Feb 122011
 
Yoda by Aryc Ogre

Each of us has a unique destiny here on Earth that we have to create for ourselves. Creating this destiny however, requires guts, time, effort and ability. To add to our problems, we may not have the ability or the experience needed to succeed in the first place. Instead, we must acquire them over time. Only when we pass through the baptism of fire can we hope to succeed. At this point, life steps in to guide and help us.

The Importance of Mastering the Lessons of Life

You see, life is really a series of unique lessons that we have to master. Through the problems we face, life provides a catalyst for us to acquire the skills we need to fulfil our destinies. It helps us to change, grow and succeed. Each lesson that we master serves as a foundation and helps to prepare us for greater deeds ahead. Taken as a whole, these lessons build upon each other to improve our character, capacity and ability.

It is generally better to learn the lessons of life early. Why do I say so? Because every lesson we learn extracts a price from us. The price could come in many forms. It could be our time, effort, money, relationships etc. Such is the cost of our subsequent wisdom and experience. Here, we should bear in mind that not all lessons are equal. Some lessons tend to be more costly compared to others. To complicate matters, we have our responsibilities and obligations to consider. Therefore, we stand to lose much more if we take too long a time to learn a lesson.

Even though we have our own lessons to master, there are certain similarities involved. From my experience, it helps to bear three steps in mind when we face the lessons of life.

Mastering the Lessons of Life: The 3 Steps

1. Step Out of the Comfort Zone

Comfort zones help us to cope with the demands of life by giving us reprieve from time to time. As such, many of us would prefer the confines of our comfort zone. After all, it is safe and familiar. But because change is the only constant in this life, safety is an illusion. In fact, if we remain in our comfort zones all the time, we will not be able to adapt to change. Instead of growing, we will stagnate and perish.

Growth only comes about when we stretch our limits. The reason it will not happen in our comfort zones is that we have already adapted to it and are all that we can be. There is little room left for further growth. True growth lies beyond that little circle, it lies outside of our comfort zones. To learn the lessons of life, we have to step out of our comfort zones from time to time. Only then, will we face the challenges of life and learn to adapt as needed.

2. Find the Path to True Happiness

The purpose of life, the actions we take and the choices we make, is to create meaning to be truly happy. Every one of us deserves this happiness. But because each of us is unique, we have to strive for what makes us happy in our own way. There is however, no standard formula for meaning and true happiness in life. The right actions, choices and goals lead to happiness. The wrong ones lead us away from happiness.

The problem is that we do not automatically make the right choices about our happiness. It could be that what we choose to pursue does not lead to lasting happiness. Or it could be that we struggle against our life lessons and refuse to grow the way we should. This is understandable because change is never easy. But if you are not happy in life, then something must be wrong somewhere. Our state of true happiness is a good indicator of how well we are learning and coping with life’s lessons. At every stage of our lives, it would do us good to ask ourselves if we are truly happy. If not, what must we do?

3. Break the Cycle of Repetition

When we face a problem, make a mistake or fail, it is not the end of the world. It only means that we are not doing something right or that we lack the needed skills and qualities to resolve it. The only way forward is to focus on the solution and to find out how to overcome the problem. It might require some external or internal change. In the process of doing so, we gain experience and grow as a result. Even if we encounter the same problem again, we have the ability to deal with it.

Now ideally, we learn the lesson that life has for us and move on to the next one. But not all lessons are easy to learn. Sometimes we struggle against the lesson and the changes it brings. It might become so bad that we try to avoid the lesson altogether. But there is no getting away from life. Even if you run from the lesson, it will repeat itself in a different form and keep on doing so until you learn.

Why do repeating lessons happen? In the grander scheme of things, it is necessary. After all, each lesson is life’s way of preparing you for greater deeds ahead. If a lesson or problem keeps haunting you and repeating itself, then it is probably vital that you learn it well. If you refuse to heed the summons of destiny, the price it extracts from you will get greater and greater. You will find yourself facing this problem until you can master it and move on to the next stage. So notice the repeating problems and lessons in your life. Take action early, master the lesson and break the cycle of repetition as soon as you can.

Break the Cycle by Chris O’Neill

Taking Action

What experiences do you have in mastering the lessons of life? How did you manage? Are there any other strategies you could mention? Do share your thoughts and comments below. :)

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  24 Responses to “How to Master the Lessons of Life”

  1. Irving,

    Mastering the lessons of life is certainly on my mind now. Especially in times of stress (opportunities for growth), we often fall back on familiar patterns. If we can be self aware, we can shift our perception of our circumstances and see that your first step is an exciting opportunity. Thinking about step 2 will help us stay open to other choices. And particularly with step 3, if we can see what our habits are and see that they are not serving us, we can break that repetitive pattern with a new approach.

