As a child in my youth, I had visions of what my life would look like, and how I would get there. I had this predefined notion of what “success” and what “happiness” was, and while I have reached the age of 25, I still feel as though I have a lot to learn and experience, whereas my younger self would have expected me to figure things out by now. Here are 8 things that I’ve learned during my 25 years on this earth. As a disclaimer, these are the things I’ve learned based on my lifestyle and experiences which could be completely different from your lifestyle, anyhow I hope the mistakes and experiences explained in this article would help someone else that may be in the midst of questioning their life
1. Education is a tool, not a way for success or employment.
The sad truth about society is that we’re taught to attend school for the first 18 years of our lives, to graduate and attend a university, to obtain a degree that we should put to use in the workforce. A lot of us (Including myself) had or still have this entitled notion that we deserve a good-paying job and career after college. This way of thinking was flawed, and the moment I graduated from college, I soon realized that the degree is only a way where employers can take your job application into consideration, but it is not an automatic guarantee that you will receive a job offer.
2. Everyone has vices, the world can be a stressful place.
As a child I wondered why people create these bad vices for themselves, why would someone ever touch a cigarette? who would want to drink alcohol and suffer from hangovers? aren’t they terrified of cancer? or alcohol poisoning? I soon came to realize that alcohol and drug abuse can sometimes be the result of stress, and pain that we encounter in the world we live in. A lot of us are struggling with things that we don’t really display to the world, some of us numb the pain, while others seek help and therapy, the world is a pretty harsh place to be in, but we should all be thankful to even be alive.
3. Exercise is a good way to cope.
During my high school years, I used wrestling as an outlet to cope with a lot of my issues and struggles I’ve encountered in life. I use to lock myself in my room and crank out push-ups, sets up to a thousand, and alternate between push-ups and crunches. I really just wanted to push my body to its limits when encountered by life issues. To this day, I still believe that exercise is helpful to deal with life struggles, it might not be the ultimate solution, but it sure helps, and I am pretty sure that doing something physical such as exercising could aid in improving your life mentally and physically.
4. Mindset and mentality is everything.
Anxiety and negative self-doubt were some harsh factors that still play an existence in my life. In the world of software, there’s this term called “Imposter Syndrome” where you truly believe that you really don’t know anything about the subject material, even after the years of experience and education you received which can hinder your growth in your career. However, I’ve managed to find alternative tactics to relieve this self-doubt, which are not always successful but have worked in the past and present moments. The key for myself was to shift my way of thinking, Instead of having a negative mindset of “I can’t do this work”, or “It’s impossible”, it’s a good idea to shift your way of thinking to “I might not know how to do the work now, but I can learn”, or “This work is difficult, but I can break it down into manageable chunks to keep picking at it until I am successful.” Mindset and how we mentally handle scenarios dictate how successful we can really accomplish the tasks and goals that we set for ourselves.
5. Therapy can help. It’s not a waste of money.
As a kid I thought therapy was a waste of time, paying money to talk to a person just didn’t make sense. Until I actually went through therapy for myself. In a nutshell, it may seem like you are paying for a person to listen to your problems, but a true therapist working in their profession in my opinion may help you organize thoughts that are scattered within your life, at least that’s what I’ve had with my experience. However, most importantly there is some unbiased advice given and coping strategies to aid in whatever issue you are encountering. Whether therapy does work for you or not, it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try if you are mentally struggling with life issues.
6. Money can buy things to make you happy, but it can’t buy happiness.
As cliche as this sounds, it’s true. A mansion is nice, a Ferrari may be nice, and having nice luxurious material goods can be nice. but at the same time a mansion can also be lonely, some of us overwork to pay for piles of debt we put ourselves in, to pay off the material goods we purchased to impress the general society. Happiness is of course dependent on the person and their goals. In my experience, money may be a part of it, but as the saying goes, money is the root of all evil. Some of us are not necessarily chasing money, but enjoy the comfort of financial stability and freedom, which isn’t a flawed way of viewing life at all as well.
7. Separate friends from priorities.
Sometimes when you want something really bad, you have to set priorities and milestones to track your progress. In my case I had to give up a lot of my social life, to ensure that I would perform well, either in academics, sports, or a job. My outlet would be martial arts, If I wasn’t studying, I was training and vice-versa. A lot of my friends couldn’t understand this, some even advised to drop out of school and live life freely, to experiment with drugs and connect with nature, and as beautiful as that may sound, I’m glad that wasn’t the path I took. As much of the saying goes, “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future” never really hit home until now.
8. Happiness is a Journey, Not a Destination.
I always thought happiness was a destination, “When I graduate college”, “When I get that job”, “When I get that car”, the idea was “then” I’ll be happy. The hard-hitting truth from my experience is that you will never truly be happy, unless you define happiness for yourself, and reach for it. Keeping in mind that it is the journey and not the destination. When I graduated college, I was excited, when I landed the job to work remotely as I’ve always wanted that was close to what I desired, I was temporarily happy, and through all of this I was temporarily satisfied. However, these accomplishments also come with problems, and they only offer temporary notions of satisfaction and happiness until the “honeymoon” effect wears off. Work can be stressful at times, a car can require a lot of maintenance, and ultimately the step after college is usually finding an occupation to pay your bills which seems to be a lot more stressful than schoolwork, considering that if you fail a project in school it’s fine the worst that happens is you retake the class, but if you fail a project in the industry, you risk your job and financial status, the stakes are higher, and a lot more rigorous than I thought.