post written by: Marc Chernoff

10 Painfully Obvious Truths Everyone Forgets Too Soon

10 Painfully Obvious Truths Everyone Forgets Too Soon

The truth does not cease to exist when it is ignored.

You know how you can hear something a hundred times in a hundred different ways before it finally gets through to you?  The ten truths listed below fall firmly into that category – life lessons that many of us likely learned years ago, and have been reminded of ever since, but for whatever reason, haven’t fully grasped.

This, my friends, is my attempt at helping all of us, myself included, “get it” and “remember it” once and for all…

1.  The average human life is relatively short.

We know deep down that life is short, and that death will happen to all of us eventually, and yet we are infinitely surprised when it happens to someone we know.  It’s like walking up a flight of stairs with a distracted mind, and misjudging the final step.  You expected there to be one more stair than there is, and so you find yourself off balance for a moment, before your mind shifts back to the present moment and how the world really is.

LIVE your life TODAY!  Don’t ignore death, but don’t be afraid of it either.  Be afraid of a life you never lived because you were too afraid to take action.  Death is not the greatest loss in life.  The greatest loss is what dies inside you while you’re still alive.  Be bold.  Be courageous.  Be scared to death, and then take the next step anyway.

2.  You will only ever live the life you create for yourself.

Your life is yours alone.  Others can try to persuade you, but they can’t decide for you.  They can walk with you, but not in your shoes.  So make sure the path you decide to walk aligns with your own intuition and desires, and don’t be scared to switch paths or pave a new one when it makes sense.

Remember, it’s always better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than the top of the one you don’t.  Be productive and patient.  And realize that patience is not about waiting, but the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard for what you believe in.  This is your life, and it is made up entirely of your choices.  May your actions speak louder than your words.  May your life preach louder than your lips.  May your success be your noise in the end.

And if life only teaches you one thing, let it be that taking a passionate leap is always worth it.  Even if you have no idea where you’re going to land, be brave enough to step up to the edge of the unknown, and listen to your heart.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Passion and Growth” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

3.  Being busy does NOT mean being productive.

Busyness isn’t a virtue, nor is it something to respect.  Though we all have seasons of crazy schedules, very few of us have a legitimate need to be busy ALL the time.  We simply don’t know how to live within our means, prioritize properly, and say no when we should.

Being busy rarely equates to productivity these days.  Just take a quick look around.  Busy people outnumber productive people by a wide margin.  Busy people are rushing all over the place, and running late half of the time.  They’re heading to work, conferences, meetings, social engagements, etc.  They barely have enough free time for family get-togethers and they rarely get enough sleep.  Yet, emails are shooting out of their smart phones like machine gun bullets, and their day planners are jammed to the brim with obligations.  Their busy schedule gives them an elevated sense of importance.  But it’s all an illusion.  They’re like hamsters running on a wheel.

Though being busy can make us feel more alive than anything else for a moment, the sensation is not sustainable long term.  We will inevitably, whether tomorrow or on our deathbed, come to wish that we spent less time in the buzz of busyness and more time actually living a purposeful life.

4.  Some kind of failure always occurs before success.

Most mistakes are unavoidable.  Learn to forgive yourself.  It’s not a problem to make them.  It’s only a problem if you never learn from them.

If you’re too afraid of failure, you can’t possibly do what needs to be done to be successful.  The solution to this problem is making friends with failure.  You want to know the difference between a master and a beginner?  The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.  Behind every great piece of art is a thousand failed attempts to make it, but these attempts are simply never shown to us.

Bottom line:  Just because it’s not happening now, doesn’t mean it never will.  Sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right.  (Read The Success Principles.)

5.  Thinking and doing are two very different things.

Success never comes to look for you while you wait around thinking about it.

You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.  Knowledge is basically useless without action.  Good things don’t come to those who wait; they come to those who work on meaningful goals.  Ask yourself what’s really important and then have the courage to build your life around your answer.

And remember, if you wait until you feel 100% ready to begin, you’ll likely be waiting the rest of your life.

6.  You don’t have to wait for an apology to forgive.

Life gets much easier when you learn to accept all the apologies you never got.  The key is to be thankful for every experience – positive or negative.  It’s taking a step back and saying, “Thank you for the lesson.”  It’s realizing that grudges from the past are a perfect waste of today’s happiness, and that holding one is like letting unwanted company live rent free in your head.

