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25 clichés that are actually true and how they could change your life.

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the things we’ve learned, over and over again.

Socrates, considered to be one of the founders of Western philosophy, was once called the wisest man on Earth by the Oracle of Delphi.

When Socrates heard that the oracle made that comment, he believed the statement was wrong. Socrates said, "I know one thing: that I know nothing."

How can the smartest man on Earth know nothing?

I heard this paradoxical wisdom for the first time from a teacher when I was 14 or 15. It made such an impact on me that I used Socrates’ quote as my learning strategy from then on.


"I know nothing" means, to me, that you might be an educated person, but still you can learn from everything and everyone.

One thing I like better than learning from my own mistakes is to learn from other people’s mistakes. Over the years, I’ve been blessed to have great mentors, teachers, family, and friends who have taught me about life. Of course, I learn from my own life too. But learning from others is often faster and deeper.

Plus, while we might learn things quickly, we often forget those things at the same rate. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the things we’ve learned, over and over again.

So here’s my list of 25 things about life that other people have taught me.

These are things that have changed my life completely and that I wish I’d known about 10 years ago.

1. Struggle is good.

Never say, "I can’t take it anymore." Say, "Bring it on!"

2. Don’t complain.

Complaining is the biggest waste of time there is. Either do something about it, and if you can’t, shut up.

3. Spend time with the people you love.

That’s your family and best friends. If you don’t have a family, create one (in whatever way that means to you). Most people in life are only visitors. Family is for life.

Photo via iStock.

4. Don’t start a relationship if you’re not in love.

I’ve done this more than once. You kind of like someone and think, "We might as well give it a shot." Not a good idea. You’re either in love, or you are not. Don’t fool yourself. It’s not fair to you and the other person.

5. Exercise daily.

I didn’t get this until recently. A healthy body is where you have to start everything in life. If you can’t build a healthy and strong body, what CAN you build in life?

6. Keep a journal.

No, keeping a journal is not for children. It helps you to become a better thinker and writer. "I don’t want to be a writer," you might think. Well, how many emails and texts do you send a day? Everybody is a writer.

7. Be grateful.

Say "thank you" to everyone and everything. "Thank you for this beautiful day." "Thank you for your email." "Thank you for being there for me."

8. Don’t care about what people think.

We all die in the end; do you really think it matters what people think of you?

9. Take more risks.

Don’t be such a wimp.

Photo via iStock.

10. Pick an industry, not a job.

If you want to become good at something, you need to spend years and years doing that. You can’t do that if you hop from industry to industry. Pick an industry you love and start at the bottom. You will find the perfect role for you eventually.

11. Lead the way.

When you find yourself in a situation where everyone looks at each other, it’s time for you to lead. You‘re a leader when you decide to become one. There’s no initiation or a title. Just a decision.

12. Money isn't important.

It really isn’t. But you have to train yourself not to care about money. Don’t become too dependent on the stuff you own — otherwise, the stuff will own you.

13. Be nice.

I don’t mean you should be a pushover. You can be someone that doesn’t take shit and be nice about it. Just don’t insult people, think you’re better than them, or act like an idiot.

14. Learn every day.

You’ve got to train your brain to stay alert. You don’t have to read a book a day to learn every day. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from the people around you — be open to what they can teach you.

Photo via iStock.

15. Rest before you are tired.

Even if you love your job and every day seems like a holiday, you need to take time to rest. You’re a human and not an android; never forget that.

16. Don't judge.

Just because people make different choices than you, they are not stupid. Also, you don’t know everything about people, so don’t judge them — help them.

17. Think about others.

Just be mindful, that’s all. We all have families, bills to pay, and our own issues. Don’t always make everything about yourself.

18. Give without expecting something in return.

Don’t keep score. You will become a bitter person if you do that. Give solely for the joy of giving. If you get something in return, great, and if you don’t, great.

19. There's no end game.

We, as a species, just are. Don’t try to figure it all out. Enjoy your journey.

20. Enjoy small things.

I like clichés because they are (usually) true. Especially this one. You know why? Everyone says they know it, but no one lives up to it. They just chase big things.

Photo via iStock.

21. Don't take yourself so seriously.

Yeah, yeah, you’re an individual, and people have to take you seriously. I get it. But at the end of the day, we’re all a bunch of ants trying to chase the same things. Lighten up.

22. Don't blame people.

What’s the point? Do you want to punish them? Also don’t blame yourself — you’re only human.

23. Create something.

Not to leave a legacy (you won’t be here to see it anyway), but to be of use. Make music, write a book, build a table, anything. You’ll feel good about yourself, plus you give something back to people to use or enjoy.

24. Never look back for too long.

Reflecting on the past is only good for one thing: learning.

25. Take action.

Don’t just sit there; do something. Without action, there is no outcome.

Photo via iStock.

You might know a lot. But like Socrates, you and I also know nothing at all. So we have to keep learning.

Courtesy of Elaine Ahn

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The energy in a hospital can sometimes feel overwhelming, whether you’re experiencing it as a patient, visitor or employee. However, there are a few one-of-a-kind individuals like Elaine Ahn, an operating room registered nurse in Diamond Bar, California, who thrive under this type of constant pressure.

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There are a lot of reasons to feel a twinge of nostalgia for the final days of the 20th century. Rampant inflation, a global pandemic and political unrest have created a sense of uneasiness about the future that has everyone feeling a bit down.

There’s also a feeling that the current state of pop culture is lacking as well. Nobody listens to new music anymore and unless you’re into superheroes, it seems like creativity is seriously missing from the silver screen.

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Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

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Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

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