I turned 18 years old last Sunday. YAY for me, right? Finally, in the UK at least, I can do whatever I want (within the bounds of the law that is). Although, I know I still hopefully have a long way ahead of me in my life and my journey. It doesn’t mean, I haven’t picked up one or two lessons during my time in this world.

Without further or do, here are 18 lessons that I’ve learnt from the last 18 years of my life.

#1 — Mum is always right (nearly)

We all the know the feeling. As a child, we want to do something, just for our mum’s to say that it wasn’t a good idea. But we soon realised that she was right.
When I was younger, it was the middle of November, but it looked warm outside. Warmer than normal anyway. So, I decided it was a good idea to go out with no coat against my mum’s wise words. Before I knew it, I was cold and needing a jacket. Facing the decision of being wrong or freezing to death, I went with the former.
On my return to the house. I can see my Mum wanted to say ‘I told you so’. But she saved me the embarrassment. Mum knew best…
Some would say that this was bad parenting, but instead, I say this was teaching me a valuable lesson to listen to her. Something I proudly do to this day. (Mostly anyway).

#2 — Respect goes both ways

All kids need to learn this lesson. (And, some adults). If you want respect to be given, then you need to give it. Give and receive. It’s as simple as that.
Respect underpins all relationships in this world, no matter if it’s your lover, your mother, your friend or even your enemies. Respect underpins all of them. If you want to have relationships with people, then you need to show them respect.
If you don’t, well you’re either going to end up in one of two ways. 1) you’ll have a lot of enemies or 2) you’ll end up rather lonely. I’m not sure which one is worse really?

#3 — Learning is everything

Learning is the underpinning force in this world. If you want to do something, then you have to learn how. Once you realise how important learning is to your life and your journey, you can start to respect its power.
All of the biggest companies and the richest people in this world were made off learning. Elon Musk couldn’t have begun Space X without first learning about rocketing and space flight. Bill Gates couldn’t have built Microsoft without learning about computers and coding. I think the picture is being painted.
I’m not saying, everyone is going to become a billionaire and the next pioneer of their generation. But by learning every day, you can definitely improve your world and your life.

#4 — Always pay attention

You’d be amazed how much you can learn by just paying attention to the people that surround you, the world we live in and to a certain extent the skin you inhabit.
Attention is the basis of observing. Observations lead to questions, questions will eventually lead to answers and answers is knowledge. (And how you learn).
Have you ever just sat and watched. Watched the world drift by, almost like it’s on autopilot? If you haven’t, then I highly recommend you do. Pay attention and observe. Watch the world and the people around you. You’ll soon start forming questions to answer. Pursue those questions.

#5 — There’s always tomorrow

In the world of today, everything has to be done yesterday. No-one has time to do anything tomorrow because tomorrow is already full. But, is it really?
Our days have become busier. But, surely, we can’t expect to complete everything in that one day and still have a life? Don’t be scared to push things back a day or two so you can enjoy your life. Don’t worry you didn’t complete everything that day.
There’s always tomorrow. Enjoy your life and don’t worry about it.

#6 — Try as any hobbies as you can

As we established earlier on, learning is everything. One of the best ways of learning is trying new things. How will you know what you do and don’t like without trying things out?
This is why you need to try as many different hobbies as you can get your hands on. Try everything and maybe, just maybe one will take your interest.
In my case, before I arrived at Writing. I went through Photography, Cinematography, Graphic Design and Web Design. Then I tried writing, and I love it. I still do some of the other stuff. I still build websites and design things, but writing is now my primary interest.

#7 — Pursue your interests

If you think of something, chase it! If you dream, you can do it. Don’t let people stop you. If you want to write then write. If you want to be a photographer, then be one. If you want to create art, you can.
Chase every interest you come across. Don’t let anyone stop you, don’t let anyone say you can’t-do it. Because you can!
And, maybe, one day, those interests you have could become your full-time job and careers. It’s been done, and there’s no reason why you can’t-do it!
I wanted to build websites, so I went and built one. The first one was awful if I’m being honest but other time they got better and better. My current one (conermurphy.com) isn’t the best website in the world but it’s definitely my best one, and it’s the accumulation of all the sites I’ve built in the past.
After all, “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” — Confucius.

#8 — Know your strengths

I’m awful at football. I mean, I can kick and run with a ball, but I’m far from any form of competitive standard. Even a Sunday kick about with mates. This is something I know for a fact, so I don’t pursue football as a viable career opportunity. That would be a waste of both my time and a team’s.
Instead, I know I’m better at writing. So, this is where I dedicate all my time. I know my chances of making it somewhere in the world of words is a lot higher than the worlds of grass and balls. I know my strengths and my weaknesses, and then I use this to my benefit.
What I’m saying is, try everything and then take note of what you’re better at and what you enjoy. Then pursue those strengths. Afterall, the time we have in this world is limited, so we need all advantages we can get.

#9 — Trying and failing is always better than not trying

If you don’t try, then you’ll end up with 2 guaranteed results. 1) You won’t have progressed towards any goals and, 2) You have learnt anything.
If you try and fail. You have learnt. You learned what was good, what went bad and how things can be improved on for next time.
I understand failing is not the most enjoyable feeling in the world, but it’s one of the places to learn. Failing will always be above not trying. If you tried and failed, you are always better than the person who didn’t work. You are one step closer to success every time you fail.
Success is built on failure. By failing, you are simply getting one step closer to your success.
Essentially, keep failing until you succeed… Then fail some more to become more successful. And so on…