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

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« 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. Brian Fradet says:

    Couple things come to mind. One is to be interested rather than “interesting”, as people are predominately interested in themselves, not you. Another way of saying this is to listen more and talk less. The second thing is knowing how to ask the right questions in order to get the answers you want. Thanks, Brian

    Like: Thumb up +1

  2. To focus on goodness, to be the change, It requires tremendous courage willingly to release all of our firmly held beliefs and face ourselves directly. Courage is required to uncover aspects of ourselves we’d denied. When we start to be the change, we learn that goodness is at our core. After that, everything gets better.Gratitude is the basis of the two most important things in life; happiness and goodness. Forgive and let it go is part of goodness, as is taking good actions. Forgive yourself when you backtrack, persist. See the good in everyone and everything as much as you can. :heart:

    Like: Thumb up 0

  3. Jenn says:

    The most important thing Ive learned so far is to always be happy wth my decisions. Whether the situation is good or bad, I have to think about the outcome and if it will have a positive impact on my life in the future.

    Like: Thumb up +1

  4. Kimberly says:

    To practice realistic optimism. It’s all about attitude. When I get up for the day and think about the things I need to do for work, for home, for others, for myself, I found my energy levels, my productivity (which is important to me), and my happiness depend on my attitude. When I interact with people, especially those who have very strong personalities, I also need to check in with my attitude, and make sure not to expect gloom and doom, or deception or some other sort of non-positive influence. Yes, life will never be totally rosy, there will be challenges, and some pretty big stressors, but its critical what inside-direction I bring to the table. I am lucky I am gifted with a nice smile. I actually tend to smile when I get nervous, which is kinda of awkward since inside I am definitely “not-smiling” but I found that in a group of people when they see my smile, behavioral problems change, and the mood lightens. So when I speak, when I write, when I talk on the phone, etc. I try to be practicing that realistic optimism, smiling on the inside and/our outside, and that gives me that energy I need to get the task done. I have to admit I am not optimistic by nature. It takes some mental energy to get to that state. I also temper my optimism with realism, since I know life has its challenges and there will be disappointments (I have certainly had my share of those). To get into a realistic optimism state not always easy and there are a few days I have spent when I have been a bit gloomy about the world or situations around me or about myself. I tried writing about 5 things I am grateful for each day, as a mental exercise to focus on the positive, and that worked for a bit, but then it became too abstract and stopped working. I keep searching for new ideas since I’d love to get to a state where practicing realistic optimism is perfectly natural for my 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. I am grateful that I do practice this about 80% of my time, and let’s say that 80% brings about the most amazing conversations, adventures, experiences, reflections, productivity, discoveries and I cherish ever second of it.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  5. Aletta Oelofse says:

    My first thought was: “How am I going to choose?!?!”

    Then I realised, what the most important thing I’ve learned so far has been. I’ve grown up in a neutral home where nobody observed any religion, but both my parents were nominal christians. Then, after my mom had an intense conversion experience we started going to a pentecostal church where I became converted.

    With time, and as life washed over me, and as I was depressed for many years, I drifted away from formal religious practice. I’ve even stopped reading my Bible. I’ve been in a no-man’s land for about two decades now while I’ve been focusing on working and bringing up my children and surviving a separation and almost divorce.

    Now, with my family together again and settled and me working hard at my job I’ve come to a place where I’ve realised in a big way that I need to address my various emotional and spiritual issues. This is also why I’ve decided to sign up for a vipassana meditation course.

    Often you’re confronted by people with different personalities and different ideas and from the jumble you try and make sense as to what you can accept and what you cannot. What I’ve learnt is that the following statement Jesus made will always be true: “you will know them by their love” and “one commandment I give you, love your neighbour as yourself”.

    I’ve learnt that love is the benchmark for life.

    Like: Thumb up +1

  6. DiVillaDo says:

    I am only responsible for my acts. I can not change anyone only myself. I can try to accept and change my ways for love but in the end I will lose myself. Learned to be true to myself. I will not stop caring about others and I deserve as much as I give.

    Like: Thumb up +1

  7. Dan Murray says:

    The most important thing I’ve learned in life so far is that “it’s really up to me.”

    What I mean by that is that you have to make your own way. The reason so many people are out of work now is because they are waiting for someone to hire them, or give them a job.

    Today like no time before in history it is possible to start a business doing something you enjoy, work very hard at it and create something of value from your thoughts and actions. Companies and people will pay for brains.

    I discovered that I have particular passion for analysis and data visualization. I also enjoy telling stories. This combination of skill and talent caused me to quit a secure job to become a consultant several years ago.

