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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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Buddha’s Keys to Unlocking Change in your Life

By Luke Miller        Saturday April 9th, 2016

There are no guarantees
the life we are living today
will be the same tomorrow

There are very few certainties in life but one thing that will remain consistent through your life is, you will continually have challenges and problems to overcome and while these challenges will differ from person to person, the solution for any problems can be broken down into 7 key areas for development.

In a sacred text called the Sabbāsava Sutta the Buddha outlines these 7 areas; my interpretation of this text is below. The original text is available to read here in Pāḷi and English.

1. Knowledge/Insight

We currently live in an age of information, and while this stockpile of knowledge can at times be overwhelming it is very useful for overcoming challenges in your life.

When you have a challenge there is always a solution out there, it’s your job to gather the info, syphon the good from the bad and work out a plan for getting there.

It’s not always easy; in fact it’s usually very difficult and depending on the problem you are facing could take some real trial and error.

But if you are determined to overcome a problem you are facing there will always be a solution out there, you just have to find it!

2. Resistance/Replacement

When you are making a transition in life there will be times when you will have to call on your resistance to temptation.

If you are starting a new exercise regime, trying to overcome procrastination or trying to get rid of an addiction of any type, there will be times when you will have to resist the temptation to fall back into bad habits. But while this is very important it is really only part of the solution.

To give up a bad habit using resistance alone would be very difficult, so when you are trying to change a bad routine you will find it easier if you consciously replace it with a more productive one.

If you stop smoking, you could start painting. If you stop eating junk food, you could start eating health food. Or if you are going to stop hanging out in nightclubs and getting drunk, you could start going to yoga and drinking raw juice.

It’s very important that you consciously look for a healthy, sustainable replacement to bad habits, because if you don’t you may end up with a worse habit in its place.

3. Consumption

Consumption works both ways; you could be over consuming or under consuming.

You could be eating too much or not enough. You could be not drinking enough water or be drinking too much fizzy drinks. You could be buying too much stuff that you don’t need or you could be depriving yourself from the things that you do need.

However it is in your case, consuming more or less of certain things will help you overcome some of life’s challenges.

This lesson really goes hand in hand with knowledge as when you learn more about your need’s as a human being you get more of an understanding of what you need to consume more or less of.

A prime example of this is medicine and when I say medicine I am not just talking about pills, I am also talking about plants, herbs and food medicines.

A lot of us are taking pills for problems that we can overcome naturally and because of these pills we are starting treatment with one problem and the side effects of these medicines are leaving us with more problems all of which need different pills to overcome them.

This is the vicious circle of symptom based treatment and not looking at health as a whole.

Most illness, spiritual, emotional, mental and physical can be overcome naturally. So try your best to find out how you can use nature to overcome your problems before consuming toxic and dangerous medicines.

Consumption also works for the mind to, your thoughts become things. So if you are stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts you may want to try to replace them with something a little more positive.

patience

4. Patience/Persistence

You cannot always have what you want, when you want it! This is not a bad thing; just imagine everything you set out to do was completed straight away. You would have nothing to aim for, no goals and no reason to wake up in the morning.

If you have something big that you want in your life you will have to be patient and you will also need to be persistent.

If you have something big that you want in your life you will have to be patient.
If you work every day towards a goal and that goal is something that you have some control over then the only thing that can stand between you and your goal is time!

One thing to remember here is to try and enjoy the journey, if you think a certain goal will bring you happiness and you struggle to find anything to be grateful for on the way chances are when you finally get there you will still not feel satisfied.

Celebrate every small victory on route to your big goals, be patient and persistent and you will get there in the end!

5. Avoidance

Some things in your life will be out of your control, certain people and places will leave a negative impact on you. Sometimes it will not be possible to just walk away from these things, but you can do your best to avoid them.

If someone at work acts negatively and always leaves you feeling down avoid them. If you are making dietary changes and your friends are going to a fast food restaurant don’t go. If your partner happens to love Housewives Of New Jersey and you don’t, go read a book when they are watching it!

Some things in life will need to be confronted, but sometimes the best way to deal with a problem is to just avoid or ignore it.

6. Removal

There will be times in your life when avoiding a problem is just not viable. Sometimes in life you have to make tough decisions, but usually the tough decisions result in the biggest impact.

Sometimes friendships and relationships end. Sometimes a career is having such a negative impact on your life that you will have to leave. Sometimes you have to stop relying on will power to help you through your diet and throw out them chocolate chip cookies.

Your life is your responsibility and when certain things have a constant negative impact on you, you will have to make a decision – am I going to accept this or remove it and move on.

This can be one of the hardest things a person can do, but when you take note of things, people and places that impact your life in a bad way and do your best to remove them, your life will change for the better.

7. Lifestyle

The first step for lifestyle is finding out what lifestyle you really want, a lot of people go into adulthood without knowing what they want or what they stand for.

Lifestyle will affect your health, wealth and relationships so it’s important if you want to lead a fulfilling life that you know what you want and build a lifestyle around that.

Lifestyle is really a combination of the knowledge you acquire, the daily habits you partake in and what you deem to be acceptable on your journey.

It’s very important that you set strict boundaries in some areas of your life to make sure your life is the one you want to be living.

Let’s face it we all have the same amount of time in the day, yet some people can barely manage to get on top of household chores, While others can run a Fortune 500 company and still find the time to meditate, go to the gym and hang out with friends and family in the evening.

It’s very much about viewing your life and seeing what is productive and empowering you and what is negative and disempowering you. Then doing more of the positive and less of the negative!


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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.

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