20 LIFE LESSONS on happiness and success I’VE LEARNED IN MY TWENTIES

Last week I celebrated my 30th birthday on the beautiful beach spot in Croatia (definitely the most beautiful place I've ever been on my birthday and I'm seriously thinking to make it a tradition from this year onwards to celebrate every birthday of mine on the beach! :)). Since the number got round and I was on vacation, I had some time and inspiration to self reflect on the past decade and think of all the things I've experienced and learned on the way.

So, here are the most valuable 20 life lessons I've learned in my 20-ties!


Last week I was supposed to fly to India. But... it happened that things got totally out of plan as my visa (due to crazy circumstances) got cancelled and same destiny was hanging above my plain ticket. So, there I was, just near to the trip, without a valid visa and the flight ticket. I had a very stressful period while running to the Indian embassy and talking to my travel agent.... Finally, I postponed my trip to India and suddenly, since I was staying in Europe for some time longer, I had a chance to go to a vacation with my mom and sister to a beautiful beach spot in Croatia, where I also celebrated my birthday. Divine experience!

Now, whatever happened it was stressful, as I had to spend a lot of money, travel several times to Croatia where the Indian embassy is located, get so tired of paper work, rewrite my plans for the next two months... but also something very beautiful came out of it!

Sometimes our plans will totally get out of plan, and it will make us frustrated, but we can always chose to use the best out of the situation and see the things from a different perspective.

Usually, the best things in life come unplanned or as a result of a plan that got out of the plan!


When I was 22, I dropped out of Medical college and I was shattered into pieces. I had a dream to become a shrink (weird dream, I know :)) and to spend my lifetime helping people get over difficult times in life with my advice, to run my own private practice (so that I do not have a boss over my head and to be able to take leaves and travel whenever I want to), to set my own working hours (I'm not a morning person :)... I thought that once I dropped out of Medical field my dream will never become true and I was deeply sad about it. I had no clue that it was just the beginning of the best time in my life: I enrolled to Journalism college (which I immensely enjoyed), discovered my passion for writing and online media, started blogging, writing articles... It happened that even before I graduated I started earning money by freelance writing and after two years I decided to pursue my "beyond my wildest dreams" job and became a life coach!

Eight years later, I'm helping people to create an amazing and beautiful life for themselves with my advice, by private 1 on 1 coaching via Skype and with my articles, I'm having flexible working time, I do not need to wake up early in the morning (besides when I'm catching flight or a bus to travel somewhere :), and I even have a location freedom as I can work anywhere where I have my laptop and WI-FI. Only, instead of working with depressed people who are tired of life, I'm working with people who are positive, ambitious, have big dreams and want to achieve amazing things in life, become more successful, richer, happier, fulfilled, and the best version of themselves.

Everything happens for our highest good. Obstacles are always detours in the right direction!


For two and half years I was feeling lonely as I was not having any friends after moving from Europe to India. I just did not seem to meet anyone with whom I was having that special connection and deep bond with. I finally gave up the hope that I will have a true friendship there and excepted it as a part of the package of living in India, which included enjoying the warm weather all year long, private swimming pool, working on my laptop under the shade of palm trees while drinking coconut water, abundance of spirituality, and delicious vegetarian food. Then I met Radhika. She is Indian, I am Bosnian. We were born and brought up on different continents, in different cultural and religious background, but it is incredible how much alike we are! We joke very often in Indian style that we must have been sisters in our past lives, since we cannot explain how two of us coming from such a different backgrounds can like exact same things (from spirituality to feng shui, food, science, nature, natural cosmetics, green tea, healthy eating, city life, music, visiting cafes, traveling, yoga, even scented candles, incenses and scents…). She is such a beautiful soul, such a good friend, supporting me in every way, and she is super smart: she is a scientist (I'm like really proud of having a friend who happens to be a scientist! :)). I enjoy our soulful conversations, time spent together, the connection that we have. I feel so grateful to Universe for the gift of our friendship!

No matter where we are or will be in our life, we can still find a person who will be just like us and with whom we will be able to create a deep, soul fulfilling and beautiful relationship!


It is said that in the time of your hardships, true friends will get revealed. But, Ive learned that it goes the other ways around too: when you achieve you biggest success, you will actually know who your true friends are!

