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NOTABLE! If you could only pass on one life lesson to everyone on this forum, what would it be?

RazorCut

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Life is not happening to you. Life is responding to you.

Don't live the same year 75 times and call it a life.”

 

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rwhyan

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Tomorrow never comes.

PS. How do you meditate?
Sam Harris has some great basic meditation resources: How to Meditate | Sam Harris

For something more in-depth, I also highly recommend "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" by Shunryu Suzuki to learn why to meditate and the essence of practicing sitting. For something more easily digestible and written in more Western style I'd recommend "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle.

I'm a still a newbie with much of this but my life lesson would be: You cannot change your life without changing your daily habits and routine.
 

Bhanu

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It is from Gautama Buddha’s final words on his death bed:
Appo Deepo Bhava means be light unto yourself.

It means don’t accept ideas or teachings based solely on the presumed authority of others; on tradition; on dogma, etc. but evaluate them in light of your own experience. Take complete responsibility of your life in your own hands.
 

Kak

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As long as you're going to be in the room... Why not be the smartest in it? Or at least give it a run.
 
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WJK

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I thought this might make for an interesting thread, in the vein of some other very valuable "lessons learned" threads we've seen here down through the years.

No two people on this forum have lived their lives in precisely the same way.
Sure, some of us have a lot more experience than others (at 21, I'm younger than a lot of you reading this), but I believe that everyone has a message to share - they just need a platform...

So, here's your platform.

I'll kick things off.

If I could only pass on one lesson to you, it'd be this:

You are not your thoughts.

Trite? Perhaps.

But powerful? Definitely.

One of the principal benefits you get from meditating is learning to exist in the space between stimulus and response. Between the impulse and action, you have a chance to observe what's happening and make an informed decision, rather than reacting in a knee-jerk fashion.

In business, we see people holding themselves back from ever even trying because they think that they're not good enough, that they're a failure, that they need to read these 16 books and listen to those 27 podcasts and subscribe to all those email lists first...

But these thoughts are just that.
Thoughts.
Nothing more than a cloud drifting across the sky of your conscious awareness. They are not who you are... unless you reach out, cling to them, and make them part of your identity.

Why do I know this?

(Warning - possible overshare incoming)

Back in late 2017, not for the first time in my life, I went through a bad mental health spell. Compulsive thoughts were nagging, nagging, nagging away at me. Without getting too detailed (that's not what this post is about), I was constantly fighting the urge to hurt myself physically... and worse.

At my lowest, I was having these thoughts 50-60 times a day, and I didn't really know what to do about it. Counselling was an idea, but I ended up on a two-week waiting list once they felt I wasn't an immediate risk.

By the time I got a call to say an appointment was available, the worst had passed, and I was on the way back up again... but I knew I had to be better prepared the next time around. For my own sake.

Weeks went by, and I reflected on the questions I'd been left with:
How can I overcome this challenge?
How can I ensure that I don't suffer from one of these bad spells again?
How do I know it won't be worse next time?

Journaling. Reading. Talking to people (professionals and otherwise). All played a part, and all helped to a degree...

But what helped me most was reflecting back on my experience during that bad spell, as painful as it was. In seeing how I had kept going then, I could learn to do so again in the future.

And there, in the midst of all that I wished to forget, I found the one truth that could save me.

I was not my thoughts.


Every impulse, every nagging image, every compulsive desire that rose up in me was not who I was.

This isn't dissociation. Running away from this kind of problem doesn't help (believe me, I tried).

This is about realizing your thoughts are a stimulus. Your response can be provoked by this stimulus... but only you choose what that response will be.

You can agree (if it serves you), or you can decline (if it doesn't). The choice is yours.

(Note: Please don't take any of this as victim-shaming, or trivialization of serious mental health issues. This is serious business, I understand that. This is just a mental framework that has helped me, among other things.)

I still get these thoughts sometimes (not as often), but they don't have the same power over me that they once did.

When they float up now, I recognize them for what they are - a stimulus, and nothing more.

You are not your thoughts. Thoughts are a stimulus, and your response is your own.


*******

Looking forward to seeing the lessons you all have to share!
It doesn't matter how much money you make... what really counts is how much you have left over each Friday night after you pay all your bills and settle your debts... and the next step is how you wisely invest that left-over money. Financial success is a long-view quest.
 

aaronteagles

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I thought this might make for an interesting thread, in the vein of some other very valuable "lessons learned" threads we've seen here down through the years.

