20 things I’ve learnt from the last decade

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So long 2010s and hello 2020. As the year/decade comes to an end, here are 20 things I’ve learnt from the last 10 years.

1. Stay out of comfort zone

In the last decade, I’ve reinvented my career twice, obtained an MBA, travelled the world, and fundraised for charity. It’s almost impossible to learn and grow if we stay within the confines of least resistance. Learn to take risks and discover your true self.

2. Be kind

We should model the kindness we want to see in this world. Pay it forward. Volunteer for charity. With the proliferation of social media, the world is inundated with keyboard warriors. Everyone wants and has an opinion. The problem is the world needs more doers and less talkers. More kindness and compassion.

3. Invest in experiences, not things

Experience defines us. We are the sum of our experiences – the places we visit, relationships we nurture, our favourite cuisines and the list goes on. Start with small adventures. Say yes to an invitation for a new experience. Learn to be present in the moment.

4. Learn to say no

Women especially are guilty of stretching ourselves too thin. Mastering the art of saying no is paramount to minimising stress and being truthful about our feelings. Practice saying no and don’t apologize about guarding your time because self-care isn’t selfish.

5. Age is just a number

Dare to dream. Follow your heart. The problem is many people have self-limiting beliefs. “I’m too old for this” but the truth is it’s never too late to achieve your dreams. Stop hanging out with losers and adopt a paradigm shift. Having the right attitude is key.

6. Learning is a lifelong process

Learning isn’t confined to the classroom. Explore the world around us. Sign up for a class. Read a book. Get involved. Stay curious. Tap into our natural drive to explore, learn and grow.

7. Invest in yourself

Whether it’s acquiring an education, starting a business or tapping into your creativity, investing in yourself brings one of the best return on investments. Establish a daily/weekly/monthly ritual and through time, we can turn our limitations into strengths.

8. Prioritise relationships

Life is a juggling act but learn to recognise what’s truly important because life is fleeting. One of the common regrets people have in life includes not having spent enough time with their loved ones. Humans thrive on emotional connection so stop procrastinating and reach out to a friend/family member.

9. Practice gratitude

I started keeping a gratitude journal in early 2010s. Every day I think of something I’m thankful for – from being alive to receiving a snail mail. Ahhh…the simple pleasures in life.

10. Do not give in to peer/society pressure

Get married before 30, start a family before 35 and the list never ends. I’m surprised no one sets a timeline for when to die. Stop selling ourselves short. I say live authentically, and do what feels right for you.

11. Be open to opportunities

When life gives you an opportunity, grab it with both hands. Quick. It doesn’t matter if we failed, give it a good shot and see where it leads us. After all, success isn’t a linear path.

12. Embrace fear

Fear paralyses us. I found that the best way to embrace fear is to do it anyway. I’m an eternal optimist so my mantra is “What’s the worst that could happen?”

13. Spend time in nature

Not only is spending time outside a stress buster but I find being one with nature a humbling experience. It reminds me how small and insignificant I am.

14. Who cares what others think

The older I get, the less I care about what others think. Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion and I have no control over that. The only thing I care about is what God thinks.

15. Travel more

Don’t wait until retirement to explore the world. Contrary to popular belief, travel is not always fun but it’s the best education and investment. ‘Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world’.

16. Smile more often

Don’t underestimate the power of a smile. It’s the smallest act of caring but has the potential to change lives.

17. Give without expectations

Giving extends beyond monetary contribution. Give away your time and energy. Spread love and expect nothing in return. It’s what keeps me happy.

18. Do something new every year

Whether it’s investing in an underprivileged child or training for marathon, challenge ourselves to a new endeavour and witness how it transforms our lives.

19. Learn to be content

Whatever the circumstances. It’s all about perspective. Be mindful and live in the present. And for the love of humanity, stop comparing ourselves to others. Because there will always be someone richer, more beautiful, younger and smarter than us!

20. Make prayer a lifestyle

In the midst of our busyness, it’s easy to forget about God, let alone have conversation with God. Prayer prepares us for life’s trials and brings about transformation in ourselves and those around us.

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