Life Lessons (Introduction and Part 1)
Posted by Yacoob on January 6, 2010
A few years ago, when I became an ‘adult’, I found that life as a grown up can be rather overwhelming. This realisation didn’t come about because I suddenly turned 18, or 21, or whatever age you think adulthood officially begins. Those milestones were already a few years behind me already.
I define adulthood as finally growing up and accepting the responsibilities an adult must face – stuff that’s beyond the realm of a child or adolescent (who, in many cases, is just wrapped up in their own concerns). For some, this stage of adulthood begins when they finish high school. For others, it happens some time during their tertiary education, or in the early years of their careers. For me, I didn’t have to face it in any of those stages, because life was made easy for me by my parents – who sheltered me and enabled me to live without much worry about most of those nasty stresses of ‘grownup life’.
So, what brought me into adulthood – in my mid-20s – was when I lived alone for the first time. The responsibilities of work had already been there, but now, there were other things to deal with all by myself – primarily, the running of a household.
Before then, I considered myself pretty laid back – not having many stresses in life. But when I moved into this stage, stress quickly set in, and I found myself being overwhelmed by all this stuff I had to do: things which I didn’t really want to do – but had to, otherwise I’d be living in utter chaos (which, to some degree, is what happened anyway).
At one point during this adventure in adulthood, I found a book which really spoke to me: the famous “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff,” by Richard Carlson. The book is comprised of short chapters – each being a tip on how to live a less stressful life.
And while some cynics may question the validity of taking guidance of some psychotherapist / motivational speaker – to me, we can learn something from everyone, because, as the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) reportedly said: “Wisdom is the lost property of the believer. Take it wherever you happen to find it.”
You can get advice from anyone. Some of it will be true or good advice, and some may be false or bad advice. The key is for you to filter what you take in – so that you take only the good, and discard that which is harmful or of no benefit.
In this category of posts – titled “Life Lessons” – I hope to share with you some of the things I’ve learnt from this book as well as other sources, including personal experience. With these posts, I hope to communicate advice that will help me, firstly, and you, the reader, to live a life of greater quality and less stress.
Whatever goodness comes from this, the credit goes to the Creator, Almighty Allah.
I invite you to take in the advice of this series in the spirit of progress and self-improvement, and if something works for you, please do share it with others.
Lesson 1: Pause to appreciate, before you begin your day
Before you leave home in the morning (preferably when you’re outside the house already), pause for a few moments, take a deep breath, and appreciate a few things. Some of these things could be the fact that you’ve lived to see another day; your surroundings; your home; your family; and everything you have – which so many others do not have. Most importantly, appreciate that Allah has given you another chance to do that which pleases Him – which will benefit you in this life and Eternity.