20 Life Lessons We All Need to Learn

In this article, we've compiled the best life lessons that you can use to guide your thoughts and actions. Reflect on them and use them as a life philosophy if you like them!
20 Life Lessons We All Need to Learn

Last update: 15 November, 2021

Life itself is a roller coaster. To face it, a series of tools are very useful, among which skills, experience, and – of course – knowledge. If you’re at a critical moment in life, we’ve prepared a list of 2o life lessons you should learn.

Some of our lessons are a bit obvious. However, others may teach you a different perspective on life. What’s certain is that all of them will help you assimilate and face the difficult moments with better results. The sooner you can apply these life lessons to learn, the sooner you’ll begin to interpret them in a way that will ensure your well-being.

The Best Life Lessons to Learn

Sometimes we think we know everything about life and we close ourselves off to someone else giving us advice about it. Throughout your life,, you will have rejected hundreds and hundreds of them, mostly from older people who learned their lesson too late.

It’s always a good time to learn the best life lessons, especially when you’re going through a crisis that you think you won’t get out of.

Let’s look at some reflections you can make to live a happier, more fulfilling life and get yourself on the right path.

1. Don’t find meaning in life, find purpose

We’re often told that we must find meaning in our lives to fully enjoy them and avoid losing our way. However, this is a big mistake.

You mustn’t find meaning in life; you must find a purpose. This is what will allow you to set goals, achieve objectives and surround yourself with what gives you true well-being.

Of course, it must be your purpose. Don’t imitate someone else’s, and make sure it’s in order of what gives you the most pleasure today. For example, you can set your life purpose to help those in need, travel the world, make a lot of money, or protect animals. Once you have set it, you can plan the actions that will lead you to fulfill it.

2. Happiness is something you build, not something that’s given to you

Let’s take the same example above to continue with our best life lessons. Many people make it their life’s purpose to be happy. However, they’re also often unaware of how to go about finding happiness. Happiness is not something you deserve or is given to you, it’s something you build based on effort.

Happiness is not a utopia, but it is something you can only obtain when you start building it. There’s not just one kind of happiness, so the things that make others happy don’t necessarily have the same impact on you.

Along the way, the following reflections on happiness can be of great help to you.

3. Your effort won’t always pay off

We’ve already established that having a purpose and working on your happiness are some of the greatest life lessons you can learn. However you must add one more lesson to these: not every effort you make will pay off.

This may seem to contradict what we’ve already told you, but it actually gives you a dose of reality. Yes, you can set a purpose, and achieving it may make you happy, but there’s no guarantee that you will achieve it.

Of course, hard work is the best way to make your desires come true, we don’t tell you otherwise. Just be aware that sometimes, just sometimes, you won’t be able to materialize no matter how hard you try. Overeagerness, overconfidence, and even bad luck can work against you. Knowing this will allow you to pick yourself up faster and set another goal to pursue.

4. You can learn from every misfortune

Of course, this is not something you will usually see at the time. When you’re in the middle of a misfortune, you often only see the negative side of it, but you shouldn’t let too much time pass before you start to reflect on it. A layoff at work, a disappointment in love, the loss of a loved one, and anything that might seem like a setback can actually teach you many important life lessons if you’re willing to see them.

In turn, most of them teach you about yourself. They teach you how strong you are, what your problem-solving skills and competencies are. In perspective, later on, you will discover that you have learned more from your misfortunes than from your accomplishments.

5. Life lessons: Your goals should be flexible

Las mejores lecciones de vida incluyen prepararse para los obstáculos
In order to avoid unnecessary frustration, it’s important to understand that not everything will go your way. Accepting the unexpected is part of life.

We’re constantly pressured by the system to reach certain goals by a certain age. A college degree, a family, a child, a car, or an apartment or house…The list never ends!

However, rigidity in your goals can only have a fatal outcome: disappointment and frustration when the time comes and you haven’t achieved what you expected at a certain age.

That’s why the best thing you can do is to set flexible goals. Be generous with yourself, and scale your life goals according to your capabilities. Set realistic goals as well as a plan of what you want to achieve in the short and long term. Don’t be afraid to readjust them if you think they get out of hand or you simply change your mind along the way.

6. Your love will not always be reciprocated

Another one of the best life lessons – one that is ignored by billions of people – is that your love won’t always be returned. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean they will love you back.

