10 Life lessons that I wished I had learned earlier : Part 1

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
-George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1910)

No one is born with all knowledge, we all learn various things through out of life journey. Our first learning is through our parents, then teachers, our friends, our neighbors, co-workers, relatives, or some of even learn through other people’s success or failures from history.

Best way we learn thing is by doing; by practicing until we get it right. We learn from our own past behaviors and experience. Some times we make mistakes and keep correcting our ways until we get it right. Mistakes are not bad things, as long as we learn from it. It is human thing to make mistakes and I am very human, because I have made many mistakes and making some right now too. Only thing is I may not know it.

However, here are few lessons I wished I had learned it sooner. If I had, my life would have been more balanced sooner. I would be living much more zen life that much earlier. I know I still have a long ways to go and learn more lessons in the life. Life is a journey through living and learning.

1. Only person you can change is yourself.

I had tried in past to change behavior of my friends, or family members based on what I thought was proper ways to do things. However, in end it did not work. We are all ready to change when we want change ourselves. Need and desire for change has to come from within. Without it, no matter how good and convincing thought is, people will not change until they want to change themselves.

2. Try to be yourself. Do not compare yourself with others

When I was child, my aunt always compared me with her kids. I loved reading as a child so much that I rather be with my favorite book than to go and mingle with guests. It did not set well with my aunt that she labeled me lonely child. It had a huge effect on my childhood as my cousins were social with guests and no so much bookworm like me.

In the end it did not matter, I was and am very social person now. I still love my books but know how to balance both sides well enough. I do not want to compare Zenguy with other husbands nor I want to compare my kids with others as we all have our good and not so good sides and that is okay. It is okay to be unique.

3. Perfectionism is enemy of happiness

This is something I occasionally struggle with but I have loosen up quite a bit. I love cooking and it had to be perfect. My house was neatest and cleanest of everyone I knew. However I paid price for it, I was never content or happy with the result unless it was the best.

Having kids and being with Zenguy, I have learned it is okay to eat Mac and Cheese sometimes and it is okay if my laundry is not folded right away. We can not be perfect in everything we do. I strive to do my best at every task, however it may not be perfect and that is absolutely fine with me. You do not need to be productive always, it is okay to screw productivity once in a while .

I am not talking about doing a sloppy job, I am talking about giving the BEST you can, which may or may not be perfect. If you were like me in the past, stop looking for perfection in everything and give your best and you will have more time to be happier.

4. Health is wealth

When I was younger, I took my health for granted. I ate cold pizza for breakfast, slept late, woke up late, ate too much ice creams and chips at late night while studying. When past few years ago, I started to feel dizzy, and after blood tests I was told that I am anemic and I have low blood sugar. That meant I have to eat often and eat iron and b12 fortified food more to keep up with my life and 2 busy kids. I am now lot serious about my health as I realize that without me feeling better, no amount of friends, family or money will make my life better. Health is true wealth .

Little P has some health issues with his lungs so I want to make sure he grows up healthier. All we can do is take precautions and keep healthy eating habits, rest is destiny. Prevention is always better than cure.

5. Give more and you will be happy

When I was younger I wished everything best for myself. I wanted to hoard on best food, best clothes, best seat and so on for either for me or for someone I cared for. Over the years, I came to a realization that it did not make me happy even when I had best things, even when I was making six figure income, even when I was traveling in the world. I was temporarily happy when I got the best things and sad and resentful when I lost out on best thing. It was very childish behavior even when I was a teenager.

One day, I realize (through small steps) that giving away the best thing to someone else was making me gave more relief and I felt more freedom from maintaining stuff.

It may sound cliche like but it is true, at least for me. One time, I gave away some of my best professional and formal clothes, DVDs, books and other items to friends and family members and I felt so much relief after everything was gone. I made it a practice to give away stuff I was no longer interested in, even when I had spend so much money on it and it has been a win-win situation for me and others around me.

It gets rid of clutter (no matter how nice of expensive it might have been) but someone gets to use it, while it could be sitting in my closet gathering dust. I still have things and stuff but I make a practice to give away items that I no longer use it or have an interest in it. If it is emotional thing, I take a picture of it and keep it, it is lot easier to keep picture or piece of memory than stuff we no longer want to use it.

I still have more life lessons to share but article is getting to be over 2300 words so I am splitting in to a two parts. Check out part 2 10 life lessons that I wished I had learned earlier here.