Forgiveness is a promise – one you want to keep.  When you forgive someone you are making a promise not to hold the unchangeable past against your present self.  It has nothing to do with freeing a criminal of his or her crime, and everything to do with freeing yourself of the burden of being an eternal victim.

7.  Some people are simply the wrong match for you.

You will only ever be as great as the people you surround yourself with, so be brave enough to let go of those who keep bringing you down.  You shouldn’t force connections with people who constantly make you feel less than amazing.

If someone makes you feel uncomfortable and insecure every time you’re with them, for whatever reason, they’re probably not close friend material.  If they make you feel like you can’t be yourself, or if they make you “less than” in any way, don’t pursue a connection with them.  If you feel emotionally drained after hanging out with them or get a small hit of anxiety when you are reminded of them, listen to your intuition.  There are so many “right people” for you, who energize you and inspire you to be your best self.  It makes no sense to force it with people who are the wrong match for you.

8.  It’s not other people’s job to love you; it’s yours.

It’s important to be nice to others, but it’s even more important to be nice to yourself.  You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.  So make sure you don’t start seeing yourself through the eyes of those who don’t value you.  Know your worth, even if they don’t.

Today, let someone love you just the way you are – as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as incomplete as you think you are.  Yes, let someone love you despite all of this, and let that someone be YOU.  (Read Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It.)

9.  What you own is not who YOU are.

Stuff really is just stuff, and it has absolutely no bearing on who you are as a person.  Most of us can make do with much less than we think we need.  That’s a valuable reminder, especially in a hugely consumer-driven culture that focuses more on material things than meaningful connections and experiences.

You have to create your own culture.  Don’t watch TV, don’t read every fashion magazine, and don’t consume too much of the evening news.  Find the strength to fill your time with meaningful experiences.  The space and time you are occupying at this very moment is LIFE, and if you’re worrying about Kim Kardashian or Lebron James or some other famous face, then you are disempowered.  You’re giving your life away to marketing and media trickery, which is created by big companies to ultimately motivate you to want to dress a certain way, look a certain way, and be a certain way.  This is tragic, this kind of thinking.  It’s all just Hollywood brainwashing.  What is real is YOU and your friends and your family, your loves, your highs, your hopes, your plans, your fears, etc.

Too often we’re told that we’re not important, we’re just peripheral to what is.  “Get a degree, get a job, get a car, get a house, and keep on getting.”  And it’s sad, because someday you’ll wake up and realize you’ve been tricked.  And all you’ll want then is to reclaim your mind by getting it out of the hands of the brainwashers who want to turn you into a drone that buys everything that isn’t needed to impress everyone that isn’t important.

10.  Everything changes, every second.

Embrace change and realize it happens for a reason.  It won’t always be obvious at first, but in the end it will be worth it.

What you have today may become what you had by tomorrow.  You never know.  Things change, often spontaneously.  People and circumstances come and go.  Life doesn’t stop for anybody.  It moves rapidly and rushes from calm to chaos in a matter of seconds, and happens like this to people every day.  It’s likely happening to someone nearby right now.

Sometimes the shortest split second in time changes the direction of our lives.  A seemingly innocuous decision rattles our whole world like a meteorite striking Earth.  Entire lives have been swiveled and flipped upside down, for better or worse, on the strength of an unpredictable event.  And these events are always happening.

However good or bad a situation is now, it will change.  That’s the one thing you can count on.  So when life is good, enjoy it.  Don’t go looking for something better every second.  Happiness never comes to those who don’t appreciate what they have while they have it.

Your turn…

What else would you add to this list?  What important life lessons do you often forget?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

Photo by: skoeber

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  • My favorite was #8. Sometimes we expect more compassion from others than we give ourselves. It’s kind of backwards. This was a great reminder.

    I think the key is to let go of judgement and just be ok wherever we are. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s about practicing this every single day.

  • I have been reading about wisdom in college from multiple spiritual perspectives and we are currently on Taoism. I think so many of the great principles I’ve learned are reflected in this post. Acceptance of change is so important. Everything gets out of control if you resist life’s movement. Another thing that I am reviewing is being okay with the way things are, not rejecting or denying reality… it is so crucial to happiness. I think many people forget these simple truths.

    Phenomenal article all the way around! Your blog and book are helping me maintain a growth mindset from the start of every day. Both contain such easily digestible reminders that keep me positive and focused on what’s important.

  • As always, thank you so much for an enlightening read. I continue to admire what you two stand for. Above all, this post reminded me that I have a choice. Only I can choose to change my life. Only I can LIVE my life. In the chaos of the daily grind I often forget to choose MYSELF.

