updated 08/08/2011 AT 7:00 AM ET
•originally published 08/08/2011 AT 8:00 AM ET
Unable to suppress a smile that lasted throughout Sunday’s 2011 Teen Choice Awards, Sean Kingston walked his first red carpet since his near-fatal jet ski accident in May.
After two separate brushes with death, the Jamaican-American rapper knows he’s lucky to be alive, but more important to him are the lessons he’s learned.
“Basically, I learned that in life anything can happen and you have to count your blessings and worship God, and believe in God,” Kingston, 21, tells PEOPLE. “And know that anything can happen, so you have to be cautious about what you do.”