I wrote a letter to my 16-year-old self last week as I just turned 36 and wanted to share my top 20 life lessons with my younger self, one for each year that has passed.
I shared the first 10 lessons in the previous article and here is part two.
Before I start, I just want to say that I received many amazing replies on this article and I am very glad that you could relate to it, thanks for sharing your feedback with me, it means a world to me. 🙂
Here is the letter, hope you’ll enjoy reading it:
Dear 16 year old Mona,
Hi again, hope you haven’t forgotten me … You were on my mind for the entire week, all the memories of the past 20 years have been running through my mind and I am excited to talk to you again.
Hope you had a great week, I’m sure you are probably studying for another exam, take it easy girl, chill a little bit… I had an eventful week as well, my little one started at nursery, I was worried a little bit about the transition but it happened smoothly and he loves it! 🙂
I was also given new business opportunities that excite me to my core and scare me even more!! I have learned to jump at these chances no matter how challenging they seem. If I have learned one thing over the past few years, it’s that growth happens outside of our comfort zone.
And finally, I have been learning more and more to embrace my emotions. As a logical person, my emotions scare me sometimes, even to date. I want to make sense of everything immediately, but I am learning to let go and enjoy these emotions… that’s one thing that separates us from robots (And I’m not talking about toy robots here… these days robots debate, have nationalities and a lot of people are scared of the future of AI.) I want you to know that these emotions make you human, feel them, don’t try to make sense of them, it doesn’t work that way, just enjoy them…
OK … Are you ready for the last 10 lessons that I’ve learned in the past 20 years? Go back to my previous letter in case you want to review the first 10 again! Here we go:
11) Be mindful of the energy that you bring to this world
Is that energy inline with what you want to see around you? If you are agitated, annoyed, or full of regret, shame and guilt, then you are bringing that kind of energy to this world and you will attract similar energy to your life.
Learn to bring high frequency energy such as love, joy and peace to this world and enjoy the experiences around you that are in line with these types of energy.
Mahatma Gandhi has a beautiful quote, he said: “Be the change you want to see in this world.” It’s the same concept. If you want to receive more love, give more love. If you want to have more joy, be more joyful.
Take responsibility for your energy and be aware of it as the first step.
12) Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about, don’t take things personally and be kind
People might shock you with their behavior and I want you to not take things personally. It’s less about you and more about them and what they are going through in their lives.
You never know their story and what they are going through. Stephen Covey beautifully describes a story in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (you’ll love this book!) He was on a bus with a couple of loud kids, everyone on the bus was annoyed by their behavior, and when he asks their father to keep them quiet, the father apologizes and says they are just coming from the hospital and that the kids had just lost their mother … that’s when everyone begins to empathize with the kids and they don’t seem to be too annoyed anymore, that’s a paradigm shift.
The truth is that all of us are dealing with challenges in life and we are not aware of the battles that everyone else is fighting. Someone might be concerned about their loved one’s health, they might be going through a break-up, they might be struggling financially or might have just lost their job… We don’t know and we would probably be a lot more compassionate if we knew… so be compassionate regardless.
Every time someone annoys you, know that their behavior is a reflection of their life and not yours. Try to understand them and don’t take things personally. It will give you peace at the end of the day and will save you energy.
13) Be yourself, everyone else is taken
Remove all masks, be who you really are. Remember this quote: “Those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.” People who truly deserve having you in their life will accept you and love you for who you are, with all of your imperfections. Don’t try to hide them and be yourself.
Interestingly, people connect with you better when you share your challenges with them instead of showing all of the successes. That makes you more human. Stay true to yourself and your values.
14) Love or Fear? Choose love
At any given moment, and for every decision you make in life, you either come from a place of Fear or a place of Love. Never choose fear, nothing good comes from that.
Did you accept that job because of fear? Are you in a relationship as you are afraid of being alone? Are your decisions based on fear or love? Miracles happen when you choose love.
The news and Media thrive on spreading fear, shut them out completely. There are so many positive movements happening in the world but the news is only focused on the negative. Stay away from any medium, channel or person that feeds on fear …
Fear and love can not co-exist and you have a choice…
15) Invest in Yourself
The biggest and the best investment you can make is in Mona. Grow in all dimensions of your life: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Don’t look at the tip of the iceberg only when you see a successful person. Success doesn’t happen over night. See their hard work, sleepless nights, tears and frustrations .. Are you willing to go through all of those and reach where they did? Don’t judge their successful moments in life, see beyond that. They have invested in their growth, learn from those investments.
Take care of yourself first, everything else will fall into place. You can’t truly experience love until you love yourself first. Take care of your wellbeing, that’s your biggest asset.