I’ve learned along the way that success can be a big test for “friendships”. Some friends will disappear as they cannot bear that you became more successful than them, and some friends will not be there to support you when you are just starting out and need them the most.

Either way, I find it a good thing: at least you get to know who your true friends are and you can see clearly who deserves to be called a friend in your life. Those who were my biggest support when I was starting out, who were shooting hundreds of photos of mine every day for my blog and social media, who were first to congratulate me and shout out my achievements and celebrating every single milestone I've reached: those proved their worth and they now hold a special place in my life and my heart!


Nine years ago I started practicing yoga and that was one of the best things I did for myself and my wellbeing till date. I was never a "sports" type of person and I was not into being physically active (except passionate dancing in the clubs on Saturday :)), but over the time, with constant two hours daily practice, my body strength and flexibility improved, so as my health and vitality level. Nowadays I'm fascinated by power yoga as it fits perfectly in my schedule, and it demands me to push the limits of my body every single time little further. There is still space for improvement, but I know that only practice will make it perfect.

When I started writing in English, one and half year ago, it was difficult, as it is not my native language and I was making a ton of spelling mistakes (still guilty of spelling mistakes :)), but I knew that the only way to improve my writing in English is write in English as much as possible. My consistency in writing in English resulted in having my articles published in The Huffington Post (one of the things I'm most proud of achieving till date) and me being quoted and featured as a life coach in many other international publications.

If we are not talented, experienced or inclined towards something, but we need to learn it in order to be more successful, healthier or happier, the excuse that we are not good at it, so we can't do it is lame, as everything new we start doing will take time and practice (even if we have an interest and talent, not to mention if we don't).

The only way to improve and master the thing we are not good at is to actually commit, dedicate and practice it regularly. It will be bad, it will be far from perfect (or even good enough) but we have to put our pride and nose down, put our ego out of the equation and JUST DO IT on a regular basis, until we become good at it!


One of the major factors which will decide how successful we will be in any area of our life is the strength of our self discipline! No matter how talented and smart we are and how big opportunities and potential we may have to succeed, if we do not build our self discipline muscle, we will not be strong enough to push trough challenges on our success journey and achieve our goals. The most important and the most dangerous enemy we need to win over in life is ourselves: our resistance, our laziness, our inertia to maintain the status quo and avoid that little extra pain and sacrifice that can make us better, stronger and more successful.

But, if we do manage to build that self discipline muscle and make it strong, hard and big, we will be able to lift ourself up much higher in life than we could ever imagine. Working hard on achieving any goal isn’t easy, and it requires sacrifice, willpower, determination, patience, coping with pain. But we know that without pain there is no gain as well. Without self discipline no matter on what goal we start working on, the moment when our motivation drops (and we all know it happens sooner or later), first painful obstacles come along and resistance start pulling us back, we will quit on that goal very soon.

Motivation gets you started, discipline gets you going!


I was being told I was fool so many times in the past:

"You are wasting your time in blogging and writing articles for free! You are a fool!"

"It's better to lie down for free than work for free. You are a fool!"

"Why are you studying so hard, when life is passing you by? Go out, have a party! Life is too short. You are a fool!"

I was listening these things for years. It turned out that whatever I've learned over the years helped me to become good in what I'm doing today. It turned out that by writing and blogging for free for two years in my native language I've established my name as a writer in the niche and I started earning money by freelance writing even before graduating from college. And all the previous experience and background in blogging, writing and online media helped me to get my name out there as a life coach.

Those same people who were calling me fool today say to me "I wish I have your life! You are so lucky!" . Well, the only thing that I can say is that I wish they worked so hard as I did on making their own dreams happen and that luck follows those who work hard and have the courage to take risks in life.

It took a huge amount of effort, hard work, and self discipline to write one article per week and post on the blog regularly, while studying at the same time. It took a lot of time and missed parties, many mornings of waking up early, many weekends spent on personal development workshops and seminars, hundreds of books read and many evenings spent in front of my laptop screen. It took a lot of courage to move from Europe to India and leave everything behind. Nowadays when people see me traveling, enjoying life and working on my laptop under the shades of palm trees, they say how lucky I am.

Here's the secret. I'm not lucky! I just worked really hard! Being a "fool" and working hard gives you good luck in return!


