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. zayneb says:

    actually there are many things I’ve learned in theses few years of my life but probably the most important one is to never wait for somebody or for the circumstances to make you happy. be happy from the inside , the only person responsible for my happiness or sadness is me that’s something I believe in now :)

    Like: Thumb up +1

  2. Vanessa says:

    I have learned so many things most around the age I am at now.

    Most of the time the best thing to do is just play it cool. When it comes to friends who are being jerks at the time just act like you don’t notice and they will come around.

    No matter what is going on act as if nothing is going on.

    When feeling negative focus on some distraction something postive. Focus on a new goal or something new you want to learn. Focus on yourself or your kids.

    When some beautiful woman is after your man but he love you. First of all never mention her name that makes him think about her. Out of sight out of mind. Keep showering him with affection don’t hold back.

    “You are the product of your five closest friends. If you have successful, physically fit friends they will rub off on you.” – This came from Pick your brain a blog I follow on facebook.

    No one can make you happy but yourself. Other things in life can bring you temporary happiness.

    Don’t let friends into your emotional circle you will end up getting hurt. You can have friends but you don’t have to tell them all your personal business.

    Being friends with someone who doesn’t think they have as much as you even though you don’t talk about what you have. They always try to act like your stupid compared to them. Talk bad about you and get aggravated anytime your happy. Sometimes it is better to just be friends with mature people or people who don’t compare themselves to others.

    Stay away from negative people they bring you down.

    The saying I learned when I was a kid. If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all.

    Don’t gossip. Well you would have to know the whole situation. I normally don’t tell anything about anyone. Maybe a bad friend was rubbing off on me. I told my mom that a guy that I set a friend up with was taking pills for his illness and she told the girls mom. The mom already knew and told my mom what pill he is taking and why. He doesn’t know that the girl he is with told her mom that and blames me cause she told him whatever I don’t know. I didn’t talk bad about him I have always thought a lot of him and would never say anything bad about him. That friend of mine she wants to say that I was talking bad about him because she doesn’t like me or is jealous I don’t know.
    Anyway don’t gossip it always ends badly. It isn’t always true either what you hear. Some people love to exaggerate and add drama where there is none.

    Also when you get mad at someone play it cool. If you get mad it just makes you look bad.

    Be careful what you do because you can’t take it back.

    Like: Thumb up +1

  3. Vanessa says:

    Some things are just misunderstandings.

    Also you can always reinvent yourself. Got that from the blog Pick The Brain.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  4. Vanessa says:

    I am going to make time to read everyones journal entry on here. I truly believe that you can learn something from everybody.

    Like: Thumb up +1

  5. luv3971 says:

    You do not have to be friends with everyone. Friendships don’t have to be “easy,” but they do have to be meaningful and beneficial to both parties. If it takes a lot of work to be someones friend and you get very little out of the friendship – It is time to reevaluate if your efforts are worth the reward. If its not, it is time to cut ties and save yourself a lot of time, energy, and headaches. Make more of an effort to connect with the friends who are truly enrich your life.

    I had a friend who was a nice person, but was very self-centered and oblivious. I don’t think she was self-centered on purpose, but it was extremely hard to connect with her on any level because she always wanted to talk about herself and her problems and did not consider anyone else’s feelings or thoughts. It took a lot to listen to her complain and talk about herself that It became a stressful situation when she was around. At one point, I finally took a step back and realized that I had so much negative energy toward her and I could not pinpoint anything positive about our relationship; it was completely one-sided. I could continue being her “friend” and biting my tongue and zoning out while she talked about herself all the time, or I could be honest with myself and put my energies toward friendships that I actually enjoy.

    To this day, I do not regret that decision. It may sound harsh, but it is almost free-ing. It is actually one of the best things I could have done for myself.

    Like: Thumb up +1

    • Tanya says:

      I agree, I would much rather invest my time on friends that put in the same amount of effort into building the relationship. One sided relationships don’t last long and only work to drain your energy. Sometimes letting go and moving on is the best thing you can do.

      Thanks for sharing your life lesson :)

      Like: Thumb up 0

    • Vanessa says:

      I get what your saying my problem is I have a hard time dropping friends. I like them on some level and even if there mean or downers I still continue to talk to them. I have dropped people before but it is hard for me. Sometimes it gets to a point where they become toxic friends and you have to drop them because it is what is best for everyone. They deserve better and you do too.

      Like: Thumb up 0

  6. Jesse Barkume says:


    well Cele already said it in the review, ” 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 “. Which to me, means life is neither beautiful nor ugly but a blank canvass to paint our experience on so others including our selves can appreciate our life’s creation and uniqueness because no painting even of the same apple tree can be identical. I call it the bittersweet truth in life. The bitter comes from the belief that life has to be full of ugliness/darkness in order for us to be able to express our beauty/light and the sweet comes from the belief that it is entirely up to us as to how much beauty/color we want to create. To me there are no limits only the limits you put on yourself because the canvass is as big or as small as you want it to be but the bigger the canvass the more darkness is going to be behind it. In other words, I can’t fully appreciate a good day if I never had a bad day and I can’t fully appreciate someone like Gondi’ if I’ve never seen a Hitler. “Balance”. It’s what we all seek and why we created this experience for our selves. Because once we find it, there is nothing to seek anymore.