No two people on this forum have lived their lives in precisely the same way.
Sure, some of us have a lot more experience than others (at 21, I'm younger than a lot of you reading this), but I believe that everyone has a message to share - they just need a platform...

So, here's your platform.

I'll kick things off.

If I could only pass on one lesson to you, it'd be this:

You are not your thoughts.

Trite? Perhaps.

But powerful? Definitely.

One of the principal benefits you get from meditating is learning to exist in the space between stimulus and response. Between the impulse and action, you have a chance to observe what's happening and make an informed decision, rather than reacting in a knee-jerk fashion.

In business, we see people holding themselves back from ever even trying because they think that they're not good enough, that they're a failure, that they need to read these 16 books and listen to those 27 podcasts and subscribe to all those email lists first...

But these thoughts are just that.
Thoughts.
Nothing more than a cloud drifting across the sky of your conscious awareness. They are not who you are... unless you reach out, cling to them, and make them part of your identity.

Why do I know this?

(Warning - possible overshare incoming)

Back in late 2017, not for the first time in my life, I went through a bad mental health spell. Compulsive thoughts were nagging, nagging, nagging away at me. Without getting too detailed (that's not what this post is about), I was constantly fighting the urge to hurt myself physically... and worse.

At my lowest, I was having these thoughts 50-60 times a day, and I didn't really know what to do about it. Counselling was an idea, but I ended up on a two-week waiting list once they felt I wasn't an immediate risk.

By the time I got a call to say an appointment was available, the worst had passed, and I was on the way back up again... but I knew I had to be better prepared the next time around. For my own sake.

Weeks went by, and I reflected on the questions I'd been left with:
How can I overcome this challenge?
How can I ensure that I don't suffer from one of these bad spells again?
How do I know it won't be worse next time?

Journaling. Reading. Talking to people (professionals and otherwise). All played a part, and all helped to a degree...

But what helped me most was reflecting back on my experience during that bad spell, as painful as it was. In seeing how I had kept going then, I could learn to do so again in the future.

And there, in the midst of all that I wished to forget, I found the one truth that could save me.

I was not my thoughts.


Every impulse, every nagging image, every compulsive desire that rose up in me was not who I was.

This isn't dissociation. Running away from this kind of problem doesn't help (believe me, I tried).

This is about realizing your thoughts are a stimulus. Your response can be provoked by this stimulus... but only you choose what that response will be.

You can agree (if it serves you), or you can decline (if it doesn't). The choice is yours.

(Note: Please don't take any of this as victim-shaming, or trivialization of serious mental health issues. This is serious business, I understand that. This is just a mental framework that has helped me, among other things.)

I still get these thoughts sometimes (not as often), but they don't have the same power over me that they once did.

When they float up now, I recognize them for what they are - a stimulus, and nothing more.

You are not your thoughts. Thoughts are a stimulus, and your response is your own.


*******

Looking forward to seeing the lessons you all have to share!
"You are not your thoughts. Thoughts are a stimulus, and your response is your own. "
Very well said! I've come to the same conclusion after practicing meditation for several month with Sam Harris's Waking Up course, which, by the way, I cannot recommend enough.
 

Prakhar Verma

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The best life lesson is the one you get at the right time.

There are gazillions of great life lessons. But if you encounter them when you don't need or realize them, they are useless.

But one small lesson at the right time can change your life.

That's why lifelong learning is key. Learn. Unlearn. Relearn. Repeat.
 

Thinh

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Aug 11, 2018
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I thought this might make for an interesting thread, in the vein of some other very valuable "lessons learned" threads we've seen here down through the years.

No two people on this forum have lived their lives in precisely the same way.
Sure, some of us have a lot more experience than others (at 21, I'm younger than a lot of you reading this), but I believe that everyone has a message to share - they just need a platform...

So, here's your platform.

I'll kick things off.

If I could only pass on one lesson to you, it'd be this:

You are not your thoughts.

Trite? Perhaps.

But powerful? Definitely.

One of the principal benefits you get from meditating is learning to exist in the space between stimulus and response. Between the impulse and action, you have a chance to observe what's happening and make an informed decision, rather than reacting in a knee-jerk fashion.

