The biggest truths about life are often told in the tiniest moments. We grow up, and we call them life lessons for kids.
But, aren’t those simple words of wisdom lessons for all? Passed along from elders to beginners. They make up a treasure trove of cautionary tales and casual pieces of advice.
These are the ones I wish I heard, remembered, and lived my life by 10 years ago.
1. Who cares what people think or say about you? What matters is how you think and feel about yourself
The rules are pretty simple. Love yourself, and others will love you too. Believe in your dreams, stand behind your choices, and have respect for who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Walk through life with dignity and pride. Free yourself from validation, and validation will come.
2. Don’t allow others to project their insecurities onto you. When people can’t do something themselves, they want to make sure you can’t too
Get to know your limits instead, and don’t be afraid of pushing them. As long as you follow your passion and work very hard, you can succeed where everyone else has failed. They’ll envy your progress and try to hold you back, but don’t let them. Nobody can tell you what you can’t do.
3. If you want something in life, be prepared to work really hard. Most importantly, never give up
When you first start thinking of giving up, think about why you held on for so long. Nothing worthwhile can be accomplished overnight, but all the effort on your part makes the success that much sweeter. Be committed to your goals, and don’t ever stop until you’ve reached them.
4. Beauty is most important when it comes from within
We are never more beautiful than when we think beautiful thoughts and do beautiful acts. Always be the best possible version of yourself, and your happiness will emit a warm, bright light that everyone will be drawn to. Internal beauty never fades but shines through the eyes.
5. Don’t ever feel entitled to others’ fortune or success. Be happy for their achievements and use them as your motivation to do better
Each and every one of us has a purpose to fulfill. An artist is given a gift of creation, but the artwork is their own to create. Nobody will make your dreams come true if you don’t do it yourself, so never be envious of other people’s self-realization. Be inspired by them instead.
6. You’re not born with pre-determines skillsets. Every skill you need to succeed in life can be developed and improved
You are endowed with potential, nothing else. It’s up to you to reach it by trying and failing and trying again. The same as every diamond has to be honed, you need to refine this raw potential by learning and improving. Develop new skills all the time – your success depends on them.
7. Don’t ever compare yourself to others. Don’t assume you know their journey just because you know where they are
In the direction and end goal, all paths look alike. We may want different things in life, but our difference is of the same kind. What separates people is where they start and in which way they get to the place we all want to be in. Don’t get distracted by comparisons, but look ahead.
8. Take care of your parents whether or not they were good to you. They’re full of priceless lessons that will propel you forward in life
Collect experiences good and bad, both those that are yours and those that belong to others. If your parents gave you little but hardship, find it in your heart to forgive them and learn from their mistakes. Never hold grudges with your family, since they are yours and you are theirs.
9. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes as they are the greatest opportunity for you to grow and evolve
If you’re not failing every now and then, it is a sign that you’re not doing anything innovative. Every new ground hides either a goldmine or a landmine, and you must explore it in order to find your luck. The mistakes you might make are the most valuable lessons for the future.
10. Be kind to everyone you meet, even to those that were mean to you
Kindness goes both ways. It pleases the receiver while making the giver a little happier and a little healthier. Even if the person standing before you has done you harm in the past, return them with kindness. If nothing else, it will heal your wounds.
11. Complaining is the biggest waste of time. If you have time to complain, you have time to do something about it
Enough said. Some lessons for kids are so simple and true that you can carry them around for the rest of your life until you finally pass them along to your little ones. This one they’ll memorize in an instant, just like you have. Instead of miserable complainers, you’ll raise happy doers.
12. Always write down your goals if you want to really accomplish anything valuable in life
My grandmother used to say that only foolish people remember. The smart ones write it down, she firmly believed. Have your goals and plans written on paper, and follow them as they were written in stone. It will help you make a commitment and allow you to track your progress.
13. Instead of chasing money, accumulate skills. They will make you a person of value and nobody will be able to take them away from you
Never measure your worth in money, but in your ability to earn it. If you build an empire with your hands, the empire might fall, but you’ll still be left with all the tools and experience you need for raising a new one. Invest in yourself, since that’s the only thing that truly pays off.
14. Surround yourself with people that have qualities and life values that you desire to have
These are the people that will never tempt you to stray from your path or hold you back from your goal. When there’s a mountain standing in your way, they’ll help you climb it. Their support will align with what you want to achieve and the way you want to achieve it.
