September 1, 2016

48 Things That I’ve Learned in 48 Years.

Blue Mountains Local Studies/Flickr

Whisper it slowly—I’ll turn 48 this week.

It’s true, I’m not young anymore, but would I want to go back in time? Probably—but only if I can take with me all my experiences and the lessons I’ve learned from life.

There are times I look in the mirror and see the kid that was determined to conquer the world, and other times—especially after a long taxing run when my knees ache badly or after a rough day at work—I feel every single day of my 17,520 days I’ve lived on this planet.

The lessons I’ve learned are split into self-care, growth and service. For me, life revolves around these three buckets.

On Self-Care.

“To love is to value. Only a rationally selfish man, a man of self-esteem, is capable of love – because he is the only man capable of holding firm, consistent, uncompromising, unbetrayed value. The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.” ~ Ayn Rand

  1.  Get seven to eight hours of sleep daily.
    You won’t miss anything if you don’t. You may be able to survive on five hours a day for years, but what will be the quality of the life you’re living. Would you have time for joy?
  2. Simple eating plan.
    Eat a lot of vegetables. Cut out the white starchy carbs. Don’t allow processed food or drinks into your mouth. Remove sweet poison (sugars) from the house. Chew your foods well before swallowing.
  3. Exercise regularly. 
    Engage in whatever sport or pastime you like for four days a week, spending 40-60 minutes on that activity.
  4. Rise early.
    An hour of solitude before anyone wakes up, not only nourishes your soul but also gives you a one-hour head start in your life.
  5. Meditate for 15-20 minutes a day.
    It’s about training the mind and reminding it who is boss. Your mind is a tool and nothing more. Don’t become a slave to your wandering thoughts.
  6. Journal daily.
    Write out your feelings and emotions on three pages first thing in the morning and then destroy whatever you’ve written. It’s about making your emotions rise to the surface, not allowing them to lurk in the abyss.
  7. Get out and experience nature.
    Whether in parks or gardens, in the woods or the sea, there is something primordial and magical when we go back to where we came from—the soil, the earth and the water.
  8. Walk as much as you can.
    Walk to work. Walk to lunch. Walk to discover cities and walk at night after dinner.
  9. Establish Rituals.
    Set up regular habits that you do everyday, every week, every month for the rest of your life. My daily rituals include meditation, exercise, reading for an hour and writing 1,000 words.
  10. Be grateful.
    Imagine and feel what you’re grateful for with a smile of appreciation.
  11. Listen to music that moves your soul.
  12. Dance while no one is watching.
    If you have the guts then dance while everyone is watching.
  13. Forgive yourself daily.
    Forgive others as quickly as you can. In the end, you will understand that nothing that hurts once should keep on hurting you for the rest of your life. However, shutting out who or what hurts you doesn’t count.
  14. Smile, laugh and have fun.
  15. Get a pet.
    A kitten or a puppy, and allow them to rekindle the compassion in you.

    On Growth.

    “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anaïs Nin

  16. Money does matter but it also doesn’t.
    It’s nothing more than a tool and is not meant to be worshipped.
  17. “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~ Rumi
  18. Read like your life depends on it.
    Read great fiction. Read non-fiction. Words on paper have an unusual way of speaking to our subconscious, sometimes at a level that is much deeper than most other forms of communication.
  19. Read poetry.
    Especially Rumi, Kahlil Gibran and Walter Whitman—not for you but for your soul.
  20. Take a year off and travel the world.
    After 10 years, take another year off and travel the world again. And when you can afford it, travel constantly.
  21. Learn a martial art. Practice when you are young. If not, watch Bruce Lee movies and cry because you didn’t learn it earlier in life.
  22. Set up practices and systems rather than goals.
    Let goals be the big directional signposts while daily practice is the vehicle of getting there.
  23. Do one task at a time.
    Focus on it. Finish it. Then, move on to the next one.
  24. Work smart and not necessarily hard.
  25. Adopt a craftsman’s mind.
    The 10,000-hour rule really does work, give or take a few thousand hours.
  26. Practice the now.
    Only today matters as yesterday’s gone and tomorrow hasn’t arrived.
  27. Dare greatly.
    Always attempting things that get you out of your comfort zone.
  28. Understand that failure is not a big deal but only a stepping-stone to success.
  29. “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” ~ Gautama Buddha.
  30. True vulnerability is not a weakness but a place, which inspires courage, connection and compassion.
  31. You can change your thoughts. You can change your limited beliefs. You can change your behaviour. History has proven that.
  32.  Your environment and conditioning affect you.
    If you want to become a technology leader, then pack your bags and move closer to Silicon Valley.
  33. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
    Yes, the friend you think is worthless and you spend so much time with, is a mirror of you.
  34. F*ck what people think.
    At the end of the day, it’s all about what you think and what the people who love you think.
  35. We are all creative beings.
    But creativity is like a muscle and needs to be exercised regularly.
  36. Follow what makes you come alive.
    Before you know it, you’ve set the world on fire.
  37. Minimalism and simplicity are the best way to live and the older you get the more you understand that.
  38. Self-development and self-help gurus are all good sources of information, but they only become knowledge when you get into action and emotionalize their information.
  39.  Human beings are not perfect.
    Just remember that we will fuck up and hurt each other.

    On Service.

    “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

  40. Nurture relationships and friends.
    They are the raw materials of a “good life.”
  41.  Be punctual.
    It says something about you that you respect other people’s time.
  42. Be kind and treat everyone as if they were your mum or your child.
  43. Listen much more than you talk.
    You have two ears and one mouth.
  44. Share yourself, your thoughts and what you learn with people around you and with the world at large.
  45. Everyone is inter-connected.
    Everyone is the same. The rich, the poor, the famous, the baker in the small village. Quantum physics says so.
  46. There is nothing called luck.
    There is a science to how this universe works and all we need to do is respect its laws and respect each other.
  47. You don’t find your calling.
    It doesn’t just land on you. You live your life walking toward your purpose and adjust and create it as you go along.
  48. Have children.
    True, they are a huge responsibility and they keep you up most nights but they give your life joy and meaning.


Author: Mo Issa

Image: Blue Mountains Local Studies/Flickr 

Editor: Sara Kärpänen

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