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. Leny Keo says:

    the important thing that I learn so far is that if you want to get something new. Just take action immediately, stop over thinking… If fail, never ever ever give up. It is your experience. If success, be happy with it. Leny

    Like: Thumb up 0

  2. Kamal says:

    There are many important things I learned in my life, but if I have to pinpoint only 1 thing then here is what I would like to choose :

    “Don’t Say YES When You Want To Say NO”

    This is the most important thing I learnt in my life so far. I never say YES to anyone for anything when I want to say NO.

    5 years ago the scenario was different. That time I was like a person who was more then happy for saying YES all the time to others, whether I’ve to go out of the way but I always said YES to make others happy.

    It is only after I read the book “Don’t Say YES When You Want To Say NO” by Herbert Fensterheim & Jean Baer, changed my thinking and I learnt the most important lesson of my life. I realised that saying YES for everything is an underestimated danger and I should not say Yes to anyone without analyzing the situation. I understood YES is nice but comes with a price.

    In the recent years I have understood the necessity to say NO. Saying NO doesn’t mean that I’m less capable for accomplishing the task / work….but I do not want to overload myself for what I can’t handle. I started saying NO to the unimportant things. It keeps me off the stress of overcommitting. Also saying NO helps me prioritize my work.

    For anyone NO can be the most difficult word to say in any language but I got benefitted with it for my personal growth. :)

    I do say YES but only after looking into my obligations and priority before committing someone for something new. :)

    Like: Thumb up +1

  3. P.Callychurn says:

    Life is a never ending process of learning. As long as you live you learn. You can never say I know all there is to know. Therefore there are so many things to learn still.There are also a number of things that we have learned. I shall mention two of them:
    1. In life you have joy and sorrow; pleasure and pain, day and night. In short high and low, positive and negative.
    • Share all the joys, all the good things of lie. Happiness shared is happiness doubled. People like to listen to good stories, cheerful experiences and the like .Positive experiences helps fill the listeners with hope and in a way make them forget their problems, even it is for a while. At the end you feel happier to have made others happy. Not too Bad!
    • The sad stories you must keep for yourself.No one has time to listen to sad stories, even your nears and dears. Some may pretend to listen, but their mind is elsewhere, and the next time they might avoid you. Also one who goes about telling his problem to others with the hope that they will sympathise with him or her are weaklings and have no willpower to sort out their own things. The develop a state of dependency, and always expect others to sort out things for them. It is said that dependent children become dependent parents. Do your best and leave the rest. If some support or help comes, so much the better. Do not go about with a begging bowl.
    2. Life is a balance between the inside and the outside. You can only enjoy peace and happiness if you are able to have an equilibrium between your inner and outer faculties. At some time in life we concentrate more on the external part, physical or material you might say, at another stage, by instinct as if you feel like looking inside for the subtle, for the spiritual, and value based aspects of life.
    • During the earlier years you have as priority, your education, your career prospects, a roof on your head, a life partner , a family and together you make a home, where reside harmony, love and peace. This will only materialise, if all along , you have time to listen to an inner voice, your conscience. That means that , in the mobilisation and accumulation of the above named and more of the material attributes you allow yourself to be guided by a set of moral and human values .For example you earn your livelihood by fair means, you are honest and respectful to parents , and elders , where possible you come to the help of those in need . At home you are nice , childlike with kids. At this stage it is evident that the external element will be dominant, and rightly so, as you have to face the stark realities of life to run your family, at the same time being a law abiding citizen.
    • In later years when children are grown up and are standing on their own feet , you will develop a sense of detachment, an urge to share a good part of what you have. Earning for the sake of getting more will no more motivate you. Accumulation of any material thing will be burdensome, and you will find more pleasure in giving. This is the time, when more than ever it will occur to you that you cannot take with you any material possession when you leave this world. Any good action, any charitable initiative will fill you with inner and lasting satisfaction. In the past you were excited while receiving, now you are happier, sharing . Even you will come to realise you could have done much more to many more-the poor and desolate.
    • This is the time you become aware of the inner faculties and subtler senses. With our physical eyes we see barriers and frontiers, but with our inner vision we only sense what unites us, Getting a strange feeling that so far you have been living in ignorance, and that in truth the whole world is but one family. That awakening of the inner senses leaves you with a feeling of lasting contentment. Sadly there are still so many who fail to learn the lesson of life and end up in desolation.

