A few months ago, I turned forty. Not that I noticed any difference in my day-to-day life, but the awareness of the time that has passed made me think that life goes by very fast.

At the same time, this reality has led me to ask myself what I have gained from these years. Can I say that I have learned from my experiences, or have I simply let time pass?

Not long ago, I have had the opportunity to read some authors who have written their reflections of life and addressed them to their younger selves. I thought it was a curious literary exercise to share some of the ideas that have come to my mind:

You are the result of your decisions, especially the ones that seem the smallest.

You are not alone on this journey. There are other fellow travelers to whom you owe a lot.

Your friendships determine your decisions more than you think.

Adversities are nothing more than opportunities to discover what you are capable of achieving.

Failures are the best learning tools, especially if those are taken with humility.

Good relationships are much more valuable than you think.

Help. A small gesture, which seems insignificant to you, can make a big difference to others.

Accept challenges. You will be surprised at what you will accomplish if you try.

Perseverance pays off, although it may take longer than you intend. Be patient.

Your parents can be your best advisors. At the same time, be patient and considerate. They are also learning.

Learning is continuous and often is not cumulative; on the contrary, it involves learning and unlearning.

You can find wisdom in the most unexpected places, people, and moments.

Learning about other cultures opens your mind to other worlds and realities that you had no idea existed.

Travel. But, if you can’t do it in person, do it through reading.

Your perspective may seem logical and even the only correct one. But being open to dialogue will show you that there is much more beyond your ideas.

History has shown that, at times, the majority can be wrong. Remember, you and I can be wrong too.

The majority opinion is not a symbol of wisdom or a guarantee of certainty but popularity.

Don’t use your generosity as a bargaining chip. If you do, it ceases to be generosity and becomes extortion.

Helping others does not give you power or authority over their decisions.

Give without expecting anything in return. The reward will come at the most unexpected moment.

It is good to seek to be an excellent professional, but it is better if it comes accompanied by being a good person.

The truth will get you further than your excuses.

Having initiative can open you the door to a wide variety of opportunities, many more than you now imagine.

Mercy is remarkably more eloquent than punishment.

The value of an opportunity given to others is incalculable.

Forgive even if the other does not seem to deserve it. You, too, have been and will need to be forgiven more than once.

Your best intentions may end in unfortunate results. Remember: so can the intentions of others.

Step out of your comfort zone. There is much to discover beyond your limits.

The best gifts cost nothing still can be worth a great deal to the recipient.

There are no perfect relationships. There are relationships in which the participants act to make it possible.

Your children can be one of the best sources of education for life.

A true friend is still there despite time or distance.

Your influence is much more powerful than you may think. Use it for good.

A good education is fundamental. Continuing education is indispensable.

The best way to learn is to do and teach others to do.

You may or may not have a natural talent for some disciplines, but training and practice are the keys to achieving it.

You may have some disadvantages if you compare yourself with the rest, but it is possible with perseverance.

Be aware of your limitations, but don’t let them stop you from progressing.

Your weaknesses can become your greatest strength.

Being authentic is much more valuable than just good impressions.

Love received and given unconditionally is the most significant source of change.

Your truth is a subjective perception of reality. Therefore, it must be under continuous revision.

Your real value is not in what you have, how you see yourself, how others see you, or what you consider to be your accomplishments.

God is the only one who gives true meaning, purpose, and value to life. Knowing Him is the most incredible privilege and a lifelong task. Everything else passes away, and sometimes very quickly.

You may not have encountered original, radical, or life-changing concepts. But many of these ideas have changed my life. Most of them are ideas that I have learned from others but have resonated with me at particular times. I am sure that I will need to remember them or even revisit some of them at some point.

What have you learned over the years? Share your learning!