Welcome to part two of this blog post. If you haven’t read part one yet, click here.
I’ve decided to break this particular post down into five parts because these lessons are real. They aren’t short, whimsical ideas that should go in one ear and come out the other. Each of these lessons is a realization that has changed my life in some way.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into 7 – 12.
On the Important Things in Life
7. Nothing Lasts Forever. But Not Everything is Gone for Good.
As I mentioned in the very first lesson in part one, I grew up with the fear that one day my youth would run out. I was aware that external beauty fades, that bodies get old and that parents eventually pass away.
As depressing as that may be for a little kid, it kind of prepared me for the losses that my future would hold. Moving around from school to school every year also helped with that, as I couldn’t hold onto friends for very long and was always saying goodbye forever at the end of a term. Being separated from a mom, who didn’t want me, by the age of 12 also tempered me for the changing nature of life.
Over time, I came to understand that life moves in cycles. Seasons come and go. People are born, they live, they age and then they die. All things take this path, whether living or inanimate. Nothing lasts forever.
The hardest part of realizing that is the pain of loss and letting go. Especially when you’ve come to expect or rely on a thing, it can hit you hard when it’s lost. This is especially true when the thing you lose is something that can’t be replaced.
The good news, however, is that not all things are lost forever. Like I said, life moves in cycles. The seasons come and go, each one taking its turn and due course. The same applies to everything in life, including the gain and loss of life. In the case of life and death, each individual’s cycle is much like the cycle of the four seasons. A year in the timeline of the universe. Each one is marking his or her place in a time in history, in a chain of family generations that precede before and will succeed after them. Our genes carry on. Our souls get recycled. Our bodies return to the earth. We aren’t lost forever. We’ve changed phases in the cycle of energy and life.
That is even true of relationships. Sometimes love dies and gives birth to friendship. Sometimes a relationship ends and starts again anew. Sometimes it ends but the lessons learned give birth to a better relationship with someone else.
The point is, while everything ends, there is no real end. Something always carries on. Something new is always born from the ashes. Sometimes something better comes to take its place and, sometimes, what you’ve lost is simply found again with a new set of eyes and renewed appreciation.
So, don’t be disappointed when it seems like something is lost. Stay open for what may come or what may come back. Everything has its end, and every end gives birth to something new. That something new often holds a piece of what you lost, so nothing is truly gone for good.
In life, don’t live in fear of what might change. Live with excitement that things will always change. That time is precious and moments are short.
Live, love and when it’s time to let go, do it with grace.
8. The Two Most Important Things in Life are Your Family and Your Health
If you’ve downloaded my freebie book, People Skills, you probably already know how important I think this point is. (Download it here, if you haven’t yet!) There are a lot of things in life that are replaceable, but your health and your family don’t fall into that category.
Your health is your life essence. If you don’t maintain it, you will spend valuable time here on earth trying to to get it back just so you can stay alive and feel good at the same time. When you’re young and healthy, it’s easy to take your health for granted, because you can’t imagine what it’s like to be alive and truly suffer at the same time. We foolishly think that being unwell is as straightforward as dying, but it’s not.
Losing your health and vitality means living with pain, agony, discomfort, uncertainty and just being tired of being alive for being unable to live because of your suffering health. For many, it is at this point that they realize the value of their health – when they begin to lose it.
Health is so important to being happy and alive at the same time. You can’t really be happy when you’re in pain. Suffering from health issues can make being alive feel like a struggle. Health is what makes being alive enjoyable, but you can’t ever replace it if you lose it. You can’t go to the store and buy it back. You can’t trade it in for a new one.
The labor of regaining lost health is near to impossible for many, and those who bounce back do it with immense struggle, perseverance and a strong desire to live and live well. Many never make the comeback, though, and that’s a sad reality.
When it comes to family, the same principles apply. Having family – people to love and cherish and belong to – is one of the fewest and finest real joys in life. You will never know what it means to be complete until you have a real family. Likewise, you will never be able to fill the holes that are left if you lose the ones you love.
Just like health, you can lose your family from being careless and unattentive. You can disregard them, ignore them, abuse them, and put them aside until they eventually learn to get on without you. And when they are gone, no matter what you do, you can’t replace them with new people. It would never be the same. And you can’t go back in time to make up for the time that was lost, either.
A lot of people make the mistake of neglecting their families and health in the pursuit of riches, glory, fame and other materialistic ideas of success. The problem with that is that trading health and family for money and fame hardly ever results in happiness. In fact, I have yet to hear that it does.
When you have money but no one to spend it with, all the fancy meals in the world will taste lonely. The big houses will feel empty. The joy rides in your luxury cars will be destined to go to places where you have no one to build real memories with.
