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The 11 Life Lessons

The 11 Life Lessons It Turns Out I’ve Taught My Six Kids

On my 46th birthday recently, my (mostly adult) kids wrote out a list of lessons I’d taught each of them in their lives so far. Each wrote their own list, and my wife Eva sweetly put them together in a notebook.

As I read through them, I felt like crying. It’s so incredibly touching that they appreciate what I’ve been trying to pass on to them, things I’ve been learning and want them to understand.

As a father, there are few things more meaningful than to see how you’ve helped your kids through your example and talks over the years. We have a mixed family of 6 kids, aging from 13 years old to 26 years, and all of them are wonderful human beings.

It turns out, there were some lessons that all or most of the kids put on their list, which I’m going to share with you here. These lessons they had in common made me wonder if these were the more powerful lessons, or if they were simply the ones I talked about the most. 🙂

So here they are, roughly ordered in how frequently they showed up on my kids’ lists:

  1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and it’s okay to fail. This was tied (with the next one) as the most common lesson on their lists — it made all their lists, I think. I really love that this lesson hit home with them.
  2. Have empathy & try to see things from others’ perspectives. This was the other lesson on all their lists, and again, it’s beautiful that they all took this to heart. I’ve tried to show them this through my actions, though of course I’m not at all perfect.
  3. Push out of your comfort zone. This is another one I’ve tried to teach by example, from running several marathons and an ultramarathon to doing things that scare me, like speaking on stage or writing books. This lesson is so important to me that
  4. Don’t spend more than you have. This is such a simple idea, but one that is rarely followed. I’m glad my kids are starting out with this mindset — live within your means, save as much as you can.
  5. Appreciate what you have & enjoy where you are right now. I love this one. It’s something that I try to embody, but also remind them when they are thinking about what they don’t have. Each time we’re stuck in complaint, it’s an opportunity to wake up to the beauty that’s in front of us.
  6. Sadness is a part of life, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling it. Despite what I said in the previous item, it’s OK to feel sadness, pain, grief, frustration, anxiety, anger. In fact, most of us never want to feel those things, so we’ll do whatever we can to ignore them or get away from the feelings. Instead, I try to actually feel those things, as an experience. It teaches me about struggle — if we’re not willing to face our own struggles, how can we be there for others when they struggle?
  7. Don’t give up just because something gets hard. As new adults, our four oldest kids are facing various struggles in new ways. This is part of growth, of course, but struggles never feel good. My job as dad has been to encourage them not to give up just because it’s hard — to keep going, and to use the struggle to grow.
  8. But don’t overwork yourself. That said, I’m not a fan of overwork. I believe the brain doesn’t function well if you keep studying or working past the point of exhaustion, so I try to teach them about taking breaks, resting, going outside and moving.
  9. It’s okay to be weird in public. Have fun. I’m not sure why several of them had this on the list — they must have learned to be weird from someone else? OK, in truth, they might have gotten it from my tendency to dance and skip with them while we’re out walking around in a city, or to encourage us all to do weird things as a group, no matter what other people might think.
  10. Your reality is a reflection of the narrative you tell yourself. This is something I learned late in life, and I’m glad my kids are learning this. The good news is that you can learn to drop that narrative, if it leads to suffering. What would this moment be like without a narrative? Beautiful and free.
  11. Make people laugh. It makes their day brighter. I’m so happy they picked up this important lesson from me! With my kids, I’m mostly always joking, except for when I get (too) serious about teaching them an important lesson. The rest of the time, I try to take a lighthearted approach.

I love my kids with all my heart, and it has been a privilege to be their dad. I take 10% of the credit and give the rest to their moms, grandparents, and themselves.

