10 Life Lessons You Didn’t Learn in School

I don’t know about you, but I’m a millennial dangerously reaching her thirties.

And that couldn’t be scarier for me, not because I’m afraid of getting old, but because, sometimes, I feel like I’ve been faking my “adultness” until now and I don’t know how much longer I can do it.

Nah, just kidding! Or am I?

But as a millennial about to reach a third of her life (yes, I expect to live that long), I’ve noticed something pretty odd about our usual lifestyles. We go to school a great part of our lives and yet, we seem to learn very little about life itself.

I mean, no offense, but right now, at this point, knowing the name of each type of rock seems quite insignificant and useless for me (of course, I don’t work in anything related to geology).

And before anyone becomes offended, I want to make it clear, I’m not saying these types of things shouldn’t be taught in school. Instead, I believe that what is truly essential in life, should be included too, like how to be tolerant towards different people or how to have a healthy relationship with money.

I believe school should prepare us for what we live day by day.

However, if the school doesn’t do it, you can always read about it on the internet, right?  Here are 10 life lessons you probably didn’t learn in school.

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10 Life Lessons You Didn’t Learn in School

Making mistakes is ok!

We are constantly afraid of making mistakes. Why? Because most of us were taught it was a bad thing.

If you make a mistake, you’re wrong, right? Not quite…

A mistake always teaches you something about the process or the situation in which it happened. Moreover, a mistake is probably the best teacher if you need to learn something quickly.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes”.

Therefore, even if you learned otherwise in school, make mistakes and learn from them.

Risks are necessary

Fear is a natural reaction to the unknown.

Regardless, stopping yourself from taking action because of imaginary worst-cases scenarios, more than saving you trouble, will cost you a lot of opportunities.

In fact, every person who has accomplished something in life had to take a risk at some point or another. Although your feelings of fear are valid and justified, they shouldn’t limit you from growing. 

Think about it in the simplest way: even a baby that takes a step for the first time is taking the risk of falling. But, he will crawl forever if he doesn’t do it. He might trip while he learns to walk, but the world he knows will change for the better after he takes that first step.

In the same manner, when you are willing to take a risk, you open a world of possibilities and growth.

Martin Luther King Jr. once declared “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase”. Take a risk, even if you can’t see the unsure future.

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You will need to reinvent yourself to survive

If history has taught us anything is the fact that we, humans, are resilient. We adapt, we survive… and you, my friend, aren’t an exception.

Truly, some people count on more resources than others (yes, social and economical inequality are real).  However, regardless of resources,  we all possess creativity. That creativity is what allowed many people to think outside of the box and to reinvent themselves.

In fact, life will require you to constantly step out of your comfort zone, to be creative about the problems you face. For example, if you are tired of that 9 to 5 full-time job, you will only be able to get rid of it if you reinvent yourself.

Therefore, whenever a new problem arises, employ your creativity and reinvent yourself. Follow one of Lincoln’s life lessons and “when you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on”.

You decide your future

Although the notion of destiny is popular and basically widely accepted in the world, the truth is most of our future is determined by the decisions we make.

Since you might argue the contrary, let me set different scenarios to prove it to you.

First scenario: you meet your “destined” partner and you get married. However, after a few months of living together, you neglect the relationship. Consequently, your destined marriage ends up in a divorce.

Second scenario: you overeat sweets and carbs during your whole life. As a result, when you reach your 60’s you develop diabetes.

Would you blame life for any of these results? I hope not!

Do you see what I mean? Of course, there will always be things out of your control, but the main life lesson is that your future depends on your present decisions. Again, Lincoln declared “ The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

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Conviction is key

Keeping your beliefs and your convictions in a world so full of opinions and information is hard.

Regardless, a person that shifts his or her ideals constantly will never feel secure about anything in life. Moreover, that same person will hardly complete anything at all. But why?

To reach a goal you need to defend it against other people’s thoughts. You need to have conviction, you need to believe in it.

Therefore, write this between your life lessons: you need to stand for your goals and your ideals. Conviction is characteristic of a leader and of an achiever. Also, conviction and confidence will help you to keep a positive perspective on life.

As Anne Frank wrote “It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.”

The convictions reflected in her diary is what made Anne Frank, the respectful figure we remember today.

Living in the past will ruin your present and future

Thousands of people suffer from depression around the globe. However, depression is, in most cases, triggered by the excess from the past in our lives.

Buddha said, “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly”.

As hard as it may be, let the past go or your life will go by without you noticing. If you feel like you can’t do it alone, search for help.

Another life lesson to take a mental note of? Your past doesn’t define you. Don’t let it take away the best of your life.

Not everyone will like you

Wanting to fit in is something every human being wants because part of our identity lies in belonging.

So, what do we do? We try everything to be acknowledged and accepted. But no one warns us about rejection and we face it, we can’t understand it. So, what do we do next? We try to fix it. Because, why would anyone dislike us?

Flash news, people will dislike you…. And that’s totally ok! Not all personalities are compatible. There is nothing wrong with you just because one person doesn’t love you back.

A life lesson you must learn is that rejection is part of life. Don’t dwell on it! Move on to better things and live by Oprah’s philosophy “I don’t want anyone who doesn’t want me”.

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Time is an illusion

Do you feel like you are running out of time to achieve your goal, to get married, or to get your life together?

If so, stop right now. There is no need to run! Who said we were competing?

In today’s society, it is easy to compare ourselves with “successful” entrepreneurs and “boss babes” that are millionaires before 25.

Yet, while working towards your goals, it is important to understand, there isn’t a predetermined age to achieve any goal!

Repeat after me, #productivityisoverrated! Time flows differently for everyone, so it is ok to take a break.

Have you watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button? If not, you should! Here is a dialogue that portrays this life lesson:

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” (Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Screenplay)

In conclusion, it is ok to get married at 40 or to complete college at 30. Stop running and start living.

You never stop learning

As human beings, curiosity is fundamental to our development. Yet, as we reach adulthood, we “kill” our curiosity with monotony.

However, the truth is, we should never stop learning new things! Otherwise, we will not only become outdated but our minds will also atrophy (in a figurative way).

Curiosity is what keeps our minds healthy and young. Moreover, knowledge will always serve a purpose and it will always open doors for us.

There is a reason why Gandhi said: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”. Life is too long to think a few years of school can teach us all about it.

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A life disconnected from others is senseless

An important part of life consists of giving a little of what we receive… No, I’m not necessarily talking about money.

Take a moment to think about important historical figures. What do most of them have in common? They impacted other people.

The truth is, a selfish person rarely is talked about in history. On the contrary, most people that are remembered and respected through generations are those who did something for someone else.

For example, Martin Luther King Jr.and Nelson Mandela’s legacies remain because they changed hundreds of lives.

Therefore, besides caring for your goals and your family, dedicate part of your time to serve a greater purpose and to change someone’s life.

Nelson Mandela declared: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived; it is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead”.

Life Lessons 101

I know, you probably learned some of these life lessons the hard way! However, know that there isn’t a complete and guaranteed guide that will prepare you for life. Yet, if you live by these lessons, you will live longer and happier!

Which of these life lessons do you think is more important?

Is there any other that you would include in this list?


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