Creating lasting value in your life is about developing wisdom. Many believe we find it by understanding these essential lessons.
What is Wisdom?
Your ability to learn depends upon the level of your awareness. That being the case, some of these strategies or experiences won’t make sense unless you expand your awareness level. Only when you grow awareness will you understand these stepping stones of life. Perhaps the ones that don’t immediately resonate with you are the ones you need the most. You may even realize you’ve missed the opportunity to learn some of these.
12 Lessons of Wisdom, Stepping Stones in Life
Don’t be discouraged. We all start in different places. Remember, we all make mistakes and miss opportunities to learn and grow and this, too, is a part of our learning process. Keep doing the right things, and you will progress. Help others along the way. Copy the link to this article to your favorites and review it as a reminder.
You’ll see this list contains a range of different things. It involves inner work, tools for development, and practical organization. If you apply these to your life, it will make a difference.
1. Learning to Observe your Thoughts
You will spot purple cars everywhere if you are always looking for them. Similarly, you will find opportunities if you are thinking of finding new opportunities. So, you will also be angry with life if you are continually seeking life’s irritations and frustrations.
Therefore, it is crucial to learn how to observe and direct your thought life. Above all, this is one of the essential stepping stones in life. If you don’t understand how to do this, you will be more likely to be involved in harmful thought patterns. As a result, you’ll miss all the beauty and opportunities that exist. If you don’t learn to do this, you’ll have difficulty applying the other “lessons of wisdom.” Before you can direct your thoughts, you must learn to observe without judgment. It’s a stepping stone of wisdom.
“The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.” — Jiddu Krishnamurti
2. Guard Your Health and Wellness
Our ability to experience life lives in our ability to maintain our physical and mental health. We are all in a unique place regarding our health and wellness. Just because you are the perfect picture of health doesn’t mean you aren’t necessary. So more and more people conclude that durability should be the goal. Our health and wellness affect our path.
“One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there, and don’t throw it away.” — Stephen Hawking
So, this means engaging in self-care, listening to music, and spending time in meditation. Do things that are good for you. Make sure they don’t hurt anyone or the environment. Learning the value of empathy is one of the primary lessons of wisdom.
3. Walk Your Spiritual Path
The decision to create a spiritual trail f your own is perhaps the most crucial decision of your life. Walking a spiritual path of your design is the opposite of following a religion. Religion is dogma concerning a supreme being and what may happen after you die. Some include and rules for governing behavior. It’s within a cloak of fear of eternal punishment for those that disagree and heaven for believers.
Some people would argue that this should be the first stepping stone in life. They place it above self-awareness and observing your thoughts. The reason is simple if you get sidetracked before you get started, it can waste a lot of time.
The catalog of ancient methods for exploring consciousness is what we call spiritual technologies. They are a collection of processes to develop the potential of the mind, body, and spirit. They offer us ways to expand awareness and reach higher states of consciousness.
These tools differ significantly from religion. They do not require faith or belief in any religious doctrine. Anyone can use these processes to develop their full potential. All you need to do is follow the process, and it’s just like following the recipe for baking a cake. If you combine the right ingredients in the right way and you get something delicious.
We select the best of these ancient methods for our blended learning method. These processes are time-tested by generations of use, and they stand up to the rigorous tests of science. They are repeatable processes, and several produce measurable effects on our physiology. These changes include increased brainwave coherence, lower heart rate, and increased skin resistance. Changes like this prove these partitions of consciousness differ significantly from waking, dreaming, and sleeping.
We divide these tools into four major categories:
Everyone can use these methods to create their unique spiritual path, and you can start with any of these methods. The more of them you use, the faster your progress.
4. Be a Survivor Instead of a Victim
Choosing the role of the survivor is another vital decision. So, you can see life in two ways. Either the Universe is on your side, or it is against you. If you think the Universe is against you, it’s easy to take the victim’s role. It’s the difference between life happening for you or to you.
As a victim, you feel entitled to a pity party. And if others don’t join in your pity party, they are against you too. The victim is always looking for ways to be a victim. As a victim, you’ll never be a survivor and never the champion.
To move from the victim’s role, you must stop blaming life’s random acts of chaos. To do this, you must learn to course-correct your thought patterns. You must learn to observe your thoughts and then redirect your thinking.
For example, if you are driving a car and someone pulls out in front of you, don’t automatically think they are out to get you. Instead, think to yourself, “they must be in a hurry.” Perhaps they are late for work or an important meeting. Don’t take everything that happens as a personal attack. Don’t automatically place ill intent on the actions of others.