Btw, you can read Chloe’s full list in her blog post.

dad kids

Also … from them, I’ve learned some lessons that are just as important:

  • Kids deserve to be heard, to be listened to, to be respected. I started out as a dad with the idea that what I say goes, and they just need to listen to me! But over the years, I’ve learned to listen to them, and treat them as I’d want to be treated.
  • Kids have tender hearts that hurt when you aren’t kind to them. As a young dad, my frustrations and insecurities led me to angry bursts of scolding, yelling, spanking. I’ve grown since then, but more importantly, I’ve learned to see the tenderness of their hearts, and how it hurts to be yelled at by someone they trust and love so much. I am much more gentle with those hearts these days.
  • I should relax and not take myself so seriously. Whenever I think too much of myself, my kids humble me. Whenever I get too serious, my kids laugh at me. I love that playful reminder to loosen up.
  • Dads are goofy, dorky, uncool. And that’s how we should be. I sometimes harbor the notion that I can be a “cool” dad. When I try to break out newish slang or reference a meme, my kids will tease me about it. When I break out a joke or pun that I think is hilarious, they’ll laugh while rolling their eyes and calling it a “dad joke.” So I’ve learned just to embrace my uncoolness, and be myself with them.
  • All they need is love. There are lots of things to stress out about as parents, and nowadays we tend to obsess about getting everything right with our kids. But really, we’re stressing about it too much. All the details are just details — there’s only one thing that really matters. They want you to love them. And to receive their love. That’s all. Feed them, clothe them, shelter them, educate them, sure … but beyond that, they just want you to love them. Drop everything that gets in the way of that and let it come out as simply and clearly as you can.

 

BY LEO BABAUTA
source: zenhabits.net


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Following the Path of Resistance

Nov 12, 2015   Nykki Hardin   Natural Health & Lifestyle Expert and the founder of Nykki’s Cleanse

If I have learned anything in this lifetime, it is that nothing meaningful in my life has come without work, consistent effort, and personal challenge. Along the way, despite working towards something I truly desired, the process was always laden with consistent feelings of fear, discomfort and great resistance. While I might have questioned it in the past, thinking I was doing something wrong, what I know now is that these strong emotions have always been to my benefit, serving as indicators that whatever it is I am in pursuit of is of great value, and that I am being presented with a valuable opportunity for growth and expansion.

We all have dreams and goals, but it takes a courageous being to act upon them. The life well-lived, what I would define as a life lived in pursuit of one’s dreams, requires risk, dedication, discipline, and unbreakable confidence. It asks for a pushing of boundaries, a willingness to step outside one’s comfort zone and the ability to be your own cheerleader to triumph the inner demons. It requires strength of heart to put one’s self on the line, to be vulnerable, and to persevere despite criticism and negative feedback. This is not for the fainthearted and in today’s quick fix, instant gratification, instant success – or at least the perception of instant success – society, it is easy to feel discouraged and defeated. Social media and mass marketing have created a false illusion that success is easy and if this isn’t our experience, then we don’t have what it takes. However, to create and actualize anything new requires a learning curve, growing pains and willingness to embrace change. This process is anything but comfortable.

If we look upon the great change makers of the world, their success always came as a result of practice. Practice, practice, practice. They all speak of that inner resistance, the debilitating emotions and destructive voices as they took chances in their lives and in their business in attempt to “go the next level.” The common theme throughout each story is persistence, focus, and a willingness to continue to put one foot forward despite “defeat.” It rarely came easily, it was never an instant success and it was never a quick-fix solution. It was the rewards realized from the relentless pursuit of what they knew in their heart was worth the effort.

success  is not easy

Our greatest opportunity as humans in this lifetime is to realize our potential and this will come as we wake up to the truth, which is that we are already that in which we wish to become. Somewhere along the way, we simply got off the path and learned many “untruths.” However, if we can unlearn what were taught, remember everything we already know, and then apply this wisdom in our lives, we have the ability to realize whatever it is our heart truly desires. “Whatever your mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.”

The pursuit of anything new requires growth and change and while this is typically anything but comfortable, it is incredibly rewarding. When it comes to our dreams and goals, we must muster up the courage to wake up every day to embrace the fear and the resistance and to take action despite the noise or external circumstances. As we continue to walk the path, to show up for ourselves, and to transcend these emotions, what develops is a newfound confidence and strength, and a feeling of personal value that is not influenced by anything outside one’s self. It becomes even more powerful when we are able to see the bigger picture and to realize that our efforts are not really for us, but through us and for all of humanity.

