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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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50 Colorful Life Lessons to Help Clarify Your Next Step

Do you ever get stuck? I’m guessing that you said, “yes” to that question. We get stuck for so many reasons such as we aren’t sure what to do next, or that next step seems too big, or we lack the confidence to experiment, or a million and one other reasons why we are treading water, but moving nowhere.

I’ve been holding on to a wonderful list of life lessons, written by author Regina Brett on the night before her 45th birthday. When she turned 50, she expanded the list. Every so often I read it over and by the end, I always feel inspired, grounded and energized. As I read her list again recently, I noticed the connection between her sage wisdom and how much of it related to becoming unstuck.

If you’re grappling with how to clarify your next step, dive into Regina Brett’s wonderful life lessons. Number two seemed particularly apt . . .


“When in doubt, just take the next small step.”


Regina Brett’s 50 Life Lessons

  1. “Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
  2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
  3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
  4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
  6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
  7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
  8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
  9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
  10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
  11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
  12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
  13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
  15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry. God never blinks.
  16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
  17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
  18. A writer writes. If want to be a writer, write.
  19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
  20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
  21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
  22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.
  23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
  24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
  25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: ‘In five years, will this matter?’
  27. Always choose life.
  28. Forgive everyone everything.
  29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
  31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
  33. Believe in miracles.
  34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
  35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
  36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.
  37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
  38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
  39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
  40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
  41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
  42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
  44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  45. The best is yet to come.
  46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
  48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
  49. Yield.
  50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”


We get stuck. We experience doubt. We have challenges with figuring out what to do next. Which of these ideas resonate with you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. I invite you to join the conversation and share one of your life lessons with us!






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Reader Comments (8)

So many of these resonate with me! I've heard many of them before, but a new idea that really jumped out was "It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else." Sometimes I need to be reminded to have fun, and especially to seek out opportunities to have fun. (Like joining you for a drink on the patio instead of attending the Ask the Organizer panel in Arizona!)

March 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Janet- And I'm so glad you did! That was such a wonderful time in Arizona getting to meet you face-to-face for the first time. And remember we were both wearing bright blue tops? Like twins! Seems to me that seeking out fun is always a good idea. There will be plenty of time for work, for seriousness, and things that drain us. But we also need time to recharge...and a good dose of fun does exactly that. Thank you for reminding me about our first meeting. Loved it!

March 7, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

The whole list is terrific, but I especially love #13 and #34. When we look around, we see only the facades of people's lives. This is often at least partially artificial, like a movie set where the buildings are only fake fronts held up in the back by wood. It's a waste to compare our insides to other people's outsides. Likewise, our value comes not in what we achieve, what we look like, or what we have. We have INHERENT value because we have been created intentionally, with love, by God. No person is more or less valuable than any other. We are all enough, just as we are. What we accomplish is the result of a complex mixture of things we control and things we don't, so we need to do what we can, extend grace to ourselves, and live life with gratitude. If we are stuck today, we should practice patient alertness, as something may give way tomorrow and usher us flooding forth on a positive new path!

March 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

When in doubt, just take the next small step.

How simple, yet brilliant! It's all just a matter of making one small step forward. How do you decide that step? I look for the easiest, most simple first step. From then on it's adding just the small step again.

When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
This will be what I think about all week though!

March 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

I love this list! Thank you so much for sharing it, Linda. Many of them resonate with me. These four - #s 28, 31, 39, and 41 spoke to me the most. Forgive everyone everything - I'm working on it, I do believe that situations change with time and that I learn something from every situation; good and bad. Gardening is a huge passion of mine - being outside is important to me - there ARE miracles out there for us to notice. It's also important to me to show up and not just tread water through my life.

March 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

@Seana- What powerful and uplifting words..."It's a waste to compare our insides to other people's outsides...We are all enough, just as we are." As you said, extending grace, gratitude, and patience to ourselves goes miles in keeping us on a positive path.

@Ellen- There's such energy in one small step. And as you said, from there you keep adding. I know what you mean about chocolate. It seems to be constantly calling my name! :)

@Diane- It's so fun reading which numbers resonate or call out to us. And interesting that in some cases we notice the ones that we are already practicing, For others, we notice the ones we're still working on, as you mentioned for #28, "Forgive everyone everything." The act of forgiving others also helps us let go of anger and stress, so it helps us too.

March 8, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Linda, it was so nice to be reminded of this list today! I hadn't read it for years and it brought a smile to my face to read it this morning. I wanted to let your readers know that Regina Brett was a columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer for many years and in fact just retired last month. She's been an inspiration to many of us in Cleveland for many years. I'm glad you've found her to be inspiring too!


If you're interested, here is a link to her final column, which gives you a feel for what an amazing woman she is. If you're interested, here is a link to her final column, which gives you a feel for what an amazing woman she is.

March 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea Sharb

@Andrea- Thank you for sharing Regina Brett's background and "final column" with us. I shortened the URL you gave because it was getting cut off in the comment section and I wanted others to be able to access it. I'm glad that you enjoyed rereading her words of wisdom. But it sure sounds like you're an expert on her life's philosophy and on enjoying it on a regular basis. It's too bad that she's retired, but I'm sure that her words and legacy will continue on in the hearts and minds of all those that she's touched and inspired.

Great to hear YOUR voice!

March 10, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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