The benefit is that your day easier, less stressful. You’ll enjoy things more and find opportunities to help others. Hanlon’s razor is an aphorism that expresses this idea perfectly.
“Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” — Robert J. Hanlon
5. Learn to Give and Share
If you don’t learn to give and share as a child, the world suffers. We must realize that we are not always the main character on the stage of life. It can be a hard lesson, especially if you were the center of attention as a child. Adults with this mindset believe everything, and everyone is here to support their leading role.
Eventually, this life lesson will force itself to the surface. They fail at something big. Worse yet, when they lose, they take others down with them. Don’t let this be you. Instead, adopt a beginner’s mindset to promote learning and sharing.
Realize being a good supporting actor is good for you and others in your circle of influence. Let others take the “star” role. Allow your position to change with the ebb and flow of circumstances. Share and give others the center stage.
Likewise, learn to give away that which you seek. That’s how to plant seeds, which will lead to a harvest. For example, one of the best ways to deal with loss is to help others through their loss. Do what you can in your sphere of influence. Look at it this way. You can be a giver or a taker.
Givers tend to be happier than takers. Ask yourself, do you take more than you give? Guess what? As an overall “giver,” you and everyone around you will benefit. As a giver, you’ll begin to enjoy things more. You’ll see opportunities for helping others. Giving is the key to opening your heart to the benefits of vulnerability.
“If you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times. In the kingdom of love, there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have.” — John O’Donohue
6. Avoid Tunnel Vision
There are three outlooks on life, pessimistic, optimistic, and realistic. Being locked into any one of these will cause tunnel vision. Or, more precisely, the lack of proper vision.
With a pessimistic outlook, you’ll see everything resulting in its worst possible outcome. It’s not a bad thing to assess the risk of something. However, if you get caught in the pessimistic spiral could lead to depression. So, learn how to observe your thought life. The moment you see yourself racing after some apocalypse, stop. Take a deep breath. Find the place of equilibrium.
Being an eternal optimist also presents problems. The optimist ignores the issues or tries to drown out problems by pretending. Thinking happy thoughts isn’t always the way out. Sometimes you need to face the music. Realize that things don’t always work out. Look at things realistically. Find the equilibrium of life in its ups and downs.
As a realist, you must find the courage to embrace both the optimistic and pessimistic outlooks. Otherwise, you will miss opportunities contained in both success and failure. Learn to maintain equilibrium. It is one of the most important stepping stones of life. Write a list of things you are grateful for in your life. Put this list somewhere you can see it. It will help you to change the trajectory of your thoughts and emotions. Always ask yourself, what should I be learning?
And, you guessed it, you benefit from a more well-rounded mindset. You’ll begin to enjoy things more. You’ll see opportunities for helping others. All three outlooks have their place. Don’t get stuck in any one perspective. Live life using all three roles.
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward
7. Communicate with Honesty
If honest communication is the root of happiness, then poor communication is the root of unhappiness. Cultivate the courage to communicate honestly when possible and practical. You’ll need to discern when it is reasonable and safe to communicate honestly. There are situations where you need to use restraint in communication. However, with your inner circle, you must cultivate the ability to speak plainly.
Communication is tricky. Assuming your communication is always understood the way you intended is a mistake. So, always solicit feedback to ensure that the message’s meaning is understood. Remember, most people aren’t listening to hear but to respond to what you are saying. That means most of their computing power isn’t on receiving your message’s intent. People can’t read your mind or your expectations. If your message isn’t understood, then you’ll always be disappointed. See the above point about being the victim.
It’s one of those realizations that will take the pressure off. It will make you more comfortable in your relationships. If you learn to communicate realistic expectations, you will be disappointed less often. Don’t confuse simple choices with bias and prejudice. Learn to spot in yourself and others.
8. Overcome Decision Paralysis
The idea that the Universe will send an omen or sign to confirm every decision leads to decision paralysis. Waiting for a divine sign leads to many disappointments. That’s because the Universe doesn’t care whether you buy broccoli or green beans. They either don’t get the omen or interpret it wrong.
To be sure, synchronicities and omens occur. However, more often than not, life’s decisions are in our hands. How can we gain “lessons of wisdom“ if we don’t make our own decisions? So, if you don’t get a sign for an important decision. Perhaps it’s a sign the Universe wants you to decide. The more significant findings, the more experience you gain. Believe it or not, your life is less stressful when you take responsibility for your own choices.
Overcoming “decision paralysis” requires the courage to take calculated risks. However, don’t confuse risky behavior with calculated risks. Learn the difference. We should avoid unnecessary or unreasonable risks. The study of logical reasoning and related tools will help discern the distinction. The stepping stones of logic will make your decisions more accurate.
