Life Lessons Learned…. the hard way.


I was recently talking to a friend of mine from college, and in between reminiscing about the good ole days, we discussed the life lessons we took from college and especially the ones that took us a long time to figure out.

So I’ve boiled down some life lessons into quotable phrases. I wanted to speak at length about them, sharing ones that were brought up and hopefully you’ll share your experiences.

1. “No matter where you go, no matter what you do, sometimes people will hate you and there’s nothing you can do about.”

This particular one took me a long time figure out. I remember being in college and having a lab partner who was treating me poorly. I turned to him late in the semester and confronted him. “Why are you acting like such an asshole?” “Because you bug me,” he replied. “What did I do?” I asked. “Nothing, you just bug me.”

I’m sure this is enough to make a person crazy, naturally its assumed that when  we’ve encountered someone who is angry to us we’ve slighted them in some unknown way. Unfortunately that’s not the case. Fortunately there is this other life lesson that comes to mind,  “You can’t please everybody.”

2. “You can’t fix everything and not everybody wants help.” 

Sometimes people want to wallow in addiction and a depressed state. There is nothing you can do about them. More importantly I’d add, help the people who truly ask for it, and if you can, try to help the people who are too proud to ask for it.

On a side note and one that comes from personal experience. MEN: Sometimes when a lady starts complaining about something, all she wants you to do is listen to her and NOT try to solve the problem like she is one.

3. “You can waste an awful lot of life waiting around for the cool part to start. You don’t live in a book or a movie. If you have a roof, food and someone who loves you, that IS the cool part.”

Be proactive… Do something today that you will be proud of tomorrow. I cleaned my car and changed the oil, today me is proud of yesterday me. I’m not just talking about curing cancer or solving the worlds problems. Live in the today and KNOW it.

Here are some others we talked about.

  • “Never consider that a woman/man is way above your league.”
  • “Life and growing up don’t just happen, you have to actively pursue the things you want”
  • “People are pretty cool. You waste your life trying to feel better than everyone, judging them on appearance or other superficial things. Everyone is human and deserves your respect and kindness.”
  • “There is a difference between someone constructively criticizing you and someone who hates you, know the difference.”
  • And for those of you who have an inflated view of yourself, “You’d be surprised how easily the world continues on without you”  

Anyway, just thought I’d share my feelings on this subject. Please feel free to share you thoughts on life lessons in the comments, I’ll try to comment on every one… I SWEAR!

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About MaximumWage

I don't wear shoes. And I habitually reinvent myself, like the wheel.
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15 Responses to Life Lessons Learned…. the hard way.

  1. paulaturner says:

    Great post – as always.

    Glad you added the side note to men about not trying to fix everything. I have been with my husband forever (or 30 years, same thing) and he has just figured that one out. Now if he could just stop replying to my whining texts with “that sucks” we’d be making real progress.

    Here’s one that is truly schmaltzy but true: Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option. This is especially true for teenagers who think they’ve found their soulmate, but it seems to carryover into much of adult life as well.

  2. One I learned was you can’t force people to have a good time if they don’t want to.

  3. H.E. ELLIS says:

    The one I like most that I find hardest to follow is, “Live your life everyday so that if someone speaks ill of you, no one else would believe it.”

  4. John says:

    I am sure you have all heard the formula for happiness: Having a job you like to do, having someone to love, and having something to hope for. That seems about right to me.

  5. Rebekah says:

    So true. It’s funny how the things that should seem most intrinsic and obvious get forgotten in daily strivings!

    On point one… my dad studied gestalt therapy in the 70’s and often, when I’m comparing myself to others unfavourably, or worrying about what others think/expect of me, reminds me of the ‘gestalt prayer’ that relates to your Point One. It’s definitely a hard one to remember in life as it comes naturally to seek approval from others to build your own confidence, and to want to please, to be liked etc.
    The Gestalt Prayer is: (ref wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestalt_prayer)
    “I do my thing and you do your thing.
    I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
    And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
    You are you, and I am I,
    and if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful.
    If not, it can’t be helped.”
    …i think it’s a really great reminder not only to not stress too much about what other people think, but not to base your happiness on other people’s opinions, or vice versa, on your own expectations of others.

    You’ve so perfectly encapsulated a bunch of learnings that are only now coming home to me as I approach my 30th next year. Following on from that – so bang on re: your point about actively pursuing the things you want in life… as I’m realising, parents/mentors etc can offer great little pieces of wisdom (see above) but ultimately nobody else can show you your path, you have to seek your own truths, form your own opinions and decisions and take action personally.

  6. Thank you for this post. It is exactly what I needed this morning.

  7. Shegz Afolayan says:

    1. “No matter where you go, no matter what you do, sometimes people will hate you and there’s nothing you can do about.”
    Isn’t it meant to be – “there’s nothing you can do about IT.”
    I’m just looking out for you bro.
    Keep up the great posts!

  8. Anna says:

    Awesome post, as always. The first one is especially relevant to me at the moment because I’m just about to start a new job and I’m terrified that people will hate me. It might be unavoidable, but it’ll still be hard to take! On the other hand, they might think I’m amazing. But a pessimistic mind gives less disappointment than an optimistic one 🙂

  9. Life DOES go on without you. Good one!

  10. zorgor says:

    “No matter where you go, no matter what you do, sometimes people will hate you and there’s nothing you can do about.” When I figured out what I think is the same thing, the way I put it was, “No matter what you do, in the end people are going to think whatever they wanted to in the first place.”

    Another lesson is, I think many people pretty much stop “growing up” or maturing at some point. They decide they’ve “grown up” and they’re done. These people seem to become whiners. One warning sign is, when you/they say or think a lot, ‘anyone would do this/think this/feel this way’ you or they are probably rationalizing something they’re really not proud of or think they could have handled better… It’s sticking with these rationalizations that I think turns people into whiners who do not feel empowered to take charge and run their own lives. They thing is they usually do it to themselves.

    I don’t really want to be “that guy” so I’ll just say briefly that when I started studying Buddhism, I felt like I’d started “growing up” again, and began to notice some people disempowering themselves this way…

    Anyway, that’s enough of that. Really great post! Great advice! 🙂

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