37 Great Life Lessons in 37 Years

Posted by on Feb 10, 2012 in Personal Development | 60 comments

Loving life is a practice of living with joy, mindfulness, and wisdom every day. Living a great life is all about choices, and in 37 years of life, I’ve learned to make choices that embrace happiness.

Yes, today is my birthday, and I invite you to join me in celebrating the greatest life lessons I’ve learned in 37 years.

37 Great Life Lessons

1. Happiness is a choice.
2. You don’t need life to go your way to be happy.
3. Be in awe of this moment.
4. If you want to be happy, stop complaining.

5. Asking for help is a sign of strength.

6. At any moment you can reboot your day.
7. Sometimes you have to drop the ball to give another the opportunity to pick it up.
8. Allowing others to do for themselves shows your confidence in them.
9. Confidence is essential to living a great life.

10. Be yourself. Your uniqueness is the most awesome thing about you!

11. Admit and forgive mistakes.
12. Mistakes are lessons in progress.
13. Make living amends by changing hurtful behavior.
14. Live life on life’s terms.

15. When you don’t know what to do, do nothing.

16. You’re never as stuck as you think you are.
17. Just for today, love yourself enough to give up the struggle over something that is out of your hands.
18. Treat yourself the way you want others to treat you.
19. Before you speak, THINK. Is it True Helpful Inspiring Necessary and Kind?

20. Smile more.

21. Be grateful.
22. Be playful.
23. Be patient.
24. Laugh every day.

25. Ease into your resistance; there’s a lesson in it.

26. Try something new.
27. Don’t take life too seriously.
28. Say no, and mean it.
29. No is a complete sentence. Excuses and explanations are not required.

30. Your opinion of yourself is more important than someone else’s opinion of you.

31. Take care of yourself before taking care of others.
32. Use your strengths and build on your weaknesses.
33. Trust your instincts.
34. Sometimes FEAR is Future Expectations Appearing Real.

35. Don’t believe everything you feel.

36. A positive attitude can get you anywhere you want to go.
37. Your attitude influences your experience more than you know.

Thank you!

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in life is to say thank you, so let me take this moment to thank you for supporting Live Love Work.

Thank you for reading; thank you for your comments, subscriptions, and sharing! You inspire me every day to keep living and sharing my best life!

thank you, one of life's best lessons
I love your comments! What are the greatest lessons you’ve learned in life?

Image courtesy of vistamommy.


  1. Wonderful words of wisdom. I have experienced in my life many of these good lessons you have mentioned and fully endorse them. I wish you the best for taking the effort to blog such good things and keep continuing your good work.

  2. Dear Chrysta,

    I took the breadcrumb from your 7LinksChallenge and navigated back here.

    So many takeaways inside of this useful post. One of the ones that’s really sticking for me is #6: at any moment you can reboot your day.

    I have been learning something about grace. It is always here for us.

    Each moment we are alive and breathing we have a level of grace to experience. It is up to us whether we wish to recognize that or not. The choice is always ours.

    Love love love the wisdom!

    Cat 😉

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Cat!

      I love the idea of rebooting my day, and I do it often! I visualize shutting down and restarting, and when I do I am free to adopt a fresh new perspective. It’s great!

      I love what you shared about grace. I have been welcoming grace into my life more often lately, and it’s truly a beautiful experience. The choice is always there, I just have to make it!

      Thanks for joining the conversation! Have a grateful day!


      • I’m glad you enjoyed my comment, Chrysta! Grace is a wonderful thing and it is always here for us. So much of what we experience is deeply correlated to what we allow ourselves to recognize. What perfection…


  3. Happy Birthday! What an inspiring post. I can’t wait to read the rest of your posts. :)


    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Tina! And thanks for the birthday wishes, too. :)

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. It was a lot of fun to write, and it’s always great to celebrate how far we’ve come in life, isn’t it?

      Have a grateful day!


  4. Belated Happy Birthday Chrysta.. I love what you have written here. I admire the lessons in life you have. Being grateful is one of the best attitude I admire to a person and you are one of them. Stay happy…

    • Thanks for your comment, Kelly, and for the belated birthday wishes! I agree gratitude is a great attitude!

      Have an awesome day!


  5. Hauoli La Hanau, Chrysta. So sorry I did not send you timely birthday wishes. Had I known 2/10 was your birthday it would have been easy for me to remember because one of my brothers shares the same day with you. Hope your day was fantastic and that it was the start of a year that will be filled with dreams come true and all that makes your heart sing.

