The most valuable things are generally those that are hardest to obtain. That goes for wisdom as much as it does for diamonds and technical talent. The lessons that will do you the most good are also often the ones you avoid, resist, or simply miss for years. 

There's no denying this reality. But you can at least try to do an end run around your own psychological defenses and intellectual gaps by asking those older and smarter for you to share the most valuable lessons they finally got through their thick skulls years too late. 

Which is just what Facebook executive Julie Zhou did on Twitter recently, asking her 80,000-plus followers to share the "most important life lesson that you wish you learned ten years earlier?" (hat tip to blog Swiss Miss). The questions set off a firestorm of thoughtful replies, offering wisdom on everything from relationships to professional missteps to personal fulfillment. 

The whole thread is well worth a browse, but here are a handful of my favorite answers:

Not everyone was feeling deep and philosophical, however. Some users shared more practical lessons:

And in case you're wondering, this last bit of advice is definitely backed up by science.

What would be your answer to Zhou's question?