What is the Most Important Lesson You’ve Learned in Life?
Every so often someone will ask me about lessons I have learned, and I always ask for clarification. In my mind, lessons are either things a person has taught me, or things life has taught me, and they are very different from each other.
A Lesson from Mom
My parents taught me so many things, some with intention, and some by example. The things I really remember to this day are the ones that were intentional. Some little ones from Mom were how to make a pie crust and basic fashion guidance. Dad made sure I knew how to make a decent martini (hey, it was the 70s) and how to pump my own gas.
None of these is really a lesson that I think of as important, however, but I always think of what my mother said to me when I was upset about something that seemed huge at the time. She asked me if it would still matter next month/year/in five years. Her point was that if it won’t matter in the future, why waste time on it now.
Lessons from Life
A life lesson can come from positive or negative experiences, and the lesson itself may not match up to the experience. For instance, when I was running a business, I paid my taxes quarterly instead of the required monthly and mailed a check instead of paying online. The penalty from the IRS was staggering when I got the notification of the fee. So, I took a deep breath and called to ask for forgiveness. Because I was brave and humble, I did get the penalties reduced drastically. In this case, a very negative experience taught me to be brave about getting the problem fixed. I have made the deep breath phone call many times since with pretty good success. Lesson: admit fault and ask for forgiveness.
Sometimes a life lesson is that even when you do the right thing, the outcome is negative. I think that most people have had the experience of following all the rules and still having a negative outcome. This article from a few years ago illustrates that; in my experience, doing the right thing is the hardest lesson to learn. Sometimes you do the right thing regardless of the rules and it comes out fine. Sometimes you do the right thing by following the rules and the outcome is terrible. I think it is summed up by being ethical in decision making, don’t you?
One of the biggest financial lessons I’ve learned over the years is that ignoring money related issues very often results in wasted money. For instance, my internet service keeps raising the price I pay. I have chosen not to have it on autopay, so I actually have to look at the bill. This way I can keep track of changes as they happen and notify my Savings Expert to negotiate my rate back down. Yes, I am a customer here at BillCutterz because like the rest of you, I don’t want to spend my time on the phone with my providers. I took a few minutes to sign up on our website and submit a few bills. I am relaxed knowing my personal Savings Expert will make sure I get the best rate possible.