16) Seek inner peace and inner fulfillment not external possessions
There is nothing wrong with having a luxurious life. You like that and that’s totally fine. But never be attached to external possessions, be happy when you have them, but don’t let them define you. You will meet people who, if you take away their wealth, beauty and fame, are left with nothing … The materialistic world can give you satisfaction and happiness for a short period of time, and then it gets normal and you’ll seek something bigger, more expensive and more exciting. Don’t chase that short term excitement.
Inner peace gives you constant joy, there are many ways to have inner peace and fulfillment and here are a few of them:
-) Grow constantly in life – experience and learn
-) Live a life inline with your values
-) Give, give, give without expecting anything back. Make someone happy.
-) Stay grateful for what you have.
17) Everything happens for a reason
This is not just a cliche, everything does happen for a reason. Whenever you are reaching for a goal, do your best, take every step necessary, but then let go of the result… let the universe take over, don’t chase the result. I want you to trust the universe, it might have bigger plans for you …
Sometimes things don’t go as per the plan, no matter how hard you’ve tried, don’t get disappointed. Know that something better is planned for you and trust it.
When something brings you down, always ask yourself: “does this feeling serve me?” If the answer is no, move on. Don’t get trapped in states that don’t serve you. Get back on your feet no matter what, stand up and deal with it one step at a time.
You will go through some challenging times in life and you become stronger each and every time. Sometimes you choose these challenges and at other times universe gives them to you, unplanned.
While climbing mount Kilimanjaro, and on the summit day at 19 thousand feet above sea level, things will get pretty tough. It’s cold, dark and you are tired and nauseous and you want to give up .. You ask yourself, why did I put myself in this position and you hear a voice that says, “If you weren’t ready, you wouldn’t be here …”
That becomes your mantra and you reach the top. You learn that all challenges are given to you when you are ready for them. Every challenge comes with a tool box and it’s up to you to open that tool box and find the right solution, learn and grow.
Life is like a game, you don’t want to get stuck on level one. Embrace challenges and conquer higher levels in the game of Life…
18) Practice an Abundance Mentality and not a Scarcity Mentality
This is an important lesson, there is enough for everyone in this world. You may look at the resources as a pie and if someone becomes successful, you feel that they have taken a slice from your share and now you have less …
Another way of looking at it is that all of the opportunities and resources are like a fountain, anyone can take their bucket, no matter how big or small, and take as much as they want, there is enough for all of us, all the time …
An abundance mentality will help you to cheer for others, be happy when they win and know that you can get wherever you want in life, you just have to take the first step and be consistent…
19) Replace your expectation with appreciation
No one is in charge of your life but yourself, don’t expect anything from anyone. If they do something for you, appreciate it but don’t expect anything from them.
No one can make you happy unless you choose to be happy. No one is responsible for your life, but yourself.
People will automatically do more for you, willingly, when you appreciate them.
20) Financial Freedom is essential in your life
And the last lesson is about financial literacy. “Freedom” is one of the highest human values and Financial Freedom is definitely a life changer. Money is just a means to an end – it is not the end goal. You should not spend your life being a slave to money. Working for money shouldn’t be your only plan for life.
There are 4 ways to use your money: Invest, Save, Donate and Spend. Let me explain a little bit …
Save a portion of your income for unplanned expenses and to invest.
Invest a portion of your income – this is the only way to become financially free. Educate yourself in this area and find ways to make your money work for you.
Donate a portion of your money. Donate whenever you get an opportunity, and I mean whenever. If you have $10 in your pocket and someone needs that $10, give it to them… Don’t be scared to run out of money. The more you give, the more you will have… I know it seems counterintuitive, but it’s one of the universal laws.
The last thing you should do with your money is spend – spend on necessities, keep it as your mission to only spend on luxury after you have attained financial freedom.
Strive to achieve passive income – think of receiving rent for an apartment you own every month – it’s passive income because you don’t need to actively work to receive it.
Get educated financially and respect money, it’s a useful resource.
One last thing … Would you buy 10,000 bitcoins for me in the year 2009? ummm, what is bitcoin? … never mind …
So here we are, I shared my top 20 lessons with you and I hope you enjoyed reading my two letters. My love, there are still many questions that I haven’t found answers to. Even 20 years from now, you will still be learning and growing.
I’m gonna give you one last lesson, let’s say a bonus lesson … There are always two forces in the universe: dark and light … never shake hand with the devil, no matter what he promises you … even if no one notices, stick to the universal values and know that the dark side might give you the external possessions, it’s good at that, but can never and I repeat, never give you inner peace and fulfillment and you’ll never be truly happy if you take that route …
May the force be with you … 😉
Love you, always.
Here you have it, 20 life lessons to my younger self. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it for you and myself.
Wishing you all a life with happiness and love, stay blessed…