but they work to fund their hobbies. Other people love their work and don’t have a lot of hobbies outside of work. It’s a good idea to try to find balance between your work and your home life. When you love your work, you look forward to your day and when you enjoy your personal passions and hobbies, you can enjoy being at home as well.
Judge Less and be More Tolerant of Others
People are unique and different, and that makes life so incredibly interesting. There is something and someone for everyone. There are different political parties, various religions, unique customs, and a multitude of beliefs. That’s what makes the world go 'round, and it would be extremely boring if we all were the same.
It’s time to embrace our differences and tolerate those with different ideas, beliefs and faiths, even if they are diametrically opposed to our own. It’s just the right thing to do.
Give Unconditionally and with a Generous Heart
Lastly and probably most importantly, you want to give with a generous heart. Do those special things for your loved ones, not just on special holidays or birthdays, but all through the year. It’s really the small kindnesses you give to those around you that truly make a difference in their lives and yours as well.
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!
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