Part of having great memories is being able to talk about them with those you shared them with. Reminiscing together, laughing at old jokes that have now become insider jokes, being able to share looks that have meaning, share thoughts without speaking, cherish things that are only special to a few of you, that is the stuff that makes life feel full. You can’t have that without family.
Likewise, money, success, and fame without health is meaningless. Without health, all the money in the world will be spent on getting better. You won’t be able to enjoy all the luxury foods without a care. Instead of luxury homes, you’ll be paying for luxury rooms at hospitals and staffs of nurses and doctors. You’ll be dishing out for fancy medical care and experimental treatments. A lot of that money would be spent on trying to get back what you lost, and without health, you would hardly be able to enjoy the rest of it.
What good is any of the success and money and fame without health to enjoy it and people to share it with?
Nada. Nothing. Pointlessness.
I’m not saying you can’t have it all. But I am saying you need to keep your priorities in check. Pace yourself and take your time when working towards your material goals, because some things in life are worth the effort and sacrifice, and some things are not. Don’t give up what you can’t get back, just to have what you can create again and again. Be smart.
9. Money Without Purpose Means Nothing
It’s so easy to get caught up chasing money. After all, without it, life can be pretty difficult, no matter where you are in the world. But I’ve begun to realize that after you have all the money necessary to cover your needs in life, what more do you really need?
There are a lot of people out there who are so focused on having millions of dollars. But they don’t really have much clue as to what they want all that money for, other than to see a bunch of zeroes appear on their bank statements. And having a lot of money is a really great thing, but it doesn’t mean much if it just sits there unused.
Once you can afford to buy everything you want and need, what good is all that extra money and what’s the point of the added hustle for it?
Money is a tool that we use to accomplish certain things, primarily to pay for our needs and desires. But once that’s covered, you need a purpose for the rest of that money. Otherwise, it means nothing. The hustle is for no reason.
Like I mentioned in the previous point, what good is all the money in the world without people to share it with and create joy with? What good is that money without health? But also, what good is that money when you don’t want it for anything specific?
Money without purpose means nothing. It’s numbers on a calculator. There are only so many hours in a day to spend eating and enjoying yourself before you will get sick from gluttony and bored from doing things without much more purpose than a few shits and giggles.
Money for a specific purpose, on the other hand, means a whole lot. And when you have a purpose for all that money you require, believe it or not, that money becomes easier to come by. It basically flows to you when it has a reason to flow through you.
Money is an energy, just like anything else in the universe. It needs to flow and change from hand to hand. To simply acquire it will not make you rich. I know plenty of people who have done all kinds of things to get a lot of money, including illegal stuff. But even they can tell you that as easily as it comes, it goes just as quickly and effortlessly. That’s because it was meant to flow – in and out.
If you require money for what it’s meant for, to be used, you will get it. But having money for the sake of having money is pointless, and you will waste a lot of time and energy trying to pile it up, only to find it does not make you happy or fulfilled.
That’s what purpose does. And money without purpose is pointless.
10. Your Legacy is About More Than Just Your Career
When you hear the word legacy, what do you think of?
In my opinion, it seems as though a lot of people think that having a legacy is a career thing or a popularity thing. Everyone online is always going on about how hard they grind and hustle to build an empire. And everyone’s building an empire. Everybody wants to be the king or queen. We want to be the bosses. And that’s cool, it’s human nature to want these things. But that’s not all your legacy will be about, even if that’s all you can see.
You see, your legacy is about what will remain here after you’re gone. It’s about what you’re going to leave behind. More specifically, it’s about the path you left behind for those who will come after you. How much good did you do? How much damage did you create? It’s about the children you will be leaving behind and the impact on those who have crossed paths with yours.
In the pursuit of greatness, you have to remember that the legacy you leave behind will determine if you were truly great or not. Being successful at something and being a great person isn’t necessarily the same thing.
You could be a free, successful and wealthy bachelor or bachelorette and be the most miserable person in your neighborhood, for example.
Or you could be someone who lives a modest life and works a day job but also takes their kids to work with charities on the weekend so that they can learn to change their community in a positive way.
Who do you think will leave behind the greater legacy?
I think it will be the one who has a longer-lasting and more positive effect on the generations that will remember them after they’re gone.
Great athletes and artists leave behind legacies that inspire others to reach for their dreams. Great businessmen leave empires that make society better, more functional, more convenient or more efficient, inspiring us to create services and products that change lives, including our own. Great teachers, doctors, and public servants leave people equipped with knowledge, tools, and examples of how to be better humans and improve our own lives. Great parents leave behind strong, capable and inspired children who will live on to create the same legacy for their own kids.
And whether they were kind or not is going to make a big difference on how much that legacy sticks. Whether they truly touched lives or not will determine how much that legacy matters.
So, your legacy is about more than what you did for money or what position title you held in your company. Your legacy is about what you leave behind. It’s about the people you create, mold and inspire by your life and actions. It’s about the amount of impact you created with your time here.