    Absolutely loved, loved, love your lessons. You have not only learned one heck of a lot of good things, you live them. Many people learn, however, they do not live them; you do. Chrysta, that you do and your consistency in thought & action are only a couple of the qualities that I so admire about you.

    By reference, I am incorporating what Marcus said into my response. It was perfect and I agree with him in everything he said.

    Chrysta, an important lesson I have learned is to let things go; don’t be attached to the outcome. At long last I have learned to say what I think and then let it go. My “job” is only to deliver whatever message I believe–not to convince people they have to adopt my beliefs.

    In the past, if someone didn’t “get” what I was saying, I kept telling them over and over and over again. To my mind, if they weren’t “getting” something that I thought was so obvious and had to be a certain way, there must be something wrong with the way I was explaining it.

    Now I know, either the message was not meant for them or they were not ready to receive it. The good news, Chrysta, is that either way is fine with me.

    Wishing you a fabulous year ahead. So glad that we connected and I can share a part of your journey with you.

    Best wishes for a wonderful weekend. Until next time, aloha. Janet

    • Thanks for the awesome comment, Janet! I love birthdays that keep on giving, so thank you for the birthday wishes today!

      Thank you, too, for the lovely compliments. I have practiced living the best lessons I’ve learned, and this practice has blossomed in my life at a much deeper level through blogging. Writing about mindfully living a great life has applied these lessons in my life in a new way. When I sit down to write a post, or read a friend’s blog and comment, I must draw on my best life lessons to do so. Isn’t blogging a wonderful exercise in happiness and progress?

      I love the lesson you’ve added to the list! If I’m concerned with convincing others to agree with my opinions, I will likely alienate my friends and family without convincing anyone. When I take my beliefs and try to force them on others, I can also easily fall into the trap of judging others lives and thinking I am right and they are wrong. This attitude and behavior does not help me live a great life, and so I can do without it!

      I am so grateful for your friendship and wisdom, Janet! Thank you for your inspirational posts, and your thoughtful comments.


  6. So much wisdom you put in this post.

    #35 35. Don’t believe everything you feel.

    I also don’t believe everything I think.

    Happy Birthday, Chrysta!

    Thank you for the share!

    • Thanks for your awesome comment and for the awesome birthday wishes, Akos!

      I love your addition to the list! Not believing everything I think is a great lesson. In my experience, perspective is everything and I can think some pretty limiting thoughts when I’m only seeing one side of things.

      Thanks for joining the conversation! Have a grateful day!


  7. Hey Chrysta,

    Belated happy birthday and a happy valentine’s day. I really like your post and I think these are a few great lessons to help live a fulfilling life. I am glad that your readers are benefiting from your life experience.

    Best regards and have a great day :)

    • Thanks for the awesome comment, birthday wishes & Valentine’s wishes, Ashvini! :)

      So glad to hear you enjoyed the post. I’d love to read your list of best life lessons- would you post something like that?

      Happy Valentine’s Day to you! Have a grateful day!


  8. Hi Chrysta,

    Happy Birthday. I think it’s great to reflect on our past and recognize the lessons we’ve learned along the way. Life goes by too fast sometimes and we end up missing out on some important teaching moments.

    I enjoyed learning from your life.


    • Thanks for the awesome birthday wishes, Bryce!

      Reflecting on what I’ve learned, and the progress I’ve made, is a very empowering exercise. It was a lot of fun and I’m glad I did it.

      I’m also glad to hear you enjoyed reading it!

      Have a grateful day!


  9. Hope you had a wonderful birthday and celebrated into the weekend Chrysta.

    I love this post and I agree with everything you’ve learned up to now. Like Marcus, I kept saying me to… What a great way to sum up where you are right now. I love this idea. Man, sure hope I can come up with enough of those on my next birthday! Wow!!!

    Thanks for sharing these with us Chrysta and again, hope you had a beautiful day!


    • Thanks for the awesome comment and birthday wishes, Adrienne!

      I would love to read your best life lessons in a post and I hope you do it on your birthday, too.

      I had been jotting these down in a notebook as they came to me. When I sat down to write my post I had well over 40 lessons and edited the list down to 37. I’m sure you’ll have no problem coming up with your list!

      Have a grateful day!


      • That’s a great idea Chrysta, write them down as I go. If you had well over 40, I only need another 15 to go! lol… Oh yeah, I’m getting up there now.

        Thanks for that suggestion though.

