Click here for part 1
Personal development #4 – Here we are with part 2 of the series 18 things I have learned in 18 years. I have to say that I have been really touched by all the great comments that I have received on the first part, so thanks a lot for this:). My blogging journey started only a few months ago, but I am very grateful for everything it has brought me so far and the connections I have made. One of my goals, when I decided to start blogging, was to start a little community online and have the opportunity to discuss with other people different topics about life and what we are experiencing. Thus, I am very happy with the connections I have made so far and looking forward to the rest of this journey.
Without further ado, let’s jump into part 2 of this personal quest.
1- Resolving problems brings happiness
You know the feeling when you finally submit an assignment that you have worked a lot on? Doesn’t it feel great? Well, one of the lessons I have learned is that happiness can come from resolving problems. Being on vacation and not doing much for a few days is great. But could you imagine yourself never being challenged?
I think that as human beings we need to be challenged. By resolving problems or overcoming challenges, it increases our motivation and our feeling of accomplishment. We feel useful and that what we do matter and that we have the power to make a difference. I believe it can increase self-esteem, and that it is one of the keys to happiness. However, it needs to be problems that we like to solve. It is also important to find the right amount that will make me feel accomplished (at the opposite of burned-out). I think the key here is not the quantity, but rather how resolving those problems/challenges makes you feel.
2- Law of attraction is a powerful tool
There is so much to say about this subject, but if I put it in simple terms, the law of attraction is about attracting what you want by having a positive mindset about it. Using the law of attraction can be done in various ways. It can be done by visualizing what you want, writing it down, meditation, or simply being positive instead of pessimistic.
I have always had a hard time with math courses. However, in order to pursue my studies at the university level, I had to take a few obligated math courses. I had really bad grades and was afraid that I would fail the course, but I kept working hard and started to visualize the result I needed to have for the final exam. So before going to sleep, I would visualize the number that I needed to have to pass the course and kept doing it until the final exam. Believe it or not, I passed the course! Of course, I did study hard, but I also believe that my visualization and positive mindset have played a big role in my success.
3- It is ok not to feel ok
It happens some days to simply feel low or not wanting to do anything, or where we want to cry. When I have those types of days I used to tell myself: “What is wrong with me?” or I tried to find a reason to blame my moodiness. However, what I have learned with time is that it is ok not to feel good. Instead of blaming me, now I simply acknowledge that I am feeling low and try to adapt my schedule to take it slow and put myself first. After all, we are humans, and it is normal to have some ups and downs.
4- Happiness is not about big things
I think one of the mistakes we make when seeking happiness in today’s world is that we tend to look for the “big thing”. With social media, I think we tend to have a wrong perception of how we are supposed to live our life. Of course, traveling the world or doing bungee jumping is nice, but it is not because you do not do it that you do not live your life “correctly”. There should not be a fear of missing out. I have already discussed a little the topic of hygge in previous articles, but I do believe that being able to appreciate the small pleasures of life such as enjoying a cup of hot cocoa by the fire, is a key for happiness. So my lesson here is that happiness is not always about the next big thing that will make you feel alive, but rather the small thing of day-to-day life that makes it so enjoyable.
5- My fears are not my limits
It took me about three years to get my driver’s license. I had put this goal on my yearly bucket lists for the last three years, and when I had finally been able to cross it off, I had never felt so proud of myself. The thing here is that driving used to terrify me. I would come back from my driving lessons on the verge of tears and used to say that I would never drive. While practicing, I imagined all the things that could go wrong and was looking forward to the moment I could finally get out of the car.
I have my driver’s license now, and I am happy to say that I enjoy driving. What I have learned with this whole “driver’s lesson journey” is that my fears are not my limits. I used to be so afraid to the point that I just accepted that I would never get my permit, that driving was not for me. So how I dealt with it? I faced it. I started practicing regularly, and with time, the fear slowly started to go away. I know it can be soo hard, but it is not because you are afraid that you can’t do it.
6- There are some things we control, some we don’t
I think this is one of the most important lessons I have ever learned. The transition to online school has been something really hard for me. I have happened to be stressed but rarely anxious. However, the lockdown has changed me completely for this aspect, so I started being anxious A LOT about school.
One night I was watching a video about how to perform better at school, which is exactly what I did not need with all the pressure I was already putting myself on, BUT it actually said something really important that just changed my mindset about grades and helped with my anxiety. It is that there are some things in life that you can control, such as how much you study for a test and how much effort you put in but some that you cannot control such as the outcome of it. It can seem pretty simple and obvious for some, but being able to let go of this pressure was actually a game-changer not only for stress related to school but also for any stressful events.
7- There is happiness in the wait
Planning a trip is a very exciting thing. You get to choose where you will stay, what attractions you want to see, and buy the plane ticket! Then you have to wait until THE day comes. Simply thinking about your project makes you happy, and waking up at 4 AM to go to the airport does not seem hard because you are so excited.
So one of the things I have learned in 18 years is that there is happiness in wait, and buying experiences can sometimes be more exciting than something material because of this wait. Indeed, I do believe that the happiness someone can grasp from a material purchase is less than what you can grasp from buying an experience. This is because you have to wait and waiting forward to this activity is a form of excitement, thus, of happiness. Moreover, with experiences comes also memories, so the whole process procures joy before, during, and after.
8- A smile is a powerful tool
Did you know that smiling can help reduces pain? Indeed, the simple act of smiling releases endorphins which is a natural painkiller. (verywellmind) Surprising isn’t it? Smiling can also help with confidence. When I am stressed about a stressful event such as a job interview, I started the habit to simply smile. “Fake it until you make it! Act as if you have all the confidence you require until it becomes your reality”, once said Brian Tracy, a Canadian-American motivational speaker. So the lesson that I have learned is that smile is a powerful tool. It can be useful when seeking confidence, but it also a universal language. Languages might be a barrier, but the act of smiling one of the things that unify the nations from all around the world, and I think it is simply beautiful. Smiling is an act of kindness, and smiling creates a sense of welcoming, but mostly, smiling brings faith when everything seems to be going wrong.
9- Audrey Hepburn
The last one is not really a lesson, but rather a little motto from Audrey Hepburn that I live by. I saw this quote for the first time when I did my first trip without my family when I was sixteen in a cute little restaurant. It kept my attention so much that when I came back I immediately wrote it down in my journal.
She said. "I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles." Audrey Hepburn 119
This is it for the end of the series 18 Things I have learned in 18 Years. I really enjoyed writing these two posts and opening myself up to you about some of my personal experiences, and the lessons that I have learned from them. I hope it inspired you to also go throughout your own personal quest, and it would be my pleasure to read in the comments some of the lessons you have learned from your experiences.