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40 lessons of life… Part 2

By Sinem Bilen Onabanjo
30 January 2021   |   3:02 am
In celebration of my birthday last week, I shared with you the first part of my forty lessons of life. Life is a funny old thing, and there is no practice run, which you only come to appreciate all

In celebration of my birthday last week, I shared with you the first part of my forty lessons of life. Life is a funny old thing, and there is no practice run, which you only come to appreciate all the more once you’ve reached to so-called ‘middle- ages’, and on that note, without further ado, let’s start with.

A quote that is attributed to anyone under the sun goes, “There is no dress rehearsal; this is it.” We don’t get a do-over, or a second run. This is your one precious little life; what you do with it is up to you, but considering you’ll only get to do it once, make it worthwhile.

“Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans,” sang John Lennon in “Beautiful Boy.” Have you ever wondered at the dreams and plans you had in your early twenties and how life took you to very unexpected places in the end? In many cultures, a similar saying goes, “We plan, God, laugh” meaning, whatever plans we may be busy making, at the end of the day life folds out as it should.

“Will this matter a year from now?” This is not a quote by anyone famous but a good yardstick for the heartbreaks that come along the way. Last time I was very anxious about the turn of events in my life, a good friend sat me down and asked me this very question, “Will it matter in three months, in five months, a year from now?” In fact, it wasn’t even up to three months when we looked back and laughed about it. The truth is most things don’t but we get so hung up on them in that very moment, we all need a reminder to put life into perspective. When I get upset these days, I remember to ask myself this question and nine out of ten times, the answer I give myself is no.
Fortune favours the brave. Another cliché, of course, but one you’ll most likely find out to be very true as years go by. Fortune doesn’t seek out the shy and retiring wallflowers but helps those who help themselves by putting themselves forward. Had I know this to be true, I would have built up my confidence way back in my teenage years and grab every opportunity going. Be brave, go for opportunities, when there are none create them; you will find that the more you do so, the more favoured you will feel.

People don’t think of you as much or as often as you give them credit for. One of the reasons we are often not brave or confident enough when we are younger is the self-conscious fear that of what other people will think of us. Think of how often in a day or even in a week you cast a thought to others – rarely, right? What makes you think that they are even sparing you a thought? Once you lose the fear of what other people will think and say, you will find yourself lifted, ready for take-off.

Miracles do happen outside of your comfort zone. Another cliché but another that holds much truth. Comfort zones keep us cosy but limited. Much like conquering your fears, it is once you move beyond your comfort zone and take of the training wheels that you will find more and more fortune will favour you and take you to incredible new places that would have otherwise been a longed-for dream way beyond your comfort zone.

Get out of your own way. Most times, once we’ve conquered our fears and reached beyond our comfort zone we find ourselves standing in the way of any future success – because the moment we are ‘uncomfortable’ and stretched is the moment we start second-guessing ourselves and what we are capable of. My default setting is still to second guess myself even on the cusp of success. When I should feel most confident that I’ve come so far is often when I start questioning if I can go any further. Over the years, I have developed strategies to quieten that questioning little voice inside of me, so I can get out of my own way.

What is the best that could happen? Admit it, we often get stuck in our cosy cocoon to afraid to take on a new challenge, because we often think of the worst-case scenario – the what-ifs come at us thick and fast as we get stuck in an analysis-paralysis and we can’t move forward because we are so anxious overthinking hundreds of worst-case scenarios. What if you flipped the script next time and just focused on the best-case scenarios?

Part 3 coming next week.

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