  10. Hi Chrysta,
    Happy birthday…37 great life lessons…..There are lots of more lessons still remained unshare…so please share them all….

    • Thanks for the birthday wishes, Prakash! Yes, there were many more lessons on my list, and I whittled it down to 37. I look forward to sharing 38 different lessons next year! :)

      Have a grateful day!


      • He he…thanks Chrysta, I will be wait for those 38 different lessons. As I liked these lessons hope those will also make a nice impact on my mind……….
        Best wishes for you

        • Prakash,

          I better start making a list of great life lessons and by next year your mind will be greatly pleased! :)

          Have a fabulous day!

          • Hmmmm, I really impressed with your writing. I know my mind will have to greatly pleased with all of your nice posts.

  11. Loved this post! I think on my birthday I will have to do a similar one..but have to come up with 40! LOL
    My favorite was your point about not believing everything you feel! That is so important! Our feelings can be such bad advisers! Keep up the awesome posts!

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Burl, and thanks for reading!

      It was a really fun exercise and I would love to read your post when you do it! Please come back and link it up.

      When I started writing this post, I had a list of more than 40 lessons, and whittled them down to 37. I’m challenging myself to revisit 38 completely different lessons next year!

      Learning not to believe everything I feel was such an important lesson in my life. While I’ve learned all my feelings are important and valuable, they can also be disproportionate to the situation! Keeping feelings in perspective allows me to make mindful, not emotional, choices.

      So glad you stopped by! Have a grateful day!


  12. I love your list. Thank you for sharing. I particularily like number 19. For FEAR however I like it broken down like this. False Evidence Apearing Real. Thank you again…

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Diarmuid!

      I use False Evidence Appearing Real, too. I love acronyms to remember wisdom I want to live by.

      Have a grateful day!


  13. Chrysta!
    I am SO sorry I am late! Happy ‘Nother Year!! You and your words, what you share with us all, has come to mean so much to me. Really. I wanted to say Happy Birthday and I hope you had a wonderful day. Thank you. Thank you for making such a difference in my life. I am glad I found you.
    Your pal in Alaska.

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Amber-Lee! You’re not late as far as I’m concerned; I enjoy stretching my birthday celebrations out as long as possible. :)

      I am so grateful and touched by your kind words. You give me the encouragement to keep sharing my experience and I’m glad it is helpful to you.

      Your comment is a fabulous birthday present- thank you! Have a fantastic day!


  14. Learning to say no is still something I struggle with. Happy Birthday!

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, DB, and for the birthday wishes!

      Learning to say no was so hard for me, and it took me many, many years to be able to say no without feeling guilty. It was very empowering when I became aware that saying no was honest and respectful to myself and others. I pride myself on my honesty and when I realized I was being honest about what I can do, it made it a bit easier for me to say no.

      Thanks for joining the conversation! Have a grateful day!


  15. Happy Birthday Chrysta!!!

    And – moments like this, and the reflecting on where we are and what we’ve learned – such powerful moments for our continuing journey.

    I really love the idea of “rebooting the day” – it’s a good one for me to remember (which I don’t always do).

    So, thank you for writing this – and giving my journey a boost from what your life has been!

    Play on!!

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Lance! And thanks for the birthday wishes, too!

      Reflecting on life is a celebration of progress and wisdom and I’m so glad I wrote this post! I recently heard someone say, “it’s hard for me to be discouraged about where I am because I’m so encouraged by how far I’ve come.” I loved this statement so much I wrote it down in the little “wisdom” notebook I carry around with me.

      I absolutely love rebooting my day, or my attitude, for that matter! I visualize it much like rebooting a computer. I stop what I’m doing, breathe deep breaths until I feel calm and peaceful, and imagine restarting the day. It works like a charm!

      Thank you for joining the conversation, Lance! I love what you shared.


  16. Hi Chrysta,

    I just came across your blog after seeing a tweet from my friend Marcus Baker.

    First of all, Happy Belated Birthday! What are a great way to celebrate 37 years by sharing 37 Great Life Lessons!

    I loved number 30 and how our opinions of ourselves are more important than others’ opinions of us. This is very important. By developing strong self-esteem and being grounded in who we are, other people can have views about us, but none of them can shift our belief in who we really are.

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Hiten and welcome to Live Love Work! Thanks for the birthday wishes, too!

      Realizing that my opinion of myself if more important than other people’s opinion of me was a challenging lesson to learn, but what a freeing lesson it is! If I find myself starting to worry about someone else’s opinion of me I can ask myself if I’m behaving in a way I feel proud of. If I am, my worry melts away. If I’m not, I have the opportunity to make amends and my worry melts away. What a relief!

