18 things I learned by the age of 18:

birthday cake

  1. It’s perfectly okay to say “no.” There are times where you have too much on your plate already, yet you continue to take on more  because you don’t know how to say no. Remember, your personal health and sanity is more important than pleasing others.
  2. Not everybody is always going to like what you say, or what you do, or how you dress, or your thoughts or ideas. THAT’S FINE! Chances are, you aren’t going to change their opinion anymore than you can change theirs.
  3. Live in the present. The past has passed, and it is no longer an issue. The future is never constant and even the slightest most insignificant alteration could change your path on the course of life.
  4. Give back when you can. While it may be fun to flaunt your accomplishments or possessions, remember there are always people worse off than yourself.
  5. Be organized. When you are disorganized, your work and life becomes cluttered and harder to navigate. Take time every once in a while to think, plan, initiate, and accomplish things that you set forth to do.
  6. Take responsibility for your mistakes and actions. If you mess something up, own up to it and be honest. It takes a lot of weight off of your shoulders in the long run.
  7. Success has different definitions to different people. Not everybody has the same goals as you do so try not to compare your victories to theirs. Act on your own impulses and make your own decisions.
  8. You are your biggest critic. When you look at yourself in a mirror, you can pick out every single little flaw that others might gaze over without even thinking twice. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
  9. Your opinions and abilities have value. If artists and designers just gave away their work for free, it would tarnish their value and their demand. Market yourself so that you are a player that everybody wants on your team.
  10. If you don’t understand something, PLEASE don’t be afraid to ask for help. The world is not out to get you and asking for help is okay. Everybody is raised to be pretty independent, but even the strongest people fall the hardest sometimes.
  11. “When they go low, we go high.” Don’t lower yourself to somebody else’s level. Play fair and use your own work ethic and determination get ahead.
  12. Work for what you want. It’s much more satisfying to use your own money to buy the things that you want because it means that you set a goal, and achieved that goal.
  13. Be kind. In the grand scheme of things, will it really matter if they’re sold out of your favorite drink at Starbucks? If somebody finished the last of the milk and now you have dry cereal? If the person driving in front of you doesn’t like to use their turn signal?
  14. Sometimes you’re going to be upset for no logical reason. It happens. Don’t focus on it too much because it does get better and you will get past it.
  15. Challenge the status quo. Don’t just go with the current assuming that it will make you happy. Do things that aren’t normal. Do things that scare you. Act on impulse.
  16. Do not let anybody sidetrack you on your pathway to success. If you have a goal, think of what you need to do to get there. If others don’t understand or don’t care, then you’re better off without them.
  17. Follow your dreams and reach your goals. Although it might take years and years and years, the amount of satisfaction that comes in finding your passion is well worth it.
  18. Don’t ever lower your standards or expectations because of somebody else. Know your worth, know what you want, and never settle for less. Don’t compromise when you don’t have to.

What is something you’ve learned as you’ve gotten older?  Do you find anything on this list to be particularly valuable?  We would love to hear from you in the comment section below!

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