I went for one month holiday to India, carrying just few sweaters with me and a cosmetic purse. Due to unplanned circumstances I stayed to live there for three years. I did not say goodbye to anyone back home, I did not carry any of my "important" belongings, I did not even digest the idea that I'm going to live India. On another continent. Place totally different than the country I was born and brought up in Europe (Bosnia and Herzegovina). I did not know the language. I did not know many people there. I did not have any friend for a long time. I was totally taken out of my comfort zone. Was it hard? Hell, yeah! Was it worth it? Hell, yeah!

I realized now why India is considered as the most spiritual country. India has changed me, transformed me, enlightned me, taught me so many life lessons, showed me the reality of life, showed me that I am much stronger than I thought I was, that happiness is not in things and that even in the another corner of the world I can meet people like myself and be showered with love, despite all the religious, cultural and other differences.
It showed me that I have a strength to survive anywhere in the world and that I can build my life from scratch. That happiness is not related to place where we are living, but it is found deep within ourselves.


Due to frequent earthquakes in 2015 in India, we decided that we will shift the home from 11th floor penthouse to ground floor. We were searching homes for about a month, but I did not like even a thought of changing our home. I liked our penthouse, the view from the terase, neighbours, apartment complex, parties, our privacy… I did not think that we will enjoy another home that much. But, then in January last year we shifted into the home where we are living right now. And not only that home is more beautiful than the previous one, but I got a beautiful palm tree garden where I was working on my laptop and reading books, under the palm trees and it has a private swimming pool as well (I adore swimming and it was a dream come true for me!). I cannot express how grateful I am that we’ve changed the home and I feel like laughing at myself now for having so much resistance to it. If I just knew what I was missing out and how much happier I will be… But, it taught me an important life lesson: that change can very good!

Sometimes, we might resist the change thinking it will be hard to cope with or being afraid that we will lose the existing comfort that we have, but in the long run, it can show to be a thing that will make us way happier that we could even imagine.


I had a dream to visit India (at least once before I die!). I ended up living in India for three years! :))  I had a dream to work on my own and to help people to be happier and improve the quality of their life with my advice. I am a life coach today!

I was reading my favourite magazine SENSA for ten years and dreaming to have my article published there. It happened in June last year! I wrote more than (rough calculation) four hundred articles in my native language and English, and I was featured and quoted in The Huffington Post, COSMOPOLITAN, SENSA, Inspired Coach Magazine... and many other publications. Having my articles published in COSMOPOLITAN and The Huffington Post was beyond my wildest dreams! I have been working for last three and half years on the bed, under the shades of palm leaves, in cafes with WI-FI connection, on the beach... (living my wildest dream since I started blogging!). I’m just a small town hard working girl with big dreams and a good heart. I am not coming from a rich country with many possibilities of success and opportunities, I was not born in a rich family, I did not have a “fancy” education, I am not even a native English speaker and yet… these all wonderful things happened to me!

I'VE learned that dreams DO come true. Sometimes beyond our wildest dreams and all the limitations that we might be facing!


We should take time each day to celebrate our small and big successes and every little thing we did to become better at what we do, better as a human being and everything we did to make other people's lives better. It is good to have big dreams and goals, but we also need to pat ourselves on the back every day for making the small step forward, which will lead us little closer to our desired destination. Life can be hard sometimes, we can face obstacles and limitations, but if we we keep on moving towards our goal, we will make it happen. The difference between those who succeed and those who don't is that those who do have the courage, strength and motivation to get up and keep on fighting and doing the work, even when it is hard and even when it seems impossible!

So, let’s celebrate! Life. Hard work. Goals. Dreams. Visions. Success. All those moments when it was hard, but we pushed trough it, when it was not easy, but we kept on hustling, when we did not know all the answers, but we asked help from someone who does, for keeping the faith, for standing up for what matters to us, for keeping the integrity when everyone else seems to play with the rules, and for not settling for mediocre life!


