24 Lessons I’ve Learned In 24 Years

This year, although one of the most rewarding, has been one of the most challenging years for me. A relationship ended, a family member was diagnosed with cancer, one of my dogs had to be put down, and I had to deal with identity fraud, all in the span of a few months. It’s been challenging, yet one of the most heart-opening experiences for me. So I’ve been quite reflective with my most recent birthday, both on what I’ve learned through this year and what I’ve learned over the last 24 years of being alive.

When I use the term “learning”, I’m referring to something more infinite, ever-present and expansive than “addition and development.” I’m pointing more towards unlearning and shedding, to a remembering of sorts. And when I truly see that black implies white, light implies dark, yes implies no, then I see that remembering also implies forgetting, and forgetting implies remembering, implying that even when I stray from the path, there’s nothing to worry about.

Now, although these are things that I’ve discovered and remembered, sometimes I forget. I hope these serve as beautiful reminders.

1. I experience the quality of my thinking, not my circumstances.

2. The quality of my experience is dependent on my level of understanding of how life works in the moment. I don’t know until I know.

3. Living in the unknown (pure possibility) is our natural state. I’ve only conditioned myself to living in the “known.” This leads to a sort of self-imprisonment, because we never really know the future with certainty.

4. Creativity isn’t a trait that some are born with and some aren’t. It’s who we are at our core, and an innate quality that flourishes when I get out of the way.

5. It’s about who I am and where I come from, not what I do. We’re loved and valued for who we are, not what we do.

6. Being authentic always works better than “fake it till you make it”. Face it till you make it (whatever “making it” means for you, because that’s also make-believe).

7. The real source of confidence was never what I’d thought. Just because we have fearful or insecure thinking doesn’t mean that we’re any less capable of showing up & taking action. “Confidence” is only a bi-product of both experience and having less on my mind. It doesn’t require elaborate techniques, tools, or strategies at all.

8. I have everything that I’ve ever wanted right here, right now. AND the power to convince myself that I don’t. (Cue being overly driven with stress, pressure, and sacrifice.)

9. We have an in-the-moment responsive intelligence that serves “what to do” more than we could ever know. “Decisions” are the things that we see when we don’t know and get a little too caught up in our thinking. Otherwise, we either know what to do or we don’t, and that’s not problematic.

10. Slow down to speed up. That’s all.

11. Simplicity is the key to brilliance. It seems to me that simplicity is at the heart of complexity whenever I look for long enough. I’ve seen that we tend to value complexity over simplicity when oftentimes simplicity is the key to living with ease in any situation.

12. Just say yes and show up, and respond to what shows up. Figure it out along the way, not the other way around. This is the key to doing what I never thought I could.

13. Ask for what you want. I’ve discovered that asking for what I want, although heavy sometimes, is usually the quickest way to creating it. Got a no the first time? Ask again. Nos mean nothing about who we really are.

14. Leadership/entrepreneurship can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. Most people think that to go fast, we go alone, and to go far, we go together. I think that when unified with some similar weirdos, both are true!

15. You can miss people, places and things without wanting them in your life anymore. Missing something or someone means nothing about who we are or who we are becoming.

16. Let people love and help you. Really. Most of us think that it’s the noble thing to do it all on our own. It doesn’t mean anything about how “humble” or “strong” we are if we don’t.

17. True innovation requires letting go of what we “know” or have learned to be true. This goes beyond the model of incremental improvements. Think more reinventing the wheel. A life beyond imagination can be possible within the snap of a finger if I let go of what it “should” look like.

18. One of the only things that keeps us from utilizing our time is thinking that we’re running out of it.

19. Common sense isn’t necessarily common practice. This has been the value of me having coaches, teachers, mentors and friends in my life, because I’ve got blind spots and live more gracefully when I see them for what they are.

20. Caring for and taking it easy on ourselves is important, especially if we tend to be driven. When I take care of what helps me show up at my best, the rest tends to take care of itself.

21. Number one on the list is also true for others. We all have our own model of the world, none right or wrong. Some just a little more illusory than others. I’ve been keeping this in mind while communicating with others over the years. Remember to be kind.

22. There’s a feeling that comes with being on our path, and I sense that most people know it. It’s the feeling of inner knowing, of ease, of aliveness and presence. Even if it’s not always there, my guess is that you’ve experienced it. Staying with the quiet, and sticking with this feeling will take you further than you ever thought imaginable if you stick with it.

23. Choose love. Love always wins in the age-old distinction of Love vs. Fear. Even the times with the most pain, hurt, loss and hardship can be avenues to experiencing more depth and aliveness in life when coming from love. Open hearts are sexier than armored hearts, even though it may look messy at times.

24. The source of my life experience, the energy behind how I experience life, is infinite and ever-present, no matter what. Even if I don’t see, feel, or think about it. It’s always here. It is for all of us, just like gravity. Independent of our beliefs, actions, or path, it’s always working behind the scenes.

And a bonus point: Just go live your life!

It seems to me that just living life always leads you to where you’re going, even if it feels like you’re taking a detour right now (in reference to how you thought things might happen). As for detours, they’re only a sign that the road you’re used to travelling on is under construction at the moment, so that your path might become easier to travel on.

Just show up for life and see what happens in the realm of infinite possibilities of which you refer to as your world. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

I hang out in the intersection of the Playful, Profound, and Profane.

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