Today I want to share ten life lessons with you. I learned them when I was young by reading and re-reading some of my favorite books and quotes. And over the years I have validated each of them gradually with firsthand experience. Together these lessons have positively changed my way of thinking and my life. I hope they do the same for you.
1. Your thoughts create your reality.
You feel the way you feel right now because of the thoughts you are thinking, and you are where you are right now because of the thoughts you have thought over and over again. If the thoughts running though your mind are pure, positive and empowering, you will create positive and empowering beliefs about yourself and about life; and your actions, habits, and daily routines will be a reflection of these thoughts and beliefs.
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” (Read Change Your Thoughts.)
2. You will regret the chances you didn’t take.
The things you didn’t do when you had the chance. That priceless relationship you neglected. Those important words you left unspoken… Every one of us has experienced feelings of regret. But it’s not too late to set things straight. You’re still here breathing. Right now you have an opportunity to change your future. Right now you can choose to erase regret from your later years.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain
3. Change is the only constant thing in life.
What does this mean? It means that no matter how hard you try to avoid change, doing so is simply impossible. Period.
“Without accepting the fact that everything changes, we cannot find perfect composure. But unfortunately, although it is true, it is difficult for us to accept it. Because we cannot accept the truth of transience, we suffer.” –Shunryu Suzuki
4. What you resist persists.
The more you fight against life’s circumstances, events, people, ideas, etc., the more you will be contributing to their growth and persistence into your daily life. Learn to shift your focus from that which you are against to that which you are for, and to that which you wish to attract into your daily life. Over time you will watch your life transform.
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning.” –Lao Tzu (Read The Art of War.)
5. You judge others for the deficiencies you haven’t yet accepted in yourself.
The traits you dislike in others are mostly just a reflection of the traits you dislike in yourself. This concept can be difficult to grasp, and you might even be irritated by me mentioning it – especially when you are ‘certain’ that you are right and the other person is wrong, and that you are surely better off than they are.
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves.” –Carl Gustav Jung
6. You have far less control over the behavior of others than you think.
Isn’t it funny how the closer you are to a person the higher your expectations are, and the more rights you think you have to control their time and behavior? Don’t let your bad judgment get the best of you; the only thing you can control is your attitude towards them and their behavior. Nothing more, nothing less.
“Never underestimate your power to change yourself; never overestimate your power to change others.” –Wayne Dyer (Read The Power of Intention.)
7. You are what’s on the inside.
When you are happy and satisfied with yourself personally, you act in kind, happy and loving ways toward the people around you. Because you are comfortable inside, no matter how negative people might act toward you at times, you stay calm and collected, responding out of love and confidence to their behavior – for that is who you are on the inside, and you give out that which is within.
“When you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out – because that’s what’s inside. When you are squeezed, what comes out is what is inside.” –Wayne Dyer
8. You can’t force love in relationships.
Love between two people comes because both people want to share their love, not because YOU want it from the other person. Your family, friends, co-workers, lovers – they all love you because they choose to, not because you want them to. Love is meant to be felt, enjoyed and lived, not to be forced on anyone.
“You can’t force love, I realized. It’s there or it isn’t. If it’s not there, you’ve got to be able to admit it. If it is there, you’ve got to do whatever it takes to protect the ones you love.” –Richelle Mead
9. Sometimes the only healthy option is to move on.
When the time comes to move beyond certain things, ideas, or people, don’t resist it. Allow yourself to experience life. Allow yourself to grow, learn, and evolve. Allow yourself to move beyond the past on your path to happiness.
“There comes a time in your life when you have to let go of all the pointless drama and the people who create it and surround yourself with people who make you laugh so hard that you forget the bad and focus solely on the good. After all life is too short to be anything but happy.” (Read The How of Happiness.)
10. Life as you know it doesn’t last forever.
Nothing lasts forever, and this is exactly why you need to learn to detach from things, places and people in your life. When the time comes to say goodbye, let them all go and to do it with dignity and grace.
“Nothing lasts forever; so live it up, drink it down, avoid the negativity, take chances and never regret because at one point it was what you wanted.” (Read The Road Less Traveled.)
Photo by: J.T. Noriega
Debie Grace says
Thank you for this 😉
#4…Lao Tzu. Wow. Brought back memories of when I spent two years of my life buried in eastern philosophy. This is a very taoist thought process too. It is reiterated by other taoist teachers such as Lieh Tzu and Cheung Tzu. It is also a central theme in the book Siddartha by Herman Hess.