In business, we see people holding themselves back from ever even trying because they think that they're not good enough, that they're a failure, that they need to read these 16 books and listen to those 27 podcasts and subscribe to all those email lists first...

But these thoughts are just that.
Thoughts.
Nothing more than a cloud drifting across the sky of your conscious awareness. They are not who you are... unless you reach out, cling to them, and make them part of your identity.

Why do I know this?

(Warning - possible overshare incoming)

Back in late 2017, not for the first time in my life, I went through a bad mental health spell. Compulsive thoughts were nagging, nagging, nagging away at me. Without getting too detailed (that's not what this post is about), I was constantly fighting the urge to hurt myself physically... and worse.

At my lowest, I was having these thoughts 50-60 times a day, and I didn't really know what to do about it. Counselling was an idea, but I ended up on a two-week waiting list once they felt I wasn't an immediate risk.

By the time I got a call to say an appointment was available, the worst had passed, and I was on the way back up again... but I knew I had to be better prepared the next time around. For my own sake.

Weeks went by, and I reflected on the questions I'd been left with:
How can I overcome this challenge?
How can I ensure that I don't suffer from one of these bad spells again?
How do I know it won't be worse next time?

Journaling. Reading. Talking to people (professionals and otherwise). All played a part, and all helped to a degree...

But what helped me most was reflecting back on my experience during that bad spell, as painful as it was. In seeing how I had kept going then, I could learn to do so again in the future.

And there, in the midst of all that I wished to forget, I found the one truth that could save me.

I was not my thoughts.


Every impulse, every nagging image, every compulsive desire that rose up in me was not who I was.

This isn't dissociation. Running away from this kind of problem doesn't help (believe me, I tried).

This is about realizing your thoughts are a stimulus. Your response can be provoked by this stimulus... but only you choose what that response will be.

You can agree (if it serves you), or you can decline (if it doesn't). The choice is yours.

(Note: Please don't take any of this as victim-shaming, or trivialization of serious mental health issues. This is serious business, I understand that. This is just a mental framework that has helped me, among other things.)

I still get these thoughts sometimes (not as often), but they don't have the same power over me that they once did.

When they float up now, I recognize them for what they are - a stimulus, and nothing more.

You are not your thoughts. Thoughts are a stimulus, and your response is your own.


*******

Looking forward to seeing the lessons you all have to share!
Hey @Mr.C, great topic! As we can see from all the answers, there's not ONE single lesson that works for everyone. We all are different, have different lives and different contexts.

I would just like to add a bit of a nuance to your single most important lesson :
"You are not your thoughts."

When I read Think and Grow Rich, it was made clear that we are the result of what we thought.
Then I read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle (highly recommended read!) and started meditating, and then yeah, I also understood that we are not our thoughts.

Wait, what am I supposed to do here with those seemingly contradictory statements?

I believe that those two statements aren't really contradictory. We are not our thoughts, but we can embrace them, if they make us better and bring us fulfillment. And in the end, we become the "result of what we have thought."
So our thoughts can still have a great influence on us, even if we are not them.

Just a nuance I find important to mention.

As for my single most important lesson, it's difficult to pick one because I have learned so many invaluable lessons... But I'd go with Be intentional.

Don't wander aimlessly, being pushed around by life, doing things without really thinking or knowing why you do them... that's all the same thing: be intentional.

It's best explained by this entrepreneur in less than 2 minutes:
 

Matt Mortensen

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I love this! Thank you for sharing!

If I could pass on one life lesson it would be: Be Genuine

Being genuine has helped me in my personal and professional lives. People can easily see if you are trying to be something that you are not.

I started working as a real estate agent 5 years ago. When I started I was trying to be someone I wasn't. When I started being genuine and true to myself my business took off.
 

HackVenture

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Successful people are not that much different from "normal people".

They make blunders too, they stutter on stage too, they lose their temper too, they do stupid things too.

They just put themselves out there enough times that somehow at least something hits and they become "successful" and use the momentum to keep becoming more and more so, till they don't look "normal" anymore.
 

Mr.Brandtastic

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Others have mentioned it, but know that you'll never get today back. Whether you sit watching Netflix all day or learn French or work on your business, today will never return all the same. So don't squander the time you do have.

Your past choices got you to where you are now. In the future pick better choices if you want it to be different.
 

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