10 Life Lessons from My Research

Over the past few years, my research has taught me many things. What comes to mind are the people I encountered who had a keen sense of identity that made them resilient after defeat and steady at the crossroads. They taught me so much about life. In reflecting on 2020, it seemed like a good idea to share some of the lessons I’ve learned.

 What I’ve learned…

  1. Most people want to live meaningful lives but struggle to define what that really means for themselves. This causes people to feel like something is missing, that they are falling behind, or that they are empty inside.
  1. Anyone can achieve an extraordinary life if they are willing to suffer the humility of a new learning curve. People who commit to learning are vibrant human beings. As such, they attract opportunity and deeper connections with others.
  1. Most happiness stems from having realistic expectations about life. While BHAGs (big, hairy, audacious goals) are alluring, sparkling off in the distance, those who believe in the promise of the new day—sharing a hot meal, the soft kiss, the friendly greeting, or the grace of forgiveness—consistently feel better.
  1. The source of unhappiness arises from believing we can resolve life’s uncertainties.Uncertainty is not always something to be confronted; often it’s just a part of life.
  1. Facing a crossroads is becoming a more frequent occurrence in contemporary life. These plot twists shape us in powerful ways when we are willing to suffer the uncertainty that goes with them.
  1. Our obsession with motivation has kept us very busy, but it hasn’t taught us how to endure painfully discouraging experiences and still keep going.
  1. Motivation just helps us start things. It doesn’t help us finish things.
  1. Resilient people use the environment they are in now, no matter how unfavorable, to the develop the skills they need for where they’re headed.
  1. People with the most confidence have faced their weaknesses.
  1. Most goals are tactical, but purpose goals are more dynamic, enduring, and ultimately soul shaping. People who set purpose goals live richer, more satisfying lives.