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014. If I Knew Then

If I knew then, what I know now is a phrase often heard from those much older and certainly much wisely than I am now. From time-to-time I sit back and reflect upon my life, lessons I’ve learned, things I’ve accomplished, challenges I’ve faced and everything from the good bad, and the plain old ugly. People always say hindsight is 20/20. Anytime you allow yourself to compare your present to the past you are doing so with the advantage of hindsight. Hindsight gives the ability to look back over the course of your life with knowledge that you did not possess at the time and venture on how that knowledge could have changed the outcome. In my reflection, I’ve realized some of the trials and tribulations I have experienced in my life were due to my own iniquities, while others were just evitable woes of life. Whether you are young or young at heart, it is never too late to change and incorporate better lifestyle practices into your daily life. These are the 9 life lessons that I wish I knew much sooner that I know now.

Believe in YOU!

The world is open to you. Develop belief in yourself. You can do anything and everything you want in life, but you must believe you can achieve it. Confidence is the key to just about everything, learn to be confident in whom you are, your morals and values and it will get you what you want in life. The world is full of endless possibilities, yes life may get tough at times, but you are equipped with everything you need to go out into this world and be great!

Create a healthy body, mind, & soul.

The mind, body and soul are deeply connected. My grandmother used to have a saying be of a sound mind in a sound body. In order to have a balanced life, you must focus on your mental and spiritual wellbeing just as much as your physical health. This means not only maintaining a healthy diet and routine exercise, but establishing a lifestyle with positive thinking, regular rest and recreation as well. You want to always make sure you are taking care of yourself, so that your mind, body, and soul are all healthy and able to operate in harmony as one. You cannot truly be balanced and happy if your mind, body and soul are not at peace.

Life is a journey.

Use your life plan as a template to navigate your journey, but also be flexible. Life does not always go as planned. Get used to change and embrace it. Seek change. The only thing consist about life is that it is always changing. You are on a journey, which means things will change. Even important things will change, sometimes shockingly. But it is nevertheless a good journey, and it's worth every step.

Know God.

God is God, everlasting, yet never changing. Nothing will benefit you more in life than a personal relationship with God. Get to know God and allow him to not only know you, but use you. You can't pray too much. You will never waste any moment you spend on getting to know God. Read the Bible thoughtfully, open-mindedly, prayerfully, with discernment. God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.

You cannot please everybody.

Following the latest fashion, in work or in life, is spiritual and intellectual suicide. Don’t spend time trying to please other people, regardless of your decisions or actions there will always be people that agree and disagree. Live your life your way. Don’t worry about what people think or what people have to say, everyone will have their own opinions but it should not dictate your decisions in life. Everyone’s opinion is based off of an accumulation of their own beliefs, values, culture, and life experiences. Therefore, each person’s views are likely to be different and if you seek to please everyone you will end up wasting too much time trying to seek validation, respect, or approval from others. Aiming to continuously please others will only cause your personal dreams and desires to fall by the wayside, making it difficult to enjoy true happiness and fulfillment. You can be a cheap imitation of the ideal of the moment; or you can be a unique individual. The choice is yours.

Live for today.

Engage in self-reflection, but don't let it become self-deception. Don’t allow your yesterday to disturb your today or your today to impede on your tomorrow. Don’t spend too much time dwelling on the past or put too much emphasis on things happening in the future. Life takes a healthy balance of learning from the past and preparing for the future, but you should not let either overtake your contentment in today. Allow yourself to take your experiences of the past as lessons to help you build a better tomorrow, but do not dwell in the past or the “someday” melodrama. Live for today.

Forgive and Forget.

Put ALL failures and conflicts in the past. Let it go. Don't ruminate on how others have hurt you and don’t forget to forgive yourself too. There is healing in forgiveness. While forgiveness can be beneficial for the person you are forgiving, forgiveness is mainly beneficial for you. Forgiveness is a process. It is about you letting go of a grievance someone has inflicted onto you. Forgiveness is a healing process that allows us to grow as a person, but most importantly spiritually.

Success takes work.

Figure out your passion and purpose. Discover your natural talents and skills and allow that skill set to navigate your profession in life. Work hard and carefully to figure out a career you will love. This will involve trying different things, but with each new thing you will pick up new knowledge and experiences that will continue to help you along the way. Understand that regardless of the path you choose, success will take a multitude of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Success is not promised, it is earned.

Be Positive.

Be grateful. Gratitude leads to more happiness and wellbeing. Bless others. Be a positive influence in any way you can. Even simple little helpful acts can make others -- and you -- much happier. Life can and will be hard, there will be good days and bad days, but learn to see the good in all days and in all aspects of life. Attitude is altitude. On most occasions you attitude going into a situation will dictate its outcome. Practice positive thinking until it becomes your norm.

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