1) If you’re good to the world, the world will be good to you. No. Bad things happen to good people all the time. The world will not treat you fairly. I know, it sucks but as long as you cling onto this assumption, you will be mad and upset for the rest of your life. Don’t take it so personally. The car cutting you off on the highway has nothing to do with you. The cold weather has nothing to do with you. The belligerent drunk knocking over your drink has nothing to do with you. Bad things don’t just happen to bad people; it happens to all people. The world will not treat you fairly. Accept this fact, and move on.
2) If your lover has wronged you, you get to be mad at them forever. Sometimes our lovers piss us off – that happens in all relationships. Go ahead and vent; you’re going to have to get it out your system anyway so you might as well get it over with now. In healthy relationships, your partner will apologize and offer to try and make things better. The problem is that you as the victim often fall into a state of unforgiveness that makes it impossible to resolve the problem. This brings the relationship to a halt (no matter how justified you think your feelings), and the two of you will be stuck there forever, all because of your stubborn self. Forgive. You don’t have to forget. But definitely move on. Together.
3) You should not have to feel pain. If you have no aspirations, and staying in your comfort zone feels nice, cozy and safe, then this perhaps doesn’t apply to you. For the rest of you who aspire to make a dent in the universe, you’re going to have to learn how roll with the punches. Learning and growing is painful, but that’s the price you have to pay for growing into your ideal selves. It is only by leaning into the pain and having the courage to get past it, that you allow yourself to be free and open to the endless opportunities that life has to offer.
4) If you do everything perfectly in life, you won’t die. But that’s wrong, and you will die. In the words of J.K. Rowling, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” This is not to be too somber, but death is inevitable. What’s important is the type of person you are in the face of this cold hard fact.
5) You should be happy all the time and if you aren’t, there’s something wrong with you. There’s nothing wrong with you. There’s no avoiding being sad, angry and frustrated at times. You can’t be flying on cloud nine for eternity. People are like waves in the ocean; sometimes we’re up and other times we’re down but no matter what, we are still living. No matter what, we are still flowing. And that’s what life is about; you just got to keep flowing.
6) You’re special. Sorry to break it to you, but you’re not. You’re just an itty bitty molecule in the larger scheme of things. As John Wooden’s father once told him, “Never believe you’re better than anybody else, but remember that you’re just as good as everybody else.” So while you may not be special, you are unique in your own way, which makes you pretty damn awesome.
7) Having a job means you have security. As Daniel H. Pink states in “A Whole New Mind,” in order for you to survive in the coming age, you need to ask yourself three questions about whatever it is that you do: Can a computer do it for you? Can someone overseas do it cheaper? Is what I’m offering in demand in an age of abundance? Unfortunately, computers have already and will continue to replace jobs. The only job security is to do what computers can’t, meaning you’re going to have to be more vulnerable, more open to connecting with people on an emotional level, and to be more human.
8) Having fun is irresponsible. Do you know the one thing successful people do that really sets them apart? Not only do they work hard, they play even harder. Better yet, they’ll probably be the first ones to admit that their greatest ideas came when they were out being “irresponsible.” Letting yourself have a little fun is necessary for your mental sanity and to be honest, the world isn’t going to end if you stop working and take some time to pursue the things that really make you tick. In fact, having the courage to pursue your greatest passions should be the greatest priority in your life. Otherwise, what’s the point of living?
9) Success = Likes + Followers. False. Gaining likes and followers does not mean you’re doing what’s right for you – it means you’re doing what’s right for them. Allowing the opinions of others dictate the decisions you make in life makes you a prisoner of your own creation. It’s actually none of your business what others think of you. All that matters is that you’re pursuing the things in life that excite you and not following someone else’s agenda for the sake of public approval. Do you need a tribe to really make waves in this world? Yes, but make sure you’re doing it on your terms. Some of the happiest people I know don’t even have smartphones.
10) It’s selfish to follow your bliss. You think it’s greedy or asking too much to pursue your passions. Somehow, you’ve tricked yourself into equating that the pursuit of your ideal self is selfish. Nothing is less true than that. If anything, you are doing a disservice to the world for not trying to be the best person you can be. When you’re not at your best, you are not sharing the greatest possible gift you can be sharing with the world. A motto that I live by is to improve the world by improving myself. By having more, I can give more. You’re going to have to be selfish first before you can begin being selfless.
P.S. Remember to love yourself, that’s the secret of happiness.
by Jason Lam