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32 Lessons from 32 Years of Life

It’s been 32 years of life on this planet, some good, some bad, but every single one precious in its own way. I would venture to say I’m happier than I’ve been in my whole life. So, I want to share with you my 32 bits of wisdom from 32 years of life in no particular order.

  1. Life only Gets Better: Like a fine wine, age only makes you better once you start to believe that. I’ve found that as we go through life and we evolve it just gets better and better. From our angst ridden teens to our insecure uncertain twenties, to finding ourselves in our thirties (at least in my case), it just keeps getting better. I’ve been a late bloomer in every area of my life. I had my first relationship at the age of 25. At 32, I finally feel confident in my career. So, if you are feeling doubt, uncertainty, insecurity, just know, it will get better.
  2. Family is Important: I don’t see eye to eye with my parents on pretty much everything. Me and my sister are worlds apart. She’s followed the path that in my community is more respectable than being a celebrity, becoming a doctor. But at the end of the day, my parents are largely responsible for getting me to where I’m at. It’s easy to forget that when you don’t see eye to eye and don’t agree on much. We have different philosophies on life, but in the end they’ve done their best to make me happy. Through all the ups and downs they’ve always helped. Thanks Mom and Dad.
  3. Be Extra nice to bartenders, waitresses, and door people. If you want to know how to get free drinks and get treated like a VIP everywhere you go, I just gave it away to you. When you stop treating them like service people and treat them like a friend, they’ll do the same. Remember their names and remember the seemingly pointless details about their lives and you’ll be amazed at what happens.
  4. Go out on a Limb and Jump off it: If there’s one flaw in our aging process that we should reverse it’s this. We start out as kids, fearless, daring, risk-takers. I see the 5 year old kids learning how to surf, shredding waves, and putting me to shame, and I realize they have one thing most of us have lost, courage. But the thing is that it’s there inside of us, we just have to embrace it.
  5. See the Gift in Everyone: Lots of people in your life will make it difficult. Bosses, significant others, siblings, parents. But the reality is they’re all their to teach you something, you just have to be open to learning. I’ll never love the worst boss I had, but I’ll be grateful for his lessons. The relationships that don’t work out just prepare you for the ones that do.
  6. Worrying is a waste of time and energy. When I wrote that post I left out one thing that struck me from the movie Van Wilder. He said “Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”
  7. Surround Yourself with Quality People: You will inevitably become the byproduct of the people you surround yourself with. Fortunately with the world of social media, today more than ever you are blessed with the ability to surround yourself with like minded people. If you want to be a certain way, surround yourself with the people that are already that way.
  8. Learn from your Mistakes: I think the most important reason for studying history is so that we can’t prevent history from repeating itself in the worst cases and to cause it to repeat itself in the best cases. You are going to make mistakes. If you didn’t life wouldn’t be very interesting.
  9. Embrace your Imperfections: We’re all flawed. It makes us human. Stop trying to fix these imperfections that you can’t and learn how to turn them into your most magnetic qualities. You might never be taller, but you might find a significant other who has an attraction for shorter men, women, etc.
  10. Stay Present: Don’t think too much about the future or too much about the past. Neither one really matters as much as you think it does and the one key to peak performance in everything you do is presence.
  11. Don’t Give Up: When you hear that Thomas Edison made 10,000 attempts to get the light bulb right, you realize that in order to have an impact on history you really can’t give up. Usually in the moments when you want to give up the most is when you make the most dramatic progress. Keep going.
  12. Avoid High Speed Car chases: If you are ever in Tijuana with a friend from college and a car pulls up behind you with badges sticking out the window, don’t just drive. It makes for a great story, but that’s about it. Yes, I’m speaking from experience.
  13. Take Lots of Pictures: Tony Robbins said “If you’re life is worth living, it’s worth recording. There’s certain moments that really just need to be captured on camera. I’ve always been a big fan of pictures and if you see how many pictures my dad took as we were growing up, you’ll realize there’s something special about being able take a photographic walk down memory lane.
  14. It’s not a race to the Death: These are the famous words of my best friend from college. Anytime I get caught up in the idea of how rich and successful some of my friends got when we were much younger, she would tell me ”what are you going to do, race to the death?“ Good point.
  15. Don’t Trust People Who Don’t Like Chocolate: This is one of my personal favorite ones. A little bit silly, but overall the track record for it seems pretty consistent. I have only had one or two friends in my life who didn’t like chocolate (I forgive you).
