Amyn Bawa-Allah

So, I said I wasn’t going to do a list type of post but it’s so hard to resist. I mean, don’t you like how easy it is to follow bullet points? Also, the older I get, the more time I want to save so I can do something fun, like read book or have sex or learn something new or just chill and drink wine.

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So here are 30 things that I have learned in 30 years.  There are more, obviously but for the purpose of this post, I’m dropping 30. Here goes…

 

  • If you drive, always keep bottles of water in your car. You never know when you’ll need it. It sounds funny but it won’t be if your car overheats on a major expressway and you have no way to help yourself.

 

  • Even if you can’t travel, maintain an earnest curiosity about the world and the people around you and you’ll evolve no matter where you are.

 

  • Nothing is ever personal. People are too involved in their own story to think about you every step of the way. Once you come to grips with this, you will be set free.

 

  • Never stop learning and asking questions. You can never and will never know everything.

 

  • It’s okay to wait. Sometimes it’s okay to wait a little longer for something. Why rush if you don’t have to? Why not enjoy the journey?

 

 

  • Jealousy is a wasted emotion. Competition breeds jealousy, although we often give it prettier labels like “competitive spirit,” “stick-to-itiveness,” or “ambition.” Jealousy is ugly, though: it is never a way to express that we care—it’s only a channel through which we broadcast our insecurities.

 

  • Love isn’t enough. Although we must love, love is not enough to survive: we must take action to show others we care, to show them we love. Yes, love is a verb.

 

  • Make change a must. For the longest time, I knew I wanted to change: unhappy, unsatisfied, and unfulfilled, I knew I didn’t have freedom—not real freedom. The problem was I knew this intellectually, but not emotionally: I didn’t have the feeling in my gut that things must change. I knew they should change, but the change wasn’t a must for me, and thus it didn’t happen. A decision is not a real decision until it is a must, until you feel it on your nerve-endings until you are compelled to take action. Once your “shoulds” have turned into musts, then you are ready for change.

 

  • If you have someone in your life who loves you, you already have so much to be grateful for.

 

  • If you can learn to forgive yourself, you can learn to love yourself.

 

 

  • Relationships matter. Every relationship—friendship, romantic, or otherwise—is a series of gives and takes. Every relationship has an “Us” box. For the relationship to work, both people must contribute to—and get something from—that Us box. If you just give but don’t get, you’ll feel used, exploited, taken advantage of; if you only take but don’t give, you’re a parasite, a freeloader, a bottom-feeder.

 

  • You don’t need everyone to like you. We all want to be loved—it’s a human instinct—but you can’t value every relationship the same, and you can’t expect everyone to love you the same. Life doesn’t work that way.  I mean, when people don’t like you, nothing actually happens. The world does not end. You don’t feel them breathing down your neck. In fact, the more you ignore them and just go about your business, the better off you are.

 

  • We are scared for no reason. Just ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?” We are often scared of things that don’t have a real effect on our lives or that we can’t control, so we’re worrying for no reason.

 

  • Feel proud of what you’ve achieved. Yes, be humble, but also, be proud. Sharing your successes and being proud of them inspires and encourages others to go after what they want.

 

  • It’s never too late to start over or pursue a new dream. Reinvent yourself as many times as you like in this lifetime and don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks. Ain’t nobody got time for haters.

 

 

  • Learn how to graciously accept a compliment. Contrary to everything women have been taught, self-deprecation isn’t cute.

 

  • There’s never going to be a perfect moment to take that trip/get married/start a business/[insert thing you’re scared of here]. You’re never going to feel ready and we all know “someday” doesn’t exist. The longer you put it off, the scarier it’ll seem, so just take a deep breath and take the leap.

 

  •  Creativity is like a muscle–it grows stronger the more you use it. Create something new each and every day. Or every week, just try to create something new.It could be as simple as mixing Heineken with Sprite(which is fantastic!)

 

  • Finishing things for the sake of finishing them is stupid. If you know what you want and this ain’t it, say goodbye/turn it off/put the book down. Give your precious time only to the things that truly give you joy.

 

  • Relax. Hourly, daily, weekly. Create moments of ‘me time’ doing whatever it is that nurtures and heals you in the most effective way. Listen to your body when you do this as it will tell you exactly what you need.

 

 

  • Never leave things unsaid with a loved one. You never know which day is going to be your last, and you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to heal your relationship or let them know how much you love them.

 

  • Communicate openly. Transparency and honesty (with a pinch of diplomacy) is the best route forward in any relationship – be it with your partner, friends or colleagues. They can not read your mind and sometimes they will struggle to understand you. That’s why you have to explain to them, openly, what you are trying to say and why.

 

  • There’s only so much growing one can do on their own. While it may seem tempting to wall yourself off from humanity, you won’t be doing yourself (or the rest of us) any favours. Every single interaction is an opportunity to better yourself. To practice patience, to practice kindness, to practice humility and grace.

 

  • Travel or a change of location won’t solve your problems. You must be willing to do the hard work of acknowledging them and facing them before you’ll come anywhere near fixing them.

 

  • Never ever let anyone make you feel bad about who you are. You are beautiful exactly the way you are. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

 

 

  • Get back up – again and again. Don’t let mistakes, setbacks or failures dishearten you. They only make you stronger and more resilient. I promise I’ve taken this one even literally!

 

  • Know what works for you. And respect that. There isn’t one formula that works for everyone. Find the unique formula that works for you – from what you eat to how you move to the daily routine you want to the way you flourish in relationships to the way you want to run your business.

 

  • Pain can be useful, but not suffering. Pain lets us know something is wrong: it indicates we must change what we’re doing. Suffering, though, is a choice, and we can choose to stop suffering, to learn a lesson from the pain and move on with our lives.

 

  • Clinging to someone else’s definition of success is a dangerous thing. Come up with your own definition and remind yourself of it every single day.

 

  • I’m still trying to figure it all out. I don’t intend to push my views and opinions as some sort of maxims by which you should live your life. What works for me, may not work for you. Hell, sometimes it doesn’t even work for me!

 

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What are some of the best life lessons you’ve learned so far?

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