This is a long overdue post which I was supposed to publish a week after my 26th birthday. But being the OC person that I am, it took me almost a month of editing and deep self evaluation to come up with the complete list. It was hard sorting out the most valuable ones out of all the lessons I’ve learned over the past twenty five years! Whew! These lessons were taken from different personal experiences and from various people whom I consider as mentors, those who have made it in real life. I feel grateful because in retrospect, perhaps I wouldn’t be able to think and act the way that I do now had I not learned these lessons. Now that I’m 26 and past that age we so-call ”quarter life” I wanted to have something to look back to in the next few years to keep me grounded and perhaps something to teach my kids too, who knows. :P
I hope you do get to pick something relevant to you as you read along. :)
1. Strive to become the best version of yourself every single day. Kaizen!
I always think of myself as a constant work in progress that’s why I think of this Japanese principle 90% of the time, especially during times that I fail to do things, I fail to meet my goals, and when I think of myself being a failure. This principle has helped me lift my own spirit in order to keep pushing further. Plus, its my way of telling not to be so hard on myself because the small but gentle improvements each day can go a long way.
2. Invest in your future by investing in yourself.
What I mean to say here is not just saving up money to take you to financial freedom. Invest more on education and lifetime experiences that will shape you to become the person you really want to be. Take classes, travel, and read books. Strive to constantly learn new things. I remember one of my mentor telling me that when we stop learning, we stop growing.
3. Live a little and enjoy life.
Two years ago after I shed off pounds and rid myself from obesity, I managed to maintain a normal weight by really having the discipline to follow an eating guideline and lifestyle. Also, I used to be so “Kuripot” to myself by not buying my own stuffs, living by this mindset ”why buy my own when I can borrow my sister’s stuffs?” haha. Those are just some. It was just last year that I realized how my own rules suffocated me, finding myself asking “What the F*ck happened to my life?”
I’ve been too hard on myself most of the time that I’ve forgotten how to really live. I’m more lenient now, ditching out some of the rules I’ve made on my own (yeah its meant to be broken), I have my constant share of cheat days, I eat normal food but still control my portions so as not to deprive myself, I shop when I could afford, I do the things I love no matter how crazy it is, because if not, I don’t know what else will make me happy.
4. On being in a relationship:
I’m grateful for the failed relationships and the heartaches that taught me a lot of lessons in love and relationships but the greatest thing I’ve learned is that I will never again compromise myself just to be in one and even won’t work just to catch a life partner. Which brings me to lesson number
5. I don’t need a man to be happy, to complete me, and to survive in this jungle because even without a boyfriend right now, I feel complete and I am happy with myself. And I know that in God’s perfect time, the one He has prepared for me will come, maybe not in his shining armor but yeah, he’ll show up. I don’t know how I would tell if that’s him but I’d be able to. (What? Labo. haha) I am God’s Princess, I deserve the best Prince out there and I will not settle for anything less.
6. Fall in love with who you are, and respect yourself for the person you are. Self respect and self worth play a big part in our attitude towards the world, and the way the world sees us. Focus on your talents and trust your intuition. Don’t change who you are, unless you think you can be a better person. Believe in yourself, and you won’t put yourself down in front of anyone just to make an impression. Love yourself, more than anything and anyone else.
7. You cannot give what you do not have.
When I was still little, I thought that putting yourself first above anyone else is a very selfish belief. Growing up, I learned that you cannot give what you don’t have so you got to fill yourself first so that you could have something to give. If you have no love, you can’t give love. If you are unhappy, you can’t make other people happy, right? I learned to love myself more than anything and anyone else and not to believe in what other people think or say that impacts me negatively. I guess that’s how I strive to be confident with who I am.
8. Love your parents and your friends. They are your best support system. Nuff said.
9. The world is not a wish granting factory, quoting from John Green’s Fault in Our Stars. Aladdin’s genie is just a fantasy. Reality says, If you want something, you gotta work your ass off for it.
10. If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not Big enough.
I’ve learned this from David Cook, one business mentor who came here in the Philippines a few years ago. If you dream small, then you limit yourself. Dream big dreams because we are not born to live a mediocre life!
11. Never be jealous with anyone who is more successful than you. Most of my friends were already living their dreams, broadcasted over social media. Sometimes, it makes me feel like I’m left behind but instead of feeling like a loser, I try to feel happy for them and channel the emotion into productivity instead. As they say, Success is just around the corner. You will get there too as long as you allow yourself to be unstoppable and unreasonable so just keep going.
12. When you are no longer happy from where you are, the big amount of money becomes devoid of value.
I’ve learned this when I resigned from my first corporate job for four years. At my previous job, I get paid really well, but, not on the salary but on the commissions. What I was getting from it could honestly pass up for a basic income of someone in a top management position. But even if I was getting that much, I still left my job. And that is because of that realization. So…
13. It is important to do what you love and to have a great support system that will encourage you to grow and succeed.
I remember one of my job interview a year ago, the manager asked me why it took me so long to find a new job and I told her that I’ve been picky because I wanted to make sure that the job I am applying for is aligned with my passion, aligned with what I love to do so that I won’t feel like working at all or else I would just be wasting my time doing something I don’t like. Even if I don’t get paid that much right now, I feel connected to it and there’s a lot of room to grow and soar higher. I believe Money follows growth, the same way that success does.