      I’m grateful you stopped by. Thanks so much! Have a great day!


  17. Hi Chrysta,

    What with the time difference and all it seems I missed the actual day so here’s hoping it was wonderful and special in every way. Heck that sounds like a typical Hallmark message…. didn’t mean for it to be like that but since this is what came naturally I’m sticking with it. :)

    Chrysta in all the years ahead may you continue to be blessed with abundance in all all things and nay your days be especially overflowing with joy, peace and contentment.

    Needless to say I loved, loved, LOVED your list of 37 life lessons learned.

    I have to admit I found myself saying “Yes”, “Aha” and “Me too” at just about every lesson Chrysta. I guess that’s to be expected since I have been around a bit longer than you. Ha ha….

    I love “Happiness is a choice” and maybe what I would add to this is “You’ve always got a choice” no matter what….

    The consequences of making a choice might be daunting, frightening and challenging but if you have faith, everything always turns out fine in the end. Of course we never learn this however unless we make that choice.

    One other lesson I have learned Chrysta is that other people always do the best they can even though it may not feel that way to us.

    We can never have expectations of another based on our consciousness since we are all unique beings travelling this particular life path in our own perfect timing.


    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Marcus! And thanks for the birthday wishes!

      When I started writing my list it was quite a bit longer and I edited it down to just 37 lessons. Perhaps next year I’ll share 38 more lessons without repeating any of the lessons here- what a fun and enlightening challenge!

      Realizing I have a choice in every situation was such a revelation for me. It took a while for me to start asking myself, “what are my choices?” One fun exercise is to write a list of every possible choice I can make from completely absurd to realistic. The best part about this exercise is I can usually make myself laugh with the absurd options (run away and join the circus), and it helps me recognize that I have many choices available to me!

      Recognizing and discovering my choices also helps me take responsibility for my life. What a relief not to be a victim of circumstance any longer. I am responsible for how I act and feel, and what I make of my life.

      I love that you shared the wisdom that everyone is doing the best they can and I completely agree! People do the best they can with what they have and many people don’t have much so their choices may not seem reasonable to me, but they truly don’t have or know another way. This realization allows me to approach others with compassion and kindness, and recognize that they may be struggling to get by.

      Thank you for joining the conversation! I love what you’ve added! Have a grateful day!


  18. These are awesome! Totally going to steal some of these from you and share them on FB.

    I have always been a firm believer of #1. That is so true. Happiness is choice. If you cant change the situation, change the way you think about a situation.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Brock!

      Happiness is a choice, or at least a series of choices that allow me to adjust my perspective and choose positive and productive action. I can’t feel happy by force of will but I can recognize there’s good in every day and I can do good in every day. Really, that’s usually all it takes!

      Have a grateful day!


  19. Love the post. At 40 I can tell that #27 is invaluable. Happy Birthday!

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Lisa! And thanks for the birthday wishes!

      Not taking life too seriously is a lesson I learned late in my 37 years, and it’s one of the best lessons I’ve learned! That’s where asking myself “how important is it?” is helpful for me. Usually I find whatever is happening isn’t nearly as important, or serious, as I think it is when I’m in the middle of it.

      I hope to meet you at BlissDom! Have a grateful day!


  20. Hi Chrysta!

    I so love this post! I recently did a similar post irrespective of my birthday (I have linked it here)

    Isn’t it just wonderful to be doing these posts. I like all of your lessons… all filled with wisdom and so much hope :)

    Happy Birthday!

    • Thanks for the awesome comment, Hajra!

      I absolutely LOVED your birthday post and the great lessons you shared. I’ve seen several bloggers do this and after reading yours last month I thought I might give it try, too! Thanks for inspiring me! It’s fun to reflect on all that we’ve learned, isn’t it?

      Thanks for the birthday wishes, too! Have a grateful day!


      • It wasn’t my birthday post :( My birthday isn’t till October! A lot of people thought that but I just got inspired by another blogger who did it!

        BTW How did you celebrate your big day?

        • Thanks for clarifying, Hajra! Well I can’t wait to see what you post on your birthday in October. :)

          Yesterday we had a chili cookoff at work and I celebrated by eating delicious chili! After work I went to Build-A-Bear and made a stuffed koala (hey, I had to celebrate with my inner child!), then enjoyed a delicious meal with my husband. Tonight I’m having a party! It’s a whole birthday weekend thing.

