1. The ability to deal with issues head-on. Most often, the universe will work things out for you, but it’s still your responsibility to deal with the residual aftermath. You can ignore it and wish it away for years, but they will always boil to the surface eventually. Learn to embrace your issues as they come, deal with them appropriately, and move on, or you’ll be fighting with them forever.
2. The recognition that you are not the narration in your mind, but you are the one who hears it. The ability to differentiate your mind from your soul. Your racing, irrational thoughts are a by-product of the machine that you use to comprehend and “control” your human life. This is not who you are. You are the person who reacts to what your mind is saying.
3. The ability to find joy in what is, not what could possibly be. Tried, true and timeless: you either figure out how to see the light in what is or you will forever be in the darkness. Happiness will not come to you once you accomplish x, y or z. It is only when you hone in on the ability to be unfailingly grateful for what you have right here and right now.
4. Clarity on the differentiation between what society deems successful, and what will make you happy. Societal success staples are nice, but they will not make your life meaningful. You need love and passion and interest and wonder. These things do not inherently come from wealth or status.
5. What “happiness” really means. I use the word loosely in the title, because the reality of it all is that happiness is fleeting. A sustained sense of joy will only leave you numbed to it. What you should be looking for is interest, fascination, growth. Things that will evolve as you do. Things that will not be constant, so you appreciate them when they are.
6. How you never have any right to be cruel to someone– even if they deserve it. One of the most gratifying things is learning to be unfailingly kind to people, regardless of how deeply you wish you could get revenge. No matter how much they deserve to be told off. It really doesn’t matter who starts it, the bigger person will finish it.
7. Being consistently conscious of the fact that things are passing, changing, unfolding. We are inherently afraid of change, because it means coming to terms with the things we are unfamiliar with. The unknown presents possibilities that are scary, I won’t deny that. But if we stay where we are, we’ll never get anywhere– and I mean that in the metaphorical sense.
8. The ability to trust your instincts with blind, nearly irrational faith. The best things in life are never logical. It’s not to say you should throw caution to the wind, but it is to say that your mind will never be able to comprehend why you love someone or something if and when you truly do.
9. Learning to risk, but more importantly, to recover when you fall from it. You will do one of two things with your life: spend your time building walls or taking them down, piece by piece. The truth is, you will always end up doing the latter, but you’ll go through hell when you realize that you’ve built your own cage.
10. Understanding of why we’re really here. We are spiritual beings having a physical experience. We are not what we seem to be. We are not our minds or our thoughts: we just simply are. We must embrace the trials and tribulations that are thrown our way and grow and learn from them. Love others recklessly and unconditionally, but love ourselves and our lives more. Let everything propel you forth into a greater understanding of who you are and why you’re here. Nobody is ever lost for too long.