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3 Life Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

By: Jeff Bullas


Life Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

Some of us discover our purpose in life at an early age.

It might be writing, playing the violin or the driven and passionate artist.

That is unusual and rare.

And they are the lucky few.

The rest of us have to stumble through life trying to find our “why”.

Some of us don’t bother.

Being secure and safe is enough. We don’t feel the urge to move up the ladder.

To reach the top of Maslow’s pyramid.

His theory of the journey that we aspire to was outlined in his 1943 paper, “A Theory of Human Motivation.”

Initially the top of the pyramid for him was listed as “self-actualization”

But later in life he saw transcendence as the ultimate aspiration for becoming fully human.

To leave a legacy and make a difference.

To go beyond the self.

To change humanity maybe in some small way.

So what is life about and what were the lessons that I needed to discover and learn?

Passionate purpose

One of my first romantic interests was Priscilla.

Her father was a rich doctor.

They had expensive cars and a big house.

I was impressed.

Hard not to be when you are just 7.

It was all about the money.

And aspiring to be a medical practitioner had now become a career goal.

But after performing a science experiment at the age of 14 which involved cutting up mice and frogs I discovered something.

I hated the site of blood.

So….a change of direction.

So my next goal in life was to become an accountant.

They looked after the money.

But after starting my accounting degree something else became clear.

My inclination wasn’t attention to detail and balancing the books needed that.

Ledgers and debits and credits were the stuff of nightmares.

When that realization dawned I made a hard choice and settled for a teaching career.

I wasn’t sure but it was the only reasonable option at the time.

But that lasted a few brief years until I transitioned to the tech industry as I participated in the PC revolution.

This was my first career I really loved.

Sales and marketing were my new and exciting path.

This was far from a straight line to finding my “why” but later I discovered that all these experiences were part of my future.

A few decades later I stumbled into my life purpose.

It was an intersection of decades of experience, expertise and passion.

Fumbling and sometimes failing.

But I had never stopped looking.

Pivoting, prodding and often being found wanting. Falling short.

And it took me over 50 years.

Aspiring to be as fully human as you can is a marathon.

And failed dreams sit in that mix.

Your first goal in life is to discover “Why” you are here.

Unearthing your superpowers that you need to share with the world.

For many they are hidden from view.

So don’t settle.

Keep asking and keep looking.

Don’t settle for ordinary when the world is wanting and waiting to see the real you.

Persistent action

A passionate purpose without action is just a good idea.

We have all listened to the well-meaning wannabe.

Good intentions and grand schemes.

And many of us have those.

Ideas to burn.

They pile up on our desk and in the recesses of your mind.

Discussed over coffee with friends.

But many of us get distracted and park them in quiet dark corners that never see the light of day.

At some stage we need to make a call.

Take action.

It may be the wrong one. Or it might be your next big thing.

The reality is that many of us come up with excuses that stop us.

Too busy.

Not enough money.

I’m too old.

Friends and family will all tell you that it is a mad idea

But don’t die wondering.

Success is about taking action.

Despite the doubts and naysayers.

Then persisting.

Tenacious action is where your magic is revealed.

And it’s never too late.

Pain solving

So we have stumbled into our passionate purpose and taken action.

Life is good.

It’s all going to plan.

Then you get “that” phone call.

Something has happened.

It’s not good.

Ever had one of those days. That week, month or year?

Where order descends into chaos.

Your stable relationship ends with a messy affair.

You discover your business partner is stealing your money

Or that first world problem. Facebook changes its algorithm that disrupts your business growth and sales.

There is one constant in life and business.

There will be pain and suffering.


Sometimes imposed by others.

It’s your attitude to that challenge whether your life is a success.

Will you wallow or will you rise?

My solution to that challenge.

Here are my 3 simple steps. Easy to say but hard to do.

Read books that inspire you. Everyday.

Exercise. Not once a week but be active every day.

Distract yourself. For me that was done by hanging out with fun and successful people.

These worked for me and maybe you have your own methods.

But no matter what, you need to find a way to soar.

Pain is the big stick that can you move from mediocrity to life changing success.

Comfort is overrated.

Final words

Transformation starts with the journey of discovering your “Why.”

Then strapping yourself in, sitting down and doing the work despite the doubters and hecklers.

See pain as inevitable and work out a way to rise above the lows that will show up.

And they will.

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer” – Albert Camus

In the middle of the life’s chaos and confusion the real you is waiting to be that hero.

Are you ready to make a difference…..leave your legacy?

Published: March 21, 2018

Source: Jeff Bullas

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Jeff Bullas

Jeff Bullas is a consultant, blogger, strategist, and speaker. He works with companies and executives to optimize their online personal and corporate brands through the use of social media channels. Author of the Amazon best-selling book Blogging the Smart Way—How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media (Jeff Bullas, 2012), Jeff's own blog is included in AdAge.com's Power 150 ranking as a top 50 marketing blog.

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