1.   The most important thing you can achieve in life is your own happiness.  This isn’t an excuse for selfish behaviour.  People who are too scared to help and love others are often the most unhappy.

2.  Never pay anyone to do something that you have the time and skills to do yourself.  Cooking, DIY, crafts, sewing, gardening and knitting are some of life’s great pleasures.  You can save money and surround yourself with things that mean something to you.

3. Love at first sight is a dangerous myth.  Only give your heart to those that have proved worthy of your trust.  Passion and curiosity are inspired, love is earned.

4.  If it’s what you think, say it with confidence and conviction.  If you’re wrong, accept it with grace.  No-one will think less of you.  If you don’t make yourself heard, you may be correct, but no-one will know, and no-one will have learned anything.

5.  There is no shame in changing your mind.  Better to be open-minded, and learn from your own mistakes along the way, than to be blinkered and limited, sitting in judgement of others.

6.  Shyness is a slightly selfish behaviour – one that I have been trying to overcome since my youth.  Everyone has insecurities, and everyone is looking for acceptance.  Being defensive of your own sense of pride, instead of making others feel comfortable in your presence, will prevent you from connecting with people, and creates a self-perpetuating myth that you are unable to.

7.  Embrace fear.  If you’re scared of something for the wrong reasons, then it’s probably the right thing to do.  Public speaking, job interviews, first dates..  they all get easier with practice.

8.  Enjoy every step on the road to old age.  It’s ironic, in a culture that values the beauty of youth, that the older we get, the more comfortable we become in our own skin.  Celebrate every birthday and grey hair, knowing that you’re probably a bit wiser and a bit happier than you were before.

9)  Take feedback on the chin, and use it .  It’s hard to hear that you could have done better, but it’s the best way to learn and improve.  Be grateful that someone has made the effort to share their perspective, and never let wounded pride close your mind to their input.

10)   When you come to drive, do not be one of those motorists that sit in the middle lane of motorways.  They are really annoying.

(Ssshhhh, this one is secret)

11)  I will resist the urge to be too honest.  Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy, all the different types of God; these myths, fairy tales and parables are what childhood is made of.  Protected from some of the harsh realities of life, small imaginations can run riot.  This is when creativity is born.  If I have to tell a few lies, I will.  We make our own truths in life anyway.  Who’s to say Father Christmas doesn’t exist?

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