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7 Essential Things Everyone Should Learn Before They Die

Posted by on December 25, 2015 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living, Inspirational, Thrive with 1 Comment

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By Paul Milano | Tiny Buddha 

“I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

I attended an interesting event a few nights ago. It featured ten speakers who spoke for ten minutes each on ten things you should know before you die.

The speakers included TV and film stars, CEOs, cover-shooting photojournalists, traveling journalists covering natural disasters, and HIV survivors. As you can image, there was a wide spectrum of perspectives shared.

Here are a few of the lessons that stuck out for me. A lot of these can profoundly change your mindset, how you view the world, and how you choose to react to things. You just need to take a step back and put things into perspective, which leads us into our first one.

Related Article: These 9 Things Could Be Sabotaging Your Inner Peace

1. Maintain perspective.

A journalist told a story of how he traveled to Haiti after the devastating earthquake that hit them a few years back. In the capital of Port-au-Prince many of the homes had fallen apart, and people who already had nothing were now living in small plots of land in public squares in the city.

The separations between each family’s plot were drawn in by hand, with tents and tarps set up overhead.
In one particular plot was for a seven-year-old girl and a one-year-old boy.

The speaker spoke a bit of Creole French and asked the people in neighboring tents which family these children were with. They replied, “That is the family.”

The seven-year-old girl and one-year-old boy’s parents and older siblings had been killed. She was now responsible for this baby.

This is where the notion of perspective comes in. The next time you’re upset at traffic, or someone is taking too long in the checkout line, or someone hasn’t texted you back quickly enough, take a step back and ask yourself, in the grand scheme of things, is this really worth being upset about?

The book Unbroken drove this point home for me. Reading what this man went through quickly made me realize, if I were privileged to be born into a first world country (Canada) in the current peaceful time, I have absolutely nothing to complain about. A reminder to myself the next time Netflix is slow to load something…

2. Take care of your health.

Health is the gateway to happiness. If you are not living with your fullest energy and vibrancy, how can you expect to get the most from life?

This was the main message from a middle-aged woman and entrepreneur who broke the status quo and went her own way in life, much to the dismay of her parents. She dropped out of school and traveled the world, falling into a few rough crowds on the journey and eventually settling in Toronto.

There, she visited a local fresh juice place that ended up changing her life. She fell in love with how the juices made her feel and the energy they gave her, and ended up opening her own juice place called “Juice for Life” (which her Jewish parents hilariously thought was called “Jews for Life” at first). She’s now the founder and CEO of Fresh Restaurants chain in Toronto.

Related Article: Seasonal Affective Disorder: the Winter Blues or Something Else?

Anyone who knows me knows health is massively important to me as well. I always pose the question: Is it not a bit crazy to think that people will spend more money on their car, their fashion, and accessories than they would on their body?

Ask anyone with a serious illness what would they rather have; they all would give up everything they own to get healthy and undo the damage that was done.

3. Be true to yourself and your calling.

If you are living and doing something that doesn’t align with you, how can you ever be truly happy and enlightened?

This was the main message from the founder of Yuk Yuk’s comedy club, a popular spot in Toronto.

You can imagine the reaction he got from his friends and family when he told them he wanted to enter the comedy business. This was his passion, however, and he knew from experience that if he was doing something different, he would rarely be at peace or be inspired.

When you find something that aligns and resonates with you, you will know it from the energy it gives you.

The Vincent Van Gogh quotes sums the message here up quite nicely: Would you rather die of passion or of boredom?

4. Don’t be afraid to stand out.

When you go your own way and make your own path, you alone write your legacy.

This was the motto of a female photojournalist who spoke to us. She joined the world of journalism in the sixties and seventies, when it was completely dominated by men. She was different from what was considered the norm and despite ridicule, sexist remarks, and being seen as lower, she used it to her advantage.

Being shorter than the male photographers, she was always in front of the pack, allowing her to capture some of the closest, most personal photos. She became one of the first females to have their photos published on the cover of multiple well know magazines, and went on to be the prime journalist covering Terry Fox’s run across Canada.

It is your inherent right to challenge the status quo. Never be afraid to forge your own destiny due to the thoughts of others. People may laugh at you because you are different. You could pack up and quit here, or you could feel sorry for them because they are all the same.

Related Article: Law of Attraction Challenge: 24 Hours of Happiness

As well, never be afraid to challenge why things are the way they are. After all, this is the very question that has forged almost all innovation mankind has ever done.


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  1. abozak@telus.net' Ann says:

    @Appolonio: You said a lot. You could have said a lot more. The writer that says you should never cast blame for your situation was never born as the “most severely abused child in North America”. I was born the most severely abused. Back in the 50 & 60 no one would would help a child in small town north america. One family did try to help me, the w.w. (mother) threatened them and they left town within one week. I am now 65, female, deaf, blind, countless medical problems from the abuse, bad medical care which is now rampant all across north america, various auto immune problems, and they just keep coming. My stage was set when I was still in the w.w. womb. She was white, non drinker, and the most evil thing ever born under God’s blue skies. My father enabled her and
    abused me as well. It is a known fact that quite often the severely abused child dies before the abuser does. Sometimes that is a blessing. In my case the w.w. is finally dead, but I still have the PTST and scars and medical problems to prove it.
    To all you people that were born into fairly normal circustances please consider that there is another side to the coin. Not everyone got a fair chance or shake.

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