In the 33 years on this planet, I have been through a myriad of wins, losses and sometimes I still get a good chuckle out of myself about the silly mistakes that I have made. But that is the beauty of life, you don’t always get it right the first time do you? Or the second time for that matter either!
Well, we all know that we aren’t able to go back in time or change the past. But that is the beauty of it, you don’t want to want to nor would you want to change the past! I know I don’t want to change my past, I am the person I am today because of all the choices I have made, even the stupid and rash ones! But with a little insight, I can reflect from a greater level of mind, I can shift my perception and I can learn from my ignorance and not-so-good quick decisions with no regrets.
I do wish that sometimes I would have had a mentor and didn’t have to rely solely on my parents, and don’t get me wrong, I love my parents but I think they neglected to mention these 12 important things to me. Or maybe they did and I just wasn’t listening…
1. Your First High School Sweetheart is Probably NOT Going to be the One You Marry
I was only 12 years old and I was in year 7 when I had my first kiss. My boyfriend and I dated for a whole 3 months and I thought I was in love! Exactly what does a 12-year-old know about the BIG ‘L’ word? Well, I didn’t know much. I was head over heels in what I thought was love. He ended up cheating on me with a friend of mine and that was that. It was one of the first really hard shots on my self-esteem but I got over it and wasn’t too scarred by the experience.
I realized one thing, I do believe in high school sweethearts who have beaten the statistics who got married and stayed together but I feel as though it is more common that not that the first person you ever kissed or your first high school sweetheart is NOT going to be the one with whom you spend the rest of your life.
I was married at 21, moved from Australia to the US and finally after my first divorce, I am now happily married at 33 years old. I have had numerous loves and long-term relationships during my life. That is the beauty of it all. Enjoy it, most things are not permanent, but don’t let them scar you, or diminish your self-esteem, let these experiences strengthen you and make you more confident and more willing to take risks. If you want love, have the confidence that YOU will find it when the time is right.
And to those high school sweethearts who beat the statistics, congratulations to you!
2. Buy Your First Car with Cash
Considering I have been in debt since I was 17, this was where the craziness all began. I had a part –time job working at a bank and I was just about to graduate from High School. I thought it was a great idea to get my first car loan and learn about credit. My mother co-signed for me because I didn’t have a credit score yet. Little did I know this is where the spiral of credit cards and debt would enslave me to living paycheck to paycheck. I was barely earning enough to pay my monthly payment of $400 for my brand new Hyundai Excel that cost $18,000 and came with a a 7-year car loan. I knew nothing about amortization schedules and my $18,000 car would cost me far more than what I paid for it, YUCK! What if I had invested the $400 instead of purchasing that crappy yellow car? I am not going into the compound interest details here because I will probably keel over and pass out at my own ignorance.
I wish I knew the benefits of saving back then, my parents taught me all about debt, they had severe debt issues and we ended up losing our family home because of my dad’s chronic gambling and very ruthless spending habits. What else could I have learned? I was a perfect mimic. My parents showed me exactly what they knew and I modeled it excellently. Do NOT buy things you cannot afford. That $5000 you saved may be your BEST alternative. Don’t get sucked into the newer, shinier more expensive car that depreciates the minute you drive it off the lot.
3. Keep your Promises
Your character is defined more by what you do than what you say. I don’t know where this bad habit began but I didn’t always keep my promises, not only to myself but to other people. I didn’t have the level of integrity as I do now but I wish I had learned this earlier, my life would have been so much easier!
Keep your promises, be honest, and don’t lie. If you will learn these cardinal rules early on in your life, you will never look back knowing you could have done a better job, you won’t sabotage yourself or others and you will achieve far more and a lot earlier. I didn’t know that everything you do and everything you say could have consequences. But guess what, they do. Enact integrity early on and you will have a head start onto having a great life. Every time you keep your word, your character is strengthened. You will have better relationships, more opportunities and you will live a richer existence.
4. Learn to Budget
I cannot stress this fact enough. I was never lucky enough to have someone teach me how to budget nor did I care enough about it and I graduated with a finance degree and an MBA. Go figure. So I have learned the hard way that “if you don’t tell your money where to go, you will always wonder where it went.” Dave Ramsey
Up until early last year, my bank account has been nothing short of empty. I have been living on borrowed money since I was 17. Start early, develop these good habits so you learn the value of money and how to be responsible with it so you will never be broke. I know, I have been broke since I was 17!
