Four months into this year and I’ve already deemed it “a year of massive growth.” I moved out of my parents’ house (for the third time) to a new (and much bigger) city, got a new full-time job that I’m loving, created this little magazine that you’re on (well, late last year but close enough) and have been diving deep into self-growth and mindfulness.

What I’ve learned most of all in my life so far is that I don’t know much of anything. But you know, that’s the beauty of life. We continuously get to learn and grow- over and over again. And we’re never done. We’re always on a mission to get better and learn more. So even though I’m not an expert at life (not even close), I’ve learned a lot through the years. So, I thought I’d share with you the tidbits of wisdom I’ve come across along my journey. And I hope you share yours in the comments as well.

Don’t follow your heart or your head, instead trust your intuition

Oh that lovely gut of yours. It’s got more answers than you know. The key is to ask your intuition what you should do next. Don’t expect too much from your intuition, but instead let it guide your “right now.” If you want to know if it’s right to quit your job, ask your intuition. If you’re curious about whether you should go to school nearby your home town, ask your intuition. Sometimes you don’t need to ask someone else for advice, you have it within you. Don’t let yourself question it too much, because your head and heart will have a lot to say about your intuition’s decision.

It’s good to work on improving your weaknesses, but it’s even better to focus on your strengths.

Delegate if you need to. When I first moved out of my parent’s house, I learned that I’m not a handy-woman and instead of feeling bad about not being a one woman show – I either have my boyfriend or dad help or I hire someone to help. That’s sort of a silly example, but don’t sweat the things you’re not naturally good at. Work at being even better at the stuff you’re already good at.

Thinking of life in seasons helps you not feel so overwhelmed with life.

You feel this way in this season. Life changes rapidly. The good and the bad – it’s all temporary. It’s as important to remember this in the good times as it is in the bad, so that you can remind yourself to stay grateful.

Progress not perfection.

I don’t consider myself a perfectionist, but I’ve struggled a lot with not starting things because I don’t believe I’m ready or feel too worried that it won’t be nearly as good as others. Oh, the comparison game. It’s kind of sick really. We fear not being able to finish first so we don’t even bother entering the race. Sometimes we have to remember that just participating is enough, for now. We can have goals to finish first, but in order to be that good you have to start at the bottom. I think the problem is that we constantly see plenty of examples of people who are already at the top and we don’t see anyone who is struggling at the bottom with us. Let’s remind ourselves that everyone starts at zero.

It’s okay if you don’t have a passion.

I feel like you’re either filled with passion or you’re jealous of everyone who is passionate. But it’s okay to just be interested. And I think I’ve redefined what passion is for me. I’m not passionate all the time. I don’t feel like it always drives me. But, I am always interested in that thingI’ve learned this difference through Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic. Passion isn’t everything, but curiosity is. Curiosity makes you feel alive, connected, and present. Stay curious.

Dress the part.

I’ve noticed that when I dress up a little (while still staying true to my style), I feel like I can run the world. I still love hanging out in leggings, but work has forced me to start dressing up a little and I’m loving it. You feel a world of difference when you put in the effort, just for you, every day.

Say yes before you’re ready.

Fun fact: I recently took my first flight ever. Yes, at twenty-four years old, I took my first flight. I got a message from my boss asking if I’d like to go on a work trip to a conference in Phoenix (about an hour flight from Los Angeles.) Immediately, I said yes without even thinking. I had been wanting to take a flight for a while and was planning to in the summer. But two minutes later, I was flooded with regrets. I would be flying alone, going to a place with loads of strangers, etc. I started thinking of possible excuses. Then, I realized that I’m glad that I led with “yes” so that I didn’t feel like I could get out of it. Don’t let yourself come up with those excuses, even if you might not be ready; just say yes. You’ll never learn more than when you jump before you’re 100% ready.

Don’t find your validation from shiny pennies. 

