Ever feel like parenting is the toughest job in the world?
Parenting involves plenty of hard work. What’s more, there are no guarantees.
No matter how much you love your children, no matter how much time you spend with them, no matter how “perfect” of a parent you are … you can’t guarantee that your children will become successful and happy.
Nonetheless, there are many valuable life lessons you can impart to your children.
As your children learn these lessons, they’re more likely to grow up to be confident, well-adjusted, contributing members of society.
I’ve come up with this list of 50 life lessons that every parent should teach their children.
It’s taken me my whole life to learn these lessons. So I’m passionate about sharing them with my son (and future children), as well as the students I work with.
Here are the 50 life lessons:
1. Success is more about contribution than it is about achievement.
2. Don’t worry too much about what other people think of you. They think about you a lot less than you imagine.
3. Focus on progress, not perfection.
4. Run your own race, not the race that other people expect you to run.
5. You cannot always choose your circumstances, but you can always choose your attitude.
6. School isn’t the place you go to get an education; school is just one part of your education. Be proactive in becoming a truly educated person.
7. Successful people do what other people aren’t willing to. Success is a mindset, not a goal to be attained.
8. You can’t win every time. So when you lose, do it gracefully.
9. You can learn something from everyone, no matter how “important” or “unimportant” the person may be.
10. Don’t blame others for your frustrations and disappointments. If you blame others, it means you haven’t taken full responsibility for your life.
11. Be generous. At the heart of it, living is about giving.
12. Watch as little TV as possible – preferably none at all. You’ll lead a more productive life this way.
13. Don’t multi-task. Do one thing at a time and you’ll be far more efficient.
14. Write down everything: your to-do list, your reflections, your goals, your dreams. As David Allen once said, “Your brain is a thinking tool, not a storage device.”
15. Don’t live with regret. Instead, focus on creating a better future for yourself and others.
16. Be a caring person. Care about your loved ones; care about your community; care about the world around you. Do this and your life will be fulfilling.
17. Try new things. Read new books, take up new hobbies, and eat new foods. These experiences will enrich your life.
18. Dare to fail. As Seth Godin once said, “If failure isn’t an option, then neither is real success.”
19. Life will disappoint you. Don’t give up.
20. Be willing to change. Changing yourself is one of the hardest things to do, but you can’t grow as a person if you’re not willing to change.
21. Celebrate often. Celebrate both the small and big things, and your life will be filled with joy.
22. Be intentional about spending time with people you respect and admire. Over time, you’ll become more like them.
23. Become an organised person. Being disorganised is one of the biggest causes of stress.
24. Don’t ever stop learning. The more you learn, the more you’ll appreciate the beauty of the world around us.
25. Get outside of your comfort zone on a daily basis. That’s the only way to grow.
26. Your habits will either make you or break you. Start building healthy habits today.
27. Show respect to every single person you meet. As J. K. Rowling once said, “If you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”
28. Learn to appreciate both the good and the bad. After all, in life there will be plenty of both.
29. When you make a mistake, apologise. Humility is a rare but valuable trait.
30. Take care of your health, starting right now. Your future self will thank you.
31. Be kind to the people you care about the most. Many people do the opposite – they’re the least kind to the people they’re closest to.
32. You can’t be great at everything. Focus on doing a few things exceptionally well.
33. Invest in your most important relationships. This is an investment you’ll never regret.
34. Define success for yourself. Refuse to blindly accept society’s definition of success.
35. Be kind to yourself. Show yourself respect, and don’t beat yourself up over your imperfections.
36. Develop a positive attitude. Your attitude is the most important factor that leads to success and happiness.
37. Be thankful. No matter what you’re going through, there’s always something to be grateful for.
38. Lead a balanced life. Reflect on your life every few months. Ask yourself what changes you need to make in order to find more balance.
39. Be resourceful. When faced with a problem, remember that there’s always a website, a book, a course, or a friend you can turn to for help.
40. Become a person of integrity. Do what you say you’ll do, and people will trust you. Without trust, it’s impossible to build strong relationships.
41. Learn to manage your thoughts and emotions. How you respond to frustrations and disappointments will largely determine your success.
42. Set big goals, but break them down into small steps. This way, you won’t feel overwhelmed. It’s also more likely that you’ll take action.
43. Your character is more important than your accomplishments.
44. Focus on the process rather than the end result. If you do this, the end result will take care of itself.
45. Your decisions determine your destiny. Whatever life choices you’re faced with, choose wisely.
46. Passion isn’t found. It’s cultivated.
47. As a follow-up to #46, find a problem in the world that needs solving. Acquire the skills and knowledge required to solve that problem, then get to work. This is how passion is cultivated.
48. Money won’t make you happy, but without money you’ll be unhappy. Learn to spend wisely so that you can achieve financial independence as soon as possible.
49. Listen to your parents more than you feel like. Most of the time, they really do know better than you.
50. Happiness is a choice more than it is a feeling.
Daniel Wong is a learning and teen expert, and is also the bestselling author of “The Happy Student”. Download this FREE bonus: 10 beautifully designed, full colour posters of the top life lessons from this article. The views expressed are his own.