#5….. My mom used to tell me this in different words. She’d tell me that if I ever found myself aggravated or intolerant of someone else’s behavior, there’s a good chance I should probably look in the mirror.
This list is fantastic.
I just LOVE #4 — the concept had been rolling around in my head, and I couldn’t quite grasp it. You have given it to me in the clearest words!!
Inspiring read as always. Loved the 7th point about truly BEING who you are on the inside.
And congrats on the ebook release! I just bought a copy an hour ago and I love it. 🙂
Another amazing addition to your blog, I need to focus on a couple of these. One of which I am doing right now. Keep up with the inspirational posts. 😀
And I’m going to second what Cindy said. Just got myself a copy of your eBook and read through the first short story. Simply inspiring! It’ll be nice to have this on my iPad to read at my leasure as we head into a beautiful new year.
Congratulation for your first book release. Thanks to my political country 🙁 I don’t have a credit card right now and can’t purchase it. But in upcoming year, as soon as my situation changes, I will.
Anyway thanks for your endless endeavor of positivity. I really appreciate it.
Great quote on that first point.
We really do make ourselves . . . from thoughts to actions the choice is ours. Once we make the choice to be the person we would like to be, we will start living the life we would like to live.
Ishan Kapoor says
No. 3 was fantastic. I really liked it- Change is Inevitable.
Many thanks for another beautiful post from you. Happy holidays.
Sampathkumar Iyengar says
Great post and excellent quotes.
This is the best! Love it!
ene okwori says
After reading these words of wisdom, I felt peace and joy refilling me again. This is truly lovely.
Really, really love your site.
Karen Snook says
Always inspiring! Thanks so much!
I keep saving your posts to my documents, it’s getting a bit ridiculous now , I seem to have to keep all of them lately! Loads of love , HAPPY CHRISTMAS! XX
Greg Schenk says
#1 what the mind can perceive and believe it can achieve.
We can do anything in life once our mind believes it.
Aaron Black says
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning.” –Lao Tzu
Love that quote. Lao Tzu understood choas theory 2,500 years before the rest of us!
Point #9 may be easier said than done for some people. How do you move on from your family whom you’ve been surrounded with all of your life? After all, we’re conditioned to believe and expect our family to support and understand us, even when they don’t.
How do you move on from your best friend of 20 years?
Yes, it takes courage to see that it’s time to move forward and say goodbye to those who may not ‘fit’ in your world anymore. Be kind. Be compassionate. Be ready to accept the consequences.
Who knows? Maybe the people in your life will change. Maybe they won’t. You can either accept them as they are, or move on without them.
Thanks so much for the comment love! Angel and I just sat down this Christmas Eve and smiled while we read your comments from this post and the last one.
And thanks so much to those who have checked out our brand new ebook. Angel and I are really proud of it and spent a lot of time and energy making it awesome just for you. We hope you all love it, and we’d love to hear what you think.
@Karim: Angel is going to email you. Perhaps we can figure out a way to get you a copy of our ebook without using credit card processing. We’ll see what we can come up with. =)
@Amandah: No question, it’s hard to move on from someone whom you are emotionally attached to. It’s a long process. But if they keep hurting you again and again, it’s worth separating yourself gradually from their poisonous grip. Holding on is being brave, but letting go and moving on is often what makes us stronger and happier in the long run.
I have read a variation on #5 many times from various people in the past and honestly, I could never grasp it and I would get irritated by it, just like you mentioned! LOL.
But, recently, I have gotten into meditation and a lot of things have become more clear in my mind. Especially that we are all interconnected. We are all manifestations of the one true Light that resides in all of us. When thought of in this way, this quote instantly makes sense to me now. We often think of ourselves as separate people, but we are not. In reality, quantum physics teaches us that we are all pure energy and there really is no point where my body ends and your body begins. We are all One. So, when I see something negative in someone, it affects me because we are all interconnected.
So, how do we go about changing the current negative situation? We must first accept it and the role we have played in manifesting it (since we are One). When we take responsibility for it we can start to change it. How do we do that, you may ask? We Love. We Love everyone and everything and through the power of Love, miraculous changes happen because where there is Love, darkness and negativity cannot exist. So, when we find ourselves judging someone or thinking bad of someone, it should be a reminder to ourselves that we are not being Loving and so we are helping to manifest the exact negative thing that we say that we don’t like!