However, this doesn’t have to translate into sadness, disappointment, bitterness, or loneliness. On the contrary, you need to take it with respect and a lot of maturity.

Love, along with work, are two of the most important life experiences a person can have. It’s natural that you want to find someone who loves you, appreciates you, values you, and with whom you want to build a life. But this doesn’t mean losing control of your life when you’re rejected or when the one you’re with decides to end the relationship.

7. Your emotional health is just as important as your physical health

Fortunately, this is one of the life lessons that has gradually been assimilated with greater receptivity. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over280 million people suffer from depression (5% of adults). It’s the most common illness related to emotional health.

It’s not the only one, of course. Others such as anxiety, panic disorders, phobias, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, and others are increasingly common. Just as you take care of your body with food and exercise, you must also take care of your mind to achieve true wellness.

8. Life lessons: Actions matter more than words

Although sometimes experience tells us otherwise, we’re a society that places a higher value on words than actions. Interestingly, what we should be doing is just the opposite: giving precedence to what you do over what you say. This applies both to your own behavior and to the way you interpret the behavior of others.

To give the most common example, today it is widespread to say I love you without the word corresponding to what you feel or what you do. Words are empty in themselves, and they don’t have any kind of importance if they are not related to reality.

It’s not enough to say I love you. You have to show it. Learn to judge the latter before anything else.

9. Sometimes success requires taking risks

Think about something: life is the sum of the decisions you’ve made. So, your future is the sum of the decisions you will make. Many times success is in the decisions, especially in those that you must choose unexpectedly and in the moment.

For many this is luck. For others, it’s nothing more than chance. The truth is that life would cease to be life without some degree of risk.

We’re not talking only from a monetary point of view, but any action that has as a consequence to achieve something you wanted. For example, in love, sometimes taking a risk is that you get that person you like to notice you.

10. Your education will never be complete

It’s a big mistake to believe that your education ends the day you left high school or the day you graduated from college. Education is a continuous stage and one that only ends the day you die. Learning constantly should be a philosophy of life, one that helps you both professionally and professionally.

Although self-taught education is welcome, remember that a good teacher is irreplaceable. So don’t close yourself off to the advice and guidance of others, and don’t think that age is a limiting factor. For example, keep an open mind to reflect on these important life lessons, even if you don’t initially share some of them.

11. Life Lessons: Your attitude can determine a victory

This is something you’ve probably heard many times, and you’ve probably also ignored many times.

Of course, your skills and abilities go a long way toward determining your victory, but they’re useless if they’re accompanied by a bad attitude.

On the contrary, confidence, determination, and perseverance can help you balance the scales when you’re at a disadvantage. It’s also what will drive you to try again if you don’t win. Always keep a good attitude about the things you do, even when they’re don’t feel important.

12. You learn who your friends are in difficult times

It’s very easy to be a friend in good times and in good health and stability. It’s more difficult in times of crisis, illness, and distress. However, a true friend is one who stands by you through thick and thin. It’s the one who shows you unconditional support no matter how bad things are going for you.

Because of this, you’ll only know who your true friends are in these moments. If you’ve been on a winning streak for years, keep this in mind, because those who you consider a great friend today may abandon you in the middle of the road tomorrow.

This is not at all a pessimistic attitude. Knowing this will save you bitter pills and disappointment.

13. Money doesn’t always bring you happiness

Be careful with the words we’ve chosen: it doesn’t always bring you happiness. Of course, money can bring you happiness. With it, you can enjoy stability, afford to take care of any health problems, and acquire goods and services that you associate with happiness.

However, it’s a mistake to think that you will always be happy with it. You can have all the money in the world and still feel empty. This is something you should keep in mind in case your life purpose is to amass a large fortune.

In fact, according to some studies, people with more money enjoy less happy moments. The equation of money equals happiness doesn’t always hold true.

14. Live lessons: Forgiving doesn’t mean holding resentment

How many times have you forgiven someone but still held resentment towards that person?

Becaue of this, we’d like to remind you of one of the life lessons we’ve already presented to you: actions speak louder than words.

Etymologically, the word forgive in languages like Spanish and Italian comes from the Latin words per (‘completely’) and donare (‘to give’). It literally translates as forgetting a fault or releasing a debt.