So, will your legacy be one of kindness and greatness? Will you be remembered as someone who cared, someone who gave and someone who made tomorrow better? Or will you be remembered as the mean and petty hustler who spent their life making money but had little true friends? What your legacy will be is ultimately up to you, but remember that the greatness of your legacy will depend on the impact you have on people, more than anything else.
11. If You Live to See 36,500 Days, You Are Lucky.
We live in an era where it’s easy to spend a lot of time doing nothing. We can sit and scroll for hours – even days – and get nothing done but look at what everyone else is posting online. It’s so easy to kill time with games and Netflix and just straight up trying to have a good time in all the wrong ways. And killing time might be okay if you had an endless supply of it, but we don’t.
As I get older, I’m starting to realize there’s a lot of things I wish I had taken the time to do earlier in my life. Because as I progress through life now, life gets more demanding, and free time seems harder to come by. And even when I think I’m going to do things later, when later comes, there’s always something else I have to do or rather be doing. Even worse, I know that eventually, I’m going to run out of laters to rely on, because we only live for so long.
36500 days seems like a small number of days to be alive for, but it’s actually 100 years. Given humanity’s current life expectancy, if you live for a hundred years, you are very lucky. Many people will not live to see that many years, yet they keep putting off their most precious and important goals for later like they think they will. And even if we do manage to stay alive that long, will we have the strength and vitality to achieve our goals then? I don’t think so.
I mean, one of my goals is to do skydiving. I want to eventually try rock climbing. I’ve never been scuba diving yet nor have I done a lot of basic things like zip lining, but I want to try them all. I can’t see myself doing that when I’m an old lady. Funny enough, I had the chance to do those things back when I was living in Krabi and I didn’t bother. I acted like I would be there forever and there would always be later.
But later didn’t turn out the way I thought. I ended up moving out of Thailand and moving to a country where the tourist infrastructure is still a work in progress. So, there are less tourist ready attractions like there are in Thailand. And now I have another newborn to take care of, so I won’t be going anytime soon. I wish I had done it when I had the chance.
And there are even more important things that I wish I did, like attending college classes live in person and building a real network earlier in my adulthood. Or investing my time and money as a teen more wisely.
I’m sure there is at least one thing that you wish you had done when you had the chance. As kids, it’s easy to take time for granted. It seems endless and infinite. But, as you get older, the time flies, and you realize that not only do you not have as many days in your life left, but you never had that many to begin with.
So, the point I’m trying to make is that we have to cherish the time. We have to drink in every drop and make all that we can of it. We have to see the best in it and grab it. Because the time will run out. And if you make it to one hundred years or higher, on the last days of your life you’ll still want more. That’s just how it is.
Your numbered days are precious and a gift. Use them wisely.
12. You Are Always Creating Something
No matter what we do, something is in the process of creation as a result of our existence.
Let me make a few examples so you can understand what I mean.
When we introduce ourselves to someone knew, our interaction with them creates an impression. Further interaction might create a potential relationship.
When we treat people well, we create feelings of friendship, trust, and respect. When we treat them badly, we create feelings of resentment, anger, and hatred.
When we clean our houses, we create neat little piles of garbage where we place all of our waste and unwanted items. This, in turn, creates harm or benefit to the environment, based on our methods of cleaning, disposal, and even recycling.
When we eat food, we create poop. When we are careless, we create damage and destruction. When we do things in front of people, we are creating an example. When we are careful, we can deliberately create harmony and abundance.
When we perform any action, we are creating a habit. When we repeat and feel certain thoughts, we end up creating a reality. This is happening whether or not we mean for it to.
In other words, everything we do has a consequence. It has a result. It creates an effect. Whatever results we create is entirely up to us, but no matter what we do we are creating some form of a result.
Laziness results in a lack of success.
Choosing happiness results in the appearance of abundance and wellness.
Being unkind results in being hated.
Being compassionate results in being loved and needed.
The list goes on. Everything we do has an after effect. Everything we do creates an outcome and those outcomes shape our reality.
So, we are always in the process of creating something, and ultimately, that something is our lives.
That’s why we have to choose how we spend our time and energy wisely. We are always planting and sowing. We are always reaping and harvesting. This is a fact of life.
The sooner we grasp this, the sooner we can take control of the results we create. I’m so glad I learned this before turning 30 because now I can use this knowledge to make the next decade my best decade yet. And so can you, if you choose to abide by this unavoidable truth.
And there you have it folks. Six more lessons. Only 18 more to go. But you know, life is short. Prioritizing is everything. We have to do what drives us to our most meaningful purpose in life and right now that’s my kids. So, I hope I get to finish this series before my BIRTHDAY. Let’s see how it goes. 🙂