What are you some of the life lessons that you wished you knew it sooner? Please share, we all have great wisdom and life stories to share.


Image Source: tickledbylife.com
This life lessons post is written as a part of series created by my new friend and personal development blogger Abubakar Jamil , who shares very unique and enlightening perspective on self improvement. If you like, you too can join this series by writing lessons that you wished you had learned earlier and email Abubakar about it.


  1. Abubakar Jamil says:

    Preeti simply great.

    I can see that you really put yourself into this post and that is why it touches the heart.

    Great work. Waiting for Part 2. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Life Lessons Series
  3. ZenGirl says:


    Thank you for an opportunity to look and think of lessons we have learn from life. I have tried to be honest and put my vulnerability out, without admitting that, I can not truly learn from life.

    It is amazing what we can learn from our past and reading other bloggers similar posts brings us closer and gives more understanding to the person behind the blog. Thanks again for the inspiration.

  4. ZenGirl says:


    I see that, thank you. You have made a wonderful page with post and pictures of bloggers. Looks good and feels great to be part of series of a few bloggers I admire and few others I am getting a chance to know.

  5. mark says:

    I think that this is outstanding advice Preeti, especially the last one. This is a change that I made in my own life and I have to say that my life has greatly improved. What we give is not as important as the bond that giving provides us with the person who receives the gift.

    This is really inspiring. Have a great day!

  6. Hulbert Lee says:

    What… you ate cold pizza for breakfast? Haha just kidding. 🙂 I love this post though, especially number three.

    I can relate to that because I see some things that I do needing to be perfect as well. I realize that when I let that go, I felt a lot more relieved. I also like your advice on doing the best you can, whether or not it comes out perfect.

    Some life lessons I wish I knew earlier is being able to accept myself. I had a hard time accepting who I was when I was younger. I also wish that I wasn’t so selfish when I was earlier. This stemmed from my insecurities. But now I understand that the more you give and become of service, the more you get back and become happier with yourself and life.

  7. Katie says:

    Lovely advice. We are now sisters in Abubakar’s Life Lesssons. Well done. I love the advice that we cannot change others. I, too, have tried and leading and living by example is all you can do for others. Great post, Preeti.

  8. rob white says:

    Hi Preeti,
    #1 is a big one. When we realize that is not our job to fix or change anybody it opens up room for tremendous personal growth. I am willing to expose myself (my authentic-self and all of my miss-takes that go with trying to experience it) in order to help others learn more about themselves.

  9. Kamal says:

    Wow, what an inspiring post. I agree and #2 strikes me, because I feel that one of my biggest shortcomings is that I am not myself always trying to do things to please others. More so, for want of approval than anything.

    I am really looking forward to part 2 of this post.

  10. ZenGirl says:


    I am glad you liked it. Yes, who knew giving away stuff can make us happy? I thought totally opposite of it and used to hoard stuff. Now, if I do not use it or lose interests, either it goes to sell or donate pile. Stuff still keeps piling so I need to do it often 🙂 but now it has gotten easier. Thanks for stopping by.

  11. ZenGirl says:


    Yeah, I lived on Pizza, and pasta diet during college and was lazy enough to make breakfast!

    I think up to a point many of us do perfect job as we expect a lot from ourselves, anything less and we feel we are not doing our best. I sometimes have to remind myself that again as my old perfectionist and type A personality tries to come out. But I have chilled out and gotten bit lazier to be perfect.

    Thank you for sharing your life lessons here, Hulbert!

  12. ZenGirl says:


    Thanks, I like the sound of being life lesson sisters! Great. As a women, I think many of us think we can change our spouse of kids. I know I have tried to change Zenguy and he was and is lot zen compared to me 🙂 Silly huh?

    I have finally understood the wisdom to leave everyone be.

  13. ZenGirl says:


    #1 was the biggest eye opener and my biggest lesson to overcome it. I still have to stop myself correcting others or my kids as they are making mistakes as I want to be helpful and not let any one struggle. But, all we can do is share our suggestion and let person make the final choice to follow it or not.

    I know, I have not listened to others when I was not quite ready too. Now that I follow #1 rule, life is lot better and less resentful.

  14. ZenGirl says:


    Thank you. I think many of want to make other happy, specially people we love and care for. For them, we do things and go out of our way to please them, but often time, if we stood on our values ground, eventually everything would be fine and we all will respect each other.

    Do not feel bad, I too have done dumb things to please others and it has not please them at all. You always share thoughtful comments. Thanks.