    Like: Thumb up +1

  7. tashi says:

    The most important thing I learned is the critical thinking!

    Like: Thumb up +1

  8. Lavanya says:

    The one thing i have learnt in life, but not necessarily successful in applying it everyday is, what Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita. This point has been reinforced in every single experience of my life.
    “Do your duty with discipline without focus/interest on the outcome/results. You only own your conscious in how well you do the task. What will be the result or the reactions that you get is not in your hands and not something to focus on and worry about.

    Only if you are conscious about this will you live in the present moment and stop worrying about the future and more importantly stop having expectations and would be able to have a detached attachment .

    Like: Thumb up +1

  9. Ish says:

    The most important thing I have learnt is that I am the master of my own destiny.

    I mean this in two ways – I am the one to decide how I will lead my life, according to my own values and dreams. If I try to live according to someone else dreams, I will never be happy.

    In addition, it is up to me to shape my future.

    There is one quote I read somewhere online which says it much better than I can:

    “My will shall shape my future. Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man’s doing but my own. I am the force; I can clear any obstacle before me or I can be lost in the maze. My choice, my responsibility; win or lose, only I hold the key to my destiny.” – Elaine Maxwell

    Like: Thumb up +2

    • Kamal says:

      Dear Ish…. Living your life according to your own dreams could be the best gift you can give to yourself. :)

      I agree that no one could be ever happy, living anyone else’s life.

      Like: Thumb up 0

  10. Rahul says:

    ‘What a man has done a man can do’… Anything is possible.

    Some time back I made an attempt to consolidate success principles for achieving anything (out of various books and continuous life study)

    Few top of the mind recalls… I call them Universal Success Mantras:
    1. It starts with true DESIRE
    2. Followed by undying BELIEF and FAITH
    3. LAW OF ATTRACTION follows – Universe conspires to give what you truly desire and believe to you
    4. MASTER MIND GROUP helps – A group of like minded to interact, inspire and mutually learn at regular interval. Great revelation. True across centuries – Benjamin Franklin, Einstein, Stephen Hawkings, etc.
    5. In a carefully chosen good ENVIRONMENT – good friends, good people.
    6. With clarity of Life’s PURPOSE, definite goal and clear vision (listen to your heart)
    7. Fire it up with day PLANNING
    8. And support all of above with bonus HABITS – optimism, discipline, humility, self control, etc.

    A detailed blog can be found at:

    Like: Thumb up +2

  11. Chris says:

    Having had special educational needs growing up, I’d say the #1 thing I’ve learned is to be true to MY self and seek within to see what I am like. I am much more than what psychologists say about me. They can make informed guesses, but only I am having my life experience. That teaching probably saved my life during school.

    This is the most appropriate answer for me at this time: I’m 21 years of age, so more will come as I grow.

    Like: Thumb up +1

  12. Anand V says:

    What are life lessons?

    Man’s goal is happiness. We read or learn on our own, things that change our attitude and get us closer to great happiness. These are life lessons.

    Random insights:

    I was staring at the blank page for over an hour today – did I learn ANYTHING important yet? So I wrote random (but important) insights into the blank page for the next hour:

    ~ You always forget what we started and also lose what we write down.
    ~ You are invariably perpetually gaining wisdom through experience, just as a stream does not stand still. You just decide HOW this happens.
    ~ Tomorrow is always very different from what you think it will be – this is called reality.
    ~ Inner growth is a great feeling – it doesn’t feel like having gained something, it feels like unfolding.
    ~ There is no such thing as goals, attitudes or laws – ‘self-help’ terminology is misleading because it is concise.
    ~ We must forget most of what we learn.
    ~ The same situation means different things depending on how it is explained to you and how long you think about it.

    The most important thing you’ve learned in my life so far?

    By the time we are 10 we have learned all the most important things. This is much before we think of reading self-help books. There are a couple of things that we learned by the age of 10 that I must repeat again. They surely are the most important things – you just don’t get paid to write a book on them:
    Money is not important. Even if you don’t become famous or exceptional, don’t stray off the lawful path and your life is fulfilled.

    Like: Thumb up +1

  13. pksd says:

    Family and friends and experiences matter a lot – acquiring objects beyond the basics doesn’t matter much.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  14. Anu says:

    Have Faith in God. Believe in yourself.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  15. roand says:

    talk less, listen more. And when even when you are silent you are saying a lot even though you are not uttering a word. Actions are indeed louder than words.

    Like: Thumb up 0

    • Vanessa says:

      I always thought it was better to talk more cause I was a shy person. I thought well people who talk a lot are liked more and now I think it is better to shut my mouth and listen. People don’t want to hear you talk they want to talk about themselves. You can’t learn anything about them if your always talking about yourself. I guess it kinda goes both ways talk a lot but also listen a lot.

      Like: Thumb up 0


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