    This post as a whole reminded me of this quote from your book, which I love:

    “You don’t get to choose how you are going to die, or when. You can only decide how you are going to live, right now. Every day is a new chance to choose. Choose to change your perspective. Choose to flip the switch in your mind from negative to positive. Choose to turn on the light and stop fretting about with insecurity and doubt. Choose to do work that you are proud of. Choose to see the best in others, and to show your best to others. Choose to truly LIVE, right now.”

  • Like most of your posts, this one really resonated with me, reminding me that acknowledging my humanness is the first step to experiencing completeness. And how true it is that we tend to forget this simple fact.

    As I was reading, I was reflecting on how so much of information floods us that ultimately reinforce what we already know innately, but have somehow forgotten. What causes it? Perhaps denial of our humanness. Perhaps excessive busyness. Perhaps succumbing to consumerist and competitive herd responses.

    In any case, I appreciate these vital reminders. Loved reading. Sharing…

  • Truly enjoyed reading this. I forget that I do matter… that I must love myself. I often blame myself for everything that goes wrong, and someone close calls me the victim, but I don’t understand why. I love my daughters over me all the time. Always had a great relationship with them, but lately things seem to be falling apart. It hurts because they are not talking to me. How do I love myself more? How do I get their love and trust back? Any advice? Thank you.

  • This was so well written and really spoke to me. Thank you.

  • I love your website. Seems like all words of wisdom are already here. Sometimes I get too caught up with what others expect from me that I forget I have my own life. Your point about being busy is just so true. Thank you for sharing this.

  • I love this post - those are 10 timeless truths everyone should live by. And, I think, the most important one is to live today - don’t just “exist”, really, fully live! It is not about the money, it’s not about stuff and things… it’s about all those wonderful and simple things that are available to everyone of us and that are 100% sufficient to lead joyful, happy and fulfilled days.

  • It’s 6 am in Massachusetts and just got a good wake-up from this post. You both continue to enlighten me and make me think about life in general. And you are so right, life is way too short!

    @Betsy: I too have a rough relationship with my daughter but have now realized that it’s her choice to treat me the way she does. You have no control over getting her love or trust back. Maybe she has to earn YOUR love and trust back! Don’t be so hard on yourself. Like this post says, LOVE YOURSELF FIRST! :)

  • I constantly seem to be reminded of a “truth” I have had pointed out to me by someone’s less than loving behavior towards me… I just keep forgetting and allowing the very same person to hurt me again! After another recent reminder, maybe THIS time I will realize not everyone learns by their mistakes. Thank you for this post.

  • A life lesson many of us forget: Always walk away from a mistake having learned something. And remember, an even smarter person learns from other people’s mistakes and prevents repeating the same result

  • I so loved this so much and greatly needed it today.

    The one thing I’d add is to remember that your soul is above or beneath no one else’s. Other people may appear to have it way more together than you, and if you aren’t careful you can feel a little bit inferior, but that’s not true. Each of is complete and highly capable of doing what we’re here to do. Stay focused on YOUR unique journey, what resonates with your spirit and allows it to guide you and connect to the universe.

    Thanks so much for all your messages! :)

  • Thank you so much Marc and Angel for such motivating words. I’m looking to change career at the moment and these are just the words of encouragement and wisdom I needed… Have a great day xxx

  • Wow. GREAT post today guys. Very powerful and good reminders… ALL of them. Thanks!


  • Every life is a journey, and will come to its final destination sooner or later… you can arrive there with a smile or a frown; it’s all up to you.
    (thinking of #1 and #2).

    Great post!

  • Hi,
    #7…what if you are married to the person described in #7. I got married at 21 and was really in love with the idea of love and thought marriage was a destination I had to reach. I’ve since realized that both my husband and I have some real dysfunction. We are separated and I am currently seeking spiritual direction. I am reading Richard Rohr’s, “Experiencing the Enneagram.” It has been enlightening and terrifying. I always knew something was not quite right with me either, but have a pretty much happy personality and sunny disposition. My husband (we are on very friendly terms) admitted recently that he realized that I got my energy from other people, but after a day of work did not want the responsibility of being there for me… And I, in his defense, made him the center of my universe b/c I was not close to God at that point. Hubby was first. I just wanted a tiny piece of him, but had to wait until he was ready. I struggle daily because we made a commitment and b/c I’ve read that divorce is difficult on grown children. Our children are relatively in good shape and independent. However, we’ve made serious mistakes and I don’t want to add to their dysfunction.