  15. Amit Sodha - The Power Of Choice says:

    I love it and the one that stuck out for me was ‘health is wealth’. I realized that recently when I had one or two physical problems and was also lacking some energy. When that energy is gone it’s hard to muster the enthusiasm to move forward.

    Keep up the wonderful writing Preeti! x

  16. ZenGirl says:


    I truly begin to think without health, no matter how much money, friends, houses, talent and power we may have, we will not be able to enjoy it. I am taking small steps to correct my mistakes and eating and being healthier now. I know you can too, and I hope your health issues are improving!

    Thanks for your comment and stopping by.

  17. S. Ali Myers - Soulful Body & Mind says:

    Thank you for sharing your list with us, Preeti. It’s so nice to see everyone’s perspective.

    You know I love the Health is your Wealth section. So, so important! Also loved the Only Person You can Change is Yourself part.

    Keep up the good work and I can’t wait for your next No Spend July update (o:

  18. Marko -- Calm Growth says:

    Indeed, the only person that we can change is ourselves. If we want to change the others, the best way for that is to show by example how to change… that will have far greater impact than criticism. 😉

  19. ZenGirl says:


    Yes, I agree it is so nice to see everyone’s unique perspectives and take on life. It is refreshing and educational.

    Yes, the articles length was too long and I wanted to make easy reading for everyone but there is so much to learn and share. Thanks. I am looking forward to sharing more and learning along too.

  20. ZenGirl says:


    Yes, only person we can change is us, but many time when we want to be useful and helpful, we try it anyways to nudge person in right direction but it has not worked for me. Person have to have ready and open minded before he or she can take an suggestion from anyone.

    Mind is like a Parachute, it works only when it is open. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, I really appreciate it.

  21. ZenGirl says:


    Thanks. I can not claim it that sentence as my own, as I have heard it somewhere and I too thought it is great one!

  22. Betsy Bargain says:

    I have a real problem with two of your life lessons. I still try to change people, and I have a hard time getting rid of things I paid a lot for, even when they are no longer important in my life. I try not to give in to these two urges. At least you have learned these things, and are striving to do better!

  23. Farnoosh says:

    Preeti, there is a part 2 also? Wow!
    So I can relate so much to this that it is rather alarming. On the perfection side, on the health side although I stayed rather healthy eating-wise but I let stress control me to the bone which I swear is worse than all your potato chips and ice creams combined, and yes on simpler life and not comparing yourself to others. But you have highlighted the biggest lesson of all, your health – and I think we are on the same path. Health is truly the best gift we have and we must protect it always. Great stuff, can’t wait for part 2! Awesome job, Preeti!

  24. Angela Artemis says:

    I love this post. It wonderful how candid you were about yourself. That’s true bravery!

    I love giving things away as well. It feels so good to give to others. Besides, when I think about it there is nothing I need or want, that I don’t already have.

    When I was younger I tried to change people – now I know better. Change yourself and others change around you.

    I can’t wait to read the next installment.


  25. ZenGirl says:


    I occasionally have to work on #1 myself but with time it is getting better. I let people I love make mistakes and find a way to correct it themselves. I still may give suggestion but that is all, I do not insist upon it.

    Giving away stuff has been lot easier now, if I do not care for it or use it, I like to give it away. I am still trying and learning, Besty I do not have all answers. I know I am still making new and old mistakes again and correcting them as I get a chance.

  26. ZenGirl says:


    Yes, I told you I am pro at mistakes so I have lot to say and share 🙂 It is interesting that many of us have similar sides, I guess that what makes us friends.

    Health is very important as I am finding out, I always have been a vegetarian but I now I eat healthier, organic and un processed food as much as possible. You seem like very healthy to me with Yoga and green Juicing and all, I like that.

    Thanks for sharing and your support here.

  27. ZenGirl says:


    Yes I have tried be candid and honest as possible. I am glad you liked it.

    You seem very wise and level headed person already, I still am learning and making mistakes. Giving away stuff, I no longer want or need actually makes me feel freer in a sense plus my house has less clutter and someone who want it gets to use it. win-win situation I wished I had known earlier.

    Thank you, I am learning a lot from you all.

  28. Lance says:

    These are all so good. (and all very meaningful to me)

    The idea of health is one I wish I would have become more connected with at an earlier age, especially. The last few years, and with a large focus on both being physically fit – I’ve just felt like I”m in such a better place.

    Anyway, these really all are very wonderful thoughts!