Start EARLY so this becomes an ingrained habit. Your resistance to change will be far lower than it will be when your have a nasty habit of spending all the money you make if not more because you didn’t have the self-control to delay your pleasure but now you have a whole heap of NEW stuff to show for it and a whole pile of debt too. With all of the FREE resources out there now, there is no reason why you should not learn how to budget and live within your means.
Don’t be stupid and immature like me, learn from your mistakes, evolve and start WINNING early with money. It is never too late to start again but start early and if your friends aren’t making fun of you and your budget, you aren’t doing it right!!
Oh yeah, don’t open up a credit card either, only buy things you can afford.
5. Learn More and Watch Less TV
From an early age this box hypnotizes us and we learn to be entranced by it. YES that thing you call the TV. There are so many entertaining shows to watch that you can get hooked and you will absolutely get nothing done. You will watch your dreams elude you, assignments will get turned in late and you may even call in sick just to get your “fix” of that trance box.
Life is about learning and applying what you learn in your new experiences so that you can do a better job. Learn a new skill, a new sport, a language, learn to dance the salsa, learn about how to use a computer, how to sing, cook, the list of new things to learn is endless. The TV is just another excuse NOT to go and do all of those things you said you wanted to do.
Don’t let your dreams escape you. You deserve to have everything you want, but you have to get our of your own way in order to get it. Get off your lazy butt and make your dreams come to fruition.
6. Take a Self-Development Class
I am passionate about self-development and I have literally attended at least 50 classes, workshops and seminars all around the country and I have personally taught hundreds of people throughout my career as a coach and facilitator. I was not exposed to large-group personal development until I moved to the US. After my first Dr. Joe Dispenza workshop, I was hooked. I learned so much about self-awareness, neuroscience, the brain, thought processes and things that were instantly applicable to life and how you could overcome your fears and limitations. It has been a huge part of my life and has helped me become the person I am today.
Boy, I wish I had been exposed to this when I was a teenager and I would not have taken so long to get over a nasty break up, I would have stood up for myself a lot sooner, learned what it meant to be confident and learned to say NO earlier when things didn’t feel quite right. Life is about learning and you never lose in life if you continuously stretch your mindset, learn new things about yourself and shift your perception. You will be amazed at your results.
7. Develop some Moxie
When you believe and want something to the exclusion of anything else, follow that path of desire. That intention with an elevated emotion is unstoppable. If you don’t make it the first time, get back up and try again. If it doesn’t work out, try again, if you fall flat on your face, get up and don’t be discouraged until you make it happen.
Every great artist, every great athlete, every great entrepreneur and every person who strived to succeed knows what it is like to be rejected, stand and face their fears with doubt and uncertainty to get up and try again. When Thomas Edison was asked what it felt like to fail so many times, he said “I have not failed I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” And that man transformed the way we live today by pioneering an invention that would literally re-write our evolution.
Thomas Edison did not know how to give up. That kind of spirit will move mountains, that type of passion knows no limits and that kind of energy will change the world. Never give up on your truth, your calling, write your own story.
This blog was on hold for a long time, I didn’t have the experience, I didn’t think I was a good writer; who would want to read what I have to say? They are all just excuses for not trying. Just pick yourself up and go do it.
8. Don’t Conform, Embrace Your Uniqueness
I grew up in a small, small rural town in New South Wales, Australia. From kindergarten to the 6th grade there was only 100 people who attended my primary school. My father is Croatian and my mother who passed away when I was young was Chinese.
You could say that I was part of the minority and I didn’t fit in. I was so busy trying to be like everyone else that I didn’t know HOW to be myself. I was always that funny looking half Asian and European girl who didn’t fit in or look like anyone else.
I wish I knew then what I now know, how to embrace my utter uniqueness and the girl who had fallen in love with her unique brand instead of the girl who wanted to be just like everyone else. Not the egotistical love, the love of acceptance and embracing your own irreplaceable sense of self.
