My birthday is a very complicated and difficult period for me as I always end up overthinking and worrying everything and anything. This year is a bit different though and while I was still 150% freaked out about it all, spending the week before my birthday in London, surrounded by friends, a high stress environment and countless travel collaboration opportunities (at the World Travel Market), I couldn’t help contemplate about all the things I am grateful for, I have accomplished and have learned so far.
That is how I came up with the following 24 life lessons I feel I have learnt in the past 24 years… and since ya’ll know I love giving unsolicited advice, I just have to share them with you. Enjoy:
- If you are crazy enough to dream it, then be sure that you have what it takes to achieve it. Don’t ever let anyone else tell you what you are cable of! If you wish for something hard enough, then you will find a way to make it happen regardless of the circumstances and public opinion.
- If the people around you don’t believe in you and always find ways of dragging you down “back to reality”, then you are surrounded by the wrong people! I am sorry to say it, but let’s be serious: you’ve already figured this one out a long time ago, but just didn’t want to admit it to yourself. The pain of changing your entourage is temporary, but the pain of giving up on everything you’ve ever wanted and dreamed of will forever linger in your life
- Aim for the moon and if you miss, you’ll still be among the stars! You’ve definitely heard this, right? Well, it couldn’t be any truer! Don’t be afraid to set high goals for yourself and strive to achieve them! You know better than everyone else what you can do and if you know it, why not have some fun and prove it?@ Do it for the sake of it and just because we both know you can!
- Put in the work and always give it your best! Regardless of what it is that you are doing, always give it your 100% – that’s most than the majority will ever do and that’s what will set you apart. Most people dream just as big as you do, have brilliant ideas and hope that one day will make it big, but there are way fewer people out there willing to put in the work in order to achieve all that than you’d ever expect.
- There is no right time for anything. You either do it or you don’t. You either take a leap of faith or you’ll lose the opportunity (perhaps) forever. It’s that simple, but remember that you won’t be forever excited about an idea, your crus won’t forever be single, you are not the only person out of 7 billion which came up with that brilliant idea and circumstances change really quickly. Therefore, stop waiting for “the right time ” and in case you need a sign telling you that you should act now, then consider this random text to be that sign.
- Do whatever makes your happy! Sounds like a cliché, doesn’t it? Well, it is, but while the internet has vilified the word, we must not forget that something becomes a cliché only when it is so important that people can’t stop referring to it over and over again! So, if doing whatever makes you happy is a cliché, then it must be really important for some weird reason. I wonder why? What do you think?
PS: Not many people have the courage to pursue what truly makes them happy because the majority are either stuck in their comfort zone or because they are afraid. Don’t be one of those people that settles for less than they deserve and less than whatever it is that makes you happy! You can do it! I believe in you!
- You do you! Make sure to take care of yourself! Take time off when you feel like you need it, do those things that make you happy and relax you. Eat better, sleep more, exercise from time to time, drink more water, meditate, cut off those toxic habits and invest in yourself! You are your most important asset and therefore more time and effort should be put into yourself!
- Figure out who you are and what you want! This is a hard one and something that most people consider that they’ve had it all figured out all along – until it finally clicks for them that it’s not like that… and it usually clicks during the worst possible time. Spend time alone, go in nature, take a vacation, become comfortable with eing alone and enjoying it, ask yourself what it is that you want and find the answer, ask yourself who you truly are and what drives and go on a quest to discover this. Just do it! You’ll thank me later.
- Perfectionism is the prime ingredient in failure! If you are one of these people who constantly delays everything because “it’s just not ready yet”, “I’m just not ready yet”, “It’s not good enough”, you need to know that by the time you will achieve your perceived perfection, someone else would probably already swooped in and claimed your spot – most probably with a worst version of what you’ve got, but onto which he has been constantly building and improving. People generally care a lot more about novelty than they do about perfection. It’s just human nature.
