21DJC Day 7 – What is the Most Important Thing You’ve Learned in Life So Far?

This is Day 7 of the 21-Day Journaling Challenge (21DJC) for Nov 2011. View list of tasks: 21DJC Overview.

Hi everyone – Welcome to Day 7 of 21DJC! :)

Yesterday’s question was: “What Frustrates You?“.

Thank *you* for your earnest responses. While it’s good to be positive, and to focus on the positive stuff, the thing is frustration is one in the spectrum of emotions we experience as humans. Everyone feels frustrated in some way or another – it’s just a matter of (a) whether you’re aware of it (b) whether you want to admit it or not.

Some people may think: “Oh well, I’m never frustrated”, or “I’ve overcome frustration because I choose not to focus on negative things, only positive stuff”. Fair enough, but my question, and my challenge to you would be: Is it true that you’re never frustrated, or are you just not conscious of it? And for those people who still insist you’re never frustrated, are you perhaps denying your emotions, and deluding yourself?

While the *feeling* of frustration is not a positive experience, it’s not a negative phenomenon per se. All emotions, as with all situations in life, are neutral occurrences. To give it any meaning beyond what it is, would be to turn it into something that it’s not.

Like all of you, I have my fair share of times when I feel frustrated. Just yesterday, I was quite frustrated with the moderator of a conference I was speaking at, because for some reason, the outline that was agreed upon before the panel was not adhered to. I was frustrated because I had prepared a fair bit for the conference, and I felt half of the work had gone to waste, never to be absorbed by others. I was frustrated because it didn’t allow me to showcase my best value to the audience, who were there to learn about the topic.

I would also be frustrated whenever people got in my way of growing, or helping others to grow. Because this is my life purpose, it felt like everything was at stake when I wasn’t allowed to pursue it. I would feel scrunched up on the inside, like my existence has been compromised.

Other things that would frustrate me include people who impose their values on others, people who give their opinions and advice when not asked for, irresponsible people, people who make empty promises, when I sabotage my own weight loss efforts, naysayers, people who try to attack my beliefs, among others.

I don’t think we should concern ourselves with eliminating frustration as an emotion. Neither should we let the feeling of frustration perpetuate too. Frustration happens as a result of things not going our way, so it’s a useful tool in self-discovery and growth.

I think whenever we feel frustrated, we should strive to understand the source of our frustrations, learn from the situation, and apply what we learned, so the same situation will not recur in the future. This is what it means to learn and grow.

With that said, let’s now move to today’s question!

21DJC Day 7

Today is Day 7, which marks the end of the 1st week out of the 3 weeks of our 21-Day Journaling Challenge. Having shared the things that frustrate us yesterday, today, I’d like you to reflect on:

What is the Most Important Thing You’ve Learned in Life So Far?

Reflecting on Life

If you are to pinpoint just 1 thing you’ve learned, the 1 most important thing you’ve learned in your life so far, what would it be?

Put on your reflection cap and let your thoughts flow. Below is an empty form which you can use to write your answers to the question. Treat it as your private 21DJC journaling “room”, if you will. You will be seeing this form every day, for the 21 days of the challenge. There’s a button for you to keep track of your word count too, if you’re interested.

(Note you will not see the form below if you’re viewing this in your email client. Visit the actual post online to see the form.)

What is the Most Important Thing You’ve Learned in Life So Far?

Your Task Today:

  1. Reflect and answer today’s question. There’s no word limit – whether minimum or maximum. Write as few or as many words as you want. It’s all up to what you want to express!
  2. Share your answer. After you are done writing, copy and paste your answer in the comments area and post it there.
  3. Check out other participants’ answers. Other participants will be sharing their answers too, so feel free to read and reply to their answers. This is a group course, so let’s support each other in these 21 days.
Look forward to reading your answers! :D

Email This Post Email This Post

« 21DJC Day 6 – What Frustrates You?

21DJC Day 8 – On a Scale of 1-10, How Much Do You Love Yourself? »

230 Responses | Share Your Results!

  1. Glenn says:

    The most important thing I’ve learned in life so far.

    At first I had no idea what this could be. But thinking about it, there are actually quite a few things. The most important important though would have to be something that without, I would be writing this journal entry. Yes, learning to read, write and speak English, the sole language I’m familiar with.

    Without this skill I would not be able to read books, understand what people are saying, communicate to other people, read signs, follow directions, write my name, understand the lyrics of songs, and so many other things.

    As short as this answer has made my journal entry, I believe it’s quite significant how important learning his one thing in life has been.