I find myself annoyingly telling people again and again about this little thing I’ve learned from Jess Lively of The Lively Show. Chasing shiny pennies means that you’re chasing something that looks important or pretty or worthy of your attention, but it’s worthless. Examples of shiny pennies: likes on Instagram, winning 1st place in a marathon, etc. It’s not that you can’t have these goals – sometimes they’re great goals to have. The problem happens when you are looking to get validation from them. When you achieve them, you don’t feel half as good as when you’re chasing something that’s coming from your true (capital V as Jess Lively calls them) Values.

Nothing will get done if you’re only dreaming and not doing the work. 

I don’t know if I’ve confessed to you all how much of a dreamer I am. I envision the things, but I’m not as good at doing the things. I don’t like the word hustle really, because I think it puts too much pressure on us to over work ourselves. But we do need to put in the work. It’s the not-so-pretty part of the big, fancy dreams we have.

Sometimes you don’t know what you’re thinking until you write it down.

I was always aware that reflecting is important, but I didn’t recognize how important it was for me to journal my thoughts. I’d honestly been afraid to write, because when I would discover journals later, I’d think, “what gibberish was I talking about?” But the truth is, writing can help you understand yourself better. My mind may have so many thoughts in a fifteen minute span to the point where I can even understand what I’m actually feeling. Journaling gives you that outlet. (Meditation is another excellent form of this!)

Notice your ego and don’t give it power.

Oh the ego loves attention doesn’t it? Another lovely thing I’ve learned from Jess Lively is to notice when your ego is talking so that you can detach from it. We have a lot of negative, nasty thoughts in our head that make us second guess ourselves. It’s helpful to simply acknowledge your ego and try to lead yourself away from following ego-driven actions. I think we’ll be battling the ego our whole lives.

Let advice go as easily as you take it in.

So one of the downsides that occurs when we listen to lovely advice (including our own here at LGM) is that we can get overwhelmed when we hear contradicting advice. We need to keep in mind that just because one person on the Internet says that something worked for them, it does not mean that it will work for you. We’re all different. Our priorities are different. Just because a few people swear by it, doesn’t mean we need to be afraid to go your own way and make up your own rules. Haven’t some of the greatest artists become great, because they didn’t follow the typical path?

You can be kind and honest at the same time.

I pride myself on being a super honest person. But I’ve come to realize, with some help, that I’m not always the kindest about it. It’s important for me to accept and figure out how to deal with this fact. Since I’m a sensitive person, the thing I like to think about is “how would I feel if that was said to me?” And it definitely helps give me the perspective I need.

Little actions make a big difference. 

Little actions when done consistently can have a big impact. We often think big: whether it’s in terms of gifts or starting a project. We can get put-off by the enormity of things and choose not to do it instead. But sometimes the little things can give you big rewards. In a relationship, you can do little things like treat to coffee or take the initiative to plan the next date. Side note: don’t forget to keep “dating” the person you’re dating.

We have a bigger purpose. 

My belief in this idea has grown stronger through the years. I believe that we have a purpose that is much bigger than our day-to-day struggles. They’re all setting us up for something greater. Maybe you’ve discovered your purpose, maybe you haven’t. I know I haven’t yet. But knowing that you have a purpose is comforting. It can help you get through some hard situations. I like the idea of always reaching to expand ourselves and moving towards our purpose.

“Confidence is not ‘they will like me.’ Confidence is ‘I’ll be fine if they don’t.'” 

This year in particular, I have started working towards confidence. We’re always fussing about what other people think and it can be incredibly draining. At the end of the day, we can only be the best versions of ourselves. So screw what other people think, be as true to yourself as you can be and let that be enough.

There is almost always an upside.

If you choose to see the negative, you will see it. Likewise, if you choose to see the positive, you can. Choose the light. Choose the glass half full. This was a big change for me and I try to remind myself daily that you can almost always find something good in a negative situation.

Be an example.