In short, it consists of forgetting an action completely and leaving it in the past. If you’re constantly reminding yourself of it, you haven’t forgiven at all. If you manifest this verbally or through actions, you have not forgiven, either.

Forgiveness is one of the most difficult acts a human being can do, so try not to give away forgiveness left and right if you don’t feel it.

15. You’re not responsible for what others do or say

Las mejores lecciones de vida implican saber ignorar situaciones ajenas
It’s important to feel good about ourselves without worrying too much about what others do. Each reality is individual, and we all have to learn to handle our own experiences and realities. 

Another basic premise for living is to assimilate that you’re not responsible for what others do or say. This may seem very obvious, but in practice, we sometimes assume the actions of others as our own or our fault. In fact, being ashamed of others is one of the many ways we do this.

We can apologize on behalf of others, and even assume their consequences. However, an adult is responsible for what they say and what they do, so you don’t have to take that responsibility away from them. In time, you’ll learn that doing so is one of the most frequent causes of tension and stress.

16. Live lessons: Ethics and morals go far beyond religion

Many people believe that ethics and morals are precepts developed only by those who believe in a religion. Sooner rather than later you’ll discover that this is not so. In fact, you’ll meet devout people in your life who will behave ethically and morally reprehensible. Likewise, you’ll shake hands with non-believers of unsurpassed virtue.

Another way to internalize this lesson is that you should never be prejudiced toward people. Yes, this is something we’re told from the time we are little. However, in reality, there are plenty of times when we indulge in prejudice.

Always judge by the actions of that person. Let this be their calling card at all times.

17. It’s impossible to escape the unpredictable

No matter how methodical you are in planning your life or how well you think you have a situation under control, the unpredictable is the order of the day. Everyone knows the famous Murphy’s Law dictum: if something bad can happen, it will.

Knowing this is very important, as it prepares you for action beforehand. It also prevents you from letting your guard down or taking anything in your life for granted.

For example, just because you have achieved happiness through effort does not imply that its enjoyment will last forever. It can vanish as quickly as it came since you cannot completely foresee the course of life.

18. Make sure you live your life your own way

One of the most important life lessons is that you have to live your life your own way. We’re always inspired by someone else, or we always end up imitating others to a greater or lesser extent. This is normal, and even healthy to add learning, life experiences, and different perspectives.

However, what you can never do is let your way of thinking and of interpreting life be conditioned 100% by someone else. Don’t ever end up giving up your decisions, your autonomy, your personality, or your goals and replace them with those of someone else.

You only have one life, so you should do in it what makes you happy. Forget about others in the process.

19. You don’t need someone else to be complete

This is another of the love lessons for life that will be very useful to you. You’ve already learned that your love will not always be reciprocated. Now you must learn that you don’t need someone else to feel complete.

Ideas like we all have a better half or a soul mate have accompanied us since the Greeks, and unfortunately have done more harm than good.

You must assimilate that you are not incomplete, and that if someone has decided to accompany you as a partner they’re not doing it to fill something a void that was empty before.

If you think this way in the case of a breakup, for instance,e you’ll be flooded with the feeling that you have lost a part of yourself and that you will only be complete if you get it back. Then, your life may enter a spiral of frustration and disappointment.

Remember: you are complete just as you are.

20. Enjoy what you have to enjoy what comes your way

We’d like to end our selection of life lessons with this one that will serve you in the face of the achievements you reap in the future: appreciate what you have achieved today, so you can also appreciate everything you get from now on. Sometimes we focus so much on what we don’t have that we forget to give value to what we have already achieved.

Guess what? When you get what you long for today, and you maintain this attitude, sooner or later you’ll also devalue it by wanting something else.

In short, you must learn to treasure everything that is part of your life today, from material things to people. One day they may not be with you, and of course, you don’t want to regret not giving them enough attention and gratitude at the time.

Whether or not you agree with the ideas presented in this article, you’ll definitely agree that they at least deserve some reflection on your part. Don’t be afraid to change your mind about something. After all, only fools cling to dogmatism. If a philosophy of life makes your day-to-day life more bearable, why not try it, then?

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  • Quoidbach, J., Dunn, E. W., Petrides, K. V., & Mikolajczak, M. Money giveth, money taketh away: The dual effect of wealth on happiness. Psychological science. 2010; 21(6): 759-763.