The world is a big, strange, overwhelming place, to say nothing of the universe. We all live in this world for a brief span of time, relative to the age of the planet and of the human species. Within that life, we all learn, grow, and adapt. Some change more than others, but for the most part, we’re not the same person at 50 as we are at 15.
I find that, as I get older, I realize certain truths about life that are somewhat harsh. Some are downright frustrating. It doesn’t matter how you feel about them. That doesn’t make them any less true. You can’t always grasp it when you’re young and inexperienced. Certain things can only become clear with time. You have to live life in this crazy world for a certain number of years before you can truly see the forest from the trees.
I’m not a teenager. I’m not even in my 20s anymore. However, I’m still not what most would consider old. I know I’ll get there one day. I imagine I’ll encounter plenty more harsh truths along the way. Some will hit me harder than others. Some may not hit me until I’m too old to do anything about them. I won’t know for sure until that time comes.
For now, I thought I’d take a moment to share some of these harsh truths. Some of this was inspired by some posts on Reddit in which people share some of those truths, as they’ve come to know them. I don’t agree with all of them, but some do fit nicely with what I’ve experienced.
With that in mind, here are ten harsh truths I’ve learned that I’ve come to realize at this point in my life. Rest assured, I’ve learned much more than ten. These are just the most prominent that I feel are worth sharing.
1. The world owes you nothing. You can’t expect it or anyone in it to accommodate you. You are ultimately responsible for making the most of your opportunities.
2. A lot of success requires a certain amount of dumb luck. Hard work, patience, and persistence certainly are a factor, but meeting the right people and being in the right situation tend to be more decisive.
3. Nobody’s first instinct is to do things the hard way. For the most part, people will always take the path of least resistance when it comes to challenges, change, and hardship.
4. Like it or not, there are people who are just born more talented than you at certain things and there’s nothing you can do about it. No matter how hard you work or apply yourself, you’ll never be as good as them.
5. No matter what sort of relationship you have with your parents, they’ll always affect you in ways you won’t be comfortable with.
6. You will miss on a lot of opportunities that’ll only become clear with hindsight and that’s okay. You need only seize a few to make things worthwhile.
7. Bullies, assholes, and idiots will get away with egregious misdeeds and there’s nothing you can do about it.
8. People are tribal about many things. There’s no way around it. That’s just how we’re wired. Trying to get people to see beyond their tribal affiliations is a losing battle and one that’ll only make people hate you.
9. You cannot change someone’s mind by arguing with them or yelling at them. You can only appeal to them personally and hope they’ll come around. However, not everyone will.
10. At some point in your life, you’re going to believe or buy into something that will make you feel foolish later on.
That list is likely to change and grow with time. If you have a list of your own that you’d like to share, please do so in the comments.