On your journey through life, you will encounter many lessons that people teach you. Often, these lessons are helpful and can guide you down a successful path. I’m sure many of you have followed certain life lessons and enjoyed a better life because of it.
Nevertheless, some life lessons are less helpful than they seem. You might see these lessons and follow them devoutly when you really don’t need to. The problem with lessons like these are that they make you feel like you should be doing certain things. This can create negative feelings and make you think that you’re underachieving in life. Or, it can force you to do things just to follow these lessons, meaning you neglect other important aspects of your life.
The best way to explain the problems with some common life lessons is to go through them. So, here are a few lessons you don’t actually need to follow:
Everyone needs to buy a house
This life lesson sometimes exists on its own, or you see things tagged onto the end like ‘by the time you’re 30’. The idea behind it makes sense, so I don’t begrudge anyone that follows it. It’s built on the concept that getting on the property ladder is a great investment. You can’t really complain about that! Investing in a house or a condo can be a great way to tie up your money and make a big future return. However, it’s not something you should view as essential or a life goal – nor do you need to.
You see, some people don’t need or want to buy a house. If you travel around a lot – or have other financial responsibilities – buying a home doesn’t make sense. So, if you follow this life lesson, you might waste money on something you don’t need. More to the point, this lesson makes people feel like they’re behind in life. You see your friends buying houses in their 20’s, and it makes you think you need to do this. In reality, you can buy a house or you can rent – it really doesn’t make a difference in your life.
Failure is not an option
For many years, failure was seen in the worst possible light. If you fail, you are unsuccessful. This is basically how we grew up viewing the world. Why do you think so many kids get stressed when taking exams in school? It’s because they’re afraid of failing because they’ve been conditioned to think it’s not an option. We’re taught not to fail, which is genuinely one of the worst things you can do for your self-confidence and ambition.
Effectively, the life lesson of ‘failure is not an option’ creates situations where you’re scared of making mistakes. In turn, you slip into your comfort zone and plod along through life. You have no ambition because you’re too scared of trying something and failing at it. This is something everyone should try to unlearn as failure can be a good thing. Failing at something will always teach you valuable lessons about yourself. You can learn from your failures and improve as a person. At the very least, failure can tell you that perhaps your path in life isn’t down a certain route. In turn, you re-assess and find a new way in life that’s more catered to your strengths. Don’t be afraid of failure – embrace it, the line between failure and success is very thin!
You should have your life together by the time you’re 30
Like so many life lessons, this one stems from a time where life was very different. It comes from the older generations, where everyone followed a similar path. People rarely went to university, so most individuals finished school and were working full-time at the age of 18. Back in the day, it was also seen as common to find a partner and get married in your twenties. By the time you were 30, you were thinking of starting a family, you had a job, and your life was pretty much set.
I think a lot of parents still live by these rules nowadays, which puts pressure on the next generation. Listen, you don’t have to have your life sorted at the age of 30. That’s still a ridiculously young age! Hell, even at 40 years of age you have another 25 years before retirement. That’s probably more years than some of you have been on the planet right now! It can take you until your mid-thirties to finally discover your passion in life and where you want to take yourself. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have it all figured out yet, life is not a linear journey – there’s plenty of time to find your calling.
Always be happy
Okay, this seems like a genuinely nice and helpful life lesson. No matter what happens to you, always try to be happy. It follows the lines of the classic saying: always look on the bright side of life. To be fair, it’s only recently that we’ve realized how damaging this way of thinking can be. Decades of this approach to life has meant people are accustomed to hiding their emotions. You think it’s weak to feel anything other than happiness. Realistically, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
There’s nothing wrong with being happy or trying to be happy. However, the problem is that you should realize it’s okay to be sad! It’s okay to not be okay – nobody is going to have a perfect life. There will be ups and downs, so it’s natural to feel up and down. If you’re sad, be sad! It won’t last forever, and you will be happy again. Forcing happiness on yourself is a recipe for disaster as you bottle up emotions and do more harm than good.
The next time you encounter these life lessons, remember that you don’t need to follow them. If you want to get some help on your journey through life, there are other life lessons that are far more valuable. As a general rule, if a lesson forces you to do something or acts like you need to do something by a certain time, it’s usually bad.