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Lessons I’ve Learned from Life

By Debra Pestrak

During my life I’ve had what I call “2 x 4” experiences—experiences where I have had to learn things the hard way. These experiences, in which I could have chosen to learn things by watching and learning from others, were painful. Now I have to admit that, when you learn these lessons the hard way, you don’t forget them. Maybe we were meant to experience them this way. Maybe we were given earlier opportunities to learn it an easier way, and we chose not to learn it at that time, so we were given another opportunity. I am a believer that, if we don’t learn the lessons put in our path, we are given the opportunity over and over again to get it right. Some people never learn, and happiness reflects it.

After these painful experiences, I decided to reach out to find answers, solutions, and options from others. I’ve become a big believer in modeling others’ behaviors and researching solutions. This has included asking others’ advice, seeking mentors, reading, and listening to tapes. Here are a few lessons learned along my path. I hope they will help in your life’s journey.

I’ve learned:

  • You cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved.
  • What you give is what you get.
  • No matter how much I care, some people will not care back.
  • It takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.
  • It’s not what you have in your life but whom you have in your life that counts.
  • You can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes; after that, you’d better know something.
  • Comparing yourself to others undermines your own self worth. We are each unique individuals, which makes each of us special.
  • You can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.
  • Becoming the person I want to be is a lifetime process.
  • You should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.
  • You can keep going long after you thought you could. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.
  • It is by taking chances that we learn to be brave.
  • We are responsible for what we do, no matter how we want to rationalize it.
  • Either you control your attitude or it controls you.
  • Regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.
  • Heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.
  • Money is a lousy way of keeping score.
  • Everything happens for a reason, even though that reason may not be clear at the time.
  • Unvoiced expectations of others usually lead to disappointment.
  • My best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.
  • Sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.
  • Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they’re capable of giving at that time.
  • Maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had and what you’ve learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.
  • By stepping outside of our comfort zones we grow.
  • You should never tell a child their dreams are unlikely or outlandish. What a tragedy it would be if they believed it.
  • Your family won’t always be there for you. Families aren’t necessarily biological.
  • No matter how good a friend is, your feelings will get hurt every once in a while, and you must forgive them for that.
  • It isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.
  • Parents make a huge impact on their children’s lives by developing their self-confidence and instilling in them that they can have and do anything they want in life.
  • No matter how bad your heart is broken, the world doesn’t stop for your grief.
  • Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.
  • Just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do.
  • You shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.
  • Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.
  • No matter how you try to protect your children, they will eventually get hurt and you will hurt in the process.
  • People who don’t even know you can change your life in a matter of hours.
  • People you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.
  • It’s hard to determine where to draw the line between being nice and not hurting people’s feelings and standing up for what you believe.
  • The quality of your communication can determine the quality of your life.
  • You can achieve what you want in life if you believe you deserve it and really put your mind, heart, and energy into it.
  • If you do not stay focused on your dreams, they will fade away.
  • You must set your goals based on what is important to you, not to someone else.
  • Living in the past or in the future robs from today.
  • You can’t force things to happen; they will happen when they’re supposed to.
  • We rarely can achieve things in life by ourselves; with other people’s help, you make things easier, you make fewer mistakes, and you get different perspectives.
  • Some people were meant to come and go in your life, even though you would like for them to stay.
  • If you don’t stay in shape, you’ll pay for it in the long run.
  • If you don’t tell people what you want/expect from them, then you must believe they’re mind readers, and will only get what they think about, and that can be very different.
  • Whatever area in your life you don’t put energy into will suffer.
  • It’s up to you to design the life of your dreams.

I hope you choose to embrace these lessons into you heart and mind.

About the Author

Debra Pestrak is a peak performance expert, an award-winning motivational speaker, and author of Playing with the Big Boys: Success Secrets of the Most Powerful Women in Business and Playing with the Big Boys & Girls in Real Estate. Debra is founder and CEO of Success Unleashed, Inc.®, a company dedicated to developing powerful programs that impact the way people think and work. Pestrak was a player in corporate America for 26 years, working her way up the ranks from a telephone operator to managing a $20 million budget. She also has instituted and led sales organizations, and is the past president of the National Speakers Association – San Diego. To discover more performance advice, contact the author at 888 SUN-3777.



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