40 Lessons From A Year Of Positivity

A lot of positive things can happen in a year.

It’s hard for me to believe, but tomorrow will mark one full year since I started my blogging career!

I published my very first blog post (I swear, it took me over an hour to press the “Publish” button for the first time) on Labor Day 2012 with the intention of posting new content every single Monday, and here it is Labor Day 2013, and I’m still here.

Being as real as possible with all of you, I didn’t think that I could do it.

All of my life, I’ve been guilty of starting projects and rarely seeing them through. This blog that you’re reading might actually be the first time in my life where I have fully kept a promise to myself.

In case you’re new here, on September 3, 2012, I launched a blog called Cubepiphany. The goal of that blog was to make the working world a more positive place for as many people as possible.

After 8 months, I decided to kill Cubepiphany for obvious reasons and on May 20, 2013, I completely re-branded it as The Positivity Solution.

Regardless of the name of the blog, my goal has never changed in this past year.

I want nothing more than to make the world a happier, nicer, and more positive place for all of us.

Along the way I learned a lot, and I want to share those things with all of you.

It’s not in any particular order, but below are the 40 most important things that I have learned in the past year of blogging about my favorite topic, positivity.

Enjoy!

My Personal Lessons in Positivity

1. If there is something that you’ve always wanted to start (a blog, a new business, leaving your dysfunctional relationship, going back to school in your 40’s, moving to a different city, etc.) seriously, do it now. The timing will never be perfect to go after your dreams. That’s why the perfect time to start is now.

2. Laugh at yourself often and refuse to take yourself too seriously. Last week, I walked on stage to deliver a presentation in front of a large audience with my fly down. Yep, sure did. Was it embarrassing? Hell yes, it was! But it actually ended up working to my advantage because I was willing to laugh at myself. Screw ups happen, but they’re much easier to handle with a sense of humor.

3. Twelve months after my very first blog post, I’m still as convinced as ever that The Customer Is Always Right is the most abusive phrase in American business history.

4. Whenever I thought of quitting or giving up on my dreams this year, I just thought of all of the naysayers in my life who I would prove right if I did. That did the trick for me. If you’re in a similar position, remember their smug faces whenever you seriously consider giving up on your goals.

5. The easiest way to connect with another person is to smile. Don’t be the dude/lady spending his/her life mean-mugging everyone all day. Life is too short for that kind of silliness. Smile more.

6. The best gift that we can ever give to ourselves is to ruthlessly remove the toxic people from our lives. If there is someone in your life who is toxic, don’t wait a minute longer to give yourself that gift. Your happiness and sanity both depend on it.

7. When I first started blogging my goal was to be perfect. Little did I know at the time that there’s nothing likable or relatable about being perfect. In fact, it’s our flaws that make us likable and relatable. Striving to be perfect is the worst goal ever. Strive to be authentic instead.

8. Life is short and unpredictable. Accidents happen. People get sick and die. Senseless violence happens (Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre, for example). Personally, I lost two close friends in the past 12 months due to cancer. Don’t sleepwalk through life and assume that you can wait to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you later. Later is a myth. Tomorrow isn’t promised to them or to you. Don’t withhold your love to the people in your life who deserve it.

9. One of my most exciting moments in the past 12 months was finally unraveling the “secret” of happiness. This slight tweak in my definition of happiness was a complete game-changer for me.

10. You are so much better, smarter, and stronger than you think you are. Don’t forget that.

11. If you’re dealing with a bully at home or at work, remember this: Bullies are cowards. Every bully walking the face of the earth needs your fear in order to survive. Without your fear, they are nothing.

12. Kindness is always a strength and never a weakness. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

13. It’s okay to live life with passion, even if others around you are not. Never apologize for your enthusiasm. Ever.

14. Here is the easiest way to be the best person you can possibly be, in 3 simple steps: A) Be slightly better than you were yesterday, B) Start today, C) Repeat, every day.

15. I believe that everyone should experience hitting rock bottom at least once in their lives. Sometimes, when we experience the pain of our lowest moment, we’ll also discover the strength that will allow us soar higher than we ever thought possible.

16. In the past 12 months, I’ve been introduced to quite a few optimists. Some of these people have endured some of the most horrific circumstances imaginable and have still maintained a positive attitude. This why I believe that optimists can kick pessimists’ asses all day long (figuratively speaking, of course). Wallowing in negativity when things go wrong is kiddie table stuff–anyone can do that. However, it takes a very special and mentally tough person to find the nugget of positivity in the face of terrible circumstances.

