Once you get a little long in the tooth, you tend to be able to see the things that “work” in life, as opposed to the things that make life harder. That’s why people over 40 can be so full of advice – they’ve often become aware of the ways and times that they’ve chosen the difficult path. Or just the wrong path. And they’re aware of the beliefs they’ve held and insecurities they’ve nurtured. The farther you get from 40 the clearer all those things can become. And at the same time you’re also becoming aware of how blurry the lines are in Real Life; how many shades of grey there are and how many opportunities we’re given to begin again.
Luckily for me, I’m a teacher by profession. Which means that I get to impose some of those realizations on others; and those people might actually hear me and benefit from my experience. Emphasis on “might”. At least they’re more likely to be polite about it.
This is probably not the last time I’ll put up a short list of things I wish people had told me when I was younger. Or maybe they did tell me and my list should be “advice I wish I’d listened to”. But in any event, a person can’t hear this sort of thing too much. Eventually some of it sticks.
Truth #1: Attitude is everything.
If you want your life to go smoothly, have a good attitude. Be the person who doesn’t complain but rather makes the best of any situation. Be the person who shows up a little early, who lends a hand, who goes the extra mile. Have integrity in your endeavors, and have the humility to fail gracefully. (Failing is how we learn, and most of the Bad Attitudes you see around you, as well as your own, are manifestations of a fear of failure.)
The person with a good attitude is a person other people like. The value of being liked and trusted cannot be overstated. Your good attitude will get you chosen for opportunities, it will open doors for you, it will lend a magical ease to your life. Not that the stuff of life won’t happen to you – of course it will – but on the whole the trajectories of your careers and your relationships will be smoother, faster, and easier.