This was my second trip within the month. On my previous flight I’d taken my first journey to Vegas. ‘Twas a trip that would span four sleepless nights filled with stories that must remain in that city, and that probably took 5 years off my life. The flight I was currently on, was actually a result of that trip.
Nestled in a window seat of a flight heading to Costa Rica, to, of course, experience the culture, but also to visit a young lady I’d met only a month earlier on that trip to Vegas. My friends busted my balls, as they should, telling me I was headed to a Saw (the horror film) scenario. I’d only corresponded with this girl via email. For all I knew I could be waiting for her to pick me up from the airport for the entire week.
As I landed I was excited, but the stories my pal’s branded to my brain added a heavy dose of nerves. I grabbed my luggage, then walked down the stairs, into the sea that was the arrivals terminal at the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. And I waited. And waited. Thirty minutes passed, still no familiar faces. Just a few babes, of which Costa Rica has many, and a lot a dudes looking at me as if I was somewhere I didn’t belong.
I was clearly a foreigner. I spoke no Spanish. The skin on my face was as white as it was on my ass in winter. The tan I picked up in Vegas only a month earlier had somehow disappeared. This trip, well, it was booked on a whim. The plan was for her to pick me up and bring me to my hotel. Then we’d meet up the next day and embark on a journey from San Jose, heading northwest to some part of the country I couldn’t yet pronounce (Guanacaste).
Alas, she was nowhere to be found. The butterflies in my stomach felt more like Pterodactyls. And then, a sight for sore eyes. In a sea of black – or at least dark, dark brown – hair, I saw the dirty blonde locks of the fine young lady who would be my tour guide for the week.
I was relieved. I’m not a huge guy, but I can handle myself. So it was an odd feeling to have such a petite, albeit curvaceous, individual of the feminine species come to my rescue. And that she did.
The trip that ensued was one that I’ll never forget. I saw the real Costa Rica. I rode horses on the beach, woke up to an erupting volcano in my backyard, and had I never booked that trip on a whim, those memories, and many more that were to come in reaction to this trip, would never have occurred.
Sometimes your gut proves you right. Other times your little head does the thinking for your big head, which inevitably leads you to trouble. Either way, true knowledge comes from experience, not from a textbook.
Much of what I talk about on this site arises from personal experience. I, like you, am on a journey. I’m learning and creating and claiming my place on this planet. I’ve had times in my life where I’ve gone after it all. I’ve reached for heights I did not know I could grasp, taken actions on things, adventures, that I wasn’t at all certain would succeed.
I’ve also been timid. Safe. It’s short-lived, most of the time. And it’s always been useless. Even in my failures, the audacious ones, I learned a lot. When I played it safe, I didn’t. I’m sure I’ll continue to learn this lesson, and others, in years to come. Here, however, are 15 lessons that life will inevitably teach you if you’re more prone to act, than merely ponder.
17 Life Lessons You’ll Need to Learn
1. People talk a lot, they rarely do.
It’s important to be a doer. Not a talker. Be that rare breed of folks that doesn’t talk a big game, but lives one. People don’t like being around others who are full of crap – even if they, themselves, are in that group. We love to be in the presence of someone who’s doing big things. Taking audacious action. It’s inspiring.
[Tweet “Don’t talk. Do.”]
2. Mountains will move for the man with ambition.
Ambition is a rare and valuable characteristic. Ambition is your desire to elevate yourself, and to live, but it must be backed by action. Ambition isn’t merely a mindset, but actions carried out in pursuit of your dreams.
Wake-up with your dreams and goals lighting a fire under your ass that will lead you to live a successful day. If all your days are successful, you will be as well.
3. Timid people do timid things.
We are what our thoughts make us. If you think you’ve lost the battle before it’s even been fought, your beliefs will come true.
Whenever I’ve been timid in life, set a small goal, chosen the easy path rather the dangerous, audacious path that excited me, I’ve been let down. I’ve lowered who I am, by lowering the expectations I have of myself. And that’s a recipe for disaster.
Don’t let fear or worry run your life. Bold actions will lead to great accomplishments.
4. Both weakness and strength are nurtured.
Strength needs to be practiced. And it’s practiced as you face your fears. Face them daily. Do those things that you’ve always wanted to do. Ask the babe out at your gym. Quit your job – just make sure you have a plan for something new. Book that trip. Start that program.
Develop strength. Forge courage. Make your ass-kicking daily and habitual. If you go the other route, however, the route of never facing your fears and always letting them win, you’ll have fear and weakness as your constant companion. And regret as your best friend.
5. Safety is an illusion.
The majority of us seek safety rather than adventure. Yet we all crave said adventure. How awesome is life when you’re doing something that excites you? Even as I plan a trip, the excitement I have for this trip that’s months away gives me energy. It’s making my life better.
And yet, safety is where most of us remain. It’s what we confine ourself to everyday. But what do you have to lose? I’d say far more if you remain in this safe bubble. You’ll end your life with regret as your companion, fear as your soulmate.
I’m seeing this more and more in my life, when we actually do those things that excite and scare us, life is what we want it to be when we dream at night. We all have audacious dreams where we live as our alter-ego, the hero version of ourselves. But these audacious dreams shouldn’t be relegated to our sleep.
These dreams should be lived! And life confined to the safety and comfort of what we know we can do, is a life, I’d argue, that isn’t truly lived.
6. Adventure is underrated.
The masculine essence is one of adventure. Think back to when you were a young lad. You’d play the adventures you’d hope you’d one day live. And then you grew up. That adventurous side was crushed and confined by a school system that needs order and quiet, by a workforce that tempers creativity and audacity.