At our core, we are essentially choice makers. Making decisions and choices involves a risk assessment. Learn how to estimate probabilities from possibilities. Again, the study of logical reasoning is key to this ability. Live boldly but not stupidly. Remember, you are human, and you will make mistakes. However, learn from your mistakes. Learn the lesson and choose more wisely. It is one of those experiences of life that repeats infinitely.
The benefit here is twofold. If your risk works out, you win. If you lose, you learn a valuable lesson to help you next time.
“Analysis paralysis is an epidemic that cripples countless dreams and great ideas. Be swift, decisive, and always move forward!” — Matthew Loop
9. Avoid Perfectionism and Comparison
Perfection is the holy grail of any master. The master wants his servants to strive for perfection. They want us to strive for perfection because it is nearly impossible to attain but keeps us focused on the task. The master would have us “believe” we can achieve perfection even though it is unrealistic. So, we compare ourselves to perfection and find we fall short. We are in prison. Comparing our current state to someone or something else drives the cultural narrative of consumerism. It places you in a prison of ever-changing and unrealistic values.
For instance, we see an advertisement that shows the benefits a product can bring. It offers a beautiful person having a beautiful life. And you want this too, but you must buy this product. So, we compare the difference in our situation. And, as a result, they are seduced into buying the product.
Learn to question the cultural narrative. Learn you are already perfect in your state of imperfection. In our consumer-driven culture, this is one of the things you’ll need to master. Don’t fall for the seduction of advertising or propaganda. By the way, this tactic isn’t new. Western Organized religion uses it to sell you all sorts of things from an Afterlife to your guilty conscience’s cleansing.
The benefit of avoiding comparison is immediate. You’ll find self-acceptance, and you’ll buy less stuff. Instead, you’ll value people more than things.
“You don’t love someone because they’re perfect; you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not.” — Jodi Picoult
“Comparison is the death of joy.” — Mark Twain
10. Learn the Value of Time
Time is our most valuable possession. When you work for someone, you allow them to purchase your life’s greatest asset. But most people treat their time as something meaningless. We certainly don’t know exactly how much time we have. So, you need to be aware of its value. Be mindful of how you use it.
Treat your time like it is gold. Guard it closely. The biggest time-waster is most of what is on the TV. For example, the news is a thief under the guise of providing helpful information. Instead, it’s mostly propaganda keeping you a customer to sell advertising. The biggest time thief is religion. It has perfected groupthink manipulation on a massive scale.
Ask yourself whether TV, the News, or Religion make your life better? Or does it fuel anger? Cut these out, and you’ll find that life is more manageable, less stressful. You’ll begin to enjoy things more. You’ll see opportunities for helping others.
11. Learn to Let Go
Time passes. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have regrets. It also means it’s easy not to let go of pain from past trauma. Everyone says all you need to do is to forgive. However, they don’t tell you it’s not a one-time thing. Sure the pain was often caused by one person or one event. But, the act of forgiveness is a continual process to let go of that memory or pain. Learning to let go is another one of the most important stepping stones of life; eventually, we let go of life.
“There are two great teachers, the world and your heart. And, there are two great lessons, we live and we die. Above all, there are two great experiences, love and loss.” — Guru Tua
It’s hard to think of loss as a great experience. In a sense, real happiness would not be possible without it. It helps us appreciate and savor the things that matter. Working through the process of letting things go helps us grow. It’s a perspective you need to learn how to embrace.
They say that the concept of closure applies only to people who have never really suffered. There’s no such thing as forgetting it. Life allows you to understand the lessons of regret and loss.
The same applies to the “things” we accumulate. Don’t let the things you own become the things that hold you. So, learn to de-clutter your life. Don’t fall into the trap of consumerism. Let go of things that simply take up space. There are several resources on this subject. Find one the resonates. There are always opportunities to practice this, so this must be an essential thing to learn. And, this applies to friends and especially spiritual relationships and teachers.
12. Thrive Where You Are
To live a fulfilled life, one needs three ingredients. These elements are courage, hope, and vulnerability. Add when you add these three together, and you get fulfillment. Above all, fill your life with hope and allow yourself to become vulnerable. It will open your eyes to social injustice. As a result, it will give your heart direction. You’ll find a place and space in your sphere of influence to contribute. Learn to live a courageous life.
Stepping Stones of Life
If we are present, we can see these lessons of wisdom. If we are asleep, we will find ourselves repeating the same situation. So, when this happens, ask yourself, “what’s the lesson”?
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(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia