Lately I’ve been reflecting on the big lessons life has taught me, trying to understand why I had to learn what I’ve had to learn, and what I’ve had to learn. If it were possible to turn back time, I’d want to shake my younger self up, and give that girl a taste of all the the things I know today. Alas that isn’t possible.
So lets dive right into it.
10 things I wish I knew 10 years ago (in no particular order) –
1. Live within your means
This might seem like one of those common sense advice (it obviously is), but in the day of consumerism and materialism, it almost seems impossible for a lot of people. Living within ones means for me is spending the money you have after paying off all the bills & debts.
It may seem like its impossible, (we all have e-commerce apps on our phones) but it only takes a few months to adjust to this shift.
Tip – Adopt a de-cluttered and minimalist lifestyle for a few months, it will calm you down and living within your means will not only be easy, it’ll be enjoyable. Buying and surrounding yourself with only things that are of some value and significance magnifies life. I’ve been experimenting with this for the last few months or so and the results have been surprisingly good. 🙂
2. NEVER loan money to friends/ or do, if you never want to see them again
This one may be a bit controversial, so let me start with full disclosure – I am ONLY speaking from my own experiences (yes, sadly there have been more than one)
When you “loan” money to friends, more often than not, that money doesn’t come back. So if you really want to help out a friend in need, do so by giving it to them (without the expectation of repayment) without being sanctimonious, of course, because that would be insufferable. Loaning money becomes awkward at some point, you might see you friend’s lavish lifestyle on social media and begin to wonder how sincere their claims are. Its a LOT of mind games that no one needs.
Also be vary of “friends” who pop up into your life out of the blue telling you about “great business opportunities that you HAVE to invest in”, its most likely a ponzie scheme, so unless you can afford to lose that amount, exercise caution when people make massive claims. These are the ones who disappear after you’ve “invested”. Its the quickest way to kiss your money goodbye.
Be careful – some risks aren’t worth the hassle.
3. Plan ahead – realize the value of delayed gratification. Invest now so you can reap returns later
This is about every aspect of your life, adopt a healthy lifestyle today, so you can live a happy healthy life when you’re older. I recently read that one of the wealth mantras of the super rich is their ability to invest today for benefits that area long way off. And having the right attitude towards it. There are many little things you can invest in today (without feeling the pinch on your pocket) and it will grow significantly by the time you are older.
Invest in your own skills
Invest in your health and wellness
Invest for your future
4. Never stop learning – Educating yourself
This one is easy – we live in the information age, everything we need to know is a click away, so not knowing isn’t an excuse anymore. If you don’t understand someone seek help from your friends/family who know this stuff.
As a lawyer, I can tell you, a lot of the literature is drafted to seem very complicated and yes that can be frustrating if you don’t know (or aren’t comfortable with) reading running sentences, but enlist the help of experts so you can understand any subject better. If not that develop a general curious attitude which makes you explore subjects that don’t necessarily come naturally to you.
After all how you do one thing is how you do everything. You’ll be happier (and more satisfied) for having made the effort.
5. Understand RISK
This one intrigues me most, because its almost a “cool” catch phrase of our times, isn’t it?
The biggest risk is not taking any.
The adages are plenty. But what exactly is risk.
To me risk is not quitting your job and booking a flight ticket to a beach town, and it certainly doesn’t resemble an eat pray love situation (due respect to the people who do these and pull it off). Taking risks is often misunderstood to being reckless. Taking risk doesn’t mean blow your savings on a trip to cabo (or where ever).
Risk is what you can afford to lose, should you lose it. Be calculated about what you can and cannot lose, and the biggest risk elements are the ones beyond our control, so factor that in. To put it simply know yourself – be sure of whats important to you, so as to not be reckless about it.
6. Invest in yourself
Understand that the one constant in your life is YOU, and invest accordingly. Invest in educating yourself and polish your skills, and most importantly invest time, money and effort in making you the best version possible.
7. Never compare yourself to others
The surest way to waste your time is comparing yourself to other people. Once you realize that YOU and your circumstances are unique, and other people have their own realities, it becomes easier to be compassionate rather than envious about somebody else’ life.
If you’re not happy with your life, change it, make different choices.
8. Looking rich v. Being rich
I have a group of friends who constantly humble-brag about all the material blessings in their lives. While I have nothing against people being materialistic (being pretty materialistic myself), I understand the allure of retail therapy, but sometimes when I see/hear that all your blessings are materialistic, I feel like you’re losing the point. I’m all for people doing whatever they want, but I also know that most of the people in this particular group of friends are running into debt to keep up their lifestyles.
So I often wonder about looking rich versus being rich. And what exactly is the point of “Looking” rich, whose benefit is this facade being created for anyway? It all seems extremely hollow and un-satisfying, but maybe that’s just me. *shrugs shoulders*
9. Fast fashion is horrible for your pocket and the environment
This one was a biggie for me especially because I love everything about fashion, especially how trends are always changing – which is reminiscent of phases of life itself.
I used to be a huge fan of fast fashion, and shopping fast fashion. And I began to notice that most of these clothes/shoes/accessories don’t last very long. Which meant that I was buying more often for the same items, use it a few times, and find that its time to replace it again. While it looked like I wasn’t spending too much money each time, when I added it up, I was horrified! I didn’t like the idea of spending as much as I was on things that lacked the quality of being well made.
There are also plenty of studies and documentaries which show the horrors of fast fashion vis-à-vis the environment. So lately, I’ve switched over to buying extremely well made clothes/shoes/bags in more classic styles, and I haven’t been happier (my pockets are quite glad as well).
10. Effort is Sexy
One of the most often heard statements from people around me is I’m bored. This is weird to me because I honestly can’t remember the last time I said that. We are part of the generation which thinks apathy is cool (unfortunately), probably why I feel like I was born in the wrong generation. I digress. I find that I like things more when I have made an effort for it, like it is worth it because I have had to earn it, conversely I’ve also noticed that often things are taken for granted when they’re handed on a platter. So my conclusion is Effort is good! Be it in your work, dating/relationships, health & well being, LIFE (basically).
Don’t treat things and people in your life with disdain, instead cultivate the habit of appreciating the good. No one likes feeling like they’ve been taken for granted. So do yourself a favor and make an effort for the things and people in your life. Not only will you not be bored anymore, you’ll actually feel good when the things and relationships last longer (because you are appreciative of them).
There are many many more things I’ve learnt from the life I’ve lived thus far, and surely there are many more waiting for me ahead.
But for today, reflecting on everything feels enough.
Peace & Love