By Lolly Daskal
It’s better to look back on life and say: “I can’t believe I did that” than to look back and say: “I wish I did that.
As elders are always telling younger people, experience is the best teacher. But if you can take in a life lesson without putting yourself through difficulty–if you can benefit from someone else’s experience instead of your own–so much the better.
Here are seven such lessons that it would be great if you didn’t have to learn it the hard way.
1. Failure isn’t fatal and success isn’t final.
There’s a saying (often attributed to Winston Churchill) that goes “Defeat is never fatal. Victory is never final. It’s courage that counts.” Success has a way of ebbing and flowing, and it’s being able to ride the wave without falling off that the biggest lessons are learned.
2. What’s holding you back is the thought that something is holding you back.
Resentment, anger, grudges–these things will destroy your energy and keep you from moving forward. Turn them loose and you can free yourself up for great things.
3. “Nothing is impossible- the word itself says, I’m possible”
This quote from Audrey Hepburn reminds us to stay positive and hopeful–not the easiest task when the world is wrapped up in pessimism and doubt. Believe in your own abilities and have faith in your success.
4. The road to success and the road to failure are one of the same.
It may look as though your path is rocky and steep while others have it easier, but everyone faces obstacles and detours. We can’t always control the road we’re on, but the choices we make along the way will play a large part in determining how far we can go.
5. Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.
If you’re waiting around for someone to make something happen for you, you’re waiting in vain. Anything good that happens will be because you made it happen. Experiences and opportunities don’t just come your way; you have to help create them.
6. If you’re not willing to risk the usual, you’ll have to settle for the ordinary.
Taking risks shows confidence–it means you are willing to learn. And the lessons you take with you can put you on an important new path. Unless you’re extraordinarily lucky, success won’t fall in your lap–you have to pursue it, and you won’t achieve your dreams by playing it safe. The biggest risk is not taking any risk at all.
7. Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the pleasure of winning.
Many of the leaders I coach express their fear of losing or failing or underachieving, and I tell them their excitement over winning should always be more than the idea of losing. Your enthusiasm for success should be more than your fear of failing, so it gives you the focus and energy to do what you have to be to succeed.
There are plenty of other life lessons you can learn from those who have been around for a while. Of course, some lessons have to come the hard way, but let the experience of others teach you whenever you can.
This article was first published at Inc