It’s never too late. To say sorry. To be honest. To try again. To change your mind. To learn a lesson. To turn around. To alter your perceptions.To be who you might have been. To be who you want to be. We can always start now, no matter how old we are, how tied down we are, or how scared we are. We’ll never know unless we try. It’s never too late. Give it a go.
We might not be able to understand much about what Minions are saying, but what they show us speaks louder than words. I recently went to see Minions in the cinema, and I picked out three lessons we can learn from them:
- Always look out for each other – Whether we’re just offering a bit of comfort, courage or company, or whether we’re valiantly saving someone from getting blown to pieces, we should always take care of each other. It could make all the difference to that person, whether we realise or not.
- Be brave – It’s easy to get comfortable where we are because that’s what we know and that’s where we know we’ll be safe. But that doesn’t mean we’ll always be fulfilled and happy in that safe place. Don’t be afraid of stepping into the unknown and taking opportunities to experience more of life.
- Never give up – Life won’t hand us everything we want. But that doesn’t mean we can’t ever have it. Even if things feel like they’re not working out, sometimes we just need to take our time. We’ll get there in the end if we stay persistent. And it will be worth it.
Have you seen Minions? What would you add to the list?
It’s true that we won’t ever be able to move onto the next chapter if we keep re-reading the last one. But we cannot cut the past out of our life, and we shouldn’t have to. Coming to terms with our past can take time. But here are a few times when looking back isn’t all that bad:
- Reflecting on lessons learnt – All the tough times we’ve endured and all the mistakes we’ve made teach us something, and through that, we’ve become more knowledgeable and strong. The lessons of the past are invaluable to how we lead the present and the future. Hold them close.
- Reflecting on turning points – Our life could be plotted as a string of milestones and turning points. Sometimes we need to look back to see how far we’ve come as impetus to keep going. Sometimes we need to look back to see how something we cried over was actually a blessing. Sometimes we need to look back at how much we’ve achieved. Be proud.
- Reflecting on good memories – Although we’re programmed to remember those moments of pain, embarrassment and fear, there are some many more beautiful and joyous moments that we should cherish. Don’t forget them or the people who you created those memories with. Smile because it happened.
We cannot always choose the cards we are dealt, the struggles we are thrown, or the tidings we are blessed with. The unknown is terrifying, so much so that we sometimes hide from it. But the unknown is also beautiful. To not know which views we’ll see, which places we’ll land, which people we’ll meet is what makes our life magical. To not know makes lessons powerful, risks thrilling, and success satisfying. Step outside and welcome it.
In honour of Mother’s Day here in the UK, I wanted to share three things my mother has taught me, which I hope we can all embody throughout all of life’s offerings:
- Consider others – there are always times when we should put ourselves first, but there are also times when another person’s situation is much more important than our own. We should be considerate of other people, be generous with our time, and not only put ourselves in other people’s shoes, but also sacrifice our own needs to help someone in a more difficult or pressing time.
- Perseverance – we’re often afraid, afraid of what other people think or the future or of making mistakes or letting go or pursuing unknown paths. We often give up too easily, because we lack confidence and belief in our abilities. But we should always be passionate, we should experiment and learn, and we should always live in accordance to our own goals, no matter how much hard work and time we need to get there.
- Most things are rectifiable – true, there are some things that are uncontrollable and there are some really tough situations. But there are always a number of paths we can take to get to the same place. There are so many moments that feel like a catastrophe at the time, which we look back on later in life and are grateful for. Make the most of everything available to you, which might be more than we think. Life will always work out in the end.
The truths about the world can be profound. For many of us, purpose lies within these truths. Dreams can manifest into ideas and ideas can manifest into reality. The reality may begin with a minute impact on these profound truths, but ideas can swell into significant answers to problems all around the world.
These are some of my ideas after watching Adam Braun’s talk, “The Five Phrases That Can Change Your Life”, filmed at TedxColumbiaCollege and posted on YouTube. Braun’s journey perhaps didn’t start off traditionally, as it all began with the dream of another: a young child who wanted a pencil and who emulated the desire of millions of children across the globe. Braun is now the founder of Pencils of Promise, an ‘for-purpose’ organisation that builds schools in developing areas, with the mission to positively impact global education.
In his talk, he gives the audience the five phrases that changed his life and that he learnt on his journey, and I thought I’d unpack them a bit here:
- “Get out of your comfort zone” – by exposing ourselves to new opportunities and experiences, we will grow as a person and find paths we never knew we wanted to travel.
- “Challenge your assumptions, so that you can find your truth” – by acknowledging our limitations and being open to discovering and learning, we can better understand who we are and who we want to be.
- “Speak the language of the person you want to become” – the only way ‘who we are’ can catch up with ‘who we want to be’ is to identify those dreams and visions as part of you, even if they have no reality yet.
- “Make the little decisions with your head, and big ones with your heart” – common-sense is obviously necessary for any venture we undertake, but ultimately, our heart will never guide us astray, no matter how many obstacles we encounter, as long as we are persistent.
- “How can you create the most positive impact on as many lives as possible?” – don’t be put off by the idea that working in the service of others needs to be extreme or a global movement; it comes down to using your position and resources in the best way you can to positively impact others.
What phrases or mantras guide you? Leave them in the comments below, as I’d love to hear from you!
Check out the full talk for further advice and inspiration:
Pencils of Promise: pencilsofpromise.org
Our elders may have their quirks, but there is a lot to learn from them. This Christmas, I spent time with my grandfather, during which I was touched and inspired by his attitude and perspective towards life. I’ve put together four lessons that I’ve learnt from my grandparents, elderly neighbours and strangers:
- To love deeply and to express it graciously and amicably, in all ways possible for any person, whether it be a grand gesture for a spouse, a compliment to a friend, a helping hand to someone in need or a polite comment to a stranger.
- To work hard for oneself and our families, that the greatest satisfaction in life will come from building oneself up and improving oneself through the means available.
- To be grateful for everything; to say thank you often, even when it isn’t necessary and especially when it is unexpected and sincere.
- To want the best for everyone, to be pleased for others, to congratulate others, even if we do not agree or understand that person’s desires or situation, to wish them well and be happy for their success despite our own opinions.
What lessons have you learnt from your elders?
I’ve also written a ‘Five Lessons to Carry from Childhood to Adult Life’ if you’re interested: https://themidnightstation.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/five-lessons-to-carry-from-childhood-to-adult-life/