What were your school years like?
Like many, they may have been years filled with math, English and science classes, combined with insecurities, bad skin and intense friendships bound by your deepest secrets that were shared at slumber parties or in the locker room.
While I don’t regret anything I’ve done anything in my life (as I believe that even some of my worst decisions led me to where I am today), however, I do feel my school years would be more valuable if the occasional gym class had been substituted with some personal development lessons. (Apologies to any teachers if they were, and I was too busy exchanging notes with friends to focus on what seemed like such trivial information at the time!)
However, if I had to a write a list of life lessons to add to my 15-year-old self’s class timetable now, these would be them:
1. Not everyone in life will like you – no matter what you do or what you look like. And the reverse side of this is, you won’t always like everyone (and sometimes you can’t even pinpoint why). All you can do is treat everyone with kindness and be yourself. If this isn’t enough, they’re not worth your time. This equally applies to friendships and dating!
2. Be your own best friend – this follows on from my above point, looking for other people’s continuous approval will lead you down a lonely path (particularly if you’re looking for it from the wrong kind of people). Be kind to yourself and focus on what your greatest strengths are. Noone is perfect, so don’t waste time wishing you were. Where there is room for improvement, do what you can and listen to your inner voice.
3. Don’t beat yourself up – things will go wrong from time-to-time, it’s what makes us human. The best thing to do is dust yourself off and try again. Of course if you keep making the same mistakes, it might be time to change tactics, although sometimes our mistakes turn out to be the biggest blessings in disguise and take us down a greater path.
4. Set goals and write them down. When your head is swarming with a list of everyday tasks, the bigger picture and less urgent goals can get pushed until tomorrow. And then the week after, and then maybe the year after that. Writing them down not only gives you a sense of purpose, it helps you realize what’s a priority in your life. Stick your goals up somewhere you can see them, so when you feel yourself going off track, they’ll act as gentle reminder.
5. You can be whatever you want…within reason. The statement “you can be whatever you want” is one I’ve always been a little skeptical about. Can I really be the next Beyonce when I really can’t sing? The truth is, not matter how hard I try, probably not (my school principal will even vouch for this). But I can find what I am really good at, or something that I am incredibly passionate about, then shoot for the stars and make it happen.
6. You’re the only thing standing between a good and a bad day. It’s raining and grey outside and you’re running late for what’s set to be a tough day, however you have a choice at this moment to stay calm and make the most out of the day, or let any obstacle control your mood. Sure, things will sometimes come up that will lead you wishing you never got out of bed, however most of the time, we really can shape our reality.
7. Don’t compare yourself to others. There will always be people who are better at something or have more than you do. Whether they’re more attractive or smarter than you, or have the financial freedom to live a more luxurious life. Yes, it would be amazing if we could live the “dream life” we have conjured up in our heads, however the life you’re living is the one that you have. So make the most of it and follow the kind of dreams that will bring you happiness.
8. 80% of what you fear will never happen. I’ve heard this statistic a lot over the years, and now that I’m 31 (gulp), it certainly feels this way (now why didn’t they teach us this in math class?). Knowing it doesn’t always take the worry away, but it can put things into perspective when your mind is going into overdrive with fears of “what if.” Most of the time the worst case scenario doesn’t eventuate, so rather than preparing yourself for that, plan for the best outcome. Seeing a situation in a risky state gives you the chance to see what you really want and what your next course of action should be.
Do you have anything to add to this list? Share with us any life lessons you wish you could have studied in school!