3 basic lessons most of us learn too late in life

3 basic lessons most of us learn too late in life

“In primary school, my parents told me that it didn’t matter what I did when I grew up, as long as I enjoyed it. “Happiness is the whole purpose of life,” my father said. But it doesn’t always come easy. Your mom loves helping people in need, so she became a psychiatric nurse. I love reading, writing and poetry, that’s why I became an English teacher. We both find happiness in the hard work we do every day.

A few years later, when I was in middle school, my sixth-grade teacher put me in detention for “being difficult.” She walked around the classroom and asked each student what they wanted to be when they grew up. When she reached me, I told her I wanted to be happy. She told me I had missed the whole point of the question. I told her she was missing the whole point of life.

This is an old parable that my grandmother recited to me countless times I was a child. I have since seen a shortened version of this song circulate on social media and is often falsely attributed to John Lennon, Goldie Hawn and others. Although internet sleuths seem to disagree on who wrote the first version of this parable, it is a story that has always stuck with me. Sure this oversimplifies the complexity of happiness, but it also has some good points. And my grandmother’s version has this line “find happiness in hard work”, it’s a core concept that still resonates deeply within me.

As adults, Angel and I have spent almost twenty years working individually with hundreds of our coaching clients, book readersand live event participants who struggle with variations of the same concept – finding happiness when life requires us to work hard for it. So many of us cling to the expectation that life should be easier than it is. Regardless of what we choose to do “when we grow up,” subconsciously we fantasize that the path we choose will have very few detours, interruptions, and inconveniences. And then we wait endlessly for things to get easier as countless good opportunities pass us by.

Whenever you find yourself stuck in this type of unproductive cycle, remind yourself…

1. To be happy in life, you have to do hard things (and you can).

Yes, you have to do things that most people would rather avoid – things that make you feel uncomfortable, that are much easier to escape from, that others can’t do for you… things that make you stronger, but also make you question how you will find strength to move forward.


Because these hard things ultimately build you up and change your life. They make the difference between existing and living, between knowing the path and walking it, between a life full of empty promises to yourself and a life filled with purpose, progress and fulfillment.


Consistent and passionate daily action!

Learn to believe in your heart that you are destined to live each day filled with passion and purpose – that each moment is valuable in its own way. And remind yourself of this passion is not something that can be found in life; it’s something you do. When you want to find the passion and inner strength needed to change your situation, you need to motivate yourself to take a step forward.

Many of us are still hopelessly trying to “find our passion” – something that we believe will lead us closer to the happiness, success, or life situation we ultimately desire. And I say “hopelessly” mainly because passion is impossible to find. When we say we are trying to find our passion, it means that our passion is somehow hidden behind a tree or under a rock somewhere. But that’s far from the truth. The truth is that our passion is to do things well. If you’re waiting to somehow “find your passion” somewhere outside of yourself to finally have a reason to pour your heart and soul into your life and the changes you need to make, you’ll probably be waiting forever.

On the other hand, if you’re tired of waiting and would rather start living with more passion today and experiencing small positive changes, it’s time to actively instill passion in the next thing you do. Think about it:

  • When was the last time you sat down and talked to someone nearby, without distractions and with 100% focus?
  • When was the last time you exercised and put in as much effort as you could?
  • When was the last time you really tried – really tried – to do your best?

If you’re like most of us, you probably put half-hearted effort into most things you do every day. Because you’re still waiting. You’re still waiting to “find” something you’re passionate about – some magical reason step into the life you want to create for yourself. But you have to do the exact opposite!

2. Putting your whole heart and soul into ordinary moments creates the magic of life.

Going back to when I was a child, my grandmother used to tell me, “Stop waiting for better opportunities. The one in front of you is the best opportunity.” She also said, “Too often we spend too much time perfecting something in our heads before we even do it. Stop waiting for perfection and just do your best with what you have today and perfect it tomorrow.

Believe it or not, recent psychological research indirectly reinforces my grandmother’s feelings. For many years, psychologists believed that our mind could directly influence our physical state, but never the other way around. However, it is now widely documented that our bodies – such as our momentary facial expressions and body posture – can also directly influence our mental state. So while it is true that we change from the inside out, we also change from the outside in. And you can make this reality work for you. If you want more passion and happiness in your life now, act accordingly now.

Put your heart and soul into something!

Not in the possibility of tomorrow, but in the opportunity before you.

Not in tomorrow’s tasks, but in today’s tasks.

Not in tomorrow’s run, but in today’s run.

Not in tomorrow’s relationships, but in today’s relationships.

Angel and I are sure you have a lot of things in your life right now that are worth your time and energy. There are people and circumstances in your life that need you as much as you need them. You have a huge reservoir of potential passion inside you, just waiting…

3. Stop waiting – that’s it true lesson here!

It’s not too late, but we have to start. In other words, you don’t have to have it all figured out to take the next step. But to understand this, you need to take the next step. And as you fight forward, remember It’s much better to be exhausted from taking small steps forward than to be exhausted from waiting and doing absolutely nothing.

In fact, if you wait until the “right time” – if you wait until you feel 100% ready – you will be waiting for the rest of your life. Take this to heart now. Too many people wait too long to live their best lives. They wait all day for 5 p.m., all week for Friday, all year for Christmas, all their lives for passion and happiness. Don’t be one of them!

Just remind yourself of this new paths are created by walking, not by waiting. And no, you shouldn’t feel more confident before you take the next step. Taking the next step gradually builds your self-confidence and ensures progress in life.

Now is the time. Your turn!

Just put your heart and soul into what you have in front of you today…

But before you go, leave a comment below for me and Angel and let us know what you think of this essay. Your opinion is important to us. 🙂

Which of the above points resonated most today?

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