post written by: Marc Chernoff

10 Things I Wish I Knew 10 Years Ago

10 Things I Wish I Had Known 10 Years Ago

Stay in tune with your spirit.  Be calm and think.  Listen to your inner voice.  Anticipate and plan.  Take 100% responsibility for your life.  Lean into your struggles.  Act with courage.  Maintain an open mind.  Practice kindness and compassion.  Keep your promises.  Forgive, let go, and move forward.  This is how you get from where you are to where you want to be.

I’ve learned these concepts gradually over the last decade.  Together they have helped me live a life of purpose.  Had I understood these things 10 years ago, I could have avoided quite a bit of confusion and grief.  So today I figured I’d share a few more things I wish I had known sooner.  My hope is that they help you hurdle over some of the barriers I stumbled into on the road of life.

  1. Loving someone should not mean losing YOU. – True love empowers you, it doesn’t erase you.  True love allows human beings to build amazing things, by working together through passion, kindness, and good will.  So be strong enough to stand alone, be yourself enough to stand apart, but be wise enough to share your love and stand together when the time comes.  Read The Mastery of Love.
  2. Getting even doesn’t help you get ahead. – You will never get ahead of anyone as long as you try to get even with them.  Sometimes we don’t forgive people because they deserve it.  We forgive them because they need it, because we need it, and because we cannot move forward without it.  To forgive is to rediscover the inner peace and purpose that at first you thought someone took away when they betrayed you.
  3. You attract what you show to the world. – So if you want it, reflect it.  Happiness, freedom, and peace of mind are always attained by giving them out to others without expectation.  The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are eventually helped.  You have two hands; one to help yourself, the second to help those around you.
  4. Failure is success when you learn from it. – Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.  Obstacles can’t stop you.  Problems can’t stop you.  Other people can’t stop you.  These barriers are temporary – they come and go.  Which is why, over the course of a lifetime, the only barrier that can truly stop you, is YOU.  So don’t give up.  Sometimes you have to journey through hell on Earth to find heaven on Earth.
  5. You are not what you have done, but what you have overcome. – All the hardships.  All the mistakes.  All the rejections.  All the pain.  All the times you questioned why.  All of these things have given birth to the wisdom and strength that will help you shine your light on the world, even in the darkest of hours.  Read Emotional Freedom.
  6. Your past can only hurt you today if you let it. – Do not pay any attention to what the past whispers if all it’s doing is bad-mouthing what today has to offer.  There are times when you need to release the bitterness and grab a firm hold of happiness, without permission and without reason.  The only way to get over the past is to leave it behind.  If you spend your time re-living moments that are gone forever, you might miss the special moments that are yet to come.
  7. It’s never too late to become the person you are capable of being. – Repeat after me: “I AM FREE.”  You can fulfill your life purpose by starting here, in this moment.  The purpose of life is not to simply be happy, but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to make some kind of difference that you have lived at all.  Remember, life is constant change, but growth is optional.  Choose wisely, starting now.
  8. Passion is important. – If you are trapped between your dreams and what other people think is right for you, always travel the route that makes you happy – unless you want everybody to be happy, except you.  And whatever you do, don’t chase the money.  Catch up to the ideas and activities that make you come alive.  Go for the things of greater value – the things money can’t buy – and use them to create a relevant profession.  Read Quitter.
  9. The pain is worth it. – You can’t really begin to appreciate life until it has knocked you down a few times.  You can’t really begin to appreciate love until your heart has been broken.  You can’t really begin to appreciate happiness until you’ve known sadness.  You have to struggle up the mountainside to appreciate the breathtaking view at the mountaintop.
  10. Sometimes what you don’t want is what you need. – Sometimes the things you can’t change end up changing you for the better.  Master your responses to external events; don’t always attempt to control them.  You will rarely end up exactly where you wanted to go, but you will always end up exactly where you need to be.

Photo by: Pepe Santa

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  • Another great post Marc. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

  • I absolutely LOVE the the first one. Agree 100%!

    Thanks for continuing to be an inspiration in my daily life.

  • Just beautiful! I have learned all you mention too - and I don’t think we can totally learn these things before it’s their time to be learned :) Maybe you could have avoided some grief - but as you well say: the pain is worth it!

    Thanks for sharing.

  • This is what I needed to read today. I’ve got big plans but have been feeling too sorry for myself to make any of it happen. Thanks for the pep talk.

  • I read the title and thought, that there’s probably more than 10 things I wish I’d know ten years ago. And yet, somehow I’m glad I didn’t know them ten years ago, because then I wouldn’t be here, now, learning what I am learning now.

    Beautiful post as always.

  • 100% agree with every said here. Inspiring, spot on advice. :)

  • Number 6, Number 9..the whole list is right on and I do wish I knew all of this 10 years ago, but then again, it’s never too late (Number 7).

    As always, thanks for sharing and inspiring me to live a better life.

  • Unfortunately these are things that you have to learn the hard way. Great post!

