As I turn “34” this month, I’m reflecting on my life, and some of the lessons that I have learned. Some of these lessons I have learned recently, and some many years ago, but I believe each of these lessons make my life a little easier to live.
5 Important Life Lessons As I Turn 34
1. Be Authentic, “Real”
One of my favorite quotes is from the late Bishop, Mar Enoch Ashe, perhaps one of the greatest Bishops of the 21st century, and the Bishop says, “I want to be ‘real,’ when it’s all over!” In other words, when it’s all said and done, I want to know that I lived my life without playing games; without playing games with people’s lives, with their time, or with their money.
I want to be real! I don’t want to be perfect, I just want to be real; I want to be authentic.
As I get older, I’m learning to put down my protective shield of perfectionism. Brene Brown calls perfectionism a twenty ton shield. We intend for this shield to hide our imperfections, but in the end, it just hides who we really are.
…I don’t want to be perfect, I just want to be real when it’s all over.
2. Simplify Your Life
My brother and his young family were visiting with my wife and I this summer for a few days. While my brother was with us, he said something to me that I’m not quite sure I ever fully realized about myself. He said, “You all live a very simple, efficient life. You eat, sleep, workout, and work, and that’s it.”
I don’t know that I ever noticed the simplicity of my life, or credited it with any real benefits. But after thinking about his comment, I’ve come to realize that my days consist of a relatively small number of activities. Activities that I try to do very well (so that my attention is not divided). When I work, I give it my all, when I workout, I give it my all, when I eat, I eat simply, and when I sleep, I sleep like a baby.
You can’t do it all, decide what three or four things are most critical to you, and spend your days accomplishing those tasks. This may mean that you give up reviewing your Facebook status or watching television, but if you focus your life, you will surely increase your ability to be successful where it matters to you the most.
3. Learn the Power of Pausing
As Elvis Presley once sang, “Wise men say, only fools rush in…” As I get older, I’m learning not to rush so much…I’m learning to pause more; I’m learning to pause more before I speak, to pause more before I make important decisions, and to pause more before I enter a new venture. There’s really no need to rush any decision, unless you’re being chased by a lion.
…As I stop being so busy, and as I begin to pause, my life seems a little more calm, a little more quiet, a little more under control.
4. Take Care of Your Health
A few months ago, I asked my mother what would she do differently if she could go back 20 years…and her answer surprised me a bit, as a clergyman’s wife. I thought perhaps she would say something spiritual, but she didn’t.
She mentioned several things like staying fit, etc., but they were all physical things (in fact they were things she could still change). But her comments resonated with me, and they serve as a mental note that I need to stay in this ¨fitness mindset;¨ not for a few more years, not when it’s easy, but forever, because it’s important, even if your the wife of a clergyman.
5. Leverage Technology and Other People
Although technology can serve to complicate your life, it’s a double-edged sword that should be used to add a level of simplicity to your life. As an example, I have leveraged technology software like blogging to communicate with thousands of people with ease, something that would be very difficult without technology. I leverage Skype and FaceTime Video technology to avoid traveling as much. I love technology.
I also leverage people, such as landscapers to take care of my lawn, house keepers to keep my house clean and my clothes folded. It’s important to utilize such resources so that you’re able to dedicate your time to the task where you have the largest impact, so that you make a difference, so that your voice can be heard.
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