So we want to change people. I think it’s something that comes to us at birth. The idea that when we figure something out, we need to tell everyone and make them see the way. The best way to change people? Live it. People are so much more likely to become interested in meditation when they notice how de-stressed you seem lately than when you gab on about how they need it in their life. I know this because I have chosen to not be an example and instead told people how I think they should live their lives. Start walking the walk instead of just talking the talk and people are much more impressed.

It’s not personal.

When people say mean things to or about you, it’s not about you. It’s almost always about them and their insecurities. Sometimes we want to take things a little personally, because it means that we’re important. But truth be told, people are mostly thinking about themselves. And they don’t care about us as much as we’d like to think they do. For me, this was the best realization. People don’t remember what you wore or said nearly as much as you think about it. Let’s stop obsessing and taking ourselves so seriously.

Try not to make decisions when you’re sad or angry.

This piece of wisdom came from one of my best friends, Ashley. When you’re fighting with someone, try to not make a rash decision when you’re in the heat of the moment. Make sure you have conversations with someone when you’re in a good, genuine place. From experience, I will confirm; it goes a heck of a lot smoother that way.

It’s unfair to judge people just for being different than you.

We love to judge different, don’t we? When something is unfamiliar, strange, or if we just don’t understand something – our first instinct is to dislike it. We don’t like the unfamiliar. It makes us nervous and unsettled. Whether I understand why someone does something or not, I try to remember that we’re different people and I don’t know what they go through. If someone isn’t harming anyone else, I believe people should be able to live life as they see fit.

There’s no such thing as mistakes. 

There are only successes and lessons. Okay so you can call it a mistake if you want, but if it taught you something, it was worth going through. The problem only occurs when you choose to repeat it instead of learning from it. When we were younger, and sometimes even now, we repeat those same mistakes. But I think growing up means that we need to start choosing to turn away from those repetitive mistakes.

Choose to show up.

We’re often not present in our lives, whether it’s because we’re constantly on social media or distracted by work. Just showing up is half the battle sometimes. I love giving things 100% of my attention, because it feels rare.

Balance is key.

One of my mom’s favorite phrases is “everything in moderation.” And I believe it is so true. We tend to take things a little too far. Whether it’s love, drugs, junk food, or whatever else, they become problems when we abuse them. Perfect balance is sort of an illusion, but I believe that we can discipline ourselves (unless it’s a disease, of course) and have the best life imaginable. If you’re working too much or you’re spending too much time with your spouse, you’re going to run into trouble. You need breaks and you need moderation.

Treat yourself how you treat others.

I can’t remember what podcast it was, but I remember hearing this phrase about self-love and I loved it. We always say the best things to our friends when they need some love, but we struggle to do the same for ourselves. Next time you’re down on yourself, try to talk to yourself like you’re talking to a best friend.

 

What have you learned lately? Leave a comment below!

important life lessons to learn in your twenties

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  • These are fantastic tips! I especially agree with “dressing the part” to boost your confidence, and not needing a constant passion to be satisfied with your current stage of life.

    Hillary | http://www.flinntrospection.com

    • Thanks Hillary! Yes, dressing up does such wonders for your confidence and makes you feel like you can accomplish anything. And being passionate all the time is so overrated!

  • Loved this article Coley! I just turned 26 and am still learning all of these things. I feel like it’s only been this year that I’ve been making choices based on my intuition and throwing out the ‘rules’ of what is ‘expected’. I made a decision earlier this year to turn down a job that would have set up my career but it just didn’t feel right (intuition is an amazing thing) and I realize now I wouldn’t have been happy there. I felt so empowered that I made that choice for ME, even though I had no idea what the next few months has in store for me. I think if you can embrace intuition and be brave enough to act on it, it starts to open up a whole new world of opportunities :)
    Amanda xx

    • Oh wow, Amanda! That’s so awesome that you’re starting to follow your intuition in such a brave way. I think it’s totally fine that it’s happening just this year, so long as you keep trusting it from now on! :) I was the same way. I just discovered how incredible it is to live life purposefully a couple years ago and it really is SO empowering to make choices that align with your values.