As you go through school, you learn lots more than just your reading, writing and arithmetic. You learn how to make friends and be friends. You learn what it means to tell the truth and what happens when you don’t. You learn that something that seems life-altering is likely alarmingly mild.
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But this lesson learning doesn’t cease when you graduate. You’ll keep on learning throughout your lifetime. In fact, some of the most important lessons you’ll learn don’t come from classroom sessions, but from mistakes and missteps and experiences in the real world.
1. It’s The People In Your Life That Truly Matter
In your youth, you were probably more materialistic than you would like to admit. You got excited by getting things. You likely didn’t want to share. And you envied friends who always seemed to get more than you. As an adult, you come to realize that, while things are great, they can be replaced. People, on the other hand, can’t. It’s the friends and family members that fill your life that truly matter, not the material possessions.
2. You Need To Expect The Unexpected
When you were in school, you always knew what was coming next. As the third period bell rang, you knew that you needed to change into your gym clothes for your dreaded run around the track. In real life, however, things are rarely this predictable. You’ve probably experienced many unexpected occurrences – and you’ll almost certainly experience many more. It’s by learning how to deal with these events that you truly become a self-sufficient and confident adult.
3. Forgiveness Is Key
As a stubborn student, you were almost certainly made to apologize to a peer you wronged at least once. You were probably on the receiving end of some of those apologies, as well. As a child, though, you probably didn’t truly forgive. As you aged and matured, you finally learned that forgiveness is absolutely necessary to truly grow and heal.
4. Failing Is Fine
Coming in last place in that race at recess or getting an F on the big test likely made you upset as could be when you were a student. As an adult, however, you know that failing isn’t just necessary – it helps you improve. It is through failing that you learn life’s truest lessons.
5. Life Is Short
During your childhood, you likely lost a family member or two. Maybe an elderly grandparent passed on or a distant great-aunt surprised everyone by suddenly taking a turn for the worse. For most children, however, these deaths seem isolated and, often, as if only old people can pass away. Adults know that this is tragically far from true. By the time most reach adulthood, they have experienced the loss of a contemporary. They know that you can lose anyone at any time. As a result, they dedicate energy and attention to showing those that they truly care about just how much they love them.
6. You Have Limitations
You wouldn’t have broken your arm in that daring, Superman-inspired jump from the top of the jungle gym if you had known the consequences as a child. By the time you reach adulthood, you will have run into many of your limits, making you acutely aware that they exist. While no one likes to find that their abilities aren’t as ceaseless as their childhood confidence led them to believe, this is an important lesson. If you don’t recognize your limitations, you can’t effectively plan to capitalize from your strengths.
7. Some People Won’t Like You
In kindergarten, you likely drove your teacher to frustration, telling her about the boy who said you were ugly and the girl who said (gasp in horror) that she didn’t like you. As you aged, you learned that the list of people who don’t like you is sizable indeed. You also learned that there is nothing you can truly do about this. Yes, you can try to be the best possible version of yourself as to not give others something valid to dislike about you, but even the Mother Teresa version of yourself will attract some enemies. Instead of fighting this inevitability, understand it and accept it.
8. You Have To Believe In Yourself
As a teen, you didn’t so much as walk through the doors of your school without looking around to see if people were digging your new overalls. Now – hopefully – you’re less concerned about whether someone thinks your style is stellar. You understand that self-confidence is a necessary component of a happy, successful life. Paradoxically, the more confident you are, the more people often see you as valuable, making self-confidence a powerful tool.
9. The Truly Great Things In Life Aren’t Easy
There was probably something you wanted when you were in school – maybe it was a seat at the school spelling bee or a lead in the play. Despite your fervent desire for this thing, it just didn’t happen. You moaned and groaned and thought, if only this were easier. In truth, if it were easier to attain these goals they wouldn’t be as worth attaining. The best things in life aren’t easy – that’s why they’re the best. As you grew, you learned not to resent the effort that you had to put in to getting these things, but instead to recognize that the effort itself was evidence of how much the thing for which you were striving was truly worth. This knowledge helped you stay motivated as you kept toiling to reach the auspicious goal you set for yourself.
10. Everything Works Out – Usually
When your 5th grade best friend suddenly decided that she didn’t want to be friends with you anymore, you were sure your life was over. She’d been your friend for three whole months. What would life be like without her? Then, the next week, you strode down the hallway with your new BFF and didn’t so much as glance at this former friend. As you grew, you likely noti
ced that, despite what your worry was, that things usually work out. Even the things that seem like they will kill you, don’t. After all, nothing humdrum and everyday usually kills you.
11. You’ll Never Have It All Figured Out
In elementary school, you were sure it was middle school where you would learn life’s lessons. In middle school, this shifted to high school. In high school, you thought that it surely must be college. But as you sat on the steps of University Hall with your hot-from-the-presses degree in hand, you realized that all of your youthful hoping had been in vain. Figuring it all out isn’t something that someone can teach you – because no one really achieves this goal. Even the most seemingly put-together individuals have their own uncertainties and insecurities. This is why you’ll never stop learning and why you must be attentive to the lessons life throws at you.