    Like: Thumb up +1

    • Glenn says:

      Oops, a couple of typos here.. A stutter and a word missing. There should be a ‘not’ between ‘I would’ and ‘be’. Maybe I should go back to school to brush up on this most important thing I’ve learned? :)

      Like: Thumb up +4

    • Matt says:

      I would not have thought about this. Reading and writing are extremely beneficial but so basic that I just take them for granted. There are people in the world who never have the opportunity to learn these things even in places you might not expect like Detroit, Michigan where half of all adults are illiterate. Being able to read and write may usually not seem so special but could you imagine your life without those skills?

      Like: Thumb up +1

      • Glenn says:

        Thanks Matt. I had no idea illiteracy was that bad in Michigan. Why is that, the education system? Parental neglect, or just a lack of proper schooling?

        I had thought of a few other things I’ve learned similar to what a lot of people have mentioned here, but without being able to communicate with others, let alone read or write, there’s no way I would have any chance of learning about such things to begin with. So big thanks go out to late parents for teaching me the most basic forms of communication, and to my early school teachers for giving the proper ability to read and write.

        Like: Thumb up 0

        • Matt says:

          I’m not sure if we know the exact cause. I think it would have to be a combination of Detroit’s crumbling economy, the quality of the schools, and overall culture of it’s citizens.

          Like: Thumb up 0

          • Glenn says:

            That’s sad. Although at least it never held the city back from becoming the birthplace of techno music back in the 80s which I watched a documentary about. They talked about a few of the social problems of Detroit in that documentary, and how these black kids were able to breakthrough and create something totally unique, regardless of how bad the place was at that time.

            Like: Thumb up 0

  2. Charles says:

    The most important thing I have learnt is that I am the master of my own destiny. Everything I do is based on the decisions I make and the attitude and focus I apply to my decision.

    I have made many wrong decisions in the past and I can say that with the wisdom of hindsight but at the time I thought it was the right decision or I wasn’t sure about making a decision involving change – I tended to stay where I was because I felt “comfortable”. I declined pursuing a job with IBM while I was employed at a software startup with great potential. Unfortunately that company went broke in December 2001 and the next job I took was a disaster leading to several years of unsatisfactory employment. It is not easy to assess risk when making decisions but I have learnt to make the best possible decisions at the time, be brave and make the decision then go with it.

    Success and growth are a result of my own planning and efforts and I cannot expect other people to do it for me. Even when I am an employee, I need to control my own professional development. In my personal life, I choose to invest time in personal growth and have done so for nearly 30 years learning about goal setting, time management, project planning and various “brain skills”.

    Like: Thumb up +4

  3. Jeffrey Q says:

    I will have to quote Mahatma Gandhi for the most important lesson.

    “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

    This is a straightforward lesson about how you must act how you want the people around you to act. Be kind, and don’t be a jerk. You must take the steps to initiate what you think is important so that it may become reality.

    Like: Thumb up +3

  4. Fraser says:

    Success is taking steps towards my worthy ideal.
    Happiness isn’t a feeling- It is a choice
    Yesterday is gone, today is all I have. Make the most of it.
    Whatever happens…keen on keeping on.
    Be clear on what I want….Chief AIM!!!!(Desire)

    Like: Thumb up 0

  5. A. Sendijja says:

    I have learned that God loves us so much that he made life so easy, so basic, for us to live to our full potential
    and enjoy life all together. So basic that i can literary change any situation in life by simply changing
    the way i look at. So basic that i can decide to and have full control of my feelings. We create our own
    lives on a daily basis based on the feelings we decide to accommodate inside ourselves. Depending on what feelings i have towards my work, i do wake up and commute several hours every day to get there. So the most
    important thing i have learned in life is that God gave us all the tools we will ever need to succeed in life
    and more. If it is ever to be, ever to happen for me, it is up to me. God gave me a vehicle which is my body
    fully loaded with the most advanced technological features to enable me to perform any task that i ever desired at any given time in my life and the only person who can flip the switch is me. So i design the life i lead, and that is a powerful life lesson.

    Like: Thumb up +2

  6. Lottie says:

    You wake up, you’re in with a chance!

    Like: Thumb up +4

  7. ELLEN says:

    Well, to me is Nothing Last Forever so we must always be prepared to evolve, innovate and embrace changes. Just like Steve Jobs who has revolutionise the way we communicate, play and work with the devices he has invented.

    We’re living in a precarious era where the Global Economic Environment is getting bad to worse which might sink into a major recession or depression. I’ve learned to take things in stride and always be prepared with a Positive Attitude and Behaviour to make the best out of a bad situation.

