Today I’m turning 41 years old so I decided to list 41 of the main lessons that life has taught me so far:

1. Forgiving those who hurt you is the first step to personal growth.

2. Make a conscious effort to remember your past. Many of the clues that help us solve current problems are found in the past.

3. Be excited about the future. Anything can be better in the future if we star building it today.

4. If you want to enjoy the beauty of life be present in everything you do.

5. Don’t judge others. Just observe, listen and learn from them. Every single person on Earth has something to teach you.

6. Real wealth has nothing to do with money.

7. Do good things for other people. By doing so you’re planting little seeds of love. Those seeds will feed your soul when you most need it.

8. Be gentle and patient with yourself, everyday.

9. Be brave enough to apologize when you do something wrong.

10. The greatest lessons are learned from whatever hurt you.

11. Smile and life will smile back to you. A smile is understood in every culture and in every languaje.

12. Spend time in solitude often. It will give you space for listening, feeling and seeing more than when you’re surrounded by people.

13. Enjoy human presence. Human energy is the strongest of all energies.

14. We need to learn more from animals. They live simpler and happier lives. They deserve our respect.

15. Suffering comes from wanting and expecting things all the time.

16. Happiness is a state of mind. It’s accepting ourselves and everything else in a peaceful manner. Just like nature does.

17. Don’t try to change other people. Just accept them, love them exactly as they are. That will inspire them to be better.

18. Don’t define yourself in any way. We’re not something made in a factory with a label that says what we are. Just be whatever you want to be.

19. Parenthood is one of the hardest and most rewarding things in life.

20. The most important thing that every child wants is: your attention.

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21. Creating special rituals and habits with your children is like planting seeds for the future. One day that’s what they’re going to remember from the past.

22. Being nice to other people doesn’t mean that you have to be naive. Let your intuition alert you when someone has bad intentions so you can protect yourself.

23. You don’t have to say yes to everything. Even when everybody else is doing it.

24. Our time and energy is precious and limited. Think well before you decide how to spend it.

25. Don’t run away from your emotions and feelings. They are our most important communicators. They let us know everything that we need to know about ourselves.

26. What really works when it comes to healthy eating is to develop a functional relationship with food.

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27. Pay attention to your appearance. Stay nice and clean. It will help you stay connected with your body and soul.

28. Be considerate with people that have physical disabilities. But don’t feel sorry or underestimate them. They are probably stronger than you imagine. Having to overcome daily limitations builds a stronger character.

29. Be nice with children and adults with special needs. If you’re open to them you will be surprised by how much they have to offer.

30. If someone needs your help don’t ignore it or make a big deal out of it. Whether the person is disabled or not, just be spontaneous, natural and enjoy helping.

31. Be always curious. Read, ask, research, learn as much as possible.

32. Knowledge is nothing without experience. In order to really learn something you have to somehow experience it yourself.

33. Be open to new experiences, don’t be afraid to try something new. It will revitalize your mind and body. It will make your life more interesting.

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34. Let the most important people in your life know that you love them. Write a letter with a list of the things that you love about that person.

35. Be creative in everything you do. Creativity can solve anything.

36. Don’t be afraid to disagree with someone. Just do it in a gentle way. There is more power in being calm than in being aggressive.

37. Don’t do anything when you’re angry. Otherwise you will end up hurting someone else or yourself.

38. Nothing stays the same for a long time. Be aware that change is part of life. Some changes will be positive and some negative. Be open to both of them so you won’t be unprepared when they arrive.

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39. Stress is part of modern society but you don’t have to let it take over your life. A simple solution to reduce stress: define your priorities and eliminate everything else. Simplify your life in every possible way.

40. Enjoy your friends. You won’t know how important they are until they’re gone.

41. The best way to stay connected to life is to be aware of death. Our time is limited so do what you want to do, now.

(Images: New painting for my upcoming show in Miami, Florida. Acrylic paint on canvas))

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