  • Wow. This is something I really need, this time. I’m in my twenties. And all these points are so important for me as I have a long life yet to live.

  • I love, love, love this site! I am printing this particular post and leaving it out for my kids…Thank you for all that you do!

  • Numbers 3 and 7 particularly speak to me, though all ten are valuable. Another beautiful post. Thank you for lifting my day :-)

  • Amen to Point #1, “Loving someone should not mean losing YOU.”

    As Pastor Joel Osteen says, “Some people you have to love from afar.” Don’t be afraid to limit the amount of time you spend with people who are tuned into the “24-hour Doom and Gloom station.” Surround yourself with kind, loving, and positive people who uplift you instead of dragging you down. Life’s too short to be hanging around ‘energy vampires’ who suck your spirit dry. Have the courage to break free today. You’re worth it!

  • Well, this is apparently what I needed to read this morning, as evidenced by the tears in my eyes. Thank you for this unexpected moment, I honestly needed this.

  • Everyday I look forward to opening my mail for one of your insightful posts. Thank you for sharing! Thank you for making my life that much better! Thank you for coming in to my life at the right time! Peace.

  • Taking 100% responsibility for my life. Leaning into struggles. Acting with courage. Maintaining an open mind. Practicing compassion. Keeping my promises. Moving forward. This is how I will get from where I am to where I want to be… yes, this is the plan!

    Do or Do not… there is no try! - Yoda

    Thanks Marc, it is helping me a lot.

  • Thanks for your insightful post. Keep up the good work

  • Such a great post for me today. Thank you very much. I will take it and move forward. Love the practical reminders and tips in your blog.

  • Wonderful Post.

  • I so really appreciate your words. This post is wonderful.

  • another inspiring article.. thanks, it helps me a lot :)

  • “You are not what you have done, but what you have overcome”

    This really means a lot to me right now.

    Thank you so much.

  • Marc,

    I am 56 years old and although I sometimes hate to admit that I too wish I had come to know many of these wisdom’s earlier; but 20 years would have been better. For those of us trying and struggling to follow your mantra of “The purpose of life is not to simply be happy, but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to make some kind of difference that you have lived at all,” It is indeed necessary that we release old wounds and voices and carry on even when happiness eludes us as we toil. I can share that the Universe knows the timing of rewards perfectly and it is His timing not ours that matters. When we stay steady on the road of our inner voice and are mindful of the turns that in fact may be purpose built and waiting for us along the way, we will be gently turned by a guiding hand rested lightly on our shoulder and when we surrender to that hand we arrive where we always dreamed we could.

  • These words could not have come at a better time for me. I’m working through some heavy challenges that I’ve been in denial about for too long. You can’t hide from the truth, and every one of these concepts rings so true for me in this moment. Thank you for giving me such a positive lense to view things through.

  • It took me 10 years to get to where I am from the start of my growth journey. Many times along the way I didn’t feel like it was worth it and wanted to sink back into self pity and despair. Today I am incredibly thankful for all the quotes, books and messages that pushed me along and I would never want to go back to where I started knowing what I know now.

    THANK YOU for your site, it’s like a little pill each day that lets me know there are others out there just like me wanting to live a life of purpose, authenticity and kindness ♥

  • As always, thank you, thank you for all your beautiful comments. Such wonderful thoughts and insights you have added to the conversation.

    Angel and I just read each one of them, and you have made our morning a lot brighter. :) Just figured I’d let ya know.

  • Such an inspiring post, Marc. Very well written. Thank you for sharing this. It really gets me.

  • Wow… I love what I am reading… its what I know, but its like its underlined and all at once becoming very important!!

    I said goodbye to my partner earlier this year… unfortunately he lives on the same street…and I feel trapped… he wants the relationship, to work… but I felt lost and sad and I lost myself… in the process…. Now I feel that I either have to move from my own home ( that I love and own) or die just to be free from him….

    He has excuses on why he cant leave, the street/country, finances, his aging dying dog, etc. I don’t want to hurt him… but leave me alone… I am becoming a prisoner in my gorgeous home…

  • Your blog is really beautiful. I mean what you right is so helpful and inspiring. Here from Kenya love you Marc and Angel …

  • So glad I subscribed !!!! I always love your posts !!!

  • Could not have said it better myself :-) I turned 30 this year and oh how I wish I could go back and give my 20 year old self some tips lol. It is amazing what one can learn in 10 years. I’m actually in the middle of writing a post for my blog which is very similar but written to my daughter as life lessons. As always, thanks for the inspiration and keep it up!

  • I’ve seen alot of these posts, the X things I wish I knew when, but this one does really well to stand on it’s own and separate itself from the pack. There’s alot of things I wish I could tell myself ten years ago, although I probably wouldn’t believe most of it. Oh we’ll, tomorrow’s another day.

  • Thanks, great article. I think each one of these points deserve at least one day, or even one week’s meditation.

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