  16. Stop Keeping Score: Life is not a competition. It’s an adventure, something to be enjoyed and lived to the fullest. Keeping score ensures that you’ll be in ego driven pursuit of a meaningless marker of success.
  17. Break the Rules: Have you ever heard of any remarkable people actually following the rules. I’m saying break rules, not laws. There’s a big difference. Conventional wisdom is called that for a reason. Give conventional wisdom the finger and say Fu#$# it, which I assume is really the meaning of the The Middle Finger Project (Ash, correct me if I’m wrong).
  18. Don’t listen to the naysayers: Naysayers will always emerge when you start blazing your own trail. The really amazing part is the same people who called you crazy, insane, stupid, etc will call you a genius when your moment in the sun arrives.
  19. Be Patient: Patience is something that many of us struggle with. We start out very patient as babies. We work really hard to learn how to walk, stand, talk, etc. Then as we become adults, we want it bigger, better, faster and we have to have it now. Of course when we get old, we’re too damn slow not to be patient, so we just accept it.  I believe that nature rewards patience. Look how long it takes for a tree to grow. Ocean waves come in sets and between sets you just have wait. But when they do come the ride is such bliss that the wait is something you don’t even think about. So relax, chill out, and enjoy yourself a bit.
  20. Take Care of the Planet:  It shouldn’t surprise you that I would say this considering my recreational habits. It does surprise me however since it was never high on my radar.  But next time you throw a piece of paper on the ground or something, just realize it might end up in the ocean. Do that and we start to disrupt the circle of life by killing marine life without even knowing it and doing alot of other unknown damage.
  21. Put your energy into Positive Pursuits: Negativity is a virus that really doesn’t do anybody any good. When you put your energy into positive pursuits it really does seem to come back to you tenfold.
  22. Choose Wisely: In my mind there are two areas of life where your choices will dramatically impact the quality of your life. Choose wisely when it comes to your mate and choose wisely when it comes to your career. Mistakes in those areas could be detrimental to the quality of your life.
  23. Travel as Much as You Can: I’ve been really blessed to have grown up all over the world. While it sucked because I didn’t have friends that I’ve known for 20 years, it was awesome because I’ve seen so many different things. The world is small and vast at the same time. Different cultures give us different perspectives. So, experience them, embrace them, and you will grow so much as a person that words can’t do it justice.
  24. Create a Work of Art: Writing, paint, compose, or do something. It doesn’t matter if everybody doesn’t recognize what you have done as art. As long as you see it as your work of art, you’ll have done something that gives you an incredible sense of satisfaction. For me, that has been writing.
  25. Don’t Grow Old Mentally: There’s a difference between being wise and being old. If you’re a kid at heart and mind, you’ll never stop innovating, creating, imagining. That’s what we need to keep moving forward as a society and as individuals.
  26. Chose Success over Perfection: Perfection is something we’ve made up over time. Nobody or nothing is perfect according to everybody. But, certain things are perfecting according to just a few people. Focus on those few that matter and you’ll always be perfect.
  27. Waves Come in Sets: Sometimes they’re good. Sometimes they suck, but conditions always seem to improve. That’s the natural flow of life. The things that seem like the worst of situations are often a blessing in disguise. Don’t worry about when they will turn into a blessing.
  28. Be Passionate: So, this is something we beat to death in the blogosphere, but I think its still worth repeating. Passion won’t pay your bills and won’t make the world go round. But, it will make you happier, healthier, and wiser throughout the course of your life.
  29. Don’t use Force: This analogy is a bit disturbing, but excrement is produced by force. Not much else I have to say about that.
  30. Choose Your Own Path: Throughout your life you’re going to get guidance on what is the right path. The thing is that you are the only one who can ultimately determine what the right path is. It’s easy to buy into what people think you should do. But in the end you’ll be better off by going down your own path.
  31. Quality Trumps Quantity: When it comes to material possessions, friends, traffic to your blog, and almost anything in life, quality is always going to trump quantity. Some people will say life is a numbers game. I’m here to say it’s not. It’s about how well you play the game and how much you love the game. Whether you win or lose is irrelevant.
  32. Talk to Strangers: While this isn’t’ the rule we’re taught as kids, it’s actually pretty valuable as an adult. You never know who you’ll meet or where they’ll lead you. My life coach said to me ”you’re always only one interaction away from having the life you want.“

I won’t officially be 32 until Sunday, but I wanted to share this with you guys in time for the weekend. Also feel free to take a look back at my 20 life lessons from my 20′s.  Hopefully the things I’ve shared will inspire you in one way or another.

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