A Decade Of Learning – 10 Life Lessons Over The Last 10 Years
Things I’ve Learnt Between The Ages of 16 and 26 That Have Changed My Life
It’s nearing the end of the year, which means we are at the end of a decade! It’s a very interesting concept to me, and I wonder how we will look back at 2010-2020 in the future. There are a lot of different trends and advances in human history in these past 10 years and some are going to stand out I’m sure.
On a personal level, I’ve gone through a lot of things in the past 10 years. I started this decade having just left school and entering the world of work. I’m 26 now, and there have been a lot of lessons learnt over the past 10 years since 2010. Lessons around work, relationships, family, home, mindset and personality jump to mind when thinking of this era.
In today’s post, I wanted to share a kind of life lessons guide of the things I’ve picked up over the past 10 years. Some of these are serious and some of these are a bit more frivolous, so I hope you enjoy both aspects of this blog post today.
1. Work Hard At Every Position You Have In Your Career
There are lots of benefits to performing to the best of your ability, no matter what role you are employed to do. Not only morally, but also for your career development, and your overall character development.
Learning to put your all into everything you do is a great lesson to learn. It will show that you are conscientious, and have respect for your employer and for the role you are in.
You will put yourself in a great position:
- you can learn amazing skills and develop experience that could lead to your dream position in the long-term
- you are showing your moral compass and integrity
- you will be showing your desire to do well and perform to the best of your ability
- you might be chosen first for promotion because you have displayed desirable character traits
- you could make connections with people inside and outside of your organisation that could be very beneficial long-term
I’ve learnt the benefits myself when I worked in a part-time catering position at 19, where I pushed myself and showed my dedication to do well. I was first to be given a full-time role, and then the opportunity to move up the management structure opened up and I was able to secure two promotions because I had put myself in the prime position.
My mindset has always been around doing my best no matter what. I was always taught as a child for exams etc that as long as I did my best, then my parents couldn’t ask anything more of me. This has stuck with me, and I always strive to do my absolute best and work on improving myself rather than competing with others.
2. Not Everyone Is Going To Like You, And That’s Okay
Ah, something I’ve struggled to come to terms with, but a lesson learnt nonetheless. I’ve always had this desire for everyone around me to like me, and I know that this just isn’t possible! I’m never going to be every single person’s cup of tea. And that’s 100% okay!
I don’t need everyone to like me. As long as I am doing what I feel is right, and I am treating everyone around me with respect and consideration, then there isn’t anything else I can do.
You should never bend yourself out of shape or try to fit into everyone else’s expectations of you. Learning to be happy as you are, in your skin, and not care whether every single person around you likes you is so freeing!
Of course, I get that this isn’t easy.
Some days, I still struggle with this myself, and I have to remind myself of it. But try to remember that the people who care about you and want the best for you are the ones to focus on, and as long as you are civil and respectful to everyone else, then the world still turns and there isn’t any damage done.
Try not to focus on those people, because you’re missing out on directing your energy and your time to the people that love you. Instead, concentrate on those that bring positivity, happiness, encouragement and honesty into your life. The people that make you feel good when you leave them, rather than drained. The ones that give you their time because they think you deserve it. Return that behaviour to keep those amazing people in your life, and don’t stress the rest!
3. Personal Finance Is Vital + Isn’t Something To Put Off Until You’re Older
When I was a teenager and earning money, I had no real responsibilities and I wasted thousands of pounds by simply being young and immature. Of course, there isn’t anything wrong with enjoying your youth and getting out there.
I would never advise not to have fun and get out there, go travelling with your friends, go to parties and buy cute clothes whilst you’re a teenager.
The advice I would give would instead be that you should be thinking of your future and the kind of life you want to have in your twenties, and at least make some sensible choices to this end.
Maybe don’t max out your first credit on pointless sh*t you don’t need. Save up for things you want, and learn the lesson of saving and why patience is important. Don’t destroy your credit score before you’ve even started in life! Before you’ve even tried to buy a house!
Learn to keep a percentage of your wage to one side, and think about maybe moving into your place and how that’s going to work for you. Make some emergency funds and protect yourself a little bit.
Make good choices ladies, so you don’t regret it later.
