Let’s face it; when we leave home and are just starting out on our own, none of us really know what we’re doing. We may think we hold the world in our hands, but mistakes are made, life choices are questionable, and countless lessons are learned the hard way.
We’re helpless fledglings, gently (or not gently) pushed by our parents out of the nest to the ground. Real life. Who knew adulting would be this hard?
It can be messy and terrifying when we first try our hand at being adults in the world, but it doesn’t have to be! If we pay attention and play our cards right, there are definitely ways not just to live, but thrive. Here are seven pearls of wisdom that I wish I knew back when I was just leaving the nest.
1. Mindset is everything.
If you go into everything with a negative attitude, then you’re doomed from the start. Take control of your thoughts — they are more powerful than you think.
I have gained so much confidence over the years by slowly switching to a growth mindset. Heard of it? A growth mindset means that instead of believing my strengths and qualities are set in stone and can’t be changed (that’s a fixed mindset), I believe almost everything is learnable, and try to see failure as opportunities to get better.
In other words, I choose to believe in myself and my abilities, and not allow negativity hold me back from living up to my potential.
I’ll admit it took me a while to open my mind and start trusting in my capabilities, but in the process I’ve come to believe 100% that if you can change your mindset, you can change your life too.
2. Beware of toxic people — they aren’t always obvious.
They can be disguised as friends, and sometimes it can be hard to tell when someone doesn’t deserve your time and energy. Good people can still do toxic things, but if those toxic things start to affect you, you need to get that person out of your life.
I had to learn this the hard way. There were many signs with someone I considered a friend that she wasn’t a great person to be around. But I ignored them and kept giving her the benefit of the doubt, because I wanted to keep being a supportive friend. I kept thinking she was being reckless and selfish, and lo and behold, she made some choices that ended in a big blowout between us which nearly cost me my job. Up until then I had stayed friends with her, but never felt like she was there for me.
Attention — friendships shouldn’t be one-sided!
If someone makes you feel like crap, it’s probably best to stop spending time with them. They don’t appreciate you, so kick them to the curb.
It’s their loss.
3. “Comfort zones are where dreams go to die.” — Regina King
If you become complacent and never feel challenged, then you are not growing. Do you have things that you still want to do?
Are you not taking the leap because you’re so comfortable where you are that you don’t want to risk losing your sense of stability?
I hate to break it to you, but life is full of risks and if you get too comfortable where you are and never want to leave because you’re scared, life will pass you by. You’ll look up and it’s ten years later, with that same list of things you’ve always wanted to do.
4. “Happiness is only real when shared.” — Christopher McCandless
Do you remember that quote from the book Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer?
I believe you can convince yourself to be happy alone, but I’ve also come to learn that life is really about relationships — not just romantic ones, but friendships and interactions with people on a day to day basis.
Often we don’t realize it and take it for granted, but the other people in our lives can make life worth living.
If there is no one to share your joy with, then what are you left with? Cherish the relationships that you value in your life.
5. Passion can only go so far — you also need to do the work.
This is true for several different areas of life.
In terms of a career or something you want to accomplish — you can care very deeply about something but if you never take action, then absolutely nothing is going to change. Period. You have to be willing to put the time in and work. And not just work a little and wish for something good to come of it — you need to be willing to put yourself out there, and put in some intense effort.
This also applies to relationships. Yes, passion is important.
But I’ve learned that as much as people say it does, love does not necessarily conquer all.
I thought it would, until we realized we had nothing in common and weren’t really willing to compromise. The only connection we had in the end was our love for one another, and that simply wasn’t enough. Passion only goes so far. Ultimately we need more.
Once I finally accepted that and was able to move on, I’ve never been happier.
6. Intuition is real — learn to trust it.
There is such a thing as a gut feeling, and most of the time it’s right.
There have been several times I failed miserably to listen to the little red flags going up in my mind, and I paid for it.
Your intuition’s got your back — don’t brush it aside like I did. Take the time to listen.
7. Nothing is forever.
Last but not least, nothing is forever. You’ve probably heard this one a million times, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
Be grateful for what you have and cherish the ones you love.
Let go of friendships that aren’t working (some of them don’t last, and that’s okay), and keep the ones who mean the most to you.
Make the most of the moments, and go after what you want. Life is way too short to wait around for something to happen.
So, to recap: get out of your comfort zone, beware of toxic people, share your joy with others, if you have passion for something then work for it, expand your mindset, listen to your intuition, and appreciate the time you have.
A lot of life lessons are unfortunately learned the hard way, but I believe that in world where so much information is shared, we shouldn’t necessarily have to do it alone. Someone, somewhere across the globe, is always going to be going through the same thing.
Life is full of mystery, pain, and beauty all jumbled together. But you are more capable and more powerful than you think, and you’ll get through it.
So get out there, and conquer your life!
I hope you enjoyed these tidbits of advice – if you have any others that have really helped you take control of your life, feel free to share them below!