    Like: Thumb up +1

  4. P.Callychurn says:

    Life is a never ending process of learning. As long as you live you learn. You can never I know all there is to know. Therefore there are so many things to learn still.There are also a number of things that we have learned. I shall mention two of them:
    1. In life you have joy and sorrow; pleasure and pain, day and night. In short high and low, positive and negative.
    • Share all the joys, all the good things of lie. Happiness shared is happiness doubled. People like to listen to good stories, cheerful experiences and the like .Positive experiences helps fill the listeners with hope and in a way make them forget their problems, even it is for a while. At the end you feel happier to have made others happy. Not too Bad!
    • The sad stories you must keep for yourself.No one has time to listen to sad stories, even your nears and dears. Some may pretend to listen, but their mind is elsewhere, and the next time they might avoid you. Also one who goes about telling his problem to others with the hope that they will sympathise with him or her are weaklings and have no willpower to sort out their own things. The develop a state of dependency, and always expect others to sort out things for them. It is said that dependent children become dependent parents. Do your best and leave the rest. If some support or help comes, so much the better. Do not go about with a begging bowl.
    2. Life is a balance between the inside and the outside. You can only enjoy peace and happiness if you are able to have an equilibrium between your inner and outer faculties. At some time in life we concentrate more on the external part, physical or material you might say, at another stage, by instinct as if you feel like looking inside for the subtle, for the spiritual, and value based aspects of life.
    • During the earlier years you have as priority, your education, your career prospects, a roof on your head, a life partner , a family and together you make a home, where reside harmony, love and peace. This will only materialise, if all along , you have time to listen to an inner voice, your conscience. That means that , in the mobilisation and accumulation of the above named and more of the material attributes you allow yourself to be guided by a set of moral and human values .For example you earn your livelihood by fair means, you are honest and respectful to parents , and elders , where possible you come to the help of those in need . At home you are nice , childlike with kids. At this stage it is evident that the external element will be dominant, and rightly so, as you have to face the stark realities of life to run your family, at the same time being a law abiding citizen.
    • In later years when children are grown up and are standing on their own feet , you will develop a sense of detachment, an urge to share a good part of what you have. Earning for the sake of getting more will no more motivate you. Accumulation of any material thing will be burdensome, and you will find more pleasure in giving. This is the time, when more than ever it will occur to you that you cannot take with you any material possession when you leave this world. Any good action, any charitable initiative will fill you with inner and lasting satisfaction. In the past you were excited while receiving, now you are happier, sharing . Even you will come to realise you could have done much more to many more-the poor and desolate.
    • This is the time you become aware of the inner faculties and subtler senses. With our physical eyes we see barriers and frontiers, but with our inner vision we only sense what unites us, Getting a strange feeling that so far you have been living in ignorance, and that in truth the whole world is but one family. That awakening of the inner senses leaves you with a feeling of lasting contentment. Sadly there are still so many who fail to learn the lesson of life and end up in desolation.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  5. aileen says:

    I would say the most important thing I have learned is the thing that has affected most change in my life. I have learned that everyone is self-absorbed. We care about ourselves first whether we are aware or not or whether we like it or not.

    Why is this the most important? Because I used to be extremely shy. I edited my words believing that they are extremely important. While my words are important to me, they are not as important to everyone else. Realizing this was actually freeing because not everything was depending on my words. It was not my responsibility to say the most eloquent thing. I can be a good listener encouraging other’s words or jump in whenever appropriate to keep the conversation moving.

    Also realizing this helped me become less dependent on others for approval. I am responsible for my own thoughts and words. That puts less pressure on others and we can all go about our own business respectfully, independently and yet harmoniously.

    Like: Thumb up +1

  6. Vanessa Vee says:

    It’s okay to ask for help.

    Like: Thumb up +3

  7. Ivona says:

    Tough question.

