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45 random life lessons I've learned

Updated: Sep 14, 2021

Celebrities sharing valuable lessons learned

1. Wealth and education don’t buy you class and human decency. A good role model or mentor does.

2.Love doesn’t conquer all (and is often fleeting). Respect and compassion do.

3. If there is one skill you need to master, let it be communication. It’ll get you through many life’s challenges and be your get-out-of-jail card.

4. Do not advertise how much work you’re doing or lament how busy you are as if being busy makes you so damn cool or important. There are others who are as hard working, if not more. They just don’t announce it to the world. Plus, if you are someone who is perpetually busy at work, I will be wondering if you have a serious time management problem.

5. Do not boast about how much you have contributed to society because there are many who have done more without turning it into a Facebook feed.

6. Do not publicise how much someone owes you. It is utterly distasteful and it can destroy someone's dignity. When that happens, it doesn't make you a hero, just a big bully or asshole.

7. Let other people sing your praises. The tune is much nicer and it sounds better.

8. Activists can be the most narcissistic people in the world. Many don’t do it out of altruism but because it makes them look good. You’ll know when they can’t resist publicising their deeds, often in subtle manners or disguised modesty. Only foolish or like-minded people will buy it.

9. Do not let your guard down whenever you’re with your boss. You are never really friends, even if you shared great chemistry or rapport at an office party once. Remember, you’re being evaluated at all time, including your personal life. Your boss is not perfect. He/she is human, which means they all form their biases, consciously or unconsciously, on you.

10. Losing your virginity before marriage is not the biggest deal. Neither is infidelity. There are far more important things in life to worry about. Plus, virginity is an archaic concept used by society to control and subjugate women while fidelity is one that is used to own a human being.

11. Obtaining a higher education is optional. It doesn’t teach you about life and ethics. Most of the answers I am looking for to help me navigate life as an adult are never found in textbooks or discussed in lecture halls.

12. Practise your religion not out of fear or societal pressure, but out of conviction. Once you do that, keep it to yourself. No one has to share that conviction with you and God doesn't need you to rescue or defend Him/Her.

13. If you haven’t smoked yet, do not start. It is a stupid addiction that only benefits the tobacco companies, hospitals and the rest of the institutions affiliated to making them thrive.

14. Do not make others look bad so that you can turn out to be the hero.

15. Keep your promises. Your credibility depends on it.

16. Every family has a dark chapter. Yours is not unique.

17. No matter how high you’ve climbed, stay grounded. Humility is a virtue that will earn you more respect.

18. Respect all member of the working class. No one will miss you if you go on strike but they will if the garbage collectors do. Teach that to your children.

19. Beware of those who talk a lot. Action speaks louder than words.

20. Not everyone wants or needs to hear the truth. Some truths are better left untold, especially those that are revealed for the sole purpose of making you feel better.

21. Just because someone isn’t friendly to you, it doesn’t mean they don’t like you. Not every fucking thing is about you.

22. You don’t own anyone, not your girl/boyfriend, spouse or children. Every human being should be free.

I love this quote and this is what I would tell my daughter too

23. Marry someone who understands and respects your individuality. You’ll know if the person allows you to speak your mind and have your space. Run for your life the moment someone makes you feel bad for having your own friends, spending time with your family or enjoying your work.

24. Nothing is too silly to learn. Learn as much as possible. All the little skill you think you’re too good for will lead you closer to independence and empowerment.

25. Don’t bother asking what romantic love is. You’ll never really know and you’ll still be asking after you thought you’ve found it. It is a completely frivolous thought.

26. Being feminine does not make you a lesser feminist. It just makes you a pretty damn sexy one.

27. The greatest thing you can give your children is their independence. Don’t mollycoddle them. Let them learn and take responsibility for their mistakes. You won’t be there to protect them forever.

