In life, I’ve found that there are periods of time where learning is much more accelerated than others. I can clearly look back from September of last year to now and see a period of my life where I learned far more in that time span than I have in previous amounts of time. Some might call it a mid-life crisis, a catalyst event, a cocoon phase. Whatever term you give to it, the result is the same. I’ve learned a tremendous amount in a short time and here’s what I’ve learned.
Time Is More Valuable As You Get Older
I’ve learned to cram more learning in a shorter amount of time. Whether I am learning from someone else, or reading a book on my own, I find myself digesting just the portions I know are going to help me grow and develop as a human being.
Not only that, I value each moment of every day and place a very high value on truth, love, and courage. In an effort to make life the most it can be, I’ve done a lot of courageous (and stupid) things in the last 9 months, but I don’t regret any of it. It’s all helped me appreciate life much much more than I otherwise did.
We can always find a way to get more money or more things in life, but time that passes is gone for good (until one of you invents time travel or anti-aging permanently that is :)). Until that time, time becomes more precious and being focused and making a firm decision in life is crucial to avoid a life of oscillation and uncertainty.
Don’t Be Afraid To Take Risks
I’ve taken some risks in the past 9 months in this hyper season of learning. I’ve written very candidly on my website here about my family situation. I’ve taken risks in investments and at my day job. I’ve taken risks to get to know people that I otherwise would normally not have. And all of it has been very growth oriented.
When you take a risk, there’s a chance you will royally screw up. It happens to the best of us. But at the end of the screw up is valuable knowledge and experience. I take comfort in knowing that I can speak to people in certain areas regarding life, work, relationships, and fear and have something worthwhile to say.
Everything in life is a risk. The alternative to risk-taking is to not go for it and wonder what might have been. I think going for it is far scarier and rewarding than sitting on the sidelines. I’m acting as the head of performance now at my day job because I just decided to do it. Screw waiting for the company to promote me or tell me I can. I’m just going to do it. That’s a risk – I could fail :).
Take Things Slow
As a young man still, I have to work to take things slow and let them marinate and digest. The temptation for me is to make decisions quickly. I’ve found now at the age of 36 that taking a step back and thinking more produces far better results than any rash decision. It leads to clearer thinking and a better emotional state.
It’s OK to take your time with any big decision. In fact, you should take as much time as you feel you need. Your life is your own after all. Only you know how much time you need for what is going on. Don’t be afraid to take it slow and operate on your own schedule. Don’t let others pressure you into any decision. You and you alone decide your fate.
Don’t Let Others Get To You
On the theme of not letting others pressure you, I’ve learned this year how to handle the angst, frustration, and being looked down on by those close to me, family and otherwise. When you are open and honest about things, sometimes people hear those and you learn that some people only care about you conditionally – if you are living within a certain set of rules or boundaries they think are right.
I’ve learned to accept that from people and have no problem with it. I’ve had some nasty things said to me as I’ve been open and honest about my situation and what is going on. And it’s OK. Because I can take it. But the big learning I’ve had that you can take away is that when you become completely open and honest and take courage, you’ll find out who really loves you unconditionally and who loves you conditionally.
My advice to you is recognize that you can’t control other people. Recognize that your life is your own and you have control over the things you do in your life. You control what you eat, if you exercise, what you think, what you spend your time doing, what you say to other people, those kinds of things. Don’t try and dictate or control others, you’ll just push them away.
Lastly, don’t take life too seriously. Don’t stress over things. Treat life like an adventure where you are a simple observer who is learning and gathering information. Care about those close to you, but make your own conscious decisions in regards to what life means for you.
I look forward to the continued days ahead of life and what new lessons I might learn. Best of luck to you as you go through your own seasons of learning.
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