    You’ve both helped me so much by your blog and book. Thank you. You both are a blessing to many.

  • In reference to Number 1,

    “If you have one foot in yesterday and one foot in tomorrow, you’re pissing all over today.” - Michael J. Fox

    The biggest challenge people usually have in our society is living in the moment. We say we do, and we try, but never actually do. Most are either thinking about what we need to do tomorrow or we are focused on the regrets of yesterday’s mistakes.

    I believe that this was a big chapter in the lost manual which unfortunately was not handed to us upon our arrival into the world.

  • As a tangent to #7, I would add: Some goals are simply not right for you. This, without using it as an excuse to not try or as a reason to accept the status quo.

    If, for example, you’re employed as a salesman your goal should not perhaps be the best salesman you could be - consider that perhaps you shouldn’t be a salesman at all. Do not always determine what mountains you must climb by the current valley you travel through; perhaps none of these peaks are worthy of you.

  • Amazing! To an extent, I struggle with the first two and #8 almost daily. These reminders are uplifting and helpful.

  • #2 One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from Mike Dirnt of the band Green Day. He said, “If one more person yells out ‘Christie Road’ I’m gonna hit ‘em with my fucking bass.” That pretty much sums up how I feel when people tell me to just work hard and be patient. I’ve been patient long enough, and stagnating in patience has actually made me less productive, less sure of myself, my abilities and my future, less motivated. I’m actually having to force something I’ve never had to force before. Above all though, stagnating in patience has made me less creative and less focused. I’m sick of being patient, and when “be patient” is code for being stifled and held back, controlled, manipulated, used, taken for granted and ultimately dismissed and discarded when I don’t handle it well, then if one more person tells me to be patient, I’m gonna hit ‘em with my fucking laptop.

    Which leads me into #7. Know who your friends are. Know the difference between the ones who lift you up and make you feel happy and secure and at peace with yourself and them that helps you grow, and the ones who knowingly and intentionally make you feel insecure and anxious and unsure of yourself and them. See through the superficial layer of their words and pay attention to their actions and how those actions affect you.

    Some people were just not a good match, and I finally ‘get’ and accept that, but it would be really nice to finally connect with people who are a right match. I’m tired of doing this alone.

    #9 Haha! This one made me laugh. It’s so important and I agree with every single point.

    Thank you for this. I really needed it this morning.

  • Your advice is so practical and real. I was living in a world which was designed by my culture, family, religion and so many artificial influences created by cults, movies, bad company, etc. Your approach to the attitudes, guilt, living for the sake of materialism has made me think otherwise - really changes my perspective. We should live for today - a new beginning. Yesterday is history. Your thoughts here have had a deep impact on my thinking and life. THANKS to both of you.

  • I would add: “There but for the grace of God go I.” Not that I am particularly religious, but when I see someone get angry because of something slight - like being cut off on a road or something - I like to remind myself that sometimes I am the person in the wrong too. How would I like to be treated?

  • Great responses to a great post! In refernce to climbing the ladder of success. Best thing I ever read was being effective and efficient in climbing the ladder to the top, and then realizing your were on the wrong wall the whole time.

    So many people retire, and THEN do what they always wanted to do. That is scary.

    I disagree with the “great as the people around you.” Great people can elevate the the people around them, but the commitment must be mutual. You cannot divorce your family or your friends, but many of us would like to!

    Play your favorites, stay closest to your true support group, and minimize the Klingons (you know who they are).

  • Your site is like a best friend’s shoulder - right by your side when needed the most. A lot of us have been close to life’s end, but been saved by a miracle or just survived by pushing through. Today I thought about it and found that I am already living bonus days. I really should be grateful and happy for this. Complaining for any reason is a shame, and I really try to avoid it. You have helped me with this mindset. Thank you for this!

  • I think number 6 is so very important. Some people will never apologize - or even realize they should. Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. You can never move on until you forgive, and sometimes that is not so much an event as a process. You may have to do it over and over until it is finally done. I find that praying for people I am angry with or who have hurt me helps the process move more quickly.