This is so powerful people! Everything you do, do with Love. Every thought you have, focus on Love. Forgive people who have wronged you and you will feel Love. It is so simple, yet so difficult at the same time.
Thank you, Marc, for your inspirational blog posts. I have been reading them for years and I am always touched by them in profound ways, but this is my first comment. Merry Christmas and much Love and Light to you!
Marc and Angel, thank you both from my heart. I have been reading your posts and this blog for almost a year now. I am very thankful that I stumbled upon your site. Your writing always touches me greatly.
I will purchase your ebook as soon as I set up a paypal account.
Merry Christmas to one and all!!!
@Renee: Thanks so much for the kind remarks. We’re honored to have you as a reader.
Also, note that you do not need a PayPal account to purchase the ebook. PayPal will process your credit card transaction without requiring you to open an account with them. Just put in your info and once you get transferred to PayPal, click ‘pay with credit card.’
Thank you, loved the link with literary references! Your blog is so inspirational, I read it every day, such good life lessons to learn. Wishing you both a very Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas to you both and your family, just purchased your ebook and congratulations to you on a superb publication. Thank you for your inspirational articles, they really helped me throughout the year.
Thanks a lot!!!
Kwesi Anim says
In-depth wisdom, a rough year but with God and some inspiration from you, I sailed through. Merry x’mas and a positive new year. Much love.
Krista PH says
Thank you, Angel. Happy Holidays, everyone! 🙂
this is so amazing!! every point seems to be directed at me… it is so inspiring and such good advice… i keep printing and pasting your articles on my office cabin wall… this is the BEST!!!
sometimes i select my favorites but this time every point is so relevant to me…
thank you very much…
Powerful stuff, I think as soon as I learned #1 I got ecstatic! I can also remember when #2 eluded me, and now I can definitely think of a few things that I do regret..
I hope you live by everything you post, Marc and Angel! 😀
SANCHARI BAKSHI says
Marc and Angel, I will try to make the ebook purchase right now 🙂
dawn hild says
I have to tell you how calming I find your blog. I subscribe and try to read as you publish… but a lot of times I have to bookmark and get back to it. Which I now think is for a reason. I swear, when I sit down to read a post that got bookmarked for later, it is exactly what I needed to see the day I finally got to read it. Your written words have calmed, inspired and made me think when I’ve needed it the most. Thanks. dawn
ever confused says
Words of wisdom – we have all heard these words many times before and hopefully some of them have penetrated our brain. Thanks for sending them.
All your articles, not just this, are amazing. Somewhere, you are saving someone’s life when they read this.
You definitely saved me from going down a wrong path, so thank you.
Monica Roberts says
If you tell someone that you have changed and they say they don’t believe you, remember, you have nothing to prove to them, they are only aggravated because they cannot seem to change, grow and move on as you have. It is their problem, not yours.
By: Monica L. Roberts
Anthony Alinda says
thank you very much for the writings.
they carry lots of wisdom to me and i should really start watching them more clearly.
I think this is very true:
“When you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out – because that’s what’s inside. When you are squeezed, what comes out is what is inside.” –Wayne Dyer
for out of the fullness of your heart the mouth speaketh…
Jorge Blanco says
Wonderful. These quotes all speak the truth about life. Realities we must never ignore or else we’ll have it hard.
Thank you so much for your inspiring posts. I forgot about your site for a while, but I managed to find it again when I needed it the most. I suffer from depression and have been handling it the best I can on my own. I’m not at the point where I feel comfortable going back to a therapist. So I go through many ups and downs for months at a time and am coming off a ‘down’ period. For quite some time I’ve been feeling like I’m ready to change my life for the better but I’ve been in a rut. I know it is not a substitute for professional help, but your posts are helping me realize I can find my way back. Thanks again.
Thank you so much for your words-you will never know how much they mean to people who are searching for answers to change their meaningless lives into something special. I am in a terrible place in my life right now-your words have given me so many positive things to think about. I have never heard two people with better insight and motivational words. The two of you are truely amazing. I will read these lists daily as I persue my path of change. Bless you both.
Very inspired! Thank you!
Mik Mapa says
#5 is true! It’s just hard to swallow at times. But chewing it bit by bit will surprise you that you just finished your meal called pride. It’s definitely nice to be a changed person. Improved character. 🙂
Brilliant article. Have saved it in my favourites
I loved the second one. Thank you for this great article!