We may one day wake up and get to realise we want something different out of life, that we want change. We may want to change our job or transit our career in a new direction. We may feel like it is time to make the change and leave our country. Whatever it is, sometimes it is for our highest good that we leave that thing with meant a lot to us in the past and to create the space for new things, new people, new friendships, new experiences, new career opportunities for ourselves... It can be hard, it can be painful, it can cost us years of investment of our time, money and effort... but it is better to leave the thing that is no longer good than keep on hanging, hoping that one day it will get better or will get like it used to be some time in the past, if it is visibly not going in the right direction anymore or it is costing us our health, mental piece, or our happiness. Dropping out of Medical college was one the most difficult decision I've made so far, but I have no regrets today as it created a space for a new, happier chapter in my life.

Friendships, careers, and relationships... may not last forever. And that's OK. We change, we grow over the time, we evolve... and things we wanted at one point in life very badly can become things that are causing us too much pain or keeping us from growing and walking on the new path that we want to walk on.

And that's OK. Some people need to go so that other ones can step into our life. We may need to close one business so that we can start another one, or quit that job we thought we wanted to pursue the one we discovered is what we really want. Some things are just not meant to be forever! That said, I'm putting my diamond ring on! ;))


I had a "best friend" who was stating for years that I'm her best friend and soul sister and that she would do anything for me. But, whenever I needed her and I reached out to her for any help she would have some reason, excuse, or a thing to do and she would not be available (or she would "help" in the way that ended up not being very helpful). When I asked her to write a recommendation for my services, when I was just starting out as a life coach, she wrote... well, a few lines after a few days of thinking what to write (?!) about.

I also have a friend who was not saying all those pretty things, but she was cooking dinners for me, paid a trip for two of us, gave me keys of her apartment saying that I can come anytime and feel like at home. When I became a life coach she wrote a long recommendation for me. When I became a columnist for COSMOPOLITAN magazine she shouted it out to everybody. She was sharing links on my Facebook pages and articles all the time, she was proud of each of my milestone... While we were in Dubai together, she was shooting hundreds of my pictures every single day, as I needed them for the blog. Well, she has shown in so many ways over the years how much she cares about me and our friendship: no words were needed!

I fall for love talk , yes, but over the years I've learned the hard way that kindness, respect, small acts of care like my man bringing me a cup of coffee in bed in the morning or cooking a romantic dinner, my man taking care not to hurt my feelings, supporting my dreams and believing in me... mean much more to me now than "I love you". Without all these things, "I love you" make just three words with no profound meaning.

Little less conversation, little more action please!


I love to think of a failure or rejection as a redirection. If we got rejected or failed at something, that will help us to try out a different approach to achieve our goal. It will push us to be better and grow. It will sometimes make us decide that we will pursue something else instead. And that other thing or that other approach can turn out to be much greater and much better that the previous one we thought was “the one”.


The pain we experience after a rejection can be a very powerful force towards success if we know how to get the best out of it. If instead of feeling self pity and falling into a desperation we can decide that we will do whatever it takes in order not to experience that kind of pain again, it can be a strong motivating force to keep us going and succeed next time. The anger we feel can be catalysed into an energy to focus on our goal next time even harder and push our limits more or do try a new, smarter approach, do things differently, learn everything we can to be better and perform better in order to reduce the chance of being rejected again. And that can push us to be better, to learn and grow.


Living in India for more than two years now has been an eye opening experience for me, as I’ve realized how I used to take so many things for granted. While growing up and living in my home country (Bosnia and Herzegovina) in Europe, I was lacking gratitude for all the blessings that surrounded me.

While sitting in our penthouse apartment in the New Delhi suburbs, in an air-conditioned room, still feeling the need to chill with a cool water or a mango shake due to the intense heat (which can reach up to 118° in the summer), I could observe the construction ground across from our building. Constructions workers would come in at 9am and work for twelve hours, with only a short lunch break, without proper safety equipment, chilled water, or any shaded cover to rest. While they’d wipe sweat from their face, I’d imagine how hot they must be feeling, as I was sweating even in an air-conditioned room. Some of them were working together with their wives, who would help them earn their daily wage (equal to few US$). These women would carry piles of cement and bricks on big pots on their head, from one side of the construction site to another, sometimes climbing many stairs as well. In my home country, I never saw women working on construction grounds or carrying such heavy loads on their heads. Their children would play in front of the construction ground with sand and small rocks, as their parents could not afford to send them to school.