9. Sugar is Highly Addictive
I LOVE chocolate, who doesn’t? Those chocolate bars, that sugary and delicious soda, those lollies (candy), cookies, cakes and so much more tasty goodness. Sugar is a habit. Just like everything else, it is highly addictive and it is not just the taste, it is science. Sugar is so addictive because basically it releases high levels of dopamine when eaten. “Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.” Psychology Today
Sugar is linked to dietary and health related conditions, and many other conditions not so good for our love handles. Studies by scientists are proving how addictive and how overeating sugar-laden foods produce changes in the brain and in behavior that resembles addiction.
“They offer a simple explanation for why many of us fail in our efforts to reform: We’re addicted to refined sugars and carbs, and we don’t have a good enough plan to fight them. They then lay out an eight-step plan for freeing ourselves from the vise and surviving the perilous withdrawal period.” Eliza Barclay
Reviewing back to number 6, take a self- development class and learn to overcome a sugar addiction. I love it but I have learned not to eat a lot of it. It gives me migraines. Moderation or whatever you want to call it but it is a difficult one to overcome that’s for sure. All in moderation right?
It IS just another part of the journey isn’t it? Overcoming yourself over and over and over again!
10. Don’t be so Quick to make Decisions
Has your quick-witted mind ever gotten you into trouble when you didn’t think before you spoke? Yes, well mine too! It is the dreaded verbal diarrhea isn’t it? Where you lips move too quickly before you brain could interject that maybe what you were thinking wasn’t a good idea but you said it anyways and looked ridiculous?
Your ability to manage your internal state is called emotional maturity or self-awareness. Don’t always say YES, when you want to say NO. Think before you sign the dotted line, ask a lot questions before getting into a business deal, don’t rely on verbal contracts, get it in writing, protect yourself and make smart and thoughtful decisions.
You won’t always get it right, who does? But at least you thought about it and you said, “I am glad I did that” instead of “I wish I hadn’t have been so quick to make that poor decision.”
Oh, and by the way, I love my parents and I have learned a lot from their mistakes and my own mistakes and I love being their daughter. I know they tried their best and they aren’t perfect, and I know that I am not perfect either.
Give your parents a break and do yourself a favor and give yourself a break too. Don’t be so hard on yourself, if you don’t have the life you want, then change it and do it now, time waits for no one, love yourself enough to go do it.
11. Save, Save, Save
This is a habit that I cannot stress enough. SAVE, SAVE, SAVE! I swear I wish I would have learned this when I was young and it would have been an easier habit to cultivate. Up until last year, I basically have lived paycheck to paycheck. Literally one paycheck away from a major crisis. Save? “What does that even mean?” I have literally wanted everything and have never learned to delay pleasure. If that is you, think again. “Spiritual maturity is the ability to delay pleasure.” Dave Ramsey. The reason why a large percentage of the population cannot afford to sustain a financial emergency is because of having NO savings. Most people cannot even write a check for $1000. The insanity of it all. I know, I was there and it wasn’t long ago and I still remember the stress because of it.
I know, I was part of those statistics and I had some difficult conversations with myself. So, I took a financial class that changed everything for me. Start saving now and make it a habit, it won’t be such a drag at 12 when you save in your piggy bank than at 32, when all you have done is spend all the money you made! It is never too late to start saving, so do it, and do it NOW.
12. Find a Good Mentor
I didn’t have a mentor until well into my twenties. This was a BIG mistake. I swear I wouldn’t have made those ridiculous decisions I made if I had consulted with my mentor before hand. You need someone who is going to help make you a better and more refined YOU. Find someone who is very successful and someone who is a fantastic teacher. Your responsibility is that you must absolutely listen and be a diligent student.
Who is it that you look up to and want to be like? Don’t be afraid to ask that person you want to be mentored by to mentor you. They may say NO, but they may also say YES and feel honored that you want to learn from them.
Ask questions, take notes and listen to their advice and learn, learn and learn. They are successful for a reason so don’t take their advice lightly.
You are going to make mistakes and you are going to falter. When that happens, pick yourself back up and get on with it!
Life is only as good as you are willing to make it!
YOU are in charge!
Have courage and don’t let FEAR stand in the way of having an amazing life.
Cheers to you,
Eliza Barclay January 9th, 2014