It's my 45th birthday tomorrow. I still can't believe I'm getting so close to 50. I've been reflecting on my life for the last couple of weeks. I slowly journaled these forty-five lessons that I have learned so far. I'm sure I'm forgetting some but here's what I came up with. I hope these help you too.
45 Things I've Learned So Far...
1. Your family is first. I do everything to spend time with my kids and Heather.
2. People need people. Find your tribe(s).
3. Unplug more often. Do Not Disturb and Airplane Mode are your friends.
4. Trust people. I’ve struggled with this in the past. Nice guys get burned too often, but it still pays to be nice. It's part of the reason I launched Networking For Nice People.
5. Invest in yourself. Buy that book, go watch a movie, see a concert… you need this.
6. Take walks. I miss living in a big city and walking everywhere. I still try to walk for thirty minutes each day. I love exploring new cities on foot too.
7. Drink water and measure how much you’re drinking (or not drinking). I thought I was drinking much more than I was before buying a bottle that has the quantity written on it.
8. Travel. Life is too short not too. Traveling was the best decision I ever made.
9. Smile. Think about your resting face. If you walk around smiling you will find strangers smile back at you.
10. Read more. I am still not where I want to be with reading but I’m working on it.
11. What doesn’t get measured doesn’t improve. Set measurable goals. You won't know you're succeeding (or failing) without doing this.
12. Find something you’re passionate about and pursue it. This doesn’t mean quit your job. You can always follow passions on the side.
13. Don't let failure get you down. The fact that you tried at all is key. You learn from your missteps and apply them moving forward to success.
14. Party hard before you have kids. If you party after having kids you're being a jerk. Stop it.
15. Be a good person. Look for ways to serve the people in your life.
16. Treat people the way you want to be treated. My mum taught me this.
17. Don’t fear asking. I interviewed over fifty successful people on my last podcast and found this to be common among them. Ask yourself, "What is the worst thing that will happen if the person says, no."
18. Transcribe what you learn. I've been doing this on this blog and in my journal. I find writing down key things I learn from books and podcasts helps me retain the information.
19. Experiences over things. Heather and I have adopted this as our family motto.
20. Share what you know. You know much more than you think. We often sell ourselves short. Nobody else has your combination of knowledge and experience.
21. Believe in yourself but don’t get pig-headed about it.
22. Keep track of the good people in your life and reach out.
23. As we get older it gets more difficult to connect in-person. I have come to accept this.
23. Be the change you want to see. Armchair politics and internet protesting can only do so much. Pick up the phone and call your politicians. Show up and protest.
24. Follow your heart not your friends. I followed my friends as they became successful and suddenly realized I neglected my heart (and my head).
25. Make art. You’re an artist.
26. Crank it to 11. Seriously, I embarrass myself driving alone, but I must have the tunes cranked. It’s usually punk rock stuff.
27. Schedule your annual physical around your birthday so you never forget. A friend died at 48 years old because he didn’t realize he had had a previous heart attack. You won’t know if you don’t go.
28. Write a journal. Fill it up and start another one. I fall out of this habit too often but I start again.
29. Use a daily To Do list. Write it down on paper. Paper is key. You can keep it in front of you all day. Plus, you get the added bonus of physically scratching items off your list. Feels good.
30. Hire someone to do something. You can’t do it all. I am not a gardener.
31. Your friends won’t always have time for you. Life gets in the way.
32. It’s normal to get lonely, embrace it and be thankful for the people in your life.
33. Everything won’t always go swimmingly sometimes you will want to drown. Don’t sink too much, but float around down there for a bit and enjoy the view.
34. Find music that makes you happy. It’s usually the stuff from when you were younger. Classic rock and punk rock make me happy.
35. Admit defeat in a day. Start again tomorrow.
36. Think more about the future than the past. I’m way too nostalgic. By thinking about the future I have found myself getting much closer to achieving my goals.
37. Note how a person treats a server.
38. Take many photos. You will be glad you did later. I love flipping through my Instagram feed.
39. Don’t give everything away or you won’t eat.
40. Decaf in the afternoon.
41. Keep a two drink maximum or don’t drink at all. Easier said than done, trust me, I know.
42. Take a Myers Briggs personality self-assessment. Be honest with yourself and the results.
43. Try not to judge people. Consider why they could be behaving the way they are instead. What part of the story could you be missing?
44. Eat fruits and veggies like it's going out of style.
45. Stretch. I've neglected this far too much in my life. I have my chronic back pain to show for it. Stop and stretch more often.
I hope you can use these and apply them to your own life.