17. If you replace drinking soda with drinking water, you will change your life, health, and energy in ways that you wouldn’t even imagine. Even better, throw in a green smoothie every now and then too. I know that’s kind of random, but that’s the biggest health-related tip that I learned in the past year.

18. What you allow is what will continue. If you are being treated horribly by someone in your life, it’s up to you (yes, YOU) to put a stop to it. This is the single most important lesson that I learned this year.

19. If you’re hesitating to share your art or your dreams with the world due to the fear of being judged, I have a secret for you that I learned this year. Are you ready? It’s a good one: 98% of people are too caught up in their own lives to care about whether or not you “share your art” or “live your dream.” The judgment that you’re fearing from others most likely isn’t coming. Just refer to point #1 above, and take the plunge. Take it from me, a year from now, you’ll be so glad that you did.

20. I am convinced that the working world would change literally overnight if every company on this earth focused on finding the bullies who are poisoning their workforce and convinced them (read: ordered them) to stop being assholes. Or fire them. Either option works for me.

Me and Dr. Wayne Dyer!

21. When I met my favorite author, Dr. Wayne Dyer a few months ago, I felt like a teenage girl at a One Direction concert. It was easily one of the highlights of my blogging career so far. So, what’s the lesson in this point? If you don’t ask for what you want, the answer will always be “No.” Because I asked for a picture with him when I saw him after a speaking engagement, I now have something I will cherish for the rest of my life. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want, you may end up being surprised.

22. Ah, the joy of dealing with haters. In the past year, I’ve been called everything from a “fraud” to a “welfare monkey.” Believe me, it’s all good. Truthfully, it doesn’t happen too often, but in the past year, a small pocket of haters have tried to slow down the positivity train (unsuccessfully, I must add), and that’s part of the deal. When dealing with haters, just remember this: always be authentically you, do the best that you can without exception, and most importantly, do more of what they hate. Just like gnats, or any other minor annoyance, they’ll go away eventually.

23. There is nothing in this world that is more damaging to your overall success and happiness than the double-whammy of personal patheticness: Chronically Complaining and Always Making Excuses. Believe me, both of those should be avoided like the bubonic plague if you want to live your best life.

24. One of the quotes that kept me going when I felt like giving up on my goals was this one from the late personal development guru, Jim Rohn: “There are two types of pain you will go through in life: the pain of discipline and the pain of regret. Discipline weighs ounces, but regret weighs tons.” It took me a while to realize this, but the achievement of any meaningful goal in our lives will require us to become comfortable with the Pain of Discipline. I wish I could say that the Pain of Discipline doesn’t hurt, because it does. The good news is that unlike the Pain of Regret, it’s temporary.

25. There is no resource on this earth that is more valuable than time. Wasting time is literally the same thing as throwing away a precious part of our lives that we can never get back. Time is the only resource that can’t be borrowed, multiplied, or replaced once it’s gone. Value your time above all else.

26. People will always fall for a well-planned April Fool’s joke (for the suckers readers who fell for it, sorry, I couldn’t resist reminding you of it ;))

27. Many people reserve a special kind of mean-spiritedness, cruelty, and awfulness for themselves that they would never dream of directing toward another human being. I used to be one of those people. It isn’t always easy, but our best lives will always remain out of reach until we learn to fully love and accept ourselves.

28. It is never, ever, EVER too late to go for your dreams. The fact that you’re alive and able to read these words is all the proof that you’ll ever need.

29. Inside of the cave that you fear, lies the treasure that you seek. Or put differently, in order to get what you want out of life, you’re going to have to deal with your fears eventually. Think about that.

30. Our society is absolutely appreciation-starved. If you want to make someone’s day in the easiest way possible, just look a person directly in the eyes and specifically thank him/her for something he/she has done for you. The positive effect of that simple act will last for longer than you could possible imagine.

31. Don’t settle. Far too many people to do that with their jobs, the neighborhood that they choose to live in, and most commonly, with their significant others. Don’t be one of those people. Decide that a life of “good enough” isn’t really good enough at all. Demand more now, or live with the regret of not demanding more for yourself sooner.

