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Middle-aged woman sitting on couch talking

Most people hate aging, but if there’s one good thing about it, it’s certainly the wisdom that comes with age. Some things just can’t be taught, and can only be learned as you move through life. No gatekeeping here, though! Here are 10 of the most popular lessons people have learned in life.

1. You Can’t Fix Other People’s Problems

You will rarely be able to fix someone else’s problems. For that to happen, the person has to be emotionally invested in changing, which most people are not. Some people are so deeply ingrained in their dysfunction that they’ll drag you down with them if you get too involved in trying to save them. It’s important to take stock of the situation before you invest too much time trying to fix something that they don’t want to fix.

2. Compound Interest Builds up Quickly

If you live with consumer debt, your life is as much as 20% more expensive than it is for people who don’t live with consumer debt – and that’s largely due to compounding interest. Compound interest is really only beneficial to you when it comes to savings – when it comes to debt it works against you and only makes matters worse. That’s why the best thing to do is to get out of debt and then stay out if you can.

3. No One Cares for Your Well-Being at Work

It’s an unfortunate truth that no one likes to hear, but you are the only one looking out for you when it comes to the workplace. Don’t trust anyone when it comes to your job, instead keep your comments to yourself and mind your own business. People you think are your ride and die will swiftly throw you under the bus if it means they get to keep their job.

4. Better To Have a Small Group of Friends

This is one of the cases where quality over quantity rules. It’s much better to have a small group of close friends than a large group of not-so-close friends. As life goes on, you’ll need people you can depend on and who can depend on you. Life happens – loved ones die; family members get sick or injured and don’t recover fully; couples get divorced. The point is, there WILL be times you’ll need to lean on good friends, and times they will need you –  having that support is paramount.

5. The 80/20 Rule Applies Everywhere and to Everything in Life

The 80/20 Rule applies everywhere and to everything in life. For those not in the know, The Pareto principle states that roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes for many outcomes. Few examples:

  • In business, 80% of your sales often come from 20% of your customer base.
  • In society, 20% of the criminals commit 80% of the crime.
  • In our wardrobes, 20% of our clothes are worn approximately 80% of the time.
  • In relationships, 20% of the differences between partners can lead to 80% of the disagreements in the relationship.

6. Sometimes, You Have To Let it Go

Even though you are right about something, sometimes you have to suck it up and let it go because the consequences of being right can have a very negative impact. For example, if you get in a fight with your spouse and even though you are right and don’t apologize, it can cause serious marital problems. Sometimes being right isn’t the hill you want to die on.

7. Our Parents Were Just Regular People

As you get older, you begin to realize that your parents are just regular people with their own baggage and trauma. Realizing that they were doing the best they could with what they were working with, trying to navigate their own lives can be incredibly healing in a way. Of course we can still hold space for the feeling that they could have done better, but they were still healing from what their parents did to them. We are often so quick to be critical of our parents, and don’t think about this enough.

8. People Don’t Want Your Opinion – They Want Validation

When people ask for your opinion, they are seeking confirmation or validation rather than constructive criticism. There is nothing wrong with providing constructive feedback, but only when it is specifically asked for. People really dislike unsolicited advice, so the true lesson is learning to tell the difference between validation requests and actual feedback requests.

9. People’s Cores Are Not Intrinsically Good

You’ll hear lots of people say that, at their core, humans are intrinsically good. However, as time goes on, you’ll realize that unfortunately, many people are pretty selfish and cold, with the rare good person mixed into the lot. It can be discouraging to realize this type of behavior, which is often why we experience so much joy from experiencing or witnessing small acts of kindness. Never underestimate how much a small action can have a ripple effect on others.

10. You Can Do it All Right and Not Get Your Desired Outcome

Sometimes, you can do everything right and still not get the outcome you want. Contrary to what some people say, failure or struggle is not always the result of poor choices. People can make the best choice at every turn and still not succeed in life. The necessary magical ingredient in success is luck; success is not 100% luck, but many people do the same things or do more of them and perform better than highly successful people and still experience failure. It’s a sad reality of life.

This article was produced and syndicated by Cents + Purpose. This article does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Cents + Purpose.

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