I’m not here to preach or to express regret over things I’ve done in the past that I wish I had done differently. I don’t have regrets, or I should say I don’t dwell on things in the past but allow mistakes to inform my choices today. However, at the age of 41 I’m looking back on things that I believe have had a massive impact on who I am today, so I’d like to impart some wisdom to my kids, but also to any young person who is at the beginning of their life long journey.
I’ve come up with ten things I wish I’d know when I was younger. I did do the majority of these things, but mostly by default rather than through conscious choice – but I guess that’s in part to how I was brought up plus some innate personality traits. So here goes…
It’s nice to be nice.
This is a phrase I picked up from a long time friend of mine. I find that I get a nice warm fuzzy feeling when I’m nice to others. It takes very little effort to do, and I guess it also comes down to always thinking the best of people, so because of that, it becomes second nature to be nice. It’s nice to be nice not because I might get something in return, although that is generally a great side effect, but being kind and generous in time, energy or money – whatever you can spare – is something that I believe should be an underlying way of being. A core element to your operating system.
Don’t take advantage of others
This is similar to ‘it’s nice to be nice’, but sometimes we can be so focused on achieving things for ourselves that it’s easy to slip into a mindset of needing to do something at the detriment of someone else welfare or wellness. Of course, there are times when someone is willing to offer up an advantage to you – in this case THEY are the ones operating from ‘it’s nice to be nice’, and that’s okay to accept and receive something that is given in kind, but not if t’s for one-upmanship or to put you ‘in-debt’ to that person.
Always be learning, always allow your mind to stretch and learn new things. Take interest in other people, ask them questions, find out about who they are and why they do the things they do. It’s part of our connection to the wider universe – since no one operates in a vacuum. It’s incredible how many new opportunities arise from my curiosity. Following those breadcrumbs takes me down paths that I would never have discovered if I was blinkered on my journey. Some say that you need focus to achieve your goals, and I believe that to be true, but my personal way of being is to follow those breadcrumbs and see new opportunities or possibilities because of it.
Be open minded to other opinions and perspectives
This is similar to ‘be curious’ and brings in a little bit of ‘non-judgement’. I have found it extremely enlightening to learn and embrace others’ opinions and it expands the way I think and operate when I allow others’ perspectives to shape my view of the world. Even if I have a very strong opinion about something I will always allow a different perspective to inform my judgement and choices. It develops a well rounded thought process and in doing so educates you on other possibilities – which again opens new doors and opportunities.
Always trust your gut
We all have intuition. It’s the connection between our brains and our hearts – in fact there are studies based on the science of intuition – it’s not just some hocus pocus belief. If it comes down to a choice of do what my brain says and what my heart says – I’ve always chosen heart. That’s why I spent 12 years as an actress – even though I know I could have chosen a more ‘traditional’ route and possibly been a lot more financially successful. Sometimes our gut tells us to do something even when it’s out of kilter with what society deems as ‘normal’ but it often leads us to more exciting things. Our gut often keeps us safe too – choosing to NOT go with that man you met to a friend of his’ party – it’s important to listen, especially if it’s something that keeps tugging at you and won’t leave you be. Listen to that calling.
Unless you’ve had a very destructive family life, where you have been surrounded by toxic people, then I believe family is the most important thing in life. They are the ones that know you well, and even if they don’t like you sometimes, they will always have your back. You will always stand up for each other and be there in times of need. That has been my experience anyway. I sometimes wonder whether I have been blessed with a very special and unusual family dynamic.
Stand up for others who can’t
I find it much easier standing up for someone else than I do standing up for myself – not that I believe I am a walk-over, no in fact I’m quite feisty but to be honest I don’t find I get offended very easily. However, I do think it is important to stand up for others when they can’t. I guess this can tie in nicely with don’t take advantage of others when you consider bullying. One party should not be taking advantage of another and if there IS someone in that situation then perhaps others need to step in.
Be clever about your money
I’ve talked about money in quite a few of my articles and today is no different. I’d like to think I’ve been smart with my money, but it’s not always the case. Being savvy comes in waves. There are times where I have spent like crazy person and there are others when I scrimp and save, but overall I would say I’ve been pretty smart. I’m not in any debt, apart from my mortgage (which I have big plans to pay off asap) and I’m in a fortunate position where I don’t have to worry about money. I did spend MANY years as a poor, broke actress – but even during those times I was always able to pay my bills and get by. I’m now doing better than just getting by, but wish I had been in a position to put away money for my future. At present, I’m playing catch up when it comes to future financial security, but like I say I have big dreams for creating some major wealth here in my world now. At the end of the day I believe you shouldn’t spend what you don’t have, look for ways to enjoy what you do have but don’t go crazy on stuff that really isn’t NECESSARY!
Help where you can
This is one of the thing I have done for pretty much my whole life. I believe if I have the ability to help someone, in any way, I will. I don’t feel like I’m being taken advantage of because I give freely. There have been times that I have felt like what I did wasn’t fully appreciated but I have learned to let any resent go because I never do something with the intention of being praised or ‘paid back’ in any way. I give my energy and time where I can, especially where I have not been able to give money – and sometimes I believe that type of giving can be more impactful because it’s a part of me I’m giving over, not just money.
Don’t take yourself too seriously
Now THIS is one of my biggest challenges. As I have got older and taken on more responsibility – eek, yes I’m a mother – I seem to have lost my sense of play. I yearn for more fun and adventure and I try to build this into my life. I have to remind myself NOT to get frustrated at certain things and look at it from a perspective of ‘how would I react to this situation if I could look back on it, shrug and laugh at my ridiculousness’ – that usually makes me realise that I don’t have to be so serious. After all, I’m not REALLY an adult! I’m still just a kid at heart.
All these things I have listed are all to do with having a moral compass that guides you in life. I’m not a goody-two-shoes but I do believe I’m a pretty decent human being. I think if there were more decent human beings, this world would be a better place.
What are your thoughts?