          Have a great weekend yourself!


  21. Happy b-day! #30 is my vote. Teaching my daughter this one early.

    • Thanks for your comment and for the birthday wishes, Darlene!

      Remembering that my opinion of myself is more important than anyone’s opinion of me is a great lesson for me, and I remind myself of it often when I find myself worrying about what someone else thinks of me. Your daughter is fortunate to have a mom that is reinforcing this message in her life!

      Have a grateful day!


  22. First, Happy Birthday Chrysta!! 37, huh? You’re Rocking 37! 😉

    Loved your lessons learned too. My favorite, #6, #15, and #35!

    I’ve had a few life lessons in my 34 years of living. Most of them I’ve learned in the last 3 years though. You can sorta call them a “Crash Course in Life.” 😀

    Not everything deserves a response… or an answer for that matter.

    Sometimes you must believe what someone else thinks about you until you can learn to believe it yourself.

    Love life. And life will love you back. Love people. And people will love you back.

    Don’t waste time hating… it requires too much time and a whole lot of energy.

    People will control you… if you let them. Always, always, always, stay in control.

    Those are just to name a few. 😉

    Great post, my friend. I hope it’s been a blast for you! :)

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Deeone! And thanks for the birthday wishes!

      I love love love the life lessons you’ve added to the list, especially the lesson that not everything deserves a response- such great wisdom! I used to think I had to respond, react or reply to everything life and people threw at me- what a revelation to realize I don’t have to pick up the end of the rope just because it’s thrown at me. After all, most of the time my hands are already full.

      I also really love the lesson that sometimes you must believe what someone else thinks about you until you can learn to believe it yourself. When I was a suicidal teenager someone suggested to me that I look at myself in the mirror every day and say, “I love you.” At that point in my life I felt I had nothing to lose so I gave it a try. I said, “I love you” to myself every day and after a couple of months I realized I had truly started to love myself, after all.

      Thanks for joining the conversation! Have a grateful day!


  23. Happy Birthday, Christa

    • Thanks for the birthday wishes, Lynda!

      I’m really looking forward to meeting you soon. :)


  24. I really like your list. I so agree with your points about joy and happiness…my problem is just in remembering and choosing to live it!

    Happy Birthday!

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Deborah! And thanks for the birthday wishes!

      Remembering and choosing to be happy can be difficult so I like to keep reminders all around me. From spending time with other people inspired to live a great life, to leaving myself notes on my computer, to writing in this blog! The more I practice these tips, the more they come naturally to me.

      Have a grateful day!


  25. Just reading this post has helped me breathe a bit more deeply this morning, and has served as a reminder to live more thoughtfully and deliberately today. Thank you so much for what you do for me and so many others. And happy birthday!

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Jen! And thanks for the birthday wishes! :)

      I often find reading and writing positive and inspiring messages helps me live positively and inspirationally every day. I’m so grateful to inspire you as much as your comment has inspired me today!

      Here’s to deep breaths and a better day!


  26. First of all, happy birthday and I hope I get to meet you at Blissdom!

    The greatest lesson I’ve learned along these lines is that the answer I give when people ask a very casual “How are you?” really matters! It may not matter to that person so much, but it completely improves my mood to answer honestly and in an upbeat way. “Really great, thanks!” or, “Huh, much better than earlier actually, thank you!” Picks up my day, and I’ve noticed that it has affected how my children view hardship as well. My kids never say “fine” when asked this – they give whole answers!

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Dr. G! Thanks for the birthday wishes, too!

      I love the lesson you shared, and I absolutely agree responding positively and enthusiastically to the “how are you?” question can provide an enormous boost to anyone’s day.

      I have a habit of replying to that question with a hearty, “I’m fantastic, how are you?” It usually stops people in their tracks! I also notice it even works on me. When I’m having a less-than-fabulous day, acting excited and happy causes me to feel excited and happy. It’s a win-win!

      I would love to meet you at BlissDom, too. I’m so excited- less than 2 weeks away! Have a grateful day!


  27. Happy birthday! I hope you have a fabulous day and weekend. I think one of the great lessons we’ve learned is to just keep laughing. Keep a sense of humor about life, even as it gets crazy. Love your positive attitude!

    • Thank you for the birthday wishes, Nicole!

      I love the lessons you’ve shared- keeping a sense of humor is essential to living a great life! Good thing I married a rather silly husband who makes me laugh often. :)

      Have a grateful day!


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