    Some years will be splendid, others will be a drag, but what we can do is to try to be prepared and do our best always.

    Like: Thumb up +1

  8. Elezhara says:

    The most important thing I´ve learned so far is that we only have one life, at most 80 or 90 years to live which doesn´t seem like too much to me. So we shouldn´t waste our time doing things we don´t like or complaining about how bad our situation is, we should get out there and live the best life we can possibly live, trying to make our dreams come true, and if we don´t like something, the power to change it is in us.
    I want to be able to, when I´m old, look back and see that I lived the best life I could live, that I did as many things as I could, that I used every opportunity that was given to me, that I spent my live doing something I loved.
    Life is hard, real hard, life is sometimes unfair, nothing is free or easy, if you want something you have to work as hard as you possibly can because nobody is going to give it to you. We fall down, we get pushed, but the secret is to get up one more time than we´ve been knocked down.

    I know were I want to be and I´m not going to stop until I get there, because I know I can do it. That is the most valuable lesson I´ve learned in this 18 years.

    Like: Thumb up +5

  9. Ezza says:

    Above all else of what I’ve learnt in the last 5 years… I believe the most important thing I’ve learnt is to be yourself and be passionate about the things in life that make up you as a being.

    Be who you are, not what society expects you to be and live life accordingly to them – the naysayers. You are the best person, in your true form – energy self – be that person, never allow anyone or anything take away the real you. You know, the one that you wake up to every morning, the one you shower with and the one you are at peace with and love. This is the person, I have come to love and appreciate, because no one else can live my life but me.

    So, my advice is: live life to the fullest, accept, be brave, love fiercely and be true to yourself – always.

    All the Best,
    Ezza :love:

    Like: Thumb up +3

    • Iva says:

      Hi Ezza :hug:
      I have been following your comments like a stalker since day one :lol:
      I can relate to most of the comments you have posted so far and I am learning many valuable lessons from you everyday. Thanks for sharing! Have a great day :D

      Like: Thumb up +2

      • Ezza says:

        Hi Eva,

        Hahahaha! :mrgreen: My friendly neighbor spy – that is so cute! Awww… You are so sweet. Thank you in abundance.

        Iva, I am glad there is someone out there who can relate to me and perhaps know what I went through. Its great to have this kind of feedback. I love to help and inspire others. I believe we should share our knowledge, experience and wisdom. You know, I am happy for you that you take something from my entry here and make it your own.
        - thanks for sharing hun! I will have a great day. Up early and living large today!

        All the Best,
        Ezzy :hug:

        Like: Thumb up +1

    • Jeffrey Q says:

      I love this, Ezza!

      I concur with your thoughts. It’s a little disheartening now to see people who are asleep in life and make choices because it’s “safe” even though it’s not what they are passionate about. Modern society has shaped our minds to accept what’s deemed appropriate and it is destroying people’s souls who are unable to find the fulfilment of their passions and dreams.

      Like: Thumb up +1

      • Ezza says:

        Hi Jeffrey,
        Thank you for sharing! ;)

        Absolutely – I agree with you.
        It’s hard to believe at one stage of my life I was sleeping while I was wide awake, though I’d admit I always felt different to most people. And I don’t think like most people either.:) My brain is rewired differently and strangely ;) However, Modern society as you mentioned (above) is built this way to keep us boxed in, reserved, material zombies, keep the economy stable and keep us controlled as a society. On the flip side of this… there will always two sides of one coin.

        All the best and thank you for sharing – love your comments!
        :dance: Ezza

        Like: Thumb up +1

  10. Iva says:

    Hi Celes & everyone :)

    I am one of those who couldn’t come up with anything particular that frustrates me. Whatever I had said, I didn’t mean that I NEVER get frustrated. What I said was that I don’t get frustrated EASILY.

    If somebody had asked me the same question a year ago, I would have given them a long list of things that frustrate me. But now, I cannot answer the question “what frustrates me?” because I don’t have anything particular that frustrates me anymore.

    For the common things that used to frustrate me in the past, I have either found solutions or learned to accept things as they are. This doesn’t mean that I don’t get frustrated at all. I do get frustrated, but there is no particular situation that triggers frustration. It could be anything depending on the situation/time/mood.

    In short, I don’t have a particular answer to the question “what frustrates me?” It is different in different situation/time/mood.

    I am not so good with expressing my thoughts in words. But I have tried my best. Hope I have explained my answer properly this time :shy:

    What is the Most Important Thing You’ve Learned in Life So Far?