32. One of the most powerful things that you can do for yourself is to ensure that your inner circle (aka, VIP Section) is filled with exceptional people. Equally as important, do not let anyone into the VIP Section of your life unless they absolutely deserve to be there.

33. I don’t care if it’s your parents, your significant other, your therapist, your boss, your professor, your minister, or your physician. Don’t believe anyone who tries to tell you what you’re capable (or not capable) of having, doing, or being in your life.

34. If you’re going to start a blog, business, or anything that would require other people to find you on the internet, please learn from my mistake and use a name that’s easy to pronounce and spell. You’ll thank me later.

35. One of the best things that I’ve learned to do for myself in the past 12 months is to make meditation part of my daily routine. It’s quite possibly the best de-stressing technique in the world, and it’s free too.

36. It’s impossible to be fearless. Fearlessness is for action movies with exploding warehouses and evil super villains. In the real world, courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s feeling the fear and still doing the damn thing anyway.

37. Just because someone says that something is impossible doesn’t mean that it is impossible. Every “impossible” act became possible because someone had the courage to take action. That person could be you.

38. Contrary to what you might hear on the news, the world is filled with FAR more good, loving, and kind people than the opposite. Just because random acts of violence make it onto the evening news more often than random acts of kindness, don’t fall into the trap of believing that the scary world that you see on the news is an accurate depiction of the real world.

39. No matter what challenges we’re going through, habits we’re trying to break, or drama we’re trying to overcome, we can always hang in there and do the right thing, just for today.

40. Most of all, the lesson that I’ll never forget from this year is that I am blessed to be surrounded by some of the best readers on the internet. To the Solutionists who are subscribers, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest, or the ones who just come by to read my posts each Monday–thank you. If it weren’t for you, I would have closed up shop a long time ago, and this blog would have served as another broken promise that I failed to keep to myself.

Thank you for helping me to believe that I have what it takes to make this world a more positive place. Here’s to another year of positivity!

Your Turn

Which one of these 40 points resonated with you? Do you disagree with any of them? Jump into the comments below and make your voice heard! Most importantly, thanks again for a great first year!

Shola

Shola

Founder of The Positivity Solution
Author, keynote speaker, and kindness extremist who is committed to changing the world by helping as many people as possible to live and work with more positivity.
Shola
Shola

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Comments

  1. Christina Mickel says:

    Congratulations on your first year! Your blog has very often helped me with a challenge I was facing in my life and I am grateful for your wisdom and advice! Thank you for starting this blog. Keep up the great work and I look forward to several more years of your insightful and encouraging posts!

    • Thanks Christina! I’m thrilled to hear that my blog has helped you to overcome a challenge that you were dealing with–that is fantastic news. I promise that I’ll be here writing for as long as you’ll have me!

  2. Nice list!

    I’m going to half-disagree with #31, don’t settle. That’s because you can err in either direction: you can settle for too little or you can insist on too much. If you wait for perfection instead of good enough, you will never get it. So, it’s hard, but you have to find the right level of quality.

    One that resonates with me is #2, laugh at yourself often and don’t take yourself too seriously. Although the way I say that to myself is that it’s important to have fun. For example, I had a lot more fun playing with an ultimate frisbee team that made fun of how bad we were (our name was “The Popsicles” and our motto was “We suck!”) than with the team who won the championship. You can still do your best when you’re not being the kind of “serious” that makes you get angry at people (others and yourself) every time something doesn’t go perfectly.

    Also, taking yourself too seriously makes it a lot harder to try something new. Of course you are unlikely to be very good at something new until you’ve gotten in some practice and learned some tips. So if you refuse to do things that make you feel stupid or clumsy or whatever, you are seriously narrowing your possibilities. It’s like if you haven’t learned to do something by age 18, then you’ve missed your chance. And I think a lot of grownups really don’t do anything but go to their jobs and do their one hobby, both of which they are awesomely competent with. Another thing I keep in mind is that when I’m doing something that I’m really bad at, I’m helping other people feel good about themselves because at least they aren’t as bad as me!

    • Debbie, I completely agree with your half-disagreement. You’re right, taking “not settling” to the extreme is just as bad as settling for anything. Unfortunately, I’ve seen a lot more “settlers” in my day than the people waiting for perfection, but there’s no doubt that both groups of people exist. I’m so with you on the importance of laughing at yourself and refusing to take yourself too seriously. Like you said, the people who take themselves too seriously are the ones who usually end up missing out on a lot of fun and new experiences that life has to offer. And besides, unless we lock ourselves in our basements for the rest of our lives, screwing up and looking silly are things that are completely unavoidable. We might as well learn to laugh at it!