- Be kind, be nice, don’t be entitled! Most people will feel attracted to you by how you look, admire you by what you’ve accomplished and so on, but the one thing that can reverse everyone’s attraction/opinion/admiration in an instance is the way you behave in regards to others. Therefore, always do your best to be a decent human being – and if you are not doing it out of the pureness of your heart, then do it for your image. Basically, what I’m trying to say is: The world is already full of assholes, and long term, no one likes them.
- Don’t ever judge anyone! First and foremost, as long as something does not directly affect you, it’s none of your business. Secondly, you are not superior to anyone else, you’ve got your own flaws and shameful past episodes and that’s why you don’t have any right to judge.
- Invest in experiences rather than things! You might think I’m crazy, especially if you come from Eastern Europe or Latin America where what you own and wear is basically considered. To determine your social value, but things will never beat experiences! Living in Scandinavia for close to a decade has though me to be one of those people who couldn’t care less how much your outfit is worth, what car you drive or how much money is in your bank account. I do however care about living life to your fullest and I want the people around me to have experienced everything they had the chance to, to have travelled everywhere they could and to have done everything that crossed their minds. Your Gucci/Prada/LV attire will never fascinate me as much as a good travel story. Your luxury car will never come close to a list of international friends you’ve bonded with in hostels around the world. Your awesome home will never impress me as a passport full of stamps.
- Be thirsty for knowledge! There is nothing more degusting, for me, than an individual who thinks they know it all and nothing and no one could ever teach them something new. Always listen more than you talk, always be interested, always be on the lookout for new knowledge.
- Always speak up your mind! Never bottle anything up! Always express your appreciation – people will be flattered! Always express your disappointment – people will be thankful for the feedback! Always speak the truth regardless of how harsh it is – people will be grateful you did.
- Don’t take anything for granted! We often tend to forget how well off we are an how amazing our lives are in comparison with those of others. Always remember that all the things you take for granted are exactly what so many pray for every single day.
- The world can be a lonely place so get yourself some friends! None of us can choose the families that we come from, but along the way, throughout our lives we have the ability of forming our own non-official family – our group of friends – long before settling down. Make sure you gather the right group of friends around yourself; people which you can be 100% yourself around and you can always feel comfortable, people who will always be there for you, people who value you for who you are.
- Be yourself! Never be ashamed of who you are, how you think, what you enjoy and what you do. Always be yourself – unapologetically so – because it’s fun, because you’ll enjoy your life so much more, because pretending to be someone you’re not sucks and because it will filter out the people around you faster than anything else you’ll ever try.
- Take chances! Say yes more often and take the chances life throws at you! You never know what amazing opportunities you could be stumbling upon by simply being open to trying something new and getting out of your comfort zone.
- Embark on adventures! They’re good for the soul and the best treatment against a boring and meaningless life.
- Happiness is in the small things! You might not believe me, I know, but think about it. How happy does a sunset/a smile on a loved one’s face/a chocolate bar/someone randomly lending a hand when you need it, make you feel? Better question: when is the last time you stopped for a moment to fully appreciate them?
- Learn to let go! You can’t control everything and you can’t change the past and the sooner you learn to accept all this, the sooner you’ll be able to get over whatever it is, let go and move on with your life. Life is happening now; make sure to always remember that. Your past has indeed shaped who you are, but does not define who you can be – that’s entirely up to you.
- Give more! The more you give, the more you will receive. The universe works in mysterious ways and more often than not, good things happen to those who do good.
- Growing up is not mandatory. It’s up to you to hold on onto your magic, child-like enthusiasm, keep enjoying the things that made you happy as a kind and only the strongest people have the will and power to refuse growing up and becoming just another boring adult. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be responsible, work hard and make something of yourself, I’m saying that age is just a number and you should keep that in mind for next time you think you’re too old to do something.
- Take advice, ask for feedback, but always do whatever you feel that is right for you. Not all people give good advice, not all people do what they preach and generally those who give the best advice are those who have been through the most. Furthermore, not all feedback is constructive and not all criticism is mean. Make sure to always listen to whatever everyone says, since you might learn a thing or two from it, but always make sure to follow your heart and filter all the info through your own personal perspective.