  29. Jean Sarauer says:

    Ack, I had a fat comment here thanking you for this beautiful post and telling why my life lesson is “Appreciate today.” Now I think my life lesson is, “Look before you start clicking on buttons” 🙂

  30. Sibyl-alternaview says:

    Preeti: I loved this list of the things you wished you knew earlier. It has been so great to see everyone’s thoughts and insights that have been included in their lists. I really liked the lesson you shared about being yourself. It is so important and I appreciate what you said. We really do need to find the way to our own truth and be comfortable with who we are. It really is the only way to live life the way it was meant to be lived. Thanks for a great Part 1 and I am very much looking forward to seeing Part 2 next week. Have a great weekend.

  31. ZenGirl says:


    Welcome and thank you for your comment.

    I can see health is important lessons for many people who commented here. As we get more mature, health becomes more important. I might be slim but to be fit, I have to work hard. You look like a person who knows how to laugh and stay healthy kind of guy!

  32. ZenGirl says:

    Oh Jean,

    I wished internet would have let you place your “fat” comment. However I will take this one as well just because I like you! I am curious and like you new lesson as well.

    I thought you were going to spend time with your dad! Go and enjoy and come back with great stories to share.

  33. ZenGirl says:


    Yes, I read and commented on everyone’s life lessons as I think everyone’s unique perspective makes me think outside of box and it is nice to see varied and wonderful lessons that I might not have thought of before.

    I am looking forward to share my lessons and mistakes here, believe me picking only 10, out of 100s was not easy 🙂 Next time I would tell Abubakar that I am writing a book on it!!

    Have a great weekend and enjoy your time!

  34. Evelyn Lim says:

    I enjoyed your sharing of tip#3. I used to get irked when something is not done to how I like it to be. And when the kids come along, I realize that it is far more important to preserve my sanity. It helps to take things easy and overlook the mess sometimes!

  35. ZenGirl says:


    I guess we are so much alike. Until kids came along, as I had a freedom to do as I please and I wanted everything perfect and my way. Zenguy is a positive influence on me but kids changed everything much faster. After kids I realize, I have limited time, either I keep working making everything perfect or do little living and rest! I chose later after being sleep deprived for sometime.

    You are so right, keeping sanity is much more important than perfect clean house.

  36. Marion Anderson says:

    Hi Preeti

    I particularly like the lesson about health. Someone once told me that when you have your health you have a thousand wishes. When you don’t have your health you only have one.

    Great post.

  37. ZenGirl says:


    Welcome and thank you for your comment here. I agree with someone who told you if you have health you have thousand wishes, I like the sound of that. Without health, no amount of money, fame will make difference, I am learning now. Better late than never.

  38. ayo says:

    hello preeti,
    how are you?
    i found you on hulberts website and it’s a great blog you have here. i’ve read a few posts and they are inspiring($300 challenge in particular).i totally agree with the principle of experiencing happiness by giving more out of a genuine heart. i look forward to part 2.
    take care and enjoy the rest of the day.

  39. ZenGirl says:


    Welcome to heart and mind and your comment here. Thank you for checking out my blog. Yes, no spend month is challenge is something I am trying to see if I can do it.

    Giving away knowledge and excess stuff brings more knowledge and joy! only if we followed it lot more.

  40. Justin Dupre says:


    What an amazing post! These tips are very meaningful. I really like number 1 and I couldn’t agree with you more.. there is a quote I remember “You can’t change the world but you can change yourself. Number 5 is also good! It’s awesome how you practice giving away items you no longer use. Looking forward for part 2!

  41. ZenGirl says:


    Thank you for stopping by and your first comment here. Yes, #1 is ultimate for me as a woman I think I can change my loved ones for better. Better is in eye of beholder just like beauty.

    Giving away took long time to learn but now that I do it, it gives me great satisfaction, if no one wants it, I always donate (if it is in good condition)

    Yes, Part 2 will be coming on July 14, this Wednesday.

  42. Aileen says:

    I love this!!! Yes health IS wealth – that is such a great life lesson!! And your life lesson of Give More. It’s amazing how freeing it is and gives the feeling of flow – giving is like the exhale part of breathing

  43. ZenGirl says:


    Welcome to Heart and Mind! Yes, some of the lesson I have paid price for it not learning it earlier such as health, now being anemic does not help but better late than never.

    Giving away stuff actually liberated me from mental load of owning stuff. Thank you for the comment.

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