Life lessons are infinite, but in his book, Life’s Greatest Lessons: 20 Things That Matter, Hal Urban presents us with 20 lessons that are rooted in common sense and compassion. This book is more than just a hug-happy self-help book. 20 Things That Matter insists that we all have a potential to live up to. As an award-winning teacher, he gathered these lessons from a long and illustrious career and we are sharing them with you here.
So without further ado, here are the 20 things that matter:
1. Success is More Than Making Money
Money isn’t bad. Money isn’t evil. Even if you have a lot of it. What matters is how you get it, and what you do with it. So what really makes a successful person?
- Successful people accept life. They say yes to it
- They maintain a positive attitude
- They care about other people
- They have a sense of purpose
- They are always learning
- They are always taking action
- They maintain high standards of personal conduct
- And successful people understand the difference between existing and living
2. Life is Hard, And Not Always Fair
We must stop asking why life is hard, and simply accept that it is. Move on. Tough it out. Right? Because when has complaining ever worked out for the best? We can’t be successful by trying to avoid pain and suffering, because no matter where you turn or how wealthy you become, a tough day, or a surprise inconvenience (or downright misfortune) will always be right around the corner. So reap the benefits of solving problems, not avoiding them. By learning from pain, not shrinking from it. Have courage, hold your head high, and rise above it.
3. Life is Also Fun … And Incredibly Funny
Sometimes we need to just lose our minds. Seriously. Let loose. Do something crazy. Be silly. Make a face. Dance around your living room with a toddler. Laugh! Because there’s so much out there that is funny. You’ll miss out if you’re always negative. And don’t forget: laugh at yourself, too. DON’T FORGET IT!
4. We Live by Choice, Not by Chance
Life is a series of choices. We don’t “have to” do anything. We make choices to avoid consequences or to reap rewards, and that ability to choose is life’s greatest gift. Most importantly, we’re free to choose who we are and what we do. So choose wisely.
5. Attitude is a Choice⎯the Most Important One You’ll Ever Make
Research from Stanford found that 85% of our success is attitude, while the other 15% is ability. Attitude is about what you expect out of life. Expect the best, and you’ll get the best. Expect the worst, and, well, you get the picture.
6. Habits Are The Key To All Success
Look closely and you’ll discover that our life is almost entirely composed of habits. Some good, some bad. The good ones will develop our character and push us toward our destiny. The bad habits will degrade our character and push us into a void of emptiness and complete lack of purpose. In fact, we’re pretty much slaves to our habits. So we’d better form good ones.
7. Being Thankful Is a Habit⎯the Best One You’ll Ever Have
Instead of constantly worrying about the things we don’t have, why not try and be thankful for the wonderful things we do have? And when was the last time we said thank-you to the people we appreciate in our life? Here’s Hal Urban’s “Top 5” things to be thankful for in this world:
- Good people
- More freedom of choice than ever
- Boundless opportunity
- Education and learning
- General abundance and quality of life
Maybe we should tack this list on the mirror so we see it every morning.
8. Good People Build Their Lives on a Foundation of Respect
The Golden Rule still holds true today. As defined by Urban, the four pillars of respect are:
- Manners (Treat others with consideration and respect)
- Language (What comes out of our mouths reflects who we are)
- Honoring the rules (Because they help us respect each other)
- Appreciating differences (By not judging others)
9. Honesty Is Still the Best Policy
Dishonesty cripples us, while honesty brings us physical, mental, and emotional health. When we’re honest, we become whole persons, instead of fractured, fake. Dishonesty always catches up with us, never pays, and in the end, eats us up from the inside out. So tell the truth. And “to thine own self be true”.
10. Kind Words Cost Little but Accomplish Much
Train yourself to look for the good in people. And when you find it, tell them. You will bring out the best in everyone you meet, and they will love you for it. The general idea? It feels good to make others feel good.