Looking for another source of income to survive, I tried tutorial services to teach kids. I was on the verge of losing hope and giving up on life. I had no money. Got no real friends close by. Life indeed has given me a sack of stones and thorns at a young age.

But after I met this special child at the tutorial service, I never thought that my views in life would change. I never thought that apart from me teaching him his elementary lessons, I'll learn something valuable back from him in return. I thought that my life was just about the worst and I thought I was a goner until he came and made me realize a few things about my life and how I should live it.

Boy I was living my life the wrong way. Now I am ashamed of all the grim and stupid thoughts I had about my life and has proven myself that my old way of thinking was just the worst.

1. It's okay to not have everything. It is. I thought that having everything means living the life I wanted, until I looked at the kid I was teaching and he told me, "Teacher, I don't need everything. Just a few things and I'm happy." Fair enough, I only need few to experience real happiness in my life.

2. Choose your friends wisely. My student was bullied for being different by his classmates. What he told me was this, "That's why I'm never friends with them because they're only good at me when I have something." We may think we have the best circle of people, but take a look closely at your circle of friends. If you think you're not growing as a healthy person, then maybe you're in the wrong group of people. Who knows there's someone there in your group keeping you from growing and reaching your best potentials?

3. Money is just a second value. Don't equate everything with what money could buy. Money could not buy happiness nor love nor respect. You get them for free --and sometimes you don't. Just like what the kid told me while we're role playing, "I have a lot of money but I don't know what to do with it." How do I apply it in real life? I ask myself these ultimate questions: If I have the whole money in the world (1) where does it lead me to life? (2) How will money lead me to live my own life?

4. Love yourself, it's not that hard to do it. What I've learned from my student was this, I should love myself more despite how pathetic my situation is and even though life is stacked up against me. If I want to be happy, I should learn how to be happy and should learn how to love myself and embrace my flaws. I may be bad at something but there sure are other things which I am certainly good at. If you love yourself more, you'll find that the best things in life comes from yourself and not from others.

5. Life is always going to be bitter with you thinking it's not sweet. Life is not made for us, but we are made for life. To live life means to enjoy what it has to offer. Sure, it may sound cliché from me who has a lot of problems with my life right now but I don't let my problems stop me from living the life I want. There will be always times when I wonder if my special child student ever feel bitter with his life. I know it sounds crazy but here's what I saw everyday working with him; life is too short to worry about anything. There are others out there who wants life the easy way but if we want the best in life, we have to endure. We have to suffer. We have to learn. And then we have to grow. Because that's how we were made for this world.

6. Color your life with anything bright you want. Life is not always bright, but it is going to be bright if you color it with colors you think are good to show the world that despite how gloomy and dark some days are, it's always gonna be up to you to make your day as bright as possible --just because you love your life and you see it in a different spectrum compared to how most people does. Be always self-inspired to do something wonderful and colorful to live your day. Sometimes, people will always want to color you black just because they're jealous with your life. My student always gives me color pencils because he wants to see me color his art books, then he asked me one time: "Are you happy with your colors teacher?" Yeah I am. I am happy with the colors I use to paint my life because I can see a beautiful memoir of myself in the future.

7. It's okay to ask for help. I'm always afraid to ask for help because it shows my weak side and makes me look like I don't know what the hell on earth I am doing. Until my student made me realize that asking for help whenever you can't do something by yourself is more mature compared to letting your pride and emotion take over your instinct ruin something that could be better off I let my pride and ego down. Asking for help is really good when you know that you can't do something, but you also have to work hard for yourself. It's still always better to see something done at the end of the day that you've done all by yourself. Sure, asking for help might show that you don't know what you're doing but if you could finish something complex with the help of others, take it as a reward, you've matured.

8. Trust yourself. Learn how to do things by your own. Just like what I said above, it's still always better to see something accomplished at the end of the day that you've done all by yourself. You have to learn how to trust in your abilities and you have to love yourself more. Trust always comes with love. If you can't trust yourself, then you can't fully love yourself. There's actually no point in trying to stay an hour in front of the mirror bending and flexing your body without motivating yourself and trusting in the beauty that is mimicking your every move in front of the mirror, right?

9. Real happiness comes from the simple yet great things. Happiness comes in a variety of adjectives and nouns. My student taught me this very good idea: "That you don't have to be somebody for you to be happy. You just have to be you."

Life is great. We just have to learn how to master the art of happy living.(RT)

Published by Renato Tan