6 Life Lessons We All Know But Always Forget

By Andrew Walton

October 9, 2014   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

School isn’t the only place where we can learn—day-to-day experiences can deal us some major life lessons that you won’t find in any academic book. Sadly, because we are always too wrapped up in our fast-paced lives, we forget about these life gems that help us become better people. Now that we’re adults, we’ve become even more stubborn and hard-headed than when we were children, and sometimes, it takes the discipline of a strict teacher to beat some sense into us. That disciplinarian can come in the form of an actual slap on the head, or it may come in the form of an online article that aims to remind us of the lessons we’ve forgotten.

1.Be productive, not busy.

Never let your job rule your life. Never be too busy to spend time with your family, and never be too much of a workaholic that you forget the most important moments in your kids’ lives. This doesn’t mean that you should slack off; you do need to provide for your loved ones, too. Just be sure that you are productive, not busy. Remember that your relationships in life are more important than money. You own your possessions; your possessions don’t own you.

2.Be patient.

In the world of instant messages, high speed Internet connections, and mobile apps that accomplish tasks at the touch of a finger, people are all about instant gratification. They want everything right away with no time to waste, but patience is a virtue. Remember that the long term is always better than the short term. You may think a decision to quit your job during the heat of the moment in your most stressed state is a good idea now, but in the long term, do you really want to give up such a good opportunity just because you had one bad day? Nothing that’s worth something comes easily and instantly. If something has high value, be willing to take the time to do it right. It may take forever, but once you get the results, it will be worth every second spent.

3.The most important relationship you have is with yourself.

Don’t try to do everything. Rest. Breathe. Exercise. Health is something that we tend to neglect until something breaks down and we realize how important our wellness is. Don’t burn yourself out trying to please everyone around you and the people in your life. At the end of the day, the most important person you should be pleasing is yourself. That’s really the only approval you’ll ever need.

4.Be kind to everyone—each one has his or her own story you know nothing about.

You know that receptionist who was mean to you even though you’ve been nothing but pleasant to her? You have no right to judge her and be mean back, because you don’t know what her story is. She may be miserable at home or may be having financial problems she has no way out of, and really, she could be stuck at a job she hates instead of living out her dreams as a professional figure skater. Nobody knows what the other is going through, so be kind to everyone you meet. Life is hard, and we’ve all got our own issues that we struggle with every day. Sometimes, it takes just one random person to smile at you to make everything alright, even for just a moment. So smile when you can, and never judge.

5.Be present.

Life is short. There’s no point dwelling in the past and forgetting how to live in the moment. You might be too engulfed in your past regrets or too wrapped up in your future plans that you neglect that you’re right here, right now, in the present. Do you really want to be the husband who gives his wife a new house, but forgets to appreciate her presence for who she is? Or the mother who tries too hard to ensure her child’s future without even remembering that it’s her daughter’s birthday today? Don’t keep rushing through life! It’s not a race, so slow down.


When you were a young and innocent little kid, loving genuinely just comes naturally. It’s as normal as breathing—you love with a wholehearted love. But as we grow older, we become hardened by the harsh reality of this world, and loving becomes more and more of an ideal rather than a reality. You just have to remember that at the end of the day, the most important thing in this world is love. Some say that loving is overrated, but it truly does make the world go round, and when you share your sincere love with everyone around you, you make this world a better place to live in.

Andrew Walton

AJ Walton left home to travel the world in an effort to understand what makes us tick. He blogs at AJWalton.com

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