14. PASSION is everything! Same with lesson 13, do what you love. If you don’t like what you are currently doing, it’s okay to walk away and change your course, no matter what other people will think or say, it doesn’t matter as long as you follow your heart. If you haven’t found yet what you are passionate about, keep looking for it, you might find it in the most unlikely places.
15. When God changes your heart, be willing to change your plans.
When it comes to decision making, the best decisions will always be the ones that are made by following your heart and being true to yourself. I’ve been through a lot of crossroads for the last twenty five years and I know I wouldn’t be able to make the right choices without His guidance. I make plans, but the One up there always has something better, all you gotta do is trust, have faith and surrender.
16. Accept that not everyone will like me. That sucks but that’s the reality. I’ve learned to deal with it when I stopped being an appreciation seeking dork. Not giving a sh** about what other people think is actually liberating.
17. It is okay to act like a bitch sometimes, especially when the world and life itself throws you into the arena of bitches who’ll never get a life if they never bitched anyone. This life lesson also applies during those moments when I needed to defend myself from people who LOVED taking advantage of me when I’m being a pushover. I will never allow anyone to make me lose my self-respect for the sake of always “trying to be nice.” :)
18. Learn to choose your battles by mastering of your emotions.
How you choose to react to a certain situation magnifies it so before you react, think. That’s the purpose why our head is placed above our heart. Before you get angry at someone or something, think. Before you react to a situation, think. I remember this lesson so well because I used to be the kind of person who always mind the “small stuffs.” By mastering my emotions, I learned to master my life and even control whatever situation I am in. Remember, we only have 24 hours in a day, think if it is worth your time. :)
19. Breakdowns will always give you your moments of Breakthroughs.
One of the painful things that happened to me was when I lost a HUGE amount of money in bad business investments made out of a poor decision. It was painful because what I lost was hard earned money that could equal to the cost of a complete masters degree. That was a HARDCORE KNOCKOUT entrepreneurial lesson. Well, allow me to put into words my biggest breakthrough by quoting from Gokongwei, "Entrepreneurship is definitely not for the faint heart" that if I really want to become a business tycoon (probably) five to ten years from now, I definitely had to go through this kind of test and master the art of losing, the same way that tycoons Henry Sy, John Gokongwei and Donald Trump did. The breakdown pushed me to stand up again and clean up my mess. It was where I was shaped into the person that I am today — strong, determined and positive. As long as I keep moving forward, I’m not a hopeless case. Which led me to lesson number
20. Never be afraid of making the dumb ass choices and decisions. I would rather be uncertain than miss out on what is possible for me. Most people miss out opportunities for being afraid to take risks and for being afraid to choose — even choosing for themselves. Never let other people dictate how you should live your life by letting them choose for you.
21. Happiness is intangible and can never be in the form of money, success or even fame. There is no secret to happiness. I don’t even know how to explain it but I think of it more as a “decision” to choose the ones that make you happy over the ones that don’t.
22. It is okay to spend time ALONE.
Who cares if the world sees you as a loner? The world we live in is full of different noises that drowns our whole being. We simply get stuck in the daily grind that we tend to forget ourselves, we forget why we are here in this world, what it is that we want to do, we forget about our dreams and even forget about listening to own heart, we tend to forget the things and the people that really matters to us — our relationships with our families and with God, and our purpose in life. Moments of solitude is one way to clear your mind and hear your heart speak. I liked spending time alone because that’s where I find a sense of balance. When I started living independently, I had more time to be alone to reflect, more time to think and strengthen myself mentally and emotionally. Listening to silence is keeping me sane. :)
23. Create impact, add value.
This is a great lesson I’ve learned from my business mentors. The more you add value, the more you become valuable. You immortalize yourself by making a mark on the lives of others. So every day, strive to do something that would at least touch someone’s life. Remember the ARK? Act of Random Kindness, one day at a time.
24. Always love. As Nada Surf’s song goes, "Always love, hate will get you every time." Always love, because it is the key to a happy life. :) Need I say more?
25. Always Be Grateful.
I spent the eve of my birthday ALONE and I loved it. Why? I was able to spend a moment of complete solitude, a moment to reflect on each aspect of my life and to give thanks to all the blessings I’ve received in the past twenty five years. It was unexplainable, I don’t know why I was crying that night — probably because of joy, or plainly because I was in the deepest state of gratitude. All I could remember was what I felt after I opened my eyes. It was a fulfilling experience. Someone asked me what my birthday wish is and I honestly couldn’t think of anything more to ask. That’s how gratitude works. The more thankful you are, the more you get. If you are in deep gratitude, your heart is happy and you find contentment and more meaning in life. I am lucky to have everything that I have, and I know that the heavens still has more in store. Be grateful, for everything, including the bad stuffs that happened to you. Because that’s the only way you will feel that your life is bursting at the seams. :)
Cheers to life!