Seven Lessons I’d Give My Younger Self

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Every action provides information. Even lies and failure tell you more than you ever thought you’d know. The collection of life lessons learned through living is wisdom, and sometimes we are able to avoid the mistakes and replicate the successes of others without having to go through the same experiences. Below are seven of the biggest life lessons I now know that I wish I had known years earlier.

Almost everyone is wrong You’re taught to respect your elders, revere clergy, and listen to gurus. Well, guess what: almost everyone is wrong. Even most experts are wrong about their own field much of the time. The beginning of adult wisdom is when you stop looking up to others with childlike wonder and start to see other human beings as equals. A child thinks that everyone but himself is right. A teen thinks that everyone but himself is wrong. An adult knows that everyone, including himself, can be wrong.

No one cares about you It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of a caring world with a defined purpose, filled with compassionate people waiting to help you along your way. Wrong. The world, and its inhabitants, don’t give a crap about you. Even family and lovers are doing their own thing, and only interact with you as it suits their own personal goals. This isn’t meant to be depressing, but to relieve frustration when the world doesn’t go as you had expected.

Everything is your fault Believe it or not, this is inspirational. No, not everything is your fault; however, you have sole responsibility and control over your own life. Viewing everything as your fault empowers you to take ownership and change whatever is wrong. If you make things other people’s fault, you become helpless to change your condition.

Sincerity is far easier than deceit From a very young age we’re tempted to lie our way out of problems, and when we get older we face even greater pressure to adopt a more subtle form of deceit by trying to be someone we’re not. Eventually, we get into the habit of telling people what they want to hear, trying to like things we hate, and overall living an artificial and constructed existence. The sooner we live by the creed of brutal honesty and open sincerity, the happier our lives will be.

Start repeatedly doing Sure, moments of brilliance can lead to some great achievements, and it’s always valuable to attempt to work smarter, but we can never become anything of consequence without constant repetitive practice. The best standup comics aren’t rare geniuses, but those who have been performing in clubs hundreds of times per year. The most physically fit people are those who display almost robotic discipline and consistency in their exercise routine. And, of course, the best writers are also the most prolific. Want to make something of yourself? Do, over and over again, without giving up.

Get used to yourself We’re all different, and have our own unique strengths and weaknesses. Yes, we can push ourselves to our upper limits, but don’t go thinking that you’re better than yourself. You have weaknesses, and they’re there for life. Success means working with them and around them, not ignoring them and hoping they go away.

This is your life We are given one short span of existence in this world, and once it’s gone we don’t have anything else left. So fight with a passion against those thieves who want to steal your life away by forcing you into existing according to their will. Do exactly what you want to do, how you want to do it, no matter what others might try to make you believe. All you’ve ever got is time, and when it’s up, it’s up. There is nothing more bitter than realizing you’ve lost a chunk of your unrecoverable life because of someone else’s malevolent desire. So do your thing, starting now.

Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela is the editor of The Desert Lynx. He is also the founder of the Rights Brigade, a mover for the Free State Project, and a martial art instructor.