And so, you fall in line. And your life loses the excitement and the adventure that it once had. But it doesn’t have to.
Adventure is such an underrated part of life. It’s relegated to the dare devil, the man who doesn’t ever want to settle down, opting, instead, for the life of the bachelor wanderer. But this doesn’t have to be so. It shouldn’t be so.
Pursue your adventures. Find that excitement that this life should bring. Be bold in your actions and your dreams.
7. Hard work brings freedom.
There’s freedom in hard work. Pure, simple, hard work. No matter what that work is, if it’s done for an honorable cause, there’s peace in it as well.
Hard work isn’t as valued as it once was. Nor is hard labor, or working with our hands. But some of the happiest people on earth come home covered in dirt and sweat and smell like crap.
To kick ass you need to have pride in who you are and what you do.
[Tweet “A man can have no pride in himself if he doesn’t work hard.”]
8. Laziness is evil.
To echo the sentiment above. If you’re not working hard at something, or toward something, it’s nearly impossible to be proud of the man you are. If you’re lazy, you’r confining yourself to living life as a victim, a push-over, and a coward.
The man who works hard at everything, can hold his head high always.
9. You’re stronger than you think.
Many of us will choose the safe route because we don’t think we can succeed on the long, hard path that our goals and ambitions require. We think we’re going to give up. We think we don’t have it in us. And the evidence, thus far, has led to this belief. It hasn’t merely come from nowhere.
But you can change that. And all it takes is a decision, and one day. Take one step towards your goals, towards that life as an ass-kicker, and do it tomorrow; better yet, do it now.
That single step can have a profound effect on your life. It can be the start of a snowball effect that will lead you down the adventurous journey you’ve always craved.
Start with that first step.
10. To do anything of great value, you have to work at it every single day of your life.
This isn’t a glamorous truth, but it is a truth. To create a Legacy, hard work must be done. But hard work for a brief period rarely leads to anything great. Persistence and consistency need to accompany it.
Know this fact. Prepare yourself to accept this truth. Remove the sense of entitlement from your being. Life isn’t supposed to be easy. Work hard, forever.
11. Ease is overrated.
We work to create ease, but it’s in the work that we kick ass, develop character, and become the men we ultimately want to become.
Nothing of great value comes of ease. Do we need vacations? I’m all for them. They’re great for removing stress, finding clarity and perspective, and enjoying life. I love vacations and mini-getaways. But they need to serve the greater overall purpose of our goal and big dream.
If we work to create ease, we’re going to miss out on the true benefits that come from hard work. Enjoy the work. Enjoy the ease. Just know that more good comes from the work.
12. Nobody owes you anything, and there’s freedom in this fact.
Nobody owes you anything. This isn’t to say that you’re on your own. Far from it. There are more good people in this world than there are bad, by a long shot. And there are a lot of people who will help you out in life. And in a big way. But this help isn’t owed. They don’t need to. It isn’t your right to be helped either.
In one sense, you need to know that you are on your own to take care of yourself, at the very least. It’s in knowing this fact that you’ll be able to work hard for what you want. You’ll be able to ward off a sense of entitlement that’s making a generation lazy and needy.
Plus, you’ll do more, instead of waiting around for others to do it for you. No, you’re not alone in this world, but if you want to do anything of value, if you want adventure and excitement, you’re going to have to set out on your own and forge your own path in life.
13. Failure isn’t final.
The more I fail, the more I win. It’s in my failures that I’ve learned to create successes. Failure is a beautiful thing, and completely a matter of perspective.
It’s in failure that we learn. It’s in failure that we grow and discover how to win and succeed. We need failure. And no matter how long you feel like you’ve been failing, it isn’t final if you continue to work, evolve, and learn.
14. It’s in pain that we grow.
From Life After Death, by Damien Echols.
“In a way I’m thankful for all the physical pain and suffering I’ve had to endure in here, because it has forced me to keep learning and moving forward. If I didn’t have pain, I’d probably take the day off. And that day could become a week. And that week could turn into months. But as it is I know I have two choices- practice every single day without fail, or hurt so bad that life is a misery. So I keep reminding myself that the pain is a gift from the Divine, and that I should be thankful for it. It’s not always an easy thing to do, even though I know with all my soul that it’s true.”
Those who have been through the most pain and see it not as a curse, but as a blessing, are true warrior’s.
15. To Appreciate Beauty.
There’s nothing quite like waking up in the morning next to a beautiful woman, especially when you love the lady. If only for a moment, it will take your breath away. You feel like you’ve gotten away with the greatest heist the world has ever seen because she’s so beautiful, and you, well, you’re not quite on that level.
This beauty, however, isn’t relegated to a woman. Nature, I’ve found, possesses scenery far more beautiful than any man or machine could conjure. And both, the woman, and the planet, need to be appreciated for the gifts that they are.
16. Life is better when you’re in the moment.
I’ve spent too much time worrying about the future and regretting the past. But I’ve learned, and am still learning, to stay in the moment. ‘Tis, after-all, all we really have. And it’s all we should be focused on.
Life is always better when we break the chains that bind us to our past mistakes, as well as to the worries that have not yet come to fruition. To “live in the moment” is cliche, but it’s necessary.
17. Living happens when you don’t care what others think.
Much of what we do is motivated by our desire to please other people. We want to please our parents, or friends, even peers we don’t really like. It’s when you catch yourself doing this, and are able to determine what you want to do, and live life on your terms, that living happens.
[Tweet “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. Oscar Wilde”]