4. Don’t Be Afraid To Stop Spending Time With Toxic People
We spend time with people sometimes, and it is damaging to us. We sit there and feel like the person we are spending time with is negative, unkind, unsupportive, and it makes us feel worse than when we got there.
If you feel like someone consistently leaves you feeling drained and low, and you have tried to explain your feelings and gotten nowhere, then you don’t have to put more time into that person.
There is a need to be selfish in this, and put yourself and your mental health first.
If someone is damaging to you more often than not, then spending less time with, and giving them less of your energy is entirely within your rights.
We’re often raised to put our feelings to one side and be there for other people. We are conditioned to be helpful and caring to others, and sometimes we just need to put ourself first.
5. You Can Only Control Your Thoughts, Reactions & What You Say, Not What Other People Say And Do
No matter what we say, this one can be really difficult to live by. We have a lot of expectations for the people around us, and without even realising it, we can live in these expectations. Holding people to things that we might have not even talked to them about is craziness!
I’ve learnt that no matter what I do, I just cannot control what other people do or say.
I can’t make them feel a certain way or treat me a certain way. Expecting people to behave in the way I desire is just setting myself up for failure.
Of course, I have to focus on reminding myself on this on almost a daily basis. It’s a lesson that I have to work on, like a skill. I have to keep it in mind and I’m not always very good at it! But the effort and the awareness of this is the key first part.
Here are some of the top ways I try to work on this point and bring it into my daily life:
- Try to stay calm and breathe before I say anything in response to people around me
- Try to focus on taking action based on rational facts rather than reacting based on bursts of emotion
- Listen properly, and fully understand what someone is saying first, ask questions and dig a little deeper
- Work on self-talk and how I speak to myself. Work on building that friendship with myself, and care for myself in a compassionate, motivational and encouraging way
- Rely on myself first, and make sure that I am protecting myself and putting boundaries out there of how I will accept to be treated
- Keep in mind that the people around me might be reacting to something going on in their own life, so try and be compassionate to everyone, no matter how they might behave. Keeping my integrity, kindness, and a positive attitude is more important to me
Control is not something to waste your time on, and even in subtle ways, there’s no point trying to keep check of the people around you.
The best advice I can give based on my life experience so far is simply to focus on improving yourself, growing on yesterday and chasing after your own goals. If people love you and care for you, they will show you. You will not need to force it. If you’re having to force it, having to beg for the things you want, then it’s probably not the right situation for you anyway.
6. Change Your Bed Covers More Often, Buy Sustainable Items & Learn How To Iron Your Clothes
This point is a little bit about the overall taking care of yourself and the environment around you. It’s about neglect and making sure that you’re not ignoring things around you that are quite important.
Changing your bed covers is something that makes a huge difference. Get into the habit of doing them at least every two weeks. Give yourself clean pillowcases to bury your face into every night. Spray them with sweet-smelling linen spray and enjoy your bed on another level.
Buy sustainable items wherever possible, and start building better habits. We only have one planet, and learning how to look after it better is vital. Educate yourself on the throw-away items you are using and think about ways you can reduce your impact on this:
- Use refillable containers for coffee/water etc rather than using disposable cups
- Buy bamboo options for items such as toothbrushes, cotton buds etc
- Buy washable face pads instead of using disposable cotton ones
- Buy better quality clothing from sustainable companies and avoid fast fashion
- Reuse your clothing items for other things; rags, towels etc
Learning how to iron your clothes is a skill that you will never regret learning. This one came from my partner because before him I would avoid ironing at all costs!
Taking care of your clothes and presenting yourself in the best way you can does a lot for you that you might not even be aware of. It gives you a huge boost to your morale and your self-confidence. Presenting yourself as smart, appropriately prepared, and as someone who cares about their appearance can bring about all kinds of opportunities such as relationships, career moves, self-esteem boosts, and more.
7. You Learn A Lot By Just Listening Properly To Those Around You
People around us have so much to teach us. They have lived a full life, and have all these different experiences, lessons and perspectives to you. Just simply listening more to what people have got to say, and asking questions to better understand them is cool and useful.
I like to do this with older people especially, as they have so much to teach! They have learnt their life lessons and have been through all different things that you might have never even imagined.
I spent some time with one of my clients from my full-time IRL job, who was a lady in her 50s. We were discussing life and having a real chat about the way of the world and she was saying that her one piece of advice that she could give to herself back when she was my age, would be to look after her money better in regards to her pension etc.
