What we often, depends on are what we have been. Current decisions are built on past experiences. We are all victims of our experiences.
“Victims” because good (or bad) experiences in the past make us extrapolate that to the future. Victims because this can lead us to make bad choices/decisions. Our optimism or pessimism depends on our past.
“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” ― Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?
Sometimes we become depressed thinking about the past and mistakes we have committed in life. There are many lessons we learn late in our life. For example, the importance of maintaining work-life balance, the art of listening and giving more value to health rather than wealth. Moreover, we feel like going back in time to rectify our mistakes.
A Quora thread  has shared some lessons we should learn early in life so that we do not regret later on. Here are my top 20 from the thread:
- Simple is good.
- It’s all about the relationships. There is nothing more important to each person than themselves. Tap into that. Do good for others and the world will be your oyster. For us introverts, we’ve gotta work a bit harder. The above quote from Maya Angelou summarizes why this is so important:
- People are far more important than any other thing in your life. No hobby, interest, book, work is going to be as important to you as the people you spend time with as you get older.
- Time passes much more quickly than you realize.
- If you don’t take care of your body early then it won’t take care of you later. Your world becomes smaller each day as you lose mobility, continence and sight.
- Money talks. It says “Goodbye.” If you don’t plan your finances for later in life, you’ll wish you had.
- That big house you had to have becomes a bigger and bigger burden, even as the mortgage gets smaller. The cleaning, the maintenance, the stairs — all of it. Don’t let your possessions own you.
- Every day you wake up is a victory.
- None of the best experiences of your life will happen staring a computer screen, a phone screen or a TV.
- Beneath anger is always fear. As the wise Yoda says, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” Whenever we suffer, especially for long periods of time, at first we believe it is because of something outside of us–something we hate. And if we make it past that emotion, we find below that hate is a rumble of anger, and certainly something we have held on to for far too long. But beneath all of that is always fear. A fear of loss. A fear of vulnerability. A fear of letting go. But if you can get to the point of acknowledging the fear, you will see its lighthearted shadow, compassion. And you will be able to move forward.
- Your emotions take practice. Who you are emotionally takes practice. You can practice humility, you can practice forgiveness. You can practice self-awareness and humor, just as easily as you can practice anger, resentment, drama, and conflict. Who you are, emotionally, is a reflection of the things you consciously (or unconsciously) practice. You were not “born” upset. You have merely practiced that emotion far more than you have, say, joy.
- Achievement will never be as fulfilling as the journey.
- The school really were the best days of your life. If you worked hard at school, you are reaping the benefits now.
- Choose your friends carefully; you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
- Always give your best at everything you do, people are always watching.
- Always treat people the way you want to be treated and you’ll receive respect from almost everyone you meet.
- Everyone is simultaneously different and the same. Regardless of someone’s race, culture, gender and sexual orientation, everyone is equal.
- We don’t care about the things we get easily, Health for instance.
- Practice Humility, Practice Forgiveness. like you practiced playing Piano. Your emotions take practice.
- And last but not the least, Don’t let your Possessions own you.