15. Love yourself first before you can love someone else
Some people have all the love to give, but none to retain. Others keep all the love to themselves as if they are afraid that love is exhaustible. There’s plenty of it for every single soul, so make sure to divide it into equal parts. Love everyone who deserves it, including you.
16. Never say “I can’t”. Instead, say “I’ll give it my best and learn from it”
What is the worst that can happen? As long as you pick yourself up again, failing is not so bad. Trying is half the success, so make sure that you always do. A bad decision is better than indecision. If you end up right back where you started, at least you’ll be richer for one big experience.
17. Spend time with people you love
Nothing is more priceless than those fleeting moments you spend surrounded with love. Don’t pick fights or look for problems where there aren’t any, but enjoy every second while it lasts. The people you love are the most precious gift you have, so never take them for granted.
18. Don’t be lazy about learning new things. It’s the best exercise for your brain to grow stronger
Eventually, most of us regret skipping classes. It usually happens late, when our brains are much older and less flexible. Knowledge is delicious and addictive; the more of it you have, the more of it you want. Start early, read more, travel and soak it all in. It’ll give you power and delight.
19. Exercise daily. You only have one body, so take care of it well
A flower has very little needs. If you want it to grow, you need to give it water, sun, and space. The same applies to your body, even though your body’s needs are much bigger. Nurture it every day, and it will grow strong. Physical exercise will make you beautiful, energized, and healthy.
20. Always be helpful to those you love
If they are sad and you are happy, give them some love. Always go an extra mile for your family and friends, and together you’ll live a long and fulfilled life. Share their sorrow and joy, embrace them for who they are, and be there whenever they need it the most.
21. Think of others’ feelings whenever you speak
Accidental wounds hurt as much as attentional ones. Words bring pain too, so always think about other people’s feelings before you speak.
22. Be a giver, not a taker
The power of giving is easy to unlock, almost impossible to lose, and very healing to possess. However little you have, share it with somebody else. You’ll feel the kind of joy that could never be compared to the joy of receiving. To give is to revitalize and to be invigorated in return.
23. Don’t blame others if you don’t want to make them feel bad, but don’t blame yourself either. You’re only human
Is determining a wrongdoer really so important? Accusations, judgment, and blame only elongate suffering, so let’s always reap what we saw in silence and with dignity. If the person who’s guilty doesn’t apologize, it is their cross to bear. Never blame yourself for others’ mistakes.
24. Take action. If you want to do something, just start
Otherwise, you’ll spend your precious time dreaming about your life. You need to live it, not plan it while it happens, so put your fear aside and take a leap of faith. You’ll take your first step in the wrong direction, but the step itself can never be wrong. It’s a movement, an ultimate sign of life.
25. Treat others the way you want to be treated
Since the world won’t do you any favors, you’ll have to earn everything your heart desires. If you want respect, you’ll need to show it first. To receive love, you’ll need to give love. When you feel like you’ve been mistreated in any way, try changing how you treat people around you.
26. The only disability in life is a bad attitude
There’s nothing you can’t do. The universe gave us a blazing star and an empty, but fertile land, so we learned how to make it magnificent. For every tool that you need but don’t have, there’s a way of obtaining it. When there’s will, as one of the best lessons for kids says, there’s a way.
27. Don’t pretend that you know something when you don’t. If you don’t, ask
If you don’t ask, you miss an opportunity to know. It’s as simple as that.
28. Always be honest at everything you do and with everyone that you meet along the way
Keep your thoughts pure. Speak nothing but the truth. Feel authentic emotions. Always be honest to yourself and the people around you, in both your words and your heart. Deceit never comes alone, and it doesn’t take long to pollute everything that’s genuine and real.
29. It’s ok to be vulnerable. Showing your vulnerability means that you’re confident both physically and mentally
To be vulnerable is to be a human being. When you laugh, you feel alive, but pain, sorrow, and tears are also a part of life. A vulnerability is nothing but susceptibility to the outer world; it’s not only perfectly natural, but it’s also wonderfully authentic. When it hurts, it means that you care.
30. Always have fun in whatever you do
The rules are pretty simple. You win some, you lose some. You learn, and you get up. The circle of life is very small – in-between triumphs and failures, good times and bad times, there’s an empty void that has to be filled with something simple and meaningful. Fill it with joy and fun.
Notes to My Younger Self
John Wooden said, “Make each day your masterpiece”. And that, dear friends, is the only lesson for kids that matters. Write it down, pass it along, and live it every single moment.