  • As a person who is dealing with the very crafty and manipulative thief of addiction, I would like to add an asterisk to #7. While it is true that you should not hang around folks who make you feel drained, belittled or insecure, I don’t think it’s a complete picture to simply say get away from “people who constantly make you feel less than amazing.” I believe Marc and Angel also have a post regarding surrounding yourself with people who challenge you to be your best self. I guarantee that an addict won’t “feel amazing” when someone comes along to speak truth to them which implies giving up their destructive habit. Further, this person’s less-than-amazing-feeling insight could be life-saving if constant. Addiction will also convince you that a person who speaks from true love and concern is “not a match” for you, and that your “feel amazing” habit is. So rather than following feelings, which can be both deceiving and fleeting, I would think a vigilant pursuit of truth and self-awareness would serve better in discerning which people you should keep company with.

  • @Vicki: Thank you for further clarifying my point. I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts and how you stated it.

    Bottom line: Don’t let liars and drama queens hold you back, but don’t jump to conclusions either. Look at the big picture - the truth beyond fleeting emotions - and determine who is truly a friend and who is just pretending - who stands beside you when you need them most and who turns the other way.

    @All: Thanks so much for keeping the conversation alive. Vicki’s comment caught my attention, so I jumped in and replied. But I will be back later to read the rest of the comments and reply as needed. I hope everyone is having a great day. :)

  • This post was immensely impactful. Thanks.

  • I would add: Don’t tell anyone you are going to do something until you have done it. Doing so is rarely necessary.

  • Thank you. All of what you write is so helpful and true.

    My life always seems to be about worrying what others expect from me. Some of my friends seem to think that if they say they are busy busy busy, it makes them look more important, and because I have no children that I can’t have anything important to do. They expect me to fit in with them at all times. Today I took my dog for a long walk and had a chat with God, asking him to help me rid myself of these so called hangers on. Yes they are… and it is always at my expense. I am trying to ease myself away from these draining people. Another friend is forever telling me how clever and business minded she is. Has she ever done anything apart from brag and boast? NO, but loves to put me down. Guess who out of all of them has a successful business and never mentions it?

    My prayers today have been answered with your site. It helps clear my mind. Thank you, I feel so much better. Sorry for the rant.

  • #6 Forgiveness has been a big obstacle for me. I really like the following line, “When you forgive someone you are making a promise not to hold the unchangeable past against your present self.” I feel that when I have tried to forgive, the lack of forgiveness for myself has held me back. I immediately think, ‘how could I have been so stupid’ or ‘you should have known better’. Now, I am working on loving and accepting myself with the bottom line that everything happens for a reason. If I had not been hurt, I would have never woken up to my life. The pain woke me up, and although not the preferred method for learning, I’m better off today than I was before.

  • Thank you, Vicki. I’m in recovery too. As you say, it’s necessary to listen to wiser people, especially at the beginning. They help you to realize you’re not as amazing as you might be if you could finally drop your addiction. Sometimes what they say makes us very uncomfortable because we still want to continue with it. The hubris of active alcoholics & addicts is huge. We flirt with disaster & death so that negative life-changing events mentioned in this post are even more likely to happen. Yet, without my alcoholism, I doubt if I’d ever have been brought to my knees & forced to change my life. It turns out that now I’ve got some recovery under my belt, the people I come across through my program are the most amazing people I’ve ever come across.

    And you know what? I’m have become one of them!

  • I’d add: Move through life with gratitude.

  • For Betsy: a victim is someone that claims all wrong doing was done to them and that they had no part. Admit your part of the wrong and apologize.

  • Thank you Kathy H, to the other comments, and to Marc & Angel. So exceited to read your posts and all of your followers responses. It is very comforting to know others feel the same way, when we may feel we are the only one. Very inspiring.

  • That we need to embrace the solitude. It is not loneliness, but solitude. We must choose to complete ourselves on our own. We are whole by ourselves.

    I have been reading your posts for more than a year now and you have helped me when I falter. Many thanks.

  • Excellent points, Marc and Angel.

    Betsy, if loving your daughters over yourself means giving them what they want even when it’s not what is really good for them, (you didn’t explain what it means to love them over yourself), or denying your own needs to give to them, you aren’t loving them. And you are not loving yourself.

    You may find it helpful to explore what love means to you and how it manifests itself in your life. Maybe explore how your picture of love came to be.

    Recovery programs can be really helpful. We all have hurts, habits and hang-ups.

    Part of loving yourself is taking care of yourself - getting the rest, good food, and exercise you need. Being clean. Choosing good things for yourself, not to exclude or deny others, but to meet your own needs - physical, mental, emotional. Telling yourself the truth.

    Best wishes, Betsy, for a truth and love filled life journey for you!

