Saturday, January 5, 2013

Simple lessons

During the holiday season I wanted to post some simple lessons that I have learned over the years. I was going to post these over a few day time span, but of course I was so busy with family that I didn't really have time to do that! So as 2013 begins, here are some lessons I am sharing for everyone to take with them this new year! To me, these are the most important things in life. Feel free to comment and share your stories and lessons learned, too!

1. Choose how you react to situations. Choose to be happy. 
We can't always predict what will happen to us, in fact, we rarely can. So as much as we plan ahead and think about what we would do in certain situations, things don't turn out as we've planned. Good or bad, things happen! What is most important though, is how we CHOOSE to react. It's not always easy to find a way to make the best out of a difficult situation, but it sure does make it a lot easier to deal with. The more we choose to be happy (even when we really don't want to be), the happier we will truly be.

2. Find what you are passionate about and do that.
We hear stories about family, friends, acquaintances, or maybe even ourselves, who are not happy in their job or their life. We all have different talents and yes, some pay more than others, but to truly be happy with life, I think you need to do what you are passionate about. Maybe you can't change jobs, but you do have a choice about what you do with your time outside of that. Volunteer with animals or kids. Maybe start a non-profit or get involved at a local gym. If you have something you are passionate about, it makes hard work easy. It will drive you forward every day and it won't feel like work. I am fortunate enough to have found that in field hockey, which I get to call my job.

3. Tell the ones you love and care about how you feel every single chance you get.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy in Newtown, CT, we cannot be reminded of this more. Life is unpredictable. We never imagine bad things happening to us or the ones we love, but sometimes they do. At the least, we can let our love be known. If not for the chance we may never see them again, but to really build that relationship and bond between people. The more we love each other and let each other know, the better we feel about each other and ourselves, and the more we can help one another when times get hard. It may seems silly at times, but you really never know when you might be able to see someone again.

4. Know what is best for you. You know yourself best, follow your heart and your mind.
Be yourself and trust in who you are. Don't try to be like anyone else. We are all original and we should embrace that. As much as we want to "fit in" and "be liked", others will like you best when you are yourself. We come to many crossroads in life, trust yourself to know what is best for you. Don't rely on others to make your life decisions. Your mind will make sense of it all, but your heart will lead you to where you truly want to be.

5. Giving truly is better than receiving.
This is often highlighted during the holiday season, which is fantastic. BUT, I think it is something we should seek to do throughout the entire year. Find somewhere to volunteer, once a week, once a month, whenever you have time. Giving doesn't always mean money and gifts, time and energy can often be more than enough. As we are all very different, passionate about different things, skilled in different areas, I ask you to just give what you can. If you can give money, that's great. If you can give time, even better. Best of all, give energy, bring life and excitement with you, and give that to others!

6. Be thankful. Be humble.
This sort of encompasses all the other lessons. Be thankful for all that you have, all that you've been given, and all the opportunities that have yet to come. Be thankful for the people in your life. The ones you love, and the ones who love you. Be thankful for those who are no longer in your life, for they have taught you something and helped shape you into who you are today. Be thankful for your health and your life. You can be thankful for the material things you own, but in all honesty, if you were to lose all of those things today, you would still have much more to be thankful for. The intangible things are what really make life important. And be humble. No one can achieve success on their own. Many people, from family, friends, educators, mentors, competitors, to even complete strangers, have played a part in getting you to where you are today.

7. Be happy. Be kind. Be generous. Be loyal. Be compassionate. Be giving. Be you. Most of all, be thankful.

If we take these things to heart, not only will be happy, we will be surrounded by love, passion, and thanks. We will not only be making our own lives better, but we'll be making the world around us a better place too. So as you reflect on the holidays and the year that has passed, find the good things to take forward with you. Look into the new year, remembering the good, but resolving to make it better. All of these are simple things, yet they make a world of difference.

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