    Great advice. And timely!
    Galen Pearl recently posted..One Hand ClappingMy Profile

    • Hi Galen,

      Being aware and shifting our perception is a great help when it comes to mastering the lessons of life. Often in the midst of adversity and stress, it is hard to step back to consider the bigger picture and to be aware of what we are doing. But if we make the effort to do so, we will find that we end up making better choices.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  2. Hi Irving,
    I’ve been thinking of this topic actually. A certain problem keeps appearing before me. I thought I was solving the problem every time it was presented to me, but really I was just treating the symptoms. Sometimes the universe gives us a kick. We can be hurt by it or be motivated by it. Stepping out of my comfort zone and putting my energy into where it is needed – that’s what I need to do. By reading this article, you’ve had me ask myself where I’m at in my happiness. I see now that I can be alot happier. Wow! Thanks Irving! You’re the best!
    Dandy recently posted..Self-gratitudeMy Profile

    • Hi Dandy,

      It takes insight and wisdom to note the difference between solving the root cause of a problem and its symptoms. I am glad that you have this clarity. This will enable you to get to the heart of the matter.

      Many people do not realize that they have a choice when they face problems in life. As you say, we can be hurt by it or be motivated by it. Knowing this makes all the difference when it comes to making better decisions.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  3. Irving,

    I am taking away quite a lot from this article. Foremost, if we all realized that “life is really a series of unique lessons that we have to master” it would change so much in our world and in our lives. Instead of being adverse to challenges we could learn to face them with more ease, confidence, and playfulness.

    I am really taking to heart what you’ve said about being willing to get out of one’s comfort zone. I would prefer to stay in mind, that’s for sure. But I see there’s a price to pay for this. Life will eventually shake one out! It might be a far ruder awakening at that point.

    One of my current life lessons is getting more comfortable with letting go and the ultimate letting go in death.

    Thanks for another stimulating article.
    Sandra I Always Well Within recently posted..5 Top Personal Development Links 2-11-2010My Profile

    • Hi Sandra,

      One of the major turning points in my life was when I learned that mistakes and failures were part of success. They were life lessons that I had to master. It really changed the way I perceived events and gave me a clarity and inner peace that I lacked for years.

      I don’t think we need to live outside our comfort zones all the time, that could be quite stressful. But an occasional journey out of our comfort zones will enable us to cope better with the challenges of life. Above all, we should always be aware that safety is an illusion and plan ahead.

      Letting go is not easy for many of us due to our attachments. But all good things come to an end one day. Learning to accept this fact and to learn this important lesson is something we will all struggle with at our own time. I hope it will not be too difficult for you.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  4. Irving,
    Great post and great tips. I love the one about repeating our mistakes.

    I think when we live unconsciously we are more likely to keep repeating our mistakes until we learn that we are creating our life and every situation we get ourselves into. When we realize that there is no force outside of ourselves to blame we become conscious – finally! – and can then look at our lives as map, or mirror of our behaviors, attitudes and beliefs. Once we see and accept how we created and attracted certain circumstances we will be ready to change them and will stop repeating our mistakes.

    Thanks so much for this excellent article.
    Angela Artemis recently posted..In Praise of The Blogging Black-OutMy Profile

    • Hi Angela,

      It took me many years to realize the cycle of repetition when it came to my mistakes. But once I did, I could take active measures to ensure that I learned my lesson once and for all. As you rightly pointed out, the cause of repetition is unconscious living. Indeed once we become fully conscious and take responsibility for our own actions, then change can happen. It is then we will stop repeating out mistakes.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  5. Hi Irving! I absolutely love this topic (btw great headline). I also love this point of view “life is really a series of unique lessons that we have to master.” This really resonates with me. For me an important component in learning my lessons is openness. Being open to the way the universe delivers the lesson. Being open to exploring new ways to approach and assimilate the lesson. Being open to seeing the blessing in the lesson. For me is also important not to analyze the lesson, just go with it. There is no way that I can figure out the universe’s plan so I choose to accept each lesson as they come without judgment or mind games.
    Like you said, it’s important to break the cycle of repetition so we don’t keep on just going through the same lessons over and over again. How boring can this get with so many other lessons to learn? :)
    Thanks for this gorgeous post. Loving blessings!
    Andrea DeBell – britetalk recently posted..Tips for an Amazing Valentine’s Day… or How to Love EverydayMy Profile

    • Hi Andrea,

      I am glad you loved the topic and the headline. This is something that I thought of on a regular basis after I became more conscious and took responsibility for my life. It occurred to me that I might as well write about my experiences.

      That is a great point that you brought up; openness. If we are open and receptive, it is indeed easier for us to learn and accept the lessons necessary for our growth. I love how you remind us that it is not always possible to see the universe’s plan and the bigger picture. Instead of resisting, we should just go with the flow and learn the lessons as they come. That is really a powerful way to live!

