I was recently asked by some young people to share some of my ‘Life Lessons’ with them.  After some thought I composed the following 15 lessons.

 I only wished I had received these when I was in my twenties!!

  1. You are the master of your own destiny

Napoleon Hill said, “You are the master of your own destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.”

Not judging others is a skill of emotional awareness and proof on how far you have come in life. Don’t hang onto friendships that no longer serve your best interests. Bob Marley said, “Truth is everybody is going to hurt you: you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.”

Your leadership can be more effective if you are aware of your emotions and other’s too. Believe that you can inspire the worth by just being yourself. Marylin Monroe said, “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

Do you prioritise yourself? Simple things like sleeping enough, organising your thoughts and creating healthy boundaries and saying no when appropriate are examples of doing so.

2. You can’t please all the people all the time.

15th century English Monk and Poet, John Lydgate said, “You can please some of the people all the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

You cannot pretend to agree with everyone or feel responsible for how other people feel. There is no need to apologise often and be sorry for being you. f you are a people pleaser you will probably find your diary filled with all the things that other people want you to do rather than the things you want or need to do for yourself. If you can’t stand the thought of somebody being displeased with you then you are more likely to compromise your values.

  • Learn to say NO.

Speak up for yourself, you will never reach your own goals if you always oblige. You also don’t have to be afraid of saying NO twice

Keep your response simple, firm and direct if you want to say no, try considering a compromise. You could consider simple smiling and shaking your head but there are plenty of polite ways of saying no, e.g.

  • No thanks!
  • Not for me/today, thanks
  • I’d rather not, thanks
  • I think I’ll pass
  • Thanks for thinking of me but I have too much on my plate now
  • I appreciate your time, but no thank you
  • Look after your body: there is no replacement available.

Here are some examples of what you can incorporate in to your day

  • Exercise your body for a healthier mind
  • Avoid sitting for extended periods of time
  • Spend time outside
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Meditate
  • Keep a journal
  • Schedule time off for yourself
  • Unplug from technology
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Go for regular doctor check-ups
  • Don’t ignore aches and pains
  • What you give you get in return.

Be a reflection of what you’d like to receive. If you want love, give love. If you want truth, be truthful. If you want respect, give respect. This not only applies to human interaction but also to yourself. If you would like to see results in your work or life, then you need to treat yourself with the same.

  • Have confidence in your own ability.

If you don’t believe in yourself, how do you expect others to believe in you? Mentally push through self-limiting beliefs and expose yourself to different situations and push through the uncomfortable. Be positive because the way you talk to yourself influences your neurobiological response to it. See things as a challenge, not a problem.

A great way to overcome negative thoughts is to come up with a positive thought to counter each negative one. Become more curious because an active mind always learns new things which enables you to be more confident.

  • Listen before you talk.

You will learn more and the person who is talking will feel understood and cared about. Anything you don’t get to share today, you can share tomorrow and then when you so share it, people will listen to you.

You should resist the urge to react or respond while the other person is expecting you to hear what they are saying before they would appreciate your response.

  • Work on creating long term relationships.

In life you can build long term relationships with co-workers, clients and customers, family and friends.

  • Communication + Performance = Long-Term Trust
  • Agree and adhere to commitments, early and often
  • Put yourself in their position and think like them, this can become the foundation of your relationship
  • Design your long-term plan and strategy for building loyalty in the relationship and implement it. Always improve the plan.
  • Be patient – the relationship won’t happen over night
  • Be honest with them
  • Always inform them of important things ahead of time
  • Create multiple communication channels, e.g. Phone, email, text and most importantly face-to-face
  • Listen before you talk!
  • Giving is often better than receiving.

Giving makes a human feel happy and sometimes a mere ‘Thank You’ is all we need to receive. Giving a gift, as well as volunteering or donating to charities can have a positive impact on your physical and mental health. Giving also inspires giving, those who receive with kindness also feel happy paying it forward to others. Giving also teaches responsibility because when you give you may be making a sacrifice.

You can give your time, your friendship, a listening ear or shoulder to lean on, advice and of course materially. Whatever you decide to give, know that a generous heart can be your own path to real happiness.

  1. You don’t need material things to define yourself.

Having lots of money, driving a fancy car, owning a large house; many people assume that these things denote a successful, happy life. However, when you lack love it becomes apparent that material things have little meaning. Will your stuff console you when you are sick or dying?

  1. Prepare early for retirement both financially and keeping yourself active with purpose.

People tend to underestimate the amount of money that they need to have readily available once they reach retirement age in order to live comfortably. From a young working age, an individual should start setting money aside and should investigate different ways in doing so, i.e. Retirement Annuities, Shares, Investments, Provident Funds etc. Please seek advice from a financial advisor.

  1. Your family and friends are your number one priority.

Why did you build your business and where do your priorities in life lie? It may be an outlet for passion but also to provide for your family. Making time for those that you are closest to is important as you don’t want to lose your friends and family if business goes south and then you have nothing!

Ask yourself these questions: Do you sacrifice your family for work? Does your work and social life timing always intersect? Can you take time off? Do you ever switch your gadgets off? Do you HAVE friends?

  1. Slow down and smell the roses.  Appreciate the small things in life.

Slow down and focus on things in your life that are pleasurable, nurturing and sustaining and savour them! Stay away from events that are annoying, frustrating and hurtful. Practice gratitude for those everyday things that are easy to take for granted or miss all together, like a hug, an excited hello or a pretty view. This attitude may help prevent negative events from having a big impact on your life but obviously won’t stop them occurring,

  1. Don’t succumb to peer pressure!!

Going by what your peers say or do or what they think is right gives you a sense of belonging. The acceptance makes you feel satisfied, but you shouldn’t have to change who you are for others. Be yourself and attract the right people who will appreciate you for the real you.

  1. Your friends define you – select them carefully.

Your friends are a statement of who you are choosing to become, they have an influence on your life and you need to make sure it is a more positive influence than negative. Living in a bubble of negativity can wear you down and get to you. Spend time with those that influence you to become a better person as well as motivate you so that you keep growing and improve to succeed. Think of 5 people that you are closest to with all their strengths and weaknesses, their positive and negative points and see if you are happy being a combined average of those results.

I hope you find these lessons helpful and they help you make the most of your life.

Eric Parker