  3. #38, because I sometimes forget how true this is!

    • Elizabeth, it is SO true. Sometimes we all need a reminder of how good this world really is (even if the news tries to tell us a different story).

  4. Congratulations on one year Shola!! I’m so glad that you hit the button to publish…I look forward to your posts every week. I loved your list and I’m so glad that you didn’t listen to the haters ( what the heck is a “welfare monkey”?). Number 6 is my favorite, but you already knew that! 🙂 Have a wonderful week!!

    • Thanks Spring! There’s no way that I would have made through a year without the support of amazing people like you. As for the “welfare monkey” comment, I actually LOL’ed when I read it, because some things are just too cartoonishly stupid to take seriously. And yes, I knew that you’d love #6, because that one and #18 have also been my biggest lessons in the past year. Thanks for making it a great year!

  5. Danielle Faith says:

    I think this is an excellent and comprehensive list. Definitely one of my favorite blog postings that I’ve come across thus far on the subject. You have an awesome blog and are an excellent writer! Keep up the good work and keep learning! Most importantly, STAY POSITIVE!

    xxx,

    Danielle Faith

    • Thanks so much for the kind words Danielle, it’s greatly appreciated! I promise that as long as I’m alive and breathing that I will keep learning and I’ll keep staying positive–count on it :). Thanks for stopping by, my friend!

  6. MEGA post!! Loved it man.

    There are so many things in here that ring true to me. Even though this isn’t technically my one-year anniversary of blogging, I didn’t start posting consistently until September. So I can totally relate to learning a million lessons in the past year.

    When you reflect on one year, it’s amazing how much can happen. I really think blogging has allowed me to grow more in one year than I have throughout most of my life.

    Here’s to another kick ass year Shola!

    • Thanks Kevin! Isn’t amazing how much growth can happen in a year? I bet if the 2012 Kevin Cole was able to look in the future at the 2013 version, he would be blown away by all of things that you accomplished in a year’s time. Congrats to you my man for a full year of consistent blogging, and here’s to us keeping it going for many years to come!

  7. It’s so awesome to watch your dream grow… and I know it’s just the beginning!
    I feel more at peace with myself and my life more than ever because of your encouragement and wisdom. I feel inspired to follow my passions and dreams (even if I’m not sure how they will come about…I know they are possible if I stay authentic to my greatest self)

    Here are my favorite points from another UPLIFTING post!!

    START NOW!
    Laugh at yourself more often…life shouldn’t be SO serious all the time.
    I CAN DO IT
    Smile More 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Remove toxic people in your life…most important blog I’ve ever read! Thank you for that one SOOOOO much.
    Strive to be authentic, not perfect.
    TAKE THE PLUNGE!
    Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.
    Fully Love and Respect yourself.
    DEMAND more NOW!
    Fill your inner circle with exceptional people 🙂
    Meditate <3
    HAVE THE COURAGE TO TAKE ACTION.
    Just for Today. (another amazing post)

    Shola, thank you so much for dedicating your time to inspire, encourage and uplift all of us. It makes such a big difference.

    • LAILY! Thanks so much for your comment, my friend! Believe me, the only reason why I’m able to follow my dream here at The Positivity Solution is because of the support from amazing people like you. I’m so glad that this post resonated with you! Stick around my friend, and I promise to keep bringing positivity to you for as long as you’re willing to have me to do it :). Thanks again for your amazing comment!

  8. Some brilliant lessons here! This is a fantastic blog so congratulations =)

  9. Congrats, Shola! I’m so glad you are still around, writing your amazing posts every Monday! Thank you for brightening my week on a constant basis!

    You know I could have a quote for almost all 40 points, but I won’t do that. LOL… So I’ll just give you one and save the rest for your other posts throughout this next fantastic year!

    For #37: “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible!'” ~Audrey Hepburn

    • I promise that I’ll stick around for as long as you’ll have me, Valisa! Oh I’m certain that you EASILY could have found 40 quotes for each point, but I’m still loving the Hepburn quote–it’s one of my all-time favorites. Thanks for being here for the ride from the very beginning!

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