10 principles most people learn too late in life (a little toolkit for life)

Most of us have to learn life’s hardest lessons the hard way.

In a world that’s always in a rush, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and neglect the most important principles that should guide our lives.

More often than not, people realize these principles too late when they could’ve actually made a significant difference.

In fact, you’ve probably heard the phrase “hindsight is 20/20” more times than you’d like to admit.

Sound familiar?

If it does, continue reading for the 10 principles most people learn too late in life—a little toolkit for life.

1) Self-care is not selfish

One of the most crucial principles people tend to learn too late in life is that self-care is not selfish.

You find the greatest contentment when you take time to care for yourself, because prioritizing your own well-being enables you to live a happier and more fulfilling life.

Moreover, you also use this self-care time to recharge your mental and emotional batteries after a long day of fulfilling responsibilities.

Regrettably, your dedication to self-care can often be mistaken for selfishness because you choose to prioritize yourself over others at times.

People might perceive you as self-absorbed or uncaring because of this, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

You value self-care because, when you’re taking care of yourself, you’re also in a better position to take care of those around you.

2) Failure is not final

Another common principle that most people learn later in life is that failure is not final but a stepping stone towards success.

I remember when I first tried to launch my own business.

I had invested a lot of time, effort, and money into it, only to see it crumble within the first year.

At that moment, I felt like a complete failure.

However, as I got older and wiser, I realized that this failure was not the end of the world, but rather a valuable lesson.

It taught me what not to do in my next venture and pushed me to work harder and smarter.

Failure is an integral part of our journey towards success.

It’s through our failures that we learn, grow, and become better versions of ourselves.

So don’t be afraid to fail. Embrace it, learn from it, and use it as a stepping stone towards your success.

3) Money doesn’t equate to happiness

It’s a common misconception that the more money you have, the happier you’ll be.

This idea is deeply ingrained in our society, leading us to relentlessly chase wealth.

However, a study conducted by Princeton University found that emotional well-being rises with income but only up to about $75,000 per year.

Beyond that, more money does not contribute to more happiness.

This isn’t to say that money isn’t important—it provides stability and can make life more comfortable.

But it’s crucial to understand that money is simply a tool, not an end goal.

Happiness lies in the things that money can’t buy—relationships, experiences, and personal growth.

Instead of focusing solely on accumulating wealth, strive for a balanced life filled with joy and fulfillment.

4) Time is your most valuable asset

In our youth, we tend to take time for granted, believing we have endless days to achieve our dreams, mend relationships, or simply enjoy life.

But as we grow older, we realize that time is fleeting and once gone, it never comes back.

We spend so much of our lives chasing material things, often forgetting that it’s the moments and experiences that truly matter.

No amount of money can buy lost time.

This is why it’s important to make conscious decisions about how and with whom we spend our time.

Cherish every moment, live in the present, and remember that time spent on things you love or with people you care about is never wasted.

5) It’s okay not to be okay

Its okay not to be okay 10 principles most people learn too late in life (a little toolkit for life)

One of the hardest truths that we grapple with is understanding that it’s okay not to be okay.

Life is a rollercoaster, filled with ups and downs, and it’s completely normal to have days where you feel down or out of sorts.

We live in a society that often pressures us to put on a brave face and hide our struggles.

We’re told to be strong, to keep pushing, and to never let them see us sweat.

But the truth is, it’s okay to have bad days. It’s okay to feel sad, anxious, or overwhelmed.

It’s okay to admit you’re not okay.

Acknowledging your feelings is the first step toward dealing with them.

Pretending everything is okay when it isn’t only leads to more harm than good.

6) Everyone is fighting their own battle

It’s easy to judge others based on what we see on the surface, but we often forget to consider the struggles they might be facing behind closed doors.

We’re all humans, dealing with our own challenges, fears, and insecurities.

No one’s life is as perfect as it might seem from the outside.

This is why empathy and kindness are so crucial. A small act of kindness can make a huge difference in someone’s day.

It might even lighten the burden they’re carrying.

7) It’s never too late to start

How many times have you thought about starting a new project, learning a new skill, or making a lifestyle change, only to stop yourself thinking it’s too late?

We often get caught up in the idea that we’ve missed our opportunity or that we’re too old to start something new.

But the truth is, it’s never too late.

Whether you’re in your 20s, 30s, 40s or beyond, every day brings a new opportunity to start fresh.

Age is just a number and shouldn’t limit your aspirations.

Remember, J.K. Rowling was 32 when she published her first Harry Potter book and Colonel Sanders was 65 when he started KFC.

If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, take the first step today.

It might be the beginning of an incredible journey.

8) Laughter is the best medicine

Life can get heavy sometimes.

The pressures, the expectations, the constant hustle—it all weighs us down. But in the midst of all this, a good hearty laugh can work wonders.

Laughter has a magical way of instantly lifting our spirits and making everything feel a little bit better.

It’s like a mini vacation for your mind.

In fact, it’s scientifically proven to reduce stress, boost your mood, and even strengthen your immune system.

Now if that’s not a good reason to chuckle, I don’t know what is.

When life gets tough, find something that makes you laugh.

Watch a funny movie, read a humorous book, or simply share jokes with a friend.

Remember, a day without laughter is a day wasted. 

9) You can’t please everyone

A truth that’s often hard to swallow is that you simply can’t please everyone.

In our quest to be liked and accepted, we often bend over backwards trying to meet everyone’s expectations.

But the harsh reality is, no matter what you do, there will always be someone who isn’t satisfied.

Some people will judge you, some will misunderstand you, and some might not like you at all—and that’s perfectly okay.

Your worth is not determined by their opinions.

The important thing is that you stay true to yourself.

Make decisions based on what’s right for you, not to win approval from others.

You’re the one who has to live with your choices, so make sure they’re ones you can be proud of.

10) Life is short, live it to the fullest

And finally, the most important principle that we often realize too late is that life is short, so we should live it to the fullest.

We get so caught up in the daily grind that we forget to truly live.

We’re so focused on making a living that we forget to make a life.

But life isn’t just about surviving—it’s about thriving.

It’s about creating memorable moments, pursuing passions, and enjoying every single day.

So don’t just exist. Live. Make the most of every opportunity.

Follow your dreams, no matter how big or small.

Because at the end of the day, it’s not the years in your life that count, but the life in your years.

Final thoughts

It’s easy to lose sight of these principles in the busyness of life.

We tend to focus on the wrong things or learn these truths after we’ve already seen the consequences of ignoring them.

However, understanding these principles early on can make a significant difference in our lives.

They can guide us toward a more fulfilling and contented life.

So take a moment to reflect. Are there principles here you’ve overlooked? Or perhaps ones you’ve learned too late?

Remember, life is a journey, not a destination. It’s about learning and growing every step of the way.

And it’s never too late to start applying these principles.

Only those who take the time to reflect, learn, and grow truly get to experience the beauty of life in all its fullness. 

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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