If there’s one thing we all have in common, it’s that we all make mistakes along the way (and hopefully learn valuable lessons from them). But if you’re smart, you’ll learn as much as possible from the mistakes of others and spare yourself some of the grief.
Here are 12 important career lessons that you can benefit from without doing it the hard way.
1. Life is short and it’s here to be lived. Life is too short to spend being unhappy. If you have a job you hate, a boss who discredits you, or a career that isn’t taking you anywhere, do something about it today. You don’t want to wake up one day and regret not making a change when you could.
2. In relationships, the little things are the big things. The most successful people tend to have the broadest and most diverse social networks. And they aren’t just superficial acquaintances, but a broad network of genuine connections. Developing relationships is a very important part of doing business. The more time and effort you put into the little things, the more important they become.
3. Success starts from inside out. Many driven and successful people concentrate on every aspect of their work life but neglect their health. Being busy, productive, and successful is great, but you need to stay healthy to keep up the pace. Make sure you’re getting enough nutrition, exercise, and rest.
4. Your social life belongs offline. If you spend hours on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, checking emails and messages, you’re missing out on more than you’re gaining. Connecting to the world means spending time with people in real life–speaking to them, interacting with them, and connecting with them.
5. Make the world your university. Make a serious commitment to never stop learning. There’s something to be learned from everyone, so work to gain some new knowledge every day. The alternative is being left behind the pace of change scratching your head.
6. Good things come to those who diversify. If you stick to what you already know, you’ll never learn anything new. The most successful people are flexible, agile, and know how to pivot. Make sure you’re prepared to get the most out of every opportunity, whatever form it takes.
7. Success is incremental. Overnight success is seriously rare. Most people take years, even decades, to build a great career. The secret is to work hard every single day, and remember that even small wins can boost your life tremendously. Over time, you’ll find yourself reaching bigger and bigger goals.
8. Together is always better. Many people would rather go it alone, but success is a team sport. The idea that you can succeed on your own is a myth. Every big idea deserves a team to make it happen.
9. What worries you masters you. Worry can be helpful when it spurs you to take action and solve a problem. But if you’re preoccupied with what-ifs and worst-case scenarios, worry becomes a problem. Instead of worrying, work on solving problems and getting through the challenges.
10. Failure is never fatal. Like it or not, messing up is an essential part of the success process. Failure is never the end–it’s the opportunity to do better next time. Those who fail and are brave enough to try again eventually win out.
11. Don’t let silly things rob your happiness. So many of us allow the most ridiculous little things to rob us of our happiness. But we can always choose to be happy. Life is a choice; happiness is a choice. No matter what your situation, don’t let anything separate you from a sense of joy.
12. The meaning of life is to find your gifts and the purpose of your success lies in giving it away. If the work you do doesn’t provide you with a sense of purpose, you still need to find your true vocation. When you do, you’ll be able to pour yourself into it with joy. The purpose of life is to discover your gift, and the meaning of life is to give that gift away.