28. Help your family and closest friends first before you help others. Otherwise, you’re just a hypocrite.

29. Getting old is a bitch and you never know when it’s going to bite you. Use sun screen and anti-ageing products even before you think you need them. Oh, and eat well and exercise, exercise, exercise.

30. Never give up on a chance to travel when you can. You may never have that chance again as your body (and mind) can defy you at any time and without warning.

31. Smile a lot. It will get you out of many ugly situations.

32. Have a brutally honest discussion on major life goals and values with your potential spouse, even if it is at the risk of losing them. Having children or pets, fidelity, religion, finance, career path and care plan for your parents are at the top of the list.

For most Asians, filial piety is an expectation and it took me years to unlearn it within reasons

33. Learn to say no and teach your children to respect that.

34. People cheat for many reasons. Often, it’s not because they want to hurt you.

35. Having strong principles is good, but having wisdom is better. The world is neither black nor white. It is often grey and non-binary. Learning how to see and differentiate them will help you handle life more effectively.

36. Don’t be too eager to bad-mouth someone. You never know what the person you speak to will do with the information, or think about you.

37. The wild animals you see at the zoo, circus or performance show are being taken away from their natural habitat, held in captivity, and used for our entertainment. Stay away from them.

38. When in an emergency situation, check whether there are any security threat to you first before going to someone’s aid. You’re no good to anyone if you’re injured yourself. They teach you this in first aid. This can also be translated to loving and caring for yourself first before you love and care for others. You are a better mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend when you are happy and healthy.

39. Private hospitals are not better than public. They only seem better because they look better. Just like how most people would think more highly of someone who is well-dressed than one who is dressed shabbily.

40. Try not to work or start a business with your bestfriend. It may ruin your friendship if things mess up at work and you are not able to separate them.

Definitely something I'm doing more for mental health reasons

41. Learn to see people through a neutral lens when you meet them for the first time or if you don't know them well. God knows who the person truly is behind closed doors. For example, what do you actually know about the elderly kind-looking man who sits quietly and politely at your office's reception area except to greet him with a cheerful "hello" every morning while thinking "poor nice man. It's so sad that he still needs to work at his age. I'm going to get him coffee the next time"? What if that man goes home and rapes his 10 year-old grand daughter or beats up his wife? Would you know this behind that kind face?

42. Resist the temptation to show superfluous gratitude towards people who are just doing their jobs or what any decent (and reasonable) human being should be doing anyway. When your husband feeds the baby or mentors your son, that is what he is supposed to do as a father. He's not being punished or made to sacrifice anything. So please stop singing praises of him on social media as if he is the Dalai Lama. When a doctor performs a successful surgery on your mother, he's doing his job. There is no fucking need to give him an ang pow (red packet filled with money as a token of appreciation). It's as if we live in a world where the default standard of behaviour or responsibility is so low that whenever someone does something that should be the expected standard, we feel the need to reward them. People should be performing their duty without expecting any recognition or reward. Period.

43. Never settle for anyone who does not add any value to your life because otherwise, you are enough. Seriously.

44. Children do not ask to be borne. None of us really owe our parents anything. If anything, they are responsible for bringing us into this pretty fucked up world. So if your parent tells you, "You should be grateful to me because I give life to you" please tell them to fuck off. For this reason, ask yourself, "Can I be responsible for every single thing that will ever happen to my child and for every action taken by them?" before deciding to have children. It is the biggest responsibility anyone will ever have in this world.

45. Death is a wonderful thing. It is to be rejoiced and celebrated because I have news for you, it is quite possible that we are living in hell right now. This is a reality for many people.

When I was sharing a house with a bunch of British students in university, I was teased and told that the way I wash my dishes was wrong when it was just different. I was made to feel like an uncivilised Asian, but now I am able to temper my inferiority complex when I discovered that many white Westerners I know have flaws. They are just too proud and ignorant to see them, and therefore many things that are different are construed as wrong.

Let me know what you think of this list and if there is anything you disagree with. It'll be great to hear any other lesson you've learned as well.

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