Living a life with degenerative disease, I honestly did not think that I’d reach the age of 30. Having a disability was hard enough, being gay was an extra challenge.
I’d be lying if I tell you that I never wish I just had a normal life, but I am grateful for the adversities I had for they shaped me into the person that I am today.
Looking back, here are the lessons I learned in my journey as an artist, business owner and an individual with interpersonal relationships.
The list is actually very personal for me, it’s something that I keep a record of to remind me to keep on going and never give up.
But I am sharing it here in case anyone might pickup a nugget or two.
Freelance Business and Enterpreneurship
- 01. Launch it now, refine it later
If you have a business idea, go ahead and put it out there as quickly as you can. If you wait until you are ready, you’ll be waiting all your life.
- 02. You don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.
Achieving your dreams is all about the system. Your system is what determines what you’ll become.
- 03. Going the extra mile puts you in a favorable position later on.
Doing more than what you’re paid for boosts your chances of advancing in your career. After all, people always remember exceptional service.
- 04. Delayed gratification compounds benefits.
By sacrificing a little satisfaction today, you can greatly increase the quality of your life tomorrow.
- 05. An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
It’s something that one can not take away from you and if mastered can bring you riches.
Art and Creativity
- 06. Art is about connection, not fame.
It is how you can cultivate a sense of relatableness more than gaining recognition.
- 07. Art is more about self-excavation more than self-expression.
Art is supposed to raise questions to help you understand yourself and the world better with the answers that you come up with.
- 08. Creativity is connecting the dots.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel and come up with fresh ideas, sometimes you just have to gather them all together and see what forms.
- 09. Ideas are creative energy waiting for you to breathe life into.
Relationships and Emotions
- 10. You don’t have to have so many friends, you only need a few true ones.
- 11. It’s better to be alone than to be in the wrong crowd.
Don’t try to join groups that you know in your bones you don’t belong in, it’ll just make you feel alienated.
- 12. Hearts break, hearts mend.
Been through both, and no matter how bad the heart breaks, it always heals, it’s just a matter of time.
- 13. You can love someone without being committed to the person.
When an attraction is so strong, it’s natural to want to be with the apple of your eyes but you don’t always have to act on those desires. Sex complicates the situation more often than not.
- 14. Grudge is a prison, forgiveness is key.
Learning to forgive lessens the amount of hurt, anger, and stress on both the offended and the offender.
- 15. Honey catches more flies than vinegar.
Key takeaway from the classic book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, it is much easier to get what you want by being polite rather than by being demanding and hostile.
- 16. You don’t always have to be the hero.
You can’t always save a person from misfortunes, but you can be there by her/his side while one goes through the problems.
- 17. Knowing and acting on the love language of your partner is key to a lasting relationship.
You can effectively communicate and channel that affection into something that your partner actually appreciates by knowing the love language in which he/she operates.
Self and Identity
- 18. Take the road less traveled.
Act and think independently, do not conform to other people’s standards.
- 19. Disability is not a hindrance to achieving a fulfilling life.
If anything, it’s an extra motivation to prove yourself. As Napoleon Hill wrote, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
- 20. Be comfortable being single before being committed to someone else.
To avoid disaster, always make sure that you’re choosing someone out of love not out of loneliness.
- 21. Be the right person to attract the right person.
Finding the right person all starts with the relationship you have with yourself.
- 22. Never abandon yourself.
Take comfort from the fact that people will come and go in your life but there’d be that one person that you’d always have - yourself. So practice self-compassion all the time.
Attitude and Outlook
- 23. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Life’s more fun when you have good company to journey with.
- 24. Happiness is the by-product of a meaningful life.
From the concept of minimalism, it’s what we do, not what we have that gives life its essence.
- 25. Having ample sleep gets you more productive than having less.
A well-rested body and mind function at a much higher level than a body and mind that aren’t.
- 26. Gratitude is the best attitude.
Gratitude combats negative emotions, it neutralizes envy, hostility, worry, and irritation.
- 27. You can’t control what happens to you, but you can choose how to respond to it.
You gain power over something when you take full responsibility for it.
- 28. Blessed people bless people.
Been at the opposite ends. When receiving, receive gratefully. When giving, give joyfully.
- 29. You help yourself by helping others.
All the kindness you give shall come back to you, it’s the way of the universe.
- 30. Motion creates emotion.
The antidote to a bad day is a good workout. When you get moving, the body releases feel-good hormones that can alter your moods.
I have learned a lot of lessons over the years, and while I may be wiser today, I know that there is still a lot to learn and I am excited to see where life takes me.