26 Lessons Learned From 26 Years of Curious Living

26 Lessons Learned

From 26 years of curious living

January 22, 2021

1. Fortune Favors The Bold

I once heard Naval Ravikant say something along the lines of the following:

2. Progress The Plot

This lesson is similar to the first in that it encourages me to always be thinking about how boldly I am living. It also reminds me to think of my life as a story. I constantly focus on taking action to progress the plot of my life and make sure that the story I’m living is one worth telling.

3. Kindness is King

There are very few situations in life in which being mean is advantageous. It may feel good in the short term to be aggressive but in the long term kindness is always the answer. I have had many wonderful doors open up in my life simply because I treat people with kindness, and you never know how impactful a small act of kindness may be to the receiver.

4. Practice Shibumi

Shibumi is a rather difficult concept to describe. I will detail my personal definition with the following example.

5. Do The Work

Stop planning, analyzing, thinking, estimating, brainstorming, and forecasting. Instead, start the project, write the first sentence, step onstage and simply do the work. Think less, do more.

6. Ultimately You Have To Decide

No matter how many people you ask for advice and opinions, ultimately you have to own your decisions. Yes, you can make a decision based on what your parents, teachers, mentors, and coaches, tell you, but only you will be there in the end to live with the outcome. When I realized this I started taking more ownership of my decisions.

7. Wake Up Early

There’s something truly magical about being awake before the rest of the world. Maybe it’s the silence, or maybe it’s my competitive nature, but something beautiful happens every time I arise before the sun does.

8. Be Polite

Good manners go a long way and a simple please and thank you can greatly improve others’ perception of you. Holding doors open for everyone can open doors of opportunity for yourself.

9. Gratitude Is Always The Answer

It’s very challenging to feel angry, sad, resentful, scared, anxious, or lacking when you are feeling grateful. In fact, it’s literally impossible. I take this as a sign from the Universe that if we want to limit negative emotions, all we have to do is practice being radically grateful. What is the secret to being happy? My answer is gratitude.

10. Consistency Beats Talent

I may not be the smartest, strongest, most talented, innovative, and creative human on the planet, but my superpower lies in my consistency. I have developed a level of personal discipline that allows me to achieve great feats by doing the work every single day. Talent may beat me in the short-term but talent gets tired and ends up taking days off. Staying consistent is how I become the best version of myself.

11. Please Be Weird

Please, for the love of God, stop hiding how weird you are. Your weirdness makes you interesting. Your weirdness makes you attractive. Your weirdness makes you human, special, funny, and someone I want to spend time with. Please take off the mask and be your authentic genuine self. The world needs more people like you.

12. Live Your Own Life

Bronnie Ware worked as an end-of-life caregiver and she wrote a book about the top 5 regrets she heard on her patient’s deathbed. The following quote was regret number one:

13. You Will Never Experience The Future or The Past

As human beings, we are only capable of experiencing the world in present terms. We can ruminate on the past or worry about the future, yet every sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound enters our consciousness in the present tense. You just read this sentence in the present moment. Now that moment has passed and you are back in the present moment again. And again. And again. Realize this and enjoy yourself in this moment.

14. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

The moment we begin to take ourselves too seriously is the moment that life loses all of its humor and joy. Learning to make fun of ourselves is a great antidote to all the stress and anxiety we generate when trying to have everything perfectly buttoned up. People would rather laugh with you than at you so become an expert at being the butt of good-natured jokes.

15. Be Holistically Healthy

Let me give you an example of not being holistically healthy. In college, I would often go to the gym a few hours before going out at night. I was committed to my personal fitness, and I figured that getting a workout in before drinking was healthy and smart. What I didn’t realize was that all the positive effects of exercise would be instantly negated when I saturated my body with beer and pizza later that evening. Instead of giving my torn muscle fibers rest and nutrition, I soaked them in cheap alcohol paired with terrible sleep. Holistic health means looking at the big picture of how you are living and understanding how your actions impact each other.

16. Be The Glue Guy

The glue guy is the friend who is committed to maintaining and growing the friendship regardless of social scorekeeping. He is the one who is always picking up the phone to call you and he doesn’t mind if he is always initiating the texts or phone calls. All he cares about is that you guys stay connected and get to catch up.

17. Forgiveness Isn’t About The Other Person

Forgiveness is about you. As selfish as it may sound, you should forgive people so that you feel better. Why? Because that person you are harboring resentment toward probably doesn’t even know they upset you. Your anger is only hurting you.

18. New Ideas Are Fragile

There’s nothing more dangerous than telling someone else about a new idea you have for a business, a lifestyle, or the future version of yourself. Ideas are fragile and all it takes is one doubting question (usually from someone who means well and loves you) for you to write it off.

19. Memento Mori

Is a Latin phrase that means “remember that you must die.” It is a key tenet of the philosophy of Stoicism and has helped me a great deal in my life. Instead of viewing this as a morbid reminder, this phrase gives meaning to being alive and inspires me to enjoy today to the fullest. It encourages me to live with intention and gratitude and to never take the future for granted.

20. Buy Less, Buy Better

This maxim is borrowed from the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard. I have weaved this into my own life by purchasing high-quality goods, infrequently. Instead of buying 10 shirts that I will wear one time each per month, I would prefer to buy one high-quality shirt that I will wear ten times. It’s better for the environment and it’s better for me because it simplifies my life.

21. Stop Thinking So Much

The ability to rationalize and think clearly is our greatest superpower as humans. And yet it can become our worst nightmare. There are appropriate times to think about all things on your to-do list, however, 3:45 am is not one of them.

22. Your Soul is Here to Grow

I want to believe that the end-of-life judgment (if there is one) is based on the content of one’s character and the impact they had on other people’s lives. Not on how many hours were worked, check-boxes checked, and meetings attended. My life became much simpler when I realized that growth, not success, was my number one priority.

23. You Always Have a Choice

And while it may not be a good one, there’s always another option. We often feel trapped in our jobs or relationships and forget the simple fact that at any moment, we have the power to change everything. You can quit the job you hate. You can leave the person who undervalues you. You are the architect of your life and your power lies in you realizing/remembering this.

24. When Your Dreams Change It’s Time to Change Your Life

My dream was to work in Private Equity and I was ecstatic when it came true. Fast forward a year and a half and I was feeling unfulfilled, inspired, and that my life was lacking purpose. What I learned is that it’s O.K. to realize that your previous dream no longer excites you. In fact, it’s good news because it means you are evolving into a higher version of yourself. Instead of beating yourself up about it, refer to lesson 23 and change your life!

25. Laughter Heals Everything

I used to work in internal audit and I hated the work I was doing. It felt so meaningless and dull and I often couldn’t believe that this was what my life had become. I was so miserable and yet something strange began to happen. At the end of a really long day, when something incredibly mundane would come up, I would begin hysterically laughing.

26. Gather Arrows

A wise man once told me that each life experience is like an arrow. Every unique situation we encounter provides us with a specific lesson or skill that will remain with us for the rest of our lives. These lessons and skills are arrows that we can store in our quiver for future use.

Closing Thoughts

While I have learned a lot in the past 26 years of living, it brings a smile to my face to know that this is just the beginning. I am starting to figure out who I am, who I want to be, and how I want to tell my story. Getting introspective about the process helps me see what is important in my life and what can be replaced or upgraded. These 26 lessons have helped me navigate the complex and ever-changing adventure called life and I hope that they help you, if only to inspire you to write your own list of life lessons.


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