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These short sayings have shaped the way I ought to live my life.
1) Be Ready to Learn
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill
Life is about constantly learning new things and being brave enough to deal with problems that may arise. Just because you succeed doesn’t mean you will stop growing as an individual. Just because you fail doesn’t mean a chance for you to improve no longer exists. As a human being, you must prepare yourself for any challenge that might be thrown your way and fight until the very end.
2) Be Kind & Sympathetic
“Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” — Maya Angelou
We are all going through our own issues. Many of us, unfortunately, hide our agonies from the people around us and put on a smile of disguise to pretend that everything is okay. Whenever possible, I strive to be the shining light for others because it pains me to see people suffer alone. If humanity was harmonious and acknowledging of each other, the world would be a wonderful place.
3) Be Grateful
“If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more.” — Oprah Winfrey
There have been times where I felt as if I am not as lucky as some. There have been times where I wished I could live the life of a celebrity. However, when I think about the rest of the world, I come to the realization that I’m better off than a lot of other people. My mother once said to me, in Vietnamese:
The sentence translates to: “When we look up, we see that we’re not as equal to [others], but when we look down, we see that no one is equal to us.” To this day, I still remember how her words have captivated me and influenced me to be grateful for what I have.
When you reach a point in your life where you understand why things are the way they are and come to appreciate what you already have, it is indeed the moment you are most happy. Not only will you hold possession of concrete things, but you will also be able to grasp the feeling of spiritual fulfillment by that time.
4) Be Optimistic
“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” — George Eliot
I believe that there will always be opportunities in life for me to make my dreams a reality. I have aspired to be a musician ever since I was very young, but I am currently studying biology and chemistry to become a pharmacist — my parents had encouraged me to find a stable job before doing anything else. Regardless, within me lies a strong hope that I will still be able to pursue a music career after I’ve received my Pharm. D. degree.
Similar to #1, I also believe in the idea that it is never too late for me to become a better person. No one was born to be faultless; as a result, they have been given a life to become “the best version of [themselves]” (Matthew Kelly). Mistakes do not define who I am, but rather the effort put into fixing them.
5) Be Responsible
“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” — Stephen Covey
We were all given the power to make our own decisions and alter our path of life. Regardless of where people began, it may come as a surprise that some can find themselves at the same end as others. Therefore, one cannot blame his/her difficulties on the environment in which they were raised or the situations in which they were placed.
What truly defines your character is the way you react during any particular time in life, whether of hardship or of delight. A wise person finds ways to influence the outcome of a situation instead of complaining about not being able to make changes in their own life.
6) Be Confident
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” — Alice Walker
As I’ve stated in my previous story, we all have value whether or not we are able to recognize it. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise — negativity from the outside world is what causes most people to think twice about their capabilities. Be sure of what you can do and live your life with confidence. You have the power to shape your life the way you desire it to be.
7) Be Forgiving
“I think the first step is to understand that forgiveness does not exonerate the perpetrator. Forgiveness liberates the victim. It’s a gift you give yourself.” — T. D. Jakes
There is no doubt that we all have dealt with pain inflicted by others. However, behind every taunt is a motive, and behind every faulty person is a vulnerable soul. As #2 suggests, we are called to be sympathetic of the other’s personal dread and reasoning behind harming them — common reasons include jealousy, abuse, etc.
Relating to this concept is another quote: “Anger is the punishment we give ourselves for someone else’s mistake” (unknown source). It took me a while to realize that the longer I refuse to forgive the person who hurt me, the longer I will continue to hurt myself. Without forgiveness, I am therefore forcing my mind to bear the weight of discomfort that could easily be lifted, had I forgiven a long time ago. When you forgive, the tight bond between you and the person at fault is finally broken, and both are allowed to move on in peace. This doesn’t necessarily mean you will forget what happened — it is good to be cautious if a similar situation were to occur again — but you are at least relieved of any further pain.
8) Be Alive
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” -Bill Keane
Life is a beautiful blessing from God to every living thing. We were each only given one life, so it is especially important to treasure it and thrive as proper human beings. Move on from any past traumas (avoid dwelling in the past), be excited for what the future will bring, and be thankful for every additional day you live. Smile as much as possible; your positivity will illuminate the darkness in not only your life but also the lives of those around you.
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