5 Great Lessons to Learn about Life
Life is a continuous learning experience. We all come into the world with the sole purpose to learn and grow. Eventually, we all, barring few exceptions learn in many different ways. Our parents, teachers, colleagues, and many others who come into our life teach us in one way or the other.
Besides, our life is full of experiences which also provide us lessons. You all will agree we learn more from our adversities. No one is immune to such trying times, they may even hit us hard on certain occasions. If we are sensitive and responsive, we learn quickly from those challenging experiences. However, some of us even don’t learn from those eventful experiences.
Unless we learn certain basic lessons of life, we may keep making the same kind of mistakes, or face failures, or may encounter hardships in life. Throughout our life journey, we learn but some of us learn some lessons quite early in life because of life’s conditions. Otherwise, many of us learn quite late but all of us do learn lessons from the life presented to us in many different ways.
In this article, I am recapitulating 11 great lessons we must all learn about life. The earlier we learn the better it’s for us.
1 About God, Fate, or Luck, we are what we think
We are what we tell ourselves, each moment of the day. Lord Buddha very rightly asserted that
“We are nothing but thoughts.”
We are what we think about ourselves and the world around us. Thoughts lead to choices, which in turn become our actions. Then our actions determine the path we follow in our lives. What kind of thoughts do we continue to entertain really matter in the long run?
Our personality, mindset, attitude, behavior, etc are products of the thought pattern. If we experience positive thoughts and emotions, it helps us in leading a healthy life. Otherwise, we face many psycho-somatic and lifestyle diseases in our lives.
Most of the diseases we encounter in modern days are created purely by own lifestyle we lead. If we have a habit of entertaining positive thoughts, there is a strong possibility of living longer and healthy compare to those who have increased thoughts of negativity in their life. Numerous studies have proven this fact. Our thoughts create the mindset through which we navigate our life’s journey.
2 Everything will change, it’s just a matter of time, so don’t resist change
The most fundamental aspect of all existence is impermanence. The concept of impermanence (anicca) forms the bedrock of the Buddha’s teachings. Reality is never static.
For instance, in our physical bodies, billions of cells die and are replaced by fresh cells every day. Most parts of our body are changed in about 10 years. Likewise, everything in the universe is in a constant state of flux. Our life’s conditions are also changing all the time. However, we generally don’t notice it.
Whenever there is change leading to disruption in our life, we resist. We don’t accept changes easily if they are not suitable and favorable to us. When we resist or react to them, suffering starts. This is one of the biggest causes of suffering in our life. If we are comfortable or getting attached to certain situations then we want the ‘status quo’ to be maintained.
People can go to any extent to resist change. As the change will supposedly challenge the ‘comforting situation’. One of the biggest challenges to personal growth and development is our resistance to change and, in that process, we may lose opportunities that could be hugely beneficial to us in the future. Ideally speaking, we should be receptive to changes and accept them wholeheartedly, whenever needed.
3 The best possible investment is when we invest in ourselves
We have come into this world with a sole purpose to learn, grow and move to a higher plane of consciousness. Otherwise, what’s the purpose of coming into the world.
Unfortunately, the vast population on this earth doesn’t live meaningfully, they merely exist. Vast opportunities are lying around us to avail, but that’s possible only when we live consciously and mindfully. We need to expand our awareness level. Our purpose is to have increased self-awareness and availing higher learning experiences throughout our life. For that, we must invest in ourselves. Maximum possible returns are to be expected when we make a strong investment in ourselves. Whether this investment is in the form of money, energy, and/or time, it’s the best option available to us. There are no other better alternatives.
Whatever the purpose of life we may have, they cannot be realized unless we grow mentally and spiritually in life. Investment should be gradual, steady, and more in areas where we require the most. No one is even near perfect, there are always certain weak areas in our personality. We need to identify them. We should also make a balance sheet of life, by identifying our strengths and weaknesses. Then set priorities and allocate resources by way of time and energy.
4 If you want happiness, stop searching it in outside world!
We all desperately want to be happy. But unfortunately, most of us look happy in the outside world. Sadly, we feel happiness will come once we have all the comforts and material goods. To a certain extent, it’s necessary to have money. But once our basic necessities are met then, happiness is not proportionate to the wealth and material goods we acquired in life. Those who are rich and wealthy, almost every year travel to exotic places of the world like Switzerland, Venice, and Rome. They sincerely feel they will become happy and satisfied through those visits.
It’s a widely held misconception that happiness and contentment will come when we acquire huge wealth and then spend lavishly on them. They feel that the wealth they accumulate, the luxurious house they acquire, higher status and prestige they earn in society will bring happiness in the future. That’s the reason, they chase those things and can go to any extent to acquire them.
No doubt, all of the ingredients that lead to happiness lie within our minds. Nothing from the outside world is required. So here lies the reason. When we chase wealth and material goods with the hope that these things will bring happiness, we are grossly mistaken. Therefore, we must look for those things which give us the feeling of joy and contentment like nurturing of true relationships, low expectations, and right priorities, learn to manage mind and thoughts.
5 We often create our own ‘mind-made prison’, A serious impediment to our growth
We are social animals, love to stay in our own comfort zones. We create our “comforts” and they generally choose to live there. Unless we are disturbed by external situations, we do not want to step out of our comfort area. Further, we have an increased amount of thoughts that have negative impacts on change than positive ones.
Within the comfort zone, we may be earning a comfortable living, securely set in a fixed routine and with a number of “close” friends and a lovely family. And that’s it; we do not wish to get out of that perfectly fine scenario. Should something disrupt it, we feel extremely uncomfortable and react sharply. This is how we often miss opportunities that would have otherwise be available to us had we accepted the change gracefully.
When we keep on repeating the same things day after day, it becomes habitual and conditioned as we become comfortable to perform those things. We then don’t want to change that routine. People resist changing these settings. The reason is fear of change. We resist change. That very routine becomes part of us. We are trained to carry out those tasks in an absolutely comfortable manner.
Unconsciously we keep on following the same set of activities on a routine. We then stop experiencing new things, explore new areas, learn new skills, and so on. In a very real way, we can spend our days in a “mind-made prison”. Since we don’t want to venture out from that comfort zone, this becomes the biggest impediment to our growth.
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