Last week (August 3rd) was my 33rd birthday. It’s hard to believe I’m 33 years old because I don’t feel my age. It doesn’t seem so long ago that I turned 30. I was living back home in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and searching for direction in life after reaching that milestone. It’s been a great start to my 30’s. During my journey of life so far I’ve learned a whole lot. The past year has been hugely transformative, when I look back at my journey over the past 12 months a lot has changed and I feel incredibly blessed to be where I am right now. Sometimes it’s important to stop, take a moment, and reflect on the lessons life has taught us over the years. With that being said, to celebrate my
21st 33rd birthday I thought I’d compile, reflect, and share some of the most powerful personal life lessons I have learned which have had a tremendous impact on my life thus far. I’ve broken this up into 3 parts, where I’ll be sharing 11 life lessons in my next 3 posts.
1. Always start with “why”
“The man who knows how will always have a job. The man who also knows why will always be his boss.” Ralph Waldo Emerson encapsulates it beautifully with that quote. To figure out how, we need to know why. Strategy will always outperform skill. The only reason I chose to study the Master of Divinity degree was because my why was so compelling. I wanted to do it to serve in ministry and be in a position to lecture in the future. I left my comfort zone and pursued this course despite a lot of negativity and hardship. I understood my “why” fully! Having a compelling “why” will keep you motivated, realign you, and remind you why you do what you do in your work and personal life.
2. Invest in yourself
Invest in yourself, it’s the best investment you’ll ever make. Personally, I’ve invested thousands of dollars in my non-formal education, everything from books, seminars, and online courses. And I will continue to do so in order to grow and take my life to the next level. If I could suggest one thing, it would be to read at least one book a month relevant to your field of work or study. If you don’t have time to read, you can listen to audio books. I do this most of the time, and it works great for my preferred style of learning.
3. Your greatest wealth is your health
Our well-being is important; without good health, nothing else matters. I don’t need to spend too much time on this. Exercise, eat as healthy as you can, and get adequate rest. Period.
4. Guard your heart
Your heart is extremely valuable. King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived says: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” Proverbs 4:23. Other versions say that it is the “wellspring of life”. In other words, it is the source of everything in our lives, out of it stem our thoughts, words, and actions.
5. Wherever you are, be there
I’ve learnt that it is pointless stressing over things in the past or future. It just robs us of beautiful moments in the present. The source of most of our anxiety and frustrations result from living in the past, or future. Focused attention on the here and now is what matters. Wherever you are, be there, 100%! It makes a huge difference and adds quality to your life.
6. Surround yourself with people who inspire you
Jim Rohn says that “we are the average of the top five people we spend most of our time with”, including yourself! Who you spend time with will influence the person you will eventually become. Who you are with can lift you up or bring you down. They can inspire you or corrupt you. The choice is yours. Choose your companions wisely.
7. Keep your goals S.M.A.R.T
I’ve found setting SMART goals to be essential. Even before Once I learnt about goal setting this made a huge different in my life and propelled me on to where I am now. Set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive goals. More on this in a future post.
8. Get out of your comfort zone
The comfort zone is a nice place to be. It’s easy, stress free, but we don’t grow there. Truth be told, if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. We experience challenges when we push ourselves outside of what we are used to. That is where real growth takes place. I know this from experience, that’s why I look for new opportunities to push myself and grow. You learn a lot about yourself outside your comfort zone. Try it!
9. Plan for tomorrow today
Countless times I’ve been found wanting in many different situations because of my lack of planning. I can thank my dad for his example and for drumming this into me. I’m not perfect in this, but I’m a lot better than I used to be. I love the 5 P’s which simply state: Proper planning prevents poor performance. Simply put, we must prepare for darkness while traveling in the sunlight.
10. Unplug once in a while
Take time out from your routine and get away from your phone, computer, and everything else that fights for your attention. For me, it’s fishing. Being out on the lake with my rod in hand rejuvenates me and teaches me that I’m not that important. Life goes on whether I’m there or not. It’s also good to unplug periodically in order to refresh, recharge, and get a fresh perspective on things. A sanctuary awaits us in being able to be still, contemplate, and reflect.
11. P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens)
Prayer is powerful. It allows The Creator to do His thing and remind us that we are just mortal beings living in a sinful world. When we pray, we give God the power to influence situations in our lives that we have no control over. He has thousands of ways to help us of which we know nothing about. Pray until something happens!
What life lessons have you learnt in your life so far? Please share!