  • Truth is sometimes painful, but your presentation here is beautiful. I really like that “we do not have to wait for an apology to forgive” by doing so we’re only chaining ourselves, holding our enemies in, giving them power to stay in some parts of our mind. Whether they ask an apology or not, we should let them go. Your other points about “loving yourself and not waiting for others to do so first” and “being productive but not busy” are equally inspiring. Thank you so much.

  • Thank you for this post. It’s truly inspiring and connects with me on a more spiritual level. Loved #2. It hit me hard to me as I’m still trying to find the path that I am destined to walk on. It’s always better to be at the bottom of the ladder I want to climb. I’m in that situation right now with a company that I’m not sure I want to pursue long term. The fun isn’t always there.

    Thank you. I’m saving this post for future reference.


  • @Vicki: Thank you for your insight. Yes, going on insight and self-awareness is a much more intelligent and solid way of living life. Living life on feelings is like living life on shifting sand. Great post.

    Thank you.

  • Love it! I would add #11 - that happiness is a choice. Those who are happy have taken a deliberate, conscious choice to focus on the positive.

  • @April, thank you for the definition of a “victim”. I have admitted my “wrong” and have apologized. Now just waiting for the acceptance. I feel I have given my best on this, very heartfelt. We all make mistakes.

    @Juli, yes I do need to meet my own needs and tell myself the truth. Reading both of your responses has made me realize that I have tried, and that everything is not my fault, even if someone else does not like my choice.

    I need to be more positive, and other things will be as they should be. God has watched over me for many years. Thank you all for your truthful words. Thank you Marc & Angel, am so glad I have the chance to read your posts and comment on them.

  • Thanks for this delightful collection of Truths. I tend to get lost in the day to day activity of making a living. Reading your blog helps me refocus on living a meaningful life.

  • Wow! Thank you so much for these great words of wisdom! I needed to be reminded of all those points! I will now ensure to have a great and peaceful weekend!

  • Reading your blog helps me refocus on living a meaningful life. :)

  • Thanks for changing my life one inspiring post at a time.

  • @Betsy: As others have said, take ownership of your actions, do your best to be sincere with yourself and your daughters, and yourself. Then let go of the rest. You can’t control them; you can only do what you know in your heart is right, every single day. Over time, the rest is up to them. Best of luck to you.

    @Robert: You got it! The little things are often the big things in the end.

    @Marie: I think these posts… I think they may help: 4 Ways to Quiet the Negative Voice Inside You and 6 Reasons Your Relationship is Suffering. The 5 Love Languages may also be a good read for you.

    @M. Catlett: Wise point. Don’t finish everything you start simply because you started. Readjust your goals as you grow. And know it’s OK if they change.

    @Melissa Webster: I understand your frustration with hard work and patience, but I also believe taking just one step at a time is the key. For me, it’s often simply about dealing with today, and only today.

    @David Rapp: “So many people retire, and THEN do what they always wanted to do. That is scary.” – I couldn’t agree more. One of my biggest goals is to help those I love avoid this trap.

    @Aivar: I think every day is a bonus day, most of us just don’t realize it yet.

    @Wendy am: As I told someone else, just do YOUR best. Don’t let the opinions of others overshadow YOUR truth.

    @ Mary: Yes, all strength grows from adversity. I’m glad to hear it helped you and you appreciate it. Best of luck to you.

    @All: Thanks for the kudos, and for sharing your stories with us. It really moves us to know that so many of you enjoy the content we publish here. Your continued praise, kindness, and willingness to share inspires us to keep writing and creating.

    Cheers to another beautiful day!

  • Others can only knock your self-esteem if you give them permission to.

  • These are all excellent life-changing truths that I have slowly come to appreciate in the last few years. The only thing I would add is this: everything is subjective. When you realize that everyone’s world is based on perceptions, and that you have the power to change your own perception, then your life can flip upside down. By changing your perspective, you can always find something good out in any situation, no matter how “bad” it may seem on the surface. Every experience is a learning experience, if you choose to make it one. Look for the silver lining, and you will find it.

  • Yes, accepting change is important, but so is realizing that the basics of your life stay constant. Nothing will ever change the love my mother had for me, or what my sisters, my husband, and my daughter feel. I feel secure in the network of their love, although I may not aways be happy. (That’s my responsibility.) I may be ill, I may be sad, but I am surrounded by the love of family and friends. I am a lucky woman.