    That decision has been the best one I could have made – especially in these hard times. I’ve actually seen my income and happiness rise during a time when most people are struggling with both.

    So, take responsibility for your own future and follow your instinct and passion. It really is up to you. Don’t wait for someone to hire you. Start your own business.

    Like: Thumb up +1

  8. thokozani says:

    There are lot of things I have learned in my life so far and some of them have made me to be strong.But the most important thing I have learned is to be humble no matter the situation or challenge I’m facing.By being humble I must also be strong and not loose focus.

    Another thing I ‘ve learned is respect.No natter how young or old you are because each an everyone of us have values.No-one was born without a purpose.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  9. Mastermind says:

    My computer asks this question, “What kind of life will I create today?,” every time I boot.
    The most important concept I have learned is that I am responsible for the consequences of my actions and inactions. I am not sure how my thoughts are part of the responsibility concept.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  10. Peggy says:

    There are things that I seem to have to learn over and over again. The main one being “trust God”. I worry too much instead of trusting God to take care of me and my needs. To forgive is another biggy. If I could just quickly forgive I’d not have to carry that anger and resentment around with me. Maybe the lesson that I’ve actually learned is to work hard. I’m a diligent worker and I like to get the job done and done right.

    Like: Thumb up +1

  11. Borjana says:

    First thing that comes to my mind when i think about one thing that is most important thing i have learned so far is The Law of Attraction, my life experience has changed tremendously when i have learned that our thoughts and emotions shape our future.

    But the actual most important thing i have learned is “Every bad situation and event carries within a seed of growth and success” . I have learned there are no just good or just bad events there are just opportunities, and the worst brings out the best in you and gives you a chance to change things for much better. Along with this i have learned that when something gets out of our lives ( regardless if it is person, emotion, material possession etc ) that it just makes place for something new to appear. And learning this has helped me to look at people and possessions differently , not to think of them as eternally mine, to be grateful when they are here but also to be grateful when it is time for something new to replace them.

    Like: Thumb up +2

  12. Edrick says:

    There are so many things that I have learned in life, especially for the past year or so when I start thinking about it. I am not sure which is the most important, because to me, all the things that I’ve learned weigh in almost equal proportions. Generally, the theme that sums up the things that I have learned would be to treat others well. By that I mean not being confrontational all the time, treat others with dignity and respect, and so forth. I have started to become humble without losing my integrity; fakeness is not something that I would ever endorse.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  13. Kathy says:


    1) Love my dad despite for his shortcomings

    2) Love my mom for her lenghty talks (with no endings) and tantrums

    3) Love my siblings despite on-off squabbles

    4) Love my pets despite how difficult training them up to be obedient

    5) Love my bosses despite how hateful, abusive and prejudiced they have been

    6) Love my neighbours despite for their arrogance, selfishness or ignorance

    7) Love my best friend despite her distancing away from me

    8) Love my God and higher self for giving me Faith, Belief, Hope and Perseverance to continue my journey on this earth

    Like: Thumb up +1

  14. Toni says:

    That everything about my life and current circumstance is because of what I have done or not done. Although I feel like I am at the starting line in terms of personal growth (not the most comforting thing for someone almost 40) it does let me know that with self belief, self discipline, focus and hard work, it’s as much in my power to build the life I want for me and my family as it was in my power to sabotage my own success when I was young.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  15. (This is to the question what is the most important thing you have learned?) I just lost my best – friend named Adam. Adam passed away at 29 years of age from a
    heart attack. Adam and I have known each other since we were 5 years old. We spent the
    last two years of our friendship having a fallen out. On 10-14-2011 our friend his ex
    girl friend Jessica called me she told me Adam passed away. I say never ever argue with
    your loved ones or close friends never go to bed angry with them because you never know
    when they will go to Heaven and if you are fighting you might not get to say good – bye.
    Adam’s mother told me Adam told her he missed me and he wanted to come see me his mom told
    him well go see Shannon. Adam told her he would the next say but sadly like I said he
    passed away before he or I had that chance to say I am sorry to each other. People stop
    holding grudges to your friends who matter learn to forgive and let go it is important you
    do not want to regret not being able to fix a problem. Life is too short to argue
    about who is right and who is wrong. The only thing that should be right is you are
    friends with your friends and you are happy with your loved ones. Now I have to live
    with this guilt I put on mine and Adam’s friendship I will get over it but it will just
    take a little more time. This is a life lesson I have learned and the biggest mistake I can
    say I have ever made. My second worse mistake is my daughter’s father he is a whole new
    story and lesson lol.

    Like: Thumb up +2


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