    The most important thing I learned…
    ….if I can choose a book I would say Psychocybernetics by Dr Maxwell Maltz

    ….if I had to distill to a single thing – then the most important thing I learnt is (how) to be optimistic

    Like: Thumb up +1

  8. J says:

    I could answer in several ways, but I’ll focus on the “learned” part; on something that wasn’t intuitive to me initially… my most important piece of hard-won knowledge, in other words.

    If you want it in your life, you’ve gotta make it a habit, both on your schedule and in your mind.

    That may still sound intuitive to some, but it was not to me for a long time. A related thought is automating as much logistical stuff as you can, either literally (like online bill pay) or by conditioned ritual (i.e., dealing with mail immediately, keeping inbox at zero). Sooner or later, the rituals become like brushing teeth, meaning the tasks require a lot less willpower/mental energy than before.

    Breaking big “life things” into schedulable pieces can feel like defiling them. And often, grinding through things in half-hearted mode (as we all have to do sometimes with our scheduled things, like this post :) doesn’t do them proper justice, but it keeps momentum, and is far better than falling into the pit of procrastination. Procrastination may seem like an opponent of daily tasks, but it’s the arch-enemy of life-bucket-level fulfillment.

    While I’m at it, one thing I’m appreciating lately is how emotions and “getting the feel” for things/emotional heuristics can really help automate in this way, too. Elite performers in almost anything — skiing, dancing, public speaking, anything else — have, in my opinion, successfully exposed their most primitive, rawest-feeling selves to their crafts. Initially, logic is removed. By trial and error, they develop an “intuitive” feel that carries them quite far in the pursuit. Conscious thought can be applied on top of that, but at least they have the base automated. In other words, create a safe-to-fail environment, and then just throw yourself into something like kids do. Much harder than it sounds, but the results are good if you can pull it off.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  9. Wai says:

    The thing which is most important and relevant to me at this point of time, is the fact that I am responsible for my own consciousness. That there’s this whole big thing about relating to other people that I don’t know about. And that whatever I want to do at this point of time, I should get it done. Because if I don’t, I probably won’t. And to finish whatever I start, whatever stage it is in when I finish.

    One thing at a time.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  10. The most important thing I’ve learned in my life so far is that people will and always will be looking after themselves. That’s not bad, but I had in mind that people should be caring and compassionate. Unfortunately in one way or another people will always put themselves first in everything. As I said that’s not always bad, maybe everybody should put themselves first. but on the other hand isn’t supposed to be a bit different?

    Like: Thumb up 0

  11. Amina says:

    We need to seize every opportunity appear in front of us to have more experienses to know more about life that help us to know what we want to do in life.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  12. Delaj says:

    Most important lesson?
    I think is becoming conscious that I am the only one responsible for my happiness and we are limitless.

    Another one quite important is the answer to my longest prays. I used to ask God to meet him in order for me to know the meaning of life and why I was here. I felt badly lost. Experience and reflection made me to understand that what I was looking for was not out there. It was already with me, inside my heart from the beginning of life. I have met myself and finally found God. Since then I learned that my capacities were limitless and I have the power to make the most out of my life. :angel:

    Like: Thumb up +1

  13. Ellen says:

    No matter how difficult/nasty/unpleasant a situation is, there is something positive to gain from it!

    Like: Thumb up 0

  14. Michelle says:

    The most important thing I’ve learned so far .. Well I’m going to give my first thought

    Intuition/feeling –I’ve learned that you should go with it as it’s your guide to your life path. You can think with your head or with your heart but intuition the feeling in your gut will almost always point you in the right direction.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  15. Ksenia says:

    I think that the most important thing I have learned is that YOU LIVE ONCE AND IT IS NOT WORTH SPENDING ON WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO AS PER THE SOCIETY BUT ONLY ON THINGS THAT ARE REALLY IMPORTANT FOR YOU AND MAKE YOU AND PEOPLE SURROUNDING YOU HAPPY !!!

    I think that somewhere deep inside everyone knows about it, but we are so busy of doing what everyone is expecting us to do, that we never think about it.

    Me personally, I have started to think about it only recently (like 2-3 months ago) and I am now trying to change my life in accordance with this quotation. And I think that this is the main reason why I have started this 21 day challenge.

    Like: Thumb up 0

 


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