If we want the life well lived, we must be willing to step up, take risk, create change and to shine. The process is filled with uncertainty and vulnerability, and as we push through resistance and overcome fear, we are presented with an amazing opportunity to embrace and celebrate our inherent beauty and wisdom. Creating intimacy with the voices and the gremlins, thanking them for letting you know you are on the right path, puts us in the power seat to take the reins in our lives. In the process, the never-ending reminder to plunge far and wide, surrender to the divine unknown, and to open up to the magic of what lies beyond our own set limitations.

Follow Nykki Hardin on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/nykkihardin


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5 Simple Statements to Get You Through a Bad Day

Have you ever had those days where you just want to hide under your covers and forget about being an adult for a while?

Most of us have – laying in bed and removing ourselves from the madness just seems like too good of an offer to pass up sometimes. Even if life seems unbearable at times, though, you can still get through the day without choosing to give up on society.

Reassure yourself with these positive reminders when you feel defeated or overwhelmed. They will surely give you that motivation to keep going headstrong through the day:

5 Simple Statements to Get You Through a Bad Day

1. “You can do this.”

How many times do we talk ourselves out of doing something because we feel incapable or inadequate? Probably more times than we’d like to admit. Next time you hear that voice in your head telling you to just throw in the towel, challenge it with the counterargument that you can indeed accomplish the task at hand.

Remember that the only person stopping you from doing something is you, so don’t give in to a defeatist mentality. You can either empower yourself or tear yourself down, so choose to recognize your true power and believe in yourself. Your mind can easily play tricks on you, but you have a choice in what thoughts you pay the most attention to. Repeat motivating thoughts like this one, and you will quickly go from unmotivated and drained to excited and confident.

2. “You are enough.”

Building on that last statement, don’t just tell yourself you can accomplish your goals, but remind yourself that you have everything you need within to do so. Become your most reliable motivator, and don’t ever listen to people who only point out your flaws. Make sure you put things into perspective and realize that other people’s opinions of you don’t determine your true value. In our modern world, people pass judgment left and right, but that doesn’t mean you have to believe what everyone else says about you.

Have confidence in yourself and remember that you came here as a complete, limitless spiritual being; you already possess all the qualities which you seek elsewhere. Who you are at this very moment in time is more than enough.

3. “Everything is happening at the perfect time.”

Impatience runs rampant in our culture today. The idea of instant gratification is heavily ingrained into people at a young age, and as a result, many of us don’t remember that every flower starts out as merely a seed. Even if you feel buried underneath mountains of obstacles, just think of yourself as a seed, slowly blossoming into a beautiful flower and bravely pushing through the darkness toward the sunlight.

The best things in life really do take time, so remember that when you feel frustrated or stuck. You have to plant those seeds and give them nourishment before they can reach their full potential. You may not realize it now, but every challenge you face on your path is necessary for you to grow as a person. You can’t have success without failure, so keep this in mind next time you get discouraged by life.

4. “Just breathe.”

Even if everything seems to be going wrong, it never helps to become panicked and short of breath. It might help to excuse yourself from the situation, go outside, and just breathe some fresh air deep into your lungs. Everything seems more serious in the moment, but later, you will probably laugh at whatever happened that day, whether someone stole your bank card, you got a flat tire, or something else seemingly disastrous. Remember that as long as you have your health, you have everything, and that starts with taking long, controlled breaths rather than short, shallow ones that literally inhibit oxygen from reaching your cells.

If you can, close your eyes and meditate for a while as well. Deep breaths coupled with taking your mind elsewhere for a while can do wonders in relieving stress and helping you regain composure on those days where you just want to give up.

5. “Keep going.”

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

No matter what life throws at you, put on your game face and don’t let the situation get the best of you. As long as you don’t give up, your unbreakable spirit can overcome anything that you encounter along your journey. Nothing can defeat you unless you allow it, so just tell the universe that you don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. As long as you have breath in your body, you can make a difference, work toward your dreams, and rebuild your life.

Remember, no one can stop a person who is determined to see something through. Even if you feel unsure of what direction to go in, just taking that first step will set all the other gears into action.

You came here during these times because you have a unique mission to accomplish and the strength to overcome any challenges you meet. We all came here to shake this world up and make our mark, so what message do you want to leave behind?