  • This is by far one of the best posts you guys has written, and I love all them. This really touched home. Thank you guys, as always…

  • @David Rapp–you absolutely can “divorce” your family and particularly, friends. Not to say that it’s the easiest thing to do, but sometimes it’s necessary. I’ve spent much of the past year separating myself from a long-time friend because I’ve realized she only gives lip service to respecting me ( and herself, for that matter). While I still check in to be sure she’s okay, I don’t allow her drama into my life.

  • Great wisdom, thanks for sharing!

  • @Vicki-regarding #7, I wanted to thank you so much for your post. I can’t tell you the insight and comfort it has given me.

    I have a friend in the throws of the addiction cycle, who has not spoken to me in a few years. This was after I pointed out her addiction and told her something needs to change, that our relationship was no longer healthy and I was worried for her. She cut me off completely, no discussion, nothing. For a long time I was very hurt and could not understand how she could abandon a friend who had always been loyal and caring. I felt very guilty as well, like I should have said nothing at all.

    After reading your post, I realized the shun really had nothing to do with me. It was just her addiction, which always seems to be the loudest voice in the room. I hope someday she can hear the small, still, clear voice that speaks the truth about the people who really love her and have her best interests at heart. I know now I did the right thing in speaking the truth to her, even if it did hurt her feelings. Thank you again for sharing–my heart feels less heavy now.

  • Betsy, Kathy, & others,
    I’ve raised two daughters, who are very much alike in many ways. They were raised the same. It happens that daughters go through a period of difficulty w/their mothers during their teens. Anyway most of my friends did as well as us. I remember when I did at that age. To continue my story, my daughters who are so similar and were raised by the exact same parents in the exact same way, have much different outcomes. One daughter is a junkie who does heroin and the other graduated from university magna cum laude and is now studying law. True story.

    We each make our own decisions and are the authors of our own lives.

  • Marc And Angel…

    Thank you!

  • If you keep your agreements with people and be accountable, life will go a whole lot better for you…and them.

  • Never, ever be ashamed to be the first to say you’re sorry to someone you’ve hurt!

  • IT IS SO BE, This is my new mantra. Yes I know four two letter words but life is meant to be simple, so is this mantra. IT (being life) IS, on a moment to moment basis the flow of life takes you into the unknown. There is no way to change what each moment will bring IT just IS. So BE, Relax, enjoy and be thankful for the ride of life. Take in the scenery, the people you meet and the situations you encounter including the challenging ones. Learn from and appreciate the harder moments in life, move on and BE!

    Thank you and blessings.

  • Be deliberate in your actions and prove the truth to yourself first before you even consider showing others that you are serious about your belief / opinion/feelings/goals. Prove the truth to yourself above all. Don’t just poke at the task, slap the thing hard! Mean it, get the message through to yourself. Example: say “sorry” and look the person in the eye when you say it - feel it in your bones; throw out the clothes you don’t wear/fit/like, clear out the pantry/fridge completely and start over, move house/town, stop seeing a person who is toxic to you.

  • I always liked: “being alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely.” I think you need to enjoy your own company, before you can expect anyone else to enjoy being with you :) Good topic.

  • Re #2 “You will only ever live the life you create for yourself.” That and the habit of too often dwelling in negativity are maybe my greatest enemies. It’s an obvious truth that I always battle. Living a life that someone else - or society or our culture - determines for you is emotionally disastrous.

  • Bring Faith into your Life

  • I produce a video blog called Lessons From My Grandson. I started it not long after my father died when I realized that IF I died right then, my grandson would grow up Not Knowing me.

    Many of the lessons you have here are included.

    But what I say is the first lesson a toddler learns is this: when you fall down, GET UP.

    Falling down isn’t always the same as failing (which I prefer to think of as FEEDBACK and not failure). But little kids learn this really early, but we adults often forget it.

    So… when you fall down, Get Up!

    Charlie Seymour Jr

  • True on all 10. How about this one:

    “You can get everything in life you want if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want”

    Give and you’ll receive 10 fold, regardless of what it is you give.

    Bruce Haines

  • Outstanding post!

  • To add to Glenngus’ idea - Don’t wait to be happy til your free from your challenges. There will always be bad/sad/hard things happening. As well as good/happy/rewarding things. Deal with the challenges and then focus on the enjoyment and magic of life. You can choose to be happy in any circumstance this way.

  • Wow.. 1 up to 10 all just made me feel better about myself. Thank you!

  • The more you move closer to the person who don’t value you, the more you get away from yourself.