It was great to have such poignant and helpful advice from someone who has lived and is much closer to all that than I am.
Start listening more to the people around you, and figure out the point that they’re trying to make. Ask questions and show that you care what people are talking about. Not only will you learn stuff, you’ll likely make better connections with people too. Remember how it feels when people don’t listen to you – it’s not nice, is it? Make sure you’re not doing that to other people and reap the rewards of it!
8. Trust Your Partner Until They Give You A Reason Not To – Don’t Hold Them To Past Relationship Standards
Ah, definitely a tough one but something you just HAVE to do.
It’s not fair to be in a relationship with someone and hold them to the same opinions as you would have for someone that has broken your trust.
As hard as this might be, you have to learn to treat them as a completely separate person. After all, you’re with them because they’re different! Let them treat you properly. Let them heal some of the things that you have learnt from experience, rather than hold onto the crap from before.
Believe me, I know this is tough. I have had partners cheat, lie, and steal from me.
Moving on from those feelings and those expectations is hard and I have to keep my eye on it. I have made my current partner feel pretty crappy a couple of times by not trusting him implicitly and it’s something we have to talk about occasionally.
Learning to see him completely separately and not think he would do any of those things is key. If he gives me a reason not to trust him, then fine, but until then, he doesn’t deserve any form of suspicion or doubt.
Remember point 5 – you cannot control what other people do, and stressing or worrying about it won’t make any difference. By allowing things to happen as they happen, and try not to live in a state of anxiety, you will feel much happier and your relationship will be given the space to flourish.
9. Finding A Hobby You Are Passionate About Is Vital
Your overall happiness depends on fulfilling the various areas of your life.
Having hobbies and interests outside of your work and family is very important. It gives you things that are just for you. Things that you do because you enjoy them and because they bring light into your life.
You might not have anything like that currently, but you definitely do have those interests. Try some new things and see how they stick. You might have never played cricket before, but actually you freaking love it! You might have a penchant for playing the flute but haven’t ever given it a go. Until you try things and find out how you feel about them, you might be missing out.
Having something personal that brings you joy or calm, no matter what that might look like, is something you shouldn’t underestimate.
I’ve got a few different things that bring me fulfilment, contentedness or relaxation. Of course, blogging is one of my all-time favourite things to spend my time on. I also love reading, walking, learning new skills, watching ASMR videos, learning about online business, photography, writing, finance, all kinds of things!
My partner is obsessed with football and has even helped me understand the rules a lot better so we can watch together and I feel like I know what’s going on. He has plenty of his own interests and it’s great because we can be in the house together but he’s doing his thing and I’m doing mine.
Get out there and try some things for yourself, or put more time into yourself and your interests. Everyone deserves to spend time on the things they enjoy.
10. Learn To Be Your Own Best Friend
Negative talk might be impacting you and you don’t even realise it. It might be digging its claws into your mind and you might not see it that way.
Do you talk to yourself in that tone –
“Get on with it you idiot!”
“What are you doing? Are you stupid?”
“You look awful today.”
“You can’t do this. You’re going to fail.”
By doing this constantly, we are filling our mind with negative thoughts, horrible mindset and a really low self-image. You might not even know you are doing it!
But treating yourself in this way is not encouragement. It’s not motivational and it’s not helping you.
Instead, you need to turn yourself into your best friend. You need to learn how to speak to yourself as if you were someone who genuinely cares for you. Encourage yourself properly, tell yourself –
“You can do this!”
“I’m so proud of you.”
“This is amazing, and it’s all down to you.”
“You look freaking amazing today, so beautiful.”
Speaking to yourself in the way that you would speak to your closest friends will bring you no end of positive benefits. Your mind creates what it is given. If you fill it with strength and positivity, intelligence and creativity, then this is what you will create.
We attract things. The more positive, caring, helpful and educated you become, the more you will see these things come to you in life.
There are so many life lessons learnt, and there are millions of more things to go. I’ve only lived 26 years so far, and there are many years ahead of me.
However, being able to share these things with you and hope to give you some advice and inspiration moving forward is amazing to me. Having this platform is one of my favourite things and I am happy to be here talking to you today.
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