Life Lessons from Behavioral Experts (Part 2)

Life Lessons from Behavioral Experts (Part 2)


In Part 1 of this article, we examined the first eight bits of wisdom shared in Psychology Today magazine by a group of behavior experts. These experts were asked to contribute their ideas for living a happy, meaningful life. Here are final eight suggestions:

9. Do It While You Can

All we have in life is the present moment. Do what you want to do now. Don’t worry that you are acting too soon, or that you have waited too late. As one expert said, “Every moment is the right moment for anything.” Whether you want to undertake an adventure, or ask for forgiveness, do it now. No other moment is guaranteed to you.

10. Consider the Opportunities You Will One Day Kick Yourself for Missing

Psychologists have studied regret, and they find a big difference in what younger and older people regret. Young people may regret actions that resulted in humiliation, got them into trouble, or caused them to be turned down by a romantic interest.

Older people, particularly those in their 70s and 80s, regret the things they never did, whether learning to dance or taking a long trip. The paradox is that young people often pull back from taking risks and doing exactly what they may regret having missed once the opportunity has passed.

11. Take the Long View

Practice formulating a narrative of your life. Imagine you are the future you, twenty or thirty years older than your present age. What story will you be able to tell then about the arc of your life? Will you wish you had left an unfulfilling relationship, or had children? You hold within you now the knowledge of what you hope to become. Let that knowledge guide your actions.

12. Respect Your Future Self

When you are older, you will find that your life unfolded differently than you planned. Hold on to your belief in yourself, even when you face setbacks. There is much in life that will be outside your control, and failure is a part of life. Learn to move past failure and continue to believe in yourself.

13. Don’t Just Look – Observe

Understanding life requires paying attention. Often, mere words will not bring you understanding. In every situation, notice how people are talking, and interacting. Observe how people treat each other, and you. Tune into the body language of the people you encounter. What you learn will guide you in your interactions with others.

14. Lived Experience Is a Fine Teacher

There is only way way to live life, and that is through experience. Every new situation will bring unique challenges, and you must be willing to be open to every lesson there for you to learn. Parenting, teaching, leading, creating – all of these are processes that you cannot apprehend without direct experience.

15. Comfort is Overrated

We all have a comfort zone, but in order to achieve big things, we are going to have to step outside that zone. Get familiar with the feelings that are stopping you from moving forward, and be courageous enough to move past them.

16. Set Goals That Can Be Met

Setting goals is an important step on the path to success. Just remember to set goals that are “specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.” Decide what you want to achieve, and when. Keep revising them as you move forward.