  • Thank you so much for this article. I woke up in a frenzy this morning and wanted to walk down the path of self destruct and sabotage my relationship.

    Having gone through two failed relationships I had very little faith for a third one.

    I can definitely relate from 1-10. 6-8 was bang on for me. Before reading this article I was in self destruct mode to a 100 now it’s been extinguished to 0.

    I thank you and my current significant other probably thanks you too.

  • #11 - It’s okay to change your mind based on new information.

  • If I get a second chance… I’ll try to live my life with good moral values and think twice before saying anything hurtful. I’ll make jokes that would make people laugh without hurting anyone else, and will try to work hard and respect my parents. I’ll try to be the walk away from people disrespecting me, instead of responding to everything.

  • Pretty great post and quite straightforward with good explanations.

    Points that stood out to me were: that someone just might not be right for you, patience is a good attitude, you aren’t what you own, that life is short.

    I take for granted that life is short because so many days are the same and it’s hard to not be shocked by death. We always mourn the pain someone endured prior to death or the freak accidents that seemed too unfair especially if someone loved life or sought more. Suicide also is tragic to me but only some some think so. Difficult subject.

    Anyway, moving on. I think some find it a little difficult still to judge relationships. I don’t seem to know anybody that makes me encouraged but I think it’s because I don’t approach my goals with a healthy attitude or they simply don’t know what to advise anyway. It’s not always easy to notice but sometimes others are right. But I suppose bad relationships are usually easy to see and sometimes develop unexpectedly due to circumstances that test the strength of the relationship. I think we should forgive those people first. Perhaps we don’t have to cut someone out completely but don’t let them get close haha

  • I live life by the saying “life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forwards” To me it means that I can only make sense of the things that happened in the past. But sometimes I will never know why I did those stupid things I did maybe I will understand them when I am older but that’s the risk im willing to take im not going to lay around wondering why I did those things messing up my head while I can move on with my life.

    But it must be lived forward.. Your life involves you going into the future, experiencing new things.

  • Great reminders of Time. It never stops, reminding us that Nothing stays the same.

    You don’t get what you want. You get what you are.


  • I am #3…You hit it right on!! I stumbled across this and I am so happy I did.

  • This is so brilliantly written! I loved it. Sometimes, out minds “mute” the truth around us that resonates so often. We all need reminders like these.

    Once again, a big thank you to you guys.

    Cheers! :)

  • Manong King Jay
    June 9th, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    The most practical & sensible thing to do in life is to EXPRESS LOVE, in any way you choose do it. That is the bottom line we become unaware of. If you want to live, then Love. If you don’t love therefore you don’t want to live.

  • Your post was such an eye opener… What i liked the most about your post was that… “I”…yes i am putting it in CAPITALS n quotes…because i am IMPORTANT… EVEN someone i like doesn’t like/love me back, doesn’t mean that i don’t have any value.

    From now on, i m going to LOVE myself, be content with life, thank God for everything…the good/bad experiences. Last but not the least…LIVE A LIFE I WANT….
    thnx guys…..May God bless you.

  • Feeling really inspired right now. Thank you for this!

  • I have been reading your amazing advice for years and it helped save my life when I was diagnosed with a life-threatening chronic illness in 2009 - it helped me turn my perspective around and now, not only was I able to heal myself, but I have devoted my life to helping others in similar situations. I am now living abroad and would love to share your site, I’m hoping you will someday offer your site with an option to translate into other languages (Spanish, Italian, etc.). Unfortunately, not everyone who could use your advice speaks English. Please if there is an option through your site builder to add other languages, I know your message would INSTANTLY touch thousands of people. Thank you for what you have done and continue to do. I’d love to see your wisdom span the globe!!!

  • I would add to this already great list: You can’t change anyone else but you are the only person who can change you.

    Also, (one I am really working on right now): Don’t spend time worrying about things you can’t do anything about.


  • Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about those who don’t. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy!

  • All to often we forget (at least I know I do) to Practice What We Preach. Chances are if we think the advice is good for someone else, then it’s probably advice we should follow as well.

  • This should be required reading for high school/college students. Absolutely superb.

  • Words to live by!

  • Thank you Marc for sharing this wisdom with us. Love your style of writing, really hits home with me.

  • #7 - thank you. I need to continue to remind myself not to persue a connection that is unproductive and unhealthy for me. Thank you always Marc and Angel.

  • Dear Marc,

    Very nice and practical.

    Thank you.

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