What Do You Wish You Had Learned As A Child?

One of the great tragedies of life is that it is easiest to learn things when you are a child, but don’t yet know what you want to learn.

As a result, people often regret not learning things as a child. For example, speaking a different language, or perfecting a physical task like hitting a golf ball or shooting a free-throw. If only you had stuck with those piano lessons, you might be a concert pianist now!

Related: We often learn from reading. Listen to the Intellectual Roundtable podcast where Michael and Lee give their answers to the question, ‘What book has had the biggest impact on you?’ Stay tuned for a bonus question, ‘How do you show thanks?’

To be sure, you can still learn many skills later in life. Some of them, you can even become proficient doing, if you have the desire and the perseverance.

However, there’s little doubt that many of those same skills could have been learned even faster, and potentially even more comprehensively, if you had started them when you were still developing, both mentally and physically.

Are there any skills you wish you had learned as a child? Are there any talents you now have that you fostered when you were younger that you appreciate?

Related questions: Children or adults? What is your favorite childhood memory? Youth or wisdom? How do you learn? What’s the most useful thing you’ve ever learned?


What Five Ideals Are Most Important To You?

Do you know the ideals, roles, or things in your life that are the most important to you? Could you list them?

Knowing these things can help you in many ways. When faced with an important decision, having previously thought of your core values and ideals can make the choice more clear. Applying for jobs, making friends, or choosing a spouse can be made easier with your ideals to guide you.

Making a list, and even discussing that list with friends and loved ones, can be very valuable. Many of us, perhaps even most of us, may have some unspoken idea about what matters to us. However, writing them down, or speaking them aloud, can be an eye-opening experience.

Life is complicated, and so are we. As such, having just one, or even two, ideals that you want to embody is probably not sufficient. It might be helpful to think of as many as you can, but let’s start with five.

This exercise can also be aspirational. What would you like to be, even if you aren’t there yet? What would an idealized version of you be like? Once you know what that is, you can brainstorm ways you might get there.

Of course, these ideals or roles may change over time. For example, when in school, it might be important to you to do all your homework, or to get good grades. Once married, being a supportive partner might rise in importance. It’s only natural that what mattered most to you ten years ago might not bear much resemblance to what is important to you today.

But then again, there may be some things that retain their importance over long stretches of time. Being honest, perhaps. Or always giving your best effort. Standing up against injustice. Remaining true to yourself.

What is your list of five ideals that are most important to you?

Related questions: What is important? How have you changed? Do you keep lists?

Who Would You Like To Give A Shout Out To Right Now?

Recognizing someone for their actions can be very powerful, for both parties. Is there anyone that you’d like to give a shout out to right now?

Everyone like to be appreciated. It feels good, to know that someone else recognizes and appreciates what you do. It may not be necessary, or the reason you do what you do, but being thanked can carry you through difficult times.

And yet, even though we crave recognition from others, we can be slow to provide that recognition ourselves. We can get caught up in the minutia of our everyday lives, and it slips our mind.

One way of providing that thanks is the simple shout out. The shout out is a public mention of someone else, usually for a particular thing that the other person has done.

While it is possible, and in some cases preferable, to keep your thanks private, the public shout out serves another purpose. Beyond thanking someone else for their efforts, and beyond showing gratitude for the acts of others, the shout out shows other people the kind of things that you value. It also lets others know that the the person being recognized displays that behavior.

In other words, showing your thanks publicly can be good on a number of levels.

With that in mind, who in your life has done something you’d like to recognize? Is there someone — or several someones — to whom you’d like to give a shout out?

Related questions: How are you underappreciated? How can we appreciate life more? What does it mean to be thankful?