I think a lot about the lessons we learn in life. In 2014 my wise friend, writer, teacher and activist Frank Roberts shared his 32 life lessons for his 32 years of his life. I'd like to share them with you.
1. Your life is your message.
2. Take your own advice.
3. God is real.
4. No matter what happens, you are going to be okay. Haven’t you been okay all of these years? In spite of all the breakdowns, beatdowns, barricades, and barriers—you are still here. Doesn’t that tell you something? God is gonna pull you through it, no matter what the “it” is. The moment you realize that, you begin to live fearlessly. Each day that I wake up, I tell myself: "Hey, no matter what happens, you are going to be okay." I also meditate daily with the same words.
5. You have a right to say no. Most of us have very weak and flaccid 'no' muscles. We feel guilty for saying no. We get ostracized and challenged for saying no, so we forget it's our choice. Your 'no' muscle has to be built up to get to a place where you can say, 'I don't care if that's what you want. I don't want that. No.'
6. Bad company corrupts good character.
7. The emotional IQ is far greater than the intellectual IQ.
8. The decisions you make in times of challenge and controversy will determine your emotional IQ.
9. While the most dangerous person in the world is a person with nothing to lose, the most powerful person in the world is a person with nothing to prove.
10. Be humble but also be aware.
11. Increase your prayer life and/or meditative life. How can you expect to be in control of your life if you can’t even control your mind for 5 minutes? Learn how to practice critical stillness. Sit in the dark, alone, regularly. Being alone is not the same as being lonely. At the end of the day YOU are your best friend----learn how to be by yourself, joyously.
12. Be careful who you share your ideas with.
13. In Life, its not how you start its how you finish.
14. Fear is a spirit that really can stop you from living.
15. Your Life is like a theatre. Arrange the seats carefully. Not everyone deserves a front row seat in your life. Some folks must be reserved for the balcony. And a select few can be allotted "backstage passes"
16. The ancestors are always with you. Call upon them. I regularly have conversations with my mother, my greatgrandmother, my biological father, my stepfather, James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Jesus, Josephine Baker, and Langston Hughes. They're as available to you, as they are to me.
17. Don't think you have to solve every problem under the sun.
18. Age is a state of mind. Success has nothing to do with how old you are. Toni Morrison wrote her first novel at 39. Your story is not over yet.
19. To whom much is given, much is expected.
20. You give away your power when you don't forgive. Forgiving someone does not mean you need to re-invite them into your life. It is quite possible to say, “I forgive you. I also have decided that your behavior no longer belongs in my life. Goodbye.”
21. Anything you chase will run. Stop chasing after people who have shown you that they are not as interested in you, as you are in them.
22. Don't ever think of yourself higher than your source.
23. Success is not what you've obtained, it's what you've overcome.
24. YOU are the best thing that ever happened to you.
25. Other people’s opinion of you is none of your business.
26. Do not be afraid to be extravagant, over-the-top, or “complicated.” Well behaved people rarely make history. It’s ok to go against the grain.
27. You have the right to change your mind, even if it means coming off as flaky or making some people upset. In the Spring of 2014, I was accepted to four of the nation’s top law schools: the University of Chicago, Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, as well as a graduate program at Yale. Many of them offered full rides. After originally saying "yes,"to an offer I later changed my mind and said "no" (actually, I said "not now"). My point: Whatever situation you find yourself in (a job you don't enjoy, a relationship'p that has become unfulfilling, or a commitment that you no longer feel attached to): you have the right to change your mind. Without apologizing.
28. Ask yourself: If money were not an issue, what is the job that you would do for free? I've learned that finding the answer to *that* question will lead you right to your life's purpose.
29. Most of us are spiritually retarded. Spiritual retardation is when you find yourself repeating the same painful experience over and over again without learning the lesson. Stop doing this. It’s time for you to graduate. Spiritual special-ed is not where you belong.
30. Have the courage to follow your passion—and if you don’t know what your passion/purpose is, realize that one reason for your existence on earth is to find it. It wont come to you through some special announcement or through a burning bush. Your life’s work is to find your life’s work—and then exercise the discipline and hard work it takes to pursue it.
31. Scripture tells us that “without vision, the people will perish.” Have a vision. Have a clear picture in your mind of what you want life to look like, feel like, and be like. Your vision will pull you through. The clearer your vision, the clearer your path.
32. You are the CEO of your life. Stop living as though you’re just the secretary.