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  6. Great Picture of Yoda…Your absolutely right. Taking action is the first step..then the key is persistence. Once we persist towards our goals consciously, we show ourselves,we are determined to achieve. Most people give up to easily or have bad thoughts all the time. It’s best to switch your mindset to optimism if you want to thrive.
    jonathanfigaro recently posted..2 of the 48 Laws Untwisted by a HustlerMy Profile

    • Hi Jonathan,

      Yeah, I am a fan of Yoda. :D

      That is a good point you make. When we switch one mindsets to one of optimism and consider how to resolve the challenges we face, we are more likely to succeed and learn the lessons of life.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  7. Our life is shaped by the elements around us. Like a pot, we need to go through a fire that will purge the impurities out and when we come out we’ll be shining like gold.

    • Hi Anne,

      I love your analogy of the pot, fire and the purging of impurities! Your idea described my favourite Hexagram 50 where the Caldron cooks the raw elements put into it to create something new.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  8. Hi Irving,

    Dig the Yoda! Not to mention the post…

    It’s so true where you say “It is generally better to learn the lessons of life early. Why do I say so? Because every lesson we learn extracts a price from us.” I’ve thought that several times over the last few years, having had a BIG lesson extract a LOT from me! I’ve often thought at least I’m young enough I can use this (the lesson) and have time to recover to boot. That’s not always true as we get on in years.

    And I am exercising your #1 step especially right now, and very much enjoying stretching past my boundaries. Part of it is that I know I am not threatened (the real me, that is) which loosens me up to enjoy the play of it all.

    Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and your wisdom.
    Patti Foy | Lightspirited Being recently posted..What Makes Your Heart Sing TodayMy Profile

    • Hi Patti,

      Yeah I love Yoda for his great wisdom. :D

      I have had many similar experiences myself where a refusal to learn lessons has cost me greatly. This has let to the understanding which I shared in this post. As we get older, we just have to be wiser and hopefully learn our lessons faster and at lesser cost to us.

      Stretching past our boundaries is always fascinating. It is a wonder how much we can achieve if we made the effort to step out of our comfort zones.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  9. I noticed that you put up the picture of Yoda. Coincidentally, without having read your blog yet, I also talked about Yoda in my post this week!

    Love what you said, “Sometimes we struggle against the lesson and the changes it brings. It might become so bad that we try to avoid the lesson altogether.” I find that true. When I am in denial, I refuse to accept the lessons for what they are. Instead, I put up a fight. And find myself having to repeat the same painful experiences over and over again…sigh!
    Evelyn Lim recently posted..How to Create A Personal Energy Shield For ProtectionMy Profile

    • Hi Evelyn,

      That is indeed a coincidence!

      Yeah I remember all the times I refused to learn the lessons I needed to learn. It was horrendous having to repeat the same painful experiences over and over again. So I know your pain. At least we are wiser because of it, so not all is lost.

      Thank you for your comments! I shall leave a comment on your article when I get up tomorrow morning. :)

  10. This is a beauty Irving. My mentor once said, “Maybe it’s not live and learn,” maybe it’s “learn and live.” The sooner we learn whatever life is trying to teach us the better it is for everyone, including of course our loved ones. You bring a very clear spirit and a very clear love into this world. Thanks.
    Christopher Foster recently posted..Happiness and joy wait for us in the abyssMy Profile

    • Hi Christopher,

      Learn and live are indeed wise words. I agree fully with your mentor. Once we learn what we need to learn in life, there will be less resistance and we become all we were meant to be. The more we learn life’s lessons, the more we unleash our potential.

      Thank you for your lovely comments! :)

  11. I like your test Irving, If I’m not happy then change things to foster happiness.

    I could relate to #3 when I ran a business with staff. Whenever someone came to me with a problem, I always asked them what’s the solution? They had more time to think about it than me, and they usually knew the solution, I just had to approve it then. Saved a lot of time, and empowered the staff.

    John
    Leamington Spa, England
    John McNally recently posted..Google &amp Alexa TRAFFIC UpdateMy Profile

    • Hi John,

      Yeah it took me many years to realize that my unhappiness was the result of my refusal to learn the lessons I needed to learn.

      I like your approach with your staff. Empowering the staff does indeed save time and free you to do more important things. After all, no one knows the situation better than those who are directly involved.

      Thank you for your lovely comments! :)

  12. Irving, a bit behind but this one caught me – well, how can I go past Yoda without stopping. You know I love the lessons no doubt and you speak my own language but I have a request: I want you to weave in more of your own personal stories, accounts of your lessons and how they came about and help us get to know you better and show us how you came upon learning these great lessons.
    (Ok, I am done making demands now. Hope you are doing fabulous, my dear Vizier!)
    Farnoosh recently posted..The Greatest Discovery of All- Getting to Know YourselfMy Profile

    • Hi Farnoosh,

      I shall bear your words in mind and include a little more of myself in my future articles. I personally find other stories more interesting than my own, but revealing a little more of myself will not hurt. I shall try to strike the right balance. Do take care of yourself my dear Farnoosh! :)

      Thank you for your comments! :)

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