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Lessons I Learned The Hard Way

Life consists of ups and downs, victories and defeats, pains and joys, successes and failures. For the past (almost) three decades, I’ve been learning and re-learning things. While I still cannot consider myself an expert, I have gained knowledge on life’s essentials - how to not just survive, but thrive! Thanks to the best mentor in the world – experience!

I do not regret learning them the hard way. I just wish I had known them earlier. :)

Learn from the past. Live the present. Look forward to the future. ♥

So, if I had the chance to talk to my younger self, I would have given her the following life lessons: 

Delays are not denials. I recently read a book by Mitch Albom where he wrote, “It is never too late or too soon. It is when it is supposed to be.” Had I read that long before, I would not have drowned in too much misery and self-pity for all the “delays” in my life. See I am a highly-organized woman who values time. I strictly follow schedules and I set deadlines for myself. Consequently, I get easily frustrated when those deadlines are not meant. And I tell you, I’ve had a hard time dealing with myself during those moments of failure. But if Mitch Albom is right, nothing is ever delayed. Things fall into place when they’re supposed to. If you feel that the promotion you have long been working for is already a little too late, know that it doesn’t mean it’s not meant for you. Maybe it isn’t, for now, but if you really deserve it, you will have it in the right time. So don’t feel bad. Instead, press on. Keep doing what you are supposed to do. Do not give up. After all, if it is that important to you, it will always be worth the effort, and definitely worth the wait.

Remember that you always have a choice. This is the simplest, but sometimes the hardest to do. How often do you hear people say, “I don’t have a choice.”? How often do you hear yourself say it? The reason why you’re still stuck in that sorry state is because you chose to remain there. Your unhappiness is your own doing. You have nobody else to blame because the decision is solely yours to make. You know very well that you cannot please everybody, and not everyone will be for you. People will do annoying things, and you will never be able to control them. Life is unfair, and things won’t always go your way. There will be plenty of times when you would feel that there’s nothing you can do anymore. When it happens, remind yourself that you can still do something. You can choose! You cannot control people and circumstances, but you can control your actions toward them. You can choose to respond in whatever way you want, of course you need to choose wisely and make sure you won’t regret it in the end. But the point is, YOU HAVE A CHOICE. ALWAYS!

Embrace change. Do not settle for less. According to John Henry Newman, “growth is the only evidence of life.” And growth will not be possible without change. We have heard it a gazillion times in different versions, the only constant thing in this world, is change.” So why are you so afraid to embrace it? Just because you have become “used to” a situation, a bunch of people, or even a custom, doesn’t mean you have to live with them for the rest of your days, especially when deep inside you are already dying. The best way to grow is to get out of your comfort zone and broaden your horizon. Do not fear the unknown. Rather, fear settling down for less. You are meant for greatness. But you’ll never be able to achieve that if you’re too scared to cut loose the anchor of familiarity and sail away to uncharted territories.

Accept that you can’t do it all... at the same time. Learn how to prioritize and stay focused. Take things one at a time. It’s true that you cannot serve two masters at the same time. While there are super human beings who can multitask, it doesn’t mean you have to follow their lead. I was once a multitasker and I thought I was efficient by doing a lot of things in a short period of time. But I was wrong. Yes, I am able to accomplish a multitude of tasks, but then I would end up so tired and exhausted that I couldn’t force myself to work for the next few days, sometimes weeks. How productive is that? I have learned the hard way that a more effective approach is to focus on one major task a day, and do it first thing in the morning. Do not overwhelm yourself by listing down so many items on your “to-do” list then feel frustrated when you don’t accomplish them at the end of the day. Less is more. FOCUS and get things done, one by one.

Move forward. When all else fails, there’s one thing left to do: MOVE ON. However, moving on is not enough. You need to move FORWARD and head to the right direction. And you know there’s no other way but UP! Empower yourself, level up your game, improve your skills, develop your strengths, work on your weaknesses, and come out stronger, wiser, and bolder than before. There will be roadblocks but know that they are just opportunities to pause and rest a little. Do not let them stop you. Keep moving. The best is yet to come.

In the end, you can forget about everything but this: DREAM and LIVE IT! And yes, it’s never too late! ♥

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