In his book “Too Soon Old Too Late Smart” author Dr. Gordon Livingston provides us with 30 essential life lessons. Actually 31 if you include the title. He writes from the premise that even though we can’t escape who we are or what has happened to us, we are still in control of who we would like to become and what we want to accomplish.
As you can see from the chapter titles below, Dr. Livingston has done an incredible job of distilling some profound life lessons that are of great value. Even without buying the book, contemplating the chapter titles is certainly eye opening. I just wanted to share this fine reference with all of you and if you want to read the reviews here’s the link: Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart
Life lessons from the chapter titles
1. If the map doesn’t agree with the ground, the map is wrong. We are given mental maps as children. Our parents and other adults tell us what is right and what is wrong – sometimes they don’t always get it right. Reality is reality.
2. We are what we do. We are not what we think, or what we feel, or what we say, we are what we do. Actions do indeed speak louder than words is one of those undeniable life lessons.
3. It is difficult to remove by logic an idea not placed there by logic in the first place. By nature, we are emotional creatures. Often we live and react based on feelings, not logic.
4. The statute of limitations has expired on most of our childhood traumas. Two life lessons here: 1) No matter your past, change is the essence of life. 2) In order to move forward in life we need to learn to live in the present.
5. Any relationship is under the control of the person who cares the least. When relationships end it is typically because of unmet expectations or because one person is not feeling loved or cherished by the other.
6. Feelings follow behavior. No matter how hard we try, we don’t control what we think or what we feel. But, we do know which actions bring us happiness, pleasure and confidence.
7. Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid. When we step out and claim what we want from the world a wonderful thing happens – the Universe responds.
8. The perfect is the enemy of the good. While it’s important to have control over our lives, it can be counterproductive to attempt to control our lives.
9. Life’s two most important questions are “Why?” and “Why not?” The trick is in knowing which one to ask. Understanding why we do certain things is the first step to change.
10. Our greatest strengths are our greatest weaknesses. One of my biggest strengths as a person is I’m caring, sensitive and emotional – it is also my greatest weakness.
11. The most secure prisons are those we construct for ourselves. What is your fear of change costing you? Too often what keeps us stuck is the belief we can’t move forward.
12. The problems of the elderly are frequently serious but seldom interesting. The thought of our own mortality and demise can be a frightening one. Therefore, our attitude towards the aging can be callous because they are unwanted reminders of what’s ahead for us.
13. Happiness is the ultimate risk. No matter how painful, sometimes what we know is more comfortable than what we don’t know, even if we are depressed and miserable.
14. True love is the apple of Eden. True love is fair compensation for the obstacles and burdens of being human.
15. Only bad things happen quickly. When we think about the things that can change our lives in an instant we usually think of the negative ones first.
16. Not all who wander are lost. It’s OK to step outside of the lines in order to follow what your inner wisdom is suggesting you do with your life. It’s not that you are lost when you wander; it’s just the opposite.
17. Unrequited love is painful but not romantic. Love is meant to be shared. When you give your heart to someone who is uninterested, it will only result in loneliness and disappointment.
18. There is nothing more pointless, or common, than doing the same things and expecting different results. This truth also provides a very good definition for insanity.
19. We flee from the truth in vain. Somewhere along the way there are truths about ourselves we never allow to see the light of day. But remember, we cannot change or heal what we do not acknowledge.
20. It’s a poor idea to lie to oneself. While good intentions are important, living the truth has far greater value in our life.
21. We are all prone to the myth of the perfect stranger. It takes maturity, patience and trust to look across the fence and know your grass is greener.
22. Love is never lost, not even in death. To lose what means the most to us is the ultimate test of helplessness and survival.
23. Nobody likes to be told what to do. Rather than telling my children what to do, my job as a parent is to give them hope that they can be successful in a very uncertain world.
24. The major advantage of illness is that it provides relief from responsibility. In an ironic twist, the days we feel under the weather can be some of the healthiest for us.
25. We are afraid of the wrong things. For the first 18 years of my marriage I feared the wrong things. I should have feared losing my wife and family instead, because I almost did.
26. Parents have a limited ability to shape children’s behavior, except for the worse. Our hope is our children will have the self-love and confidence needed to live a rich and full life. With that said, we are far from being perfect parents.
27. The only real paradises are those we have lost. Too often we may view the past with a special fondness, perhaps reverence, too. But the past for most of us may be no different than the present, it just feels that way.
28. Of all the forms of courage, the ability to laugh is the most profoundly therapeutic. Yes, things can go wrong in life. Yes, there are issues and problems to solve. But we have a choice.
29. Mental health requires freedom of choice. No matter how bleak or desperate a situation may appear to look, we always have choices.
30. Forgiveness is a form of letting go, but they are not the same thing. Don’t just let go, forgive and truly surrender the feelings of anger and pain. This may seem difficult, almost impossible, until you attempt to do it.
The life lessons in Too Soon Old Too Late Smart sound wonderful don’t they? Here’s the link again: Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now
PS. If you’ve read it – tell us what you thought!
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Here are a few more articles on life lessons that you might enjoy.
50 Timeless Life Lessons
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Why Negative Life Lessons Are So Valuable