11 illusions of life we leave behind as we age

All the things I believed in and pursued when I was young. Was it time wasted or useful experience? What message would I like to send to young people today?
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I believe that…

I am certain that…

I will never stop striving to…

Do you also use these words? And do you notice how your views and values change – with your latest experiences? You are not alone. When I was young, I would have given up almost anything for goals that were completely different to those I have these days, when the remaining days are fewer and mistakes/lessons learnt grow in number.

I have long stopped believing that…

… someone else (a parent, teacher, friend) knows what is best for me and knows this better than me,

… being busy means living,

… comfort is the aim of my journey through life,

… I am the centre of the universe,

… I have to please everyone each time,

… my fate is predetermined, and I cannot influence it.

When I grew to understand that I would have to reassess my first juvenile belief because it turned out to be false, I felt bad for wasting years believing in something that was in fact fantasy. I felt as if I had spoilt, lost, wasted something.

Yet, this is the normal development of a human being. It is both correct and continuous. However, young people have the advantage that they can save many years of their lives and direct their energy sooner in a direction that will be valid longer-term.

So, what were these enduring beliefs that I eventually left behind and what would I love to change in my younger self if I had the opportunity?

1. Belief that waiting makes sense

We all know that life is short and death approaches with every day. Despite this, we are always surprised when death stops someone close to us. We come to realise more and more that postponing our dreams is like climbing a staircase without ever reaching the last step. We keep adding new steps under our feet and, instead of savouring the view from above, fall on the endless journey up the staircase one day.

I will be honest to the point of being merciless: a day will come and there will REALLY be no tomorrow. We have to respect this harsh reality.

Recently, I received a letter (yes, on paper!) from a man whose last days are being measured by a vicious disease. The letter ends with the words: “Why didn’t I learn to accept this EARLIER and treat every day as if it were my last day? What I regret the most today is believing so many times that there will be a tomorrow.”

2. Belief that an impulse must always come from the outside

The impulse to make changes in life is not waiting anywhere or does not fall from anywhere. The impulse is born from taking the right steps. As soon as our effort starts to mean something and make sense, it motivates us to make the next step.

Yes, the impulse comes from within us. It comes in two different forms: we want to be wiser than we were yesterday and that is why we start new things that have always interested us, or we respond to stimuli from the outside. Be it positive, when someone inspires us or we help someone, or negative when someone’s ill wishes or lack of trust motivates us. The key is always inside us.

3. Belief that faster means better

Be it work, relationships or establishing a healthier lifestyle, we learn that planted seeds bear fruits. However, the result is not immediate. Gradual achievements are much better than the sudden ones. We do not need to lift 1000 kilograms at once, we can lift 1 kg a thousand times. In other words, if we repeat one small, correct deed every day, we create a positive habit at work, in relationships or in our lifestyle.

Which beliefs associated with people have turned out to be wrong?

Please, continue to the 2nd page.