I thought about how, in my home country, children often complain that they “have to” go to school and people complain about how tough their jobs are. These people in New Delhi could not even dream of sending their children to school or having an eight-hour job in an air-conditioned office.

The wives who didn’t work on the construction ground would work in our building as maids. One of them cleaned our home. Every day she came in with a water bottle, which she’d cool in our refrigerator, as they did not have an electricity, not to mention a refrigerator, in the slum where she lived with her family. After cleaning our home, she’d run back to hers with a chilled water bottle in her hands, almost losing her breath, as if she was afraid the heat might warm that water before she would return. Then she wouldn’t be able to cool her small children, who were waiting in the heat in a slum without a fan.

Since that day, I never look at the ice cubes in my drink the same way I once did. Ice cubes were just pieces of frozen water, until I saw that for some people, even chilled water is a luxury! Ice cubes are a symbol of wealth and abundance to me now.


I've learned over the years that being afraid of rejection is the recipe for not growing in career and for missing the good opportunity and missing on happiness either. There is never guarantee that we will succeed in anything we want to achieve or get, but if try, we will create a possibility for ourselves to make it happen. If we do not try, on the other hand, we will not even that possibility for ourselves!

If there is anything you want to achieve, give it a try. If there is a help that you need or a favour, ask for it. If there is a good opportunity visible, go out and try to grab it! If you are in love with someone, reach out to that person. How can you be sure that person would not like you if you do not give him/her a chance to get to know you better and let them know how you feel. What's the worst thing that can happen? You will end up rejected, yes, but the ultimate outcome will be that you will not be with that person (and since you are already not with that person, what is there to lose, except the broken pride?).

If we do not ask, take action, go for it, give it a try... The answer will always be "NO", we will never have it, we will not make it happen! If we do... we might make it happen!


This one thing I know for sure: hard work pays off – always. Success and living the dream is never a coincidence: there are years of hustling, grinding, hard work and time and money invested in the background hidden: always.

My first blog went viral after two years of consistency in blogging: after that moment I became a “famous” blogger in the niche, and I started getting many opportunities, invitations, and even earning money as a freelance writer for two and half years. I call it a “tipping point” – when suddenly your dream becomes a reality. But to reach that tipping point you need to work hard for a while, sometimes for a long period. Most of the people quit on their dreams because they are expecting it to be “get rich quick scheme” or “visualize it, chant affirmations and it will manifest” kind of thing.

Yes, visualization is must, having the right mindset is must, a good strategy is must, but hard work is must too. Do not be afraid to work hard to make your dreams come true: it is a part of the journey and the bigger thing you want to achieve and experience, the harder you might need to work for it.


It was the Christmas Eve. My sister got into a stupid argument with my father and it was the first time we were not eating all together on the table for this special occasion, My father was visibly upset. Dinner was delicious, but the atmosphere was dull. Two days later, my father got severely ill and ended up in the hospital. Two months later he died. It was the last Christmas we spent together and yet it was the saddest one.

When I shifted to India, I realised how much I was missing my mom, sister and my friends, some family members... It is so easy to take people in our life for granted, and to start behaving like they will always be around. Life is so unpredictable and we never know for how long we will have the privilege to enjoy someone's love, presence, and company. People die, people move to another city or country, we can move to another city or country, or we may just end up losing the person we care about, if we forget how lucky we are to have them in our life and stop appreciating them like we should.

Life is so unpredictable and yet so easily we can take people we love and care deeply about for granted, not thinking that next year that person perhaps will no longer be with us and around us. We fight over stupid sh*t and we hurt each other, instead of saying, showing and expressing how much we care. And we do realise how much we care once we lose that person. But, then it can be too late!


Having a desire and nature to help others, I used to be a person who was giving a lot of (unasked) advice and help. I thought that is the right way and I should help to everyone that I possibly can, especially to those I care about, but it started backfiring!

I realised the hard way that unasked advice is like unwanted guest on the door. People might not deny it out of curtesy, but they won't be very happy to receive it either.

The thing is, as Yogi Bhajan would wisely say, when we give advice, other person's ego gets in between and instead of recognising our genuine desire to help, a person listening will only "hear" that we are saying how he or she is not good enough, or  that we playing to be smarter than them or simply that we are telling them what they should do with their life (and where did we get the right?! ). Same goes with offering our help to others which they did not ask or want at the first place. I realised over the years that some people actually have to reach the bottom so that life hits them hard in the head and they finally understand some thins and make a needed change! 