    The most important thing I have learned in life so far is that I am more disappointed by the things I didn’t do than the things I did. If I want something, I should just go for it rather than finding excuses against it. Even if I fail, I’ll learn many valuable lessons in the way of experience. But if I don’t even try, then I would keep wondering or regretting with “what ifs”.

    Like: Thumb up +3

    • Raven says:


      This is an excellent answer and takes more courage than we would think to try and risk to fail than to live safe and always wonder….I always thought I was an outgoing person but in the last couple years of self-reflection, I have discovered that I let fears and other peoples opinions shape too many of my choices in life. It was helpful to me to read your post and hear someone else say it out loud. Because although I have mistakes that I’ve made occassionally haunt me from time to time it is as you said, the things I past up or missed out on that disappoint me the most.
      Thanks for the great lesson!!
      Raven :hug:

      Like: Thumb up +2

    • Ezza says:

      Hi Eva,
      Thank you for sharing your deep heart felt reflection of today’s daily task!

      I agree with you on “what frustrates me?” It is different in different situation/time/mood.” Very true.
      I believe Iva, that you have the power to change anything in virtal reality and the reality you make up. Don’t hold onto regret or disappointment. If there was something in your past you didn’t want to do or didn’t achieve, what is stopping you going out there today and go getting it? You deserve to live a life free of regret, disappointment and remorse – these things are not natural.
      I say, don’t hold back. Be fearless. Make no room for excuses. Just get out there and do it! Never let anyone or anything discourage you because its just adversity and the boundaries we put up to make things ‘safe’ and ‘acceptable’.

      I hope I did not come across to sharp or too direct… Sometimes you just have to be stern!

      All the best,
      Ezzy :heart: :heart: :heart:

      p.s – I look forward to seeing your next comment on the daily task. BTW – I am stalking you too. Love your comments :dance:

      Like: Thumb up +1

  11. annie lopez says:

    The most important lesson I’ve learned in life so far is that one cannot give what one does not have. I can only give love if I know how to love myself.I cannot give comfort if I do not know how to comfort myself.I cannot give a sincere appreciation if I do not appreciate myself.I think I grew up with the background noise of self-loathing. I’m still undoing its damage and effects upon my psyche and it seems the 2nd half of my life will be a time of undoing all that and i’m hopeful!

    Like: Thumb up +5

  12. Cyndi says:

    I think the thing that I’ve learned is that “it is Not all about me!” The universe does not conspire to make me late, to give me a difficult customer, to give me a cold, etc. Or perhaps it does and there is some lesson to be learned from these experiences. At any rate, how people act toward me or just act in general, is about them, not about me. So I can give up trying to control things because other people’s behavior is not about me. How freeing this realization is:-)

    Like: Thumb up +5

  13. jola kapaj says:

    I will say it simple because it is not something you can learn from a reading, it is something you have to live it in order to learn it. Thinks are the way they are, you can’t control them, but you can control the way you see them. You may not be able to change things around you, but you can change the way you see things. Do not see things with negativity see them with a good eye, and believe in the things you want with your hart and you will see how they will come true. :D

    Like: Thumb up +4

  14. lotusbleu says:

    “Just because you don’t see the stars, it doesn’t mean they’re not shining.”

    Like: Thumb up +6

  15. Arnold Tse says:

    Seize the day, or die regretting the time you lost.

    Yes, I did copy that line from the song “Seize the Day” by Avenged Sevenfold :dance: .

    Anyways, what I mean is, I only have one life, one chance to live, one chance to make a difference. That “chance to live” might last for seventy more years, but that doesn’t mean I should start living after I grow old.

    If I don’t literally snatch all the opportunities I can find, I would miss out on them. This means I would miss out on lots of potentially good times, or even life-changing milestones. Going to church has changed my life forever, and it all started because someone invited me to go and I had said yes.

    However, there are times when I have to be patient and wait for opportunities. I think that dating is one of those things where you need to know when to seize the day, and when to just WAIT for the day to come. Which could take weeks, months, years.

    Now that I think about it, some of life’s biggest events require you to wait a long time. Like going to college. I guess the best thing to do then is to prepare myself and spend a lot of time getting ready. To some extent, that contradicts what I said at the beginning. I guess life is a balance between waiting and going, stopping and starting, resting and continuing. Life itself IS a delicate balance.

    My conclusion: Life is confusing and can get tough at times. Get used to it. I still have a lot to learn about life from life itself…

    Like: Thumb up +4


The comments section for this article is now closed.
Check out the latest posts and join in the discussions there.