Ten Important Life Lessons From a Grateful 21 Year-Old

By: Ashley Moss | Passion | Purpose | Top Ten Lists

When I was younger, I thought that life was a great big exciting roller coaster of a party. Yet, by the time I reached 21, I had learned that it was not. I had learned that there are some life lessons that a person has to learn to protect, fulfill, and respect one’s self. Here they are:

1. Learn to discern what people are "telling" you.

Learn to understand what people are saying to you, without saying a word. A person’s behavior and body language towards me is sometimes all I need to know how they really feel about me. Words are powerful, but a person’s actions speak louder. Learn to listen.

2. Learn to do things for yourself.

People won’t always agree with you, or like what you do. Yet, as long as you’re doing what makes you happy, their opinions shouldn’t matter. You have to take responsibility for your life.

3. Be versatile.

The more open-minded you are, the better. Take risks, and try new things every once in a while. The more you open up your heart and mind to new adventures and horizons, the happier you’ll be.

4. Learn to speak up for yourself.

You have a voice, so use it. I use mine to help others with problems, give advice, and help others step outside of comfort zones. A person can also use their voice to strengthen themselves and gain courage. Don’t be timid and let people walk all over you, but be gentle and humble as well.

5. Push boundaries.

Push boundaries, and break the rules sometimes.. Having prudence is good, but having fun is too. You have to break rules and push your own status quo to know and grow your limits. I know I had to.

6. Trust yourself.

Trust yourself to make the right decisions. For me, it was hard to begin making my own decisions in life on the cusp of my 18th birthday. Everyone had always made my decisions for me. I was terrified of making any choice at all, I was afraid of making a mistake. Over the years, I’ve learned to trust myself when making decisions, because I feel that no one knows me better than I know myself.

7. Learn to listen.

Most people only listen to respond, not to understand. I used to be one of them. Learn to listen to someone in order to connect with and relate to them, not just to repeat what they said back to them. The point of listening is to hear, not to talk over someone or to tell them how they feel.

8. Respect authority.

I’m still learning to respect authority. I’m such a free spirit that I often feel that other people’s expectations of me stifle and infuriate me. I’m learning to reach a balance between my free-spiritedness and respecting authority. I believe that no one should be given a position of high authority until they have learned to come under submission of authority. 

9. Embrace challenges.

Don’t run from difficulties. Allow yourself room and space to grow. The day I learned to embrace challenges and to stop running from them opened up a whole new world of possibilities and adventures for me.

10. Never shortchange yourself.

Never give up in life or on your dreams, just because someone's better at being or doing something than you. Everyone was made distinctly different and unique by God for a purpose. You may not be the best at everything, but you're good at something. Find something that you're passionate about, and do it. The world doesn't need more competitive people in it. It needs more graceful purpose-driven people in it.