Once I started blogging and writing articles there were thousands of people reading my advice and thanking me, as they were life changing for them and they were improving the quality of their life. Yet, my friends and family members were getting crazy with me advising them all the time. I understood that time that people who were reading my articles and blog posts were actually interested to seek an advice, they needed help and that's why they could appreciate it at the same time. So, I stopped giving unasked advice.

People will follow your footsteps rather than your advice!

Once I stopped giving advice, an interesting thing happened: those same people who were rejecting my advice started actually asking me for an advice! Not only asking, but they would actually do most of times what I would tell them! So, learning form my past mistakes, I know  today that I should always offer help or advice in a manner that will leave the space for another person to ask, accept or receive it if they really want or need it.

Instead of saying: "I will or I can help you with..."

Today I say: "If you need my help/advice/________.... you can ask me/ I will be there for you/ reach out to me."

That way, person can ask me if only they need and want my help and they will take the credit for actually asking my help and they will appreciate it. Win-Win!


There is a saying "Never say never!" Well, it's a very wise one. Looking back, I see now that we can think at one particular time in our life that would never do, say or act in a certain way, but when the reality of life kicks in, and we face the particular set of circumstances, we may end up doing that same thing and finding it completely justified. it is so easy to judge other people and boost in our chests that we would never be "that kind of a person", do that thing" or "try that" or have an interest in that "stupid" or "silly" or "weird" or "sinful" thing. But, after all, we are humans and we make mistakes. We are changing, growing and evolving over the time and in ten years from now we may be this entirely different person. Who knows where life will take us and what hardships or uprises we may need to face and how we would act or behave in those circumstances?

One of the strangest things that happened to me in last two years was my sudden interest (OK, let me make a confession now: obsession! :)) in Vedic Astrology. I am a very "scientific" person and astrology, along with other "stuff" of that kind was always ridiculous to me. I used to think of it kind'a' this way: "Planets are moving around the Sun and that is affecting my life?!!!!! What a silly thing!" Until two years ago I ended up entering into Vedic Astrologer's office in India. I was waiting for someone outside and I was rolling my eyes over while thinking to myself: "Where the hell I am and how they dragged me here!" I strictly said that I'm not interested in having my horoscope made and that I'm just... WAITING!

But, even without my consent, they still asked the astrologer for my horoscope reading (shame on them! :)), and then I was invited inside. I denied. I was told then that astrologer said that I am a very nice and very special person and that he wanted to meet me in person, as there was something important he needed to tell me. Well, after all those compliments... he had me stepping inside. :)) He started giving me a reading and every single thing was correct, but I was still very sceptic as I was justifying it with the things that after talking to three people who know me well prior, and seeing me in person, he might have just concluded and heard things about me. What astrology? Planets are moving... no, forget about it, I mean, I'm an educated person and... what the hell I'm doing here... Then, he said something that he could not hear from anyone and it hit me (a.k.a. shocked me) heavily! I was returning home (it was seven hours journey) and all I could think about in the car was how he could have that information. I could not explain. I could not figure it out. And, then it hit me: "I have to learn Vedic Astrology!" Here I am, two years later, paying attention to planetary placements and transits more carefully than on my watch (well, actually, I'm not wearing a watch: could it be a reason why I'm always getting late? :)), but you know what I mean... I am studying passionately how planets are moving around the Sun as I know now that it is very much affecting my life! :)))

Since people are asking me nowadays to read their horoscopes, I might even end up becoming an astrologer in the future (28 year old be ashamed of myself after reading this line :)). Never say never. Who knows? Life is just so unpredictable. But, that's what makes it fun and exciting!

This was the longest post I ever wrote on this blog (I'm kind of scared now of the thought about writing "30 THINGS I'VE LEARNED IN MY 30-IES" in ten years. Uhh! :)) If you've made it till this far, congratulations! You should pat yourself on the back! ;)) Thank you for sharing my "birthday" moment with me and reading my #wordsofwisdom  :)) If you want to build an incredible life for yourself, then you totally need a life coach! :))

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