“Wow, you have everything figured out at such a young age”.
As I turned 25 years old on 23rd June 2020, most people said a version of the above sentence to me.
What they don’t know is that the “dream life” that I’m living comes with its cost. It’s easy for me to fake a smile, but nobody knows when I’m in pain. I too have internal struggles, insecurities, worries, and fears like everybody else.
I did everything in my power to prevent a quarter-life crisis, and yet here I was looking back at my life, thinking about all the sacrifices I had made to be where I am today.
No, I don’t have it all figured out, but there are a few things I’d like to share. I get many insights as I learn, think, write and coach every day. It’s hard for me to distill down to 25 lessons, but here they are in no particular order:
1. The world will never give you permission. You can be, do and have anything you want if you give yourself the permission you seek.
2. Every adult finds their new toys. Money, power, status, fame, sex, beauty, possessions, goals, and so on can become your new toys. You can be free if you don’t become a slave to your toys.
3. You can’t change what happened. But you can always change the stories you tell yourself.
4. Committing to something and uncommitting from something — They both can change your life in an instant.
5. Happiness comes to you when you don’t force her. Surrender when she goes away and welcome her with open arms when she returns to you.
6. Don’t pass the negativity torch when it’s passed to you. You can end it with compassion, empathy, kindness and forgiveness.
7. A better life or a new you is on the other side of fear, risk, and sacrifice. To change is to live. If you’re not changing, you’re dying.
8. As your character becomes stronger, your ego becomes smaller.
9. Most people make the easy choice. Junk food over healthy food. Comfort over discomfort. Apathy over empathy. Get-rich-quick over turning pro. Befriending everyone over choosing your company wisely or staying alone when needed. You can change your life by changing small everyday choices.
10. Gratitude is there for you when life is good and it is there for you when life is not so good.
11. Dwelling on what you lack or holding on to what you have are the thieves of peace.
12. Each thought is fear-based or love-based. Evolution has designed us to think of fear-based thoughts. Awareness gives us the power to choose love-based thoughts.
13. You’re never alone in your sufferings. People have had it worse. Your own sufferings diminish when you pray for others to heal.
14. Being broke, lonely or sick is a temporary condition. What really keeps people stuck are fear, scarcity, and ignorance. When you’re able to keep yourself in the state of love, abundance and awareness regardless of your external conditions, you attract all that you desire.
15. To be successful, I learned to be selfish. To be happy, I learned to be selfless. Now I’m learning the lifelong skill of dancing between the two.
16. All polarities exist for a reason. Death of the prey is a celebration for the predator. The villain gives rise to the hero. Joy exists because of grief. Love and embrace the full spectrum of life.
17. There is a time for being efficient, and there is a time when you need to relax and do nothing. You can’t do one well without the other.
18. There is a time for reflection, and there is a time to enjoy the present. You can’t do one well without the other.
19. Engineer your beliefs to help you, but don’t take them too seriously. Whatever you believe, you’ll have a proof for that.
20. It’s easier to give when you become abundant in what you want to give.
21. The entire world is your mirror. Heaven and hell exist in the present through the reality you create in your mind.
22. It’s your job to make yourself feel loved. Don’t outsource it.
23. All external issues resolve when you resolve your internal issues. The secret to solving any internal issue is the combination of self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-love and self-mastery, in that order.
24. Learning how to play again is the beginning of evolution from adulthood.
25. You’re the chosen one if you choose to be. You’re not special, but you can make yourself great.