My quarter life crisis is slowly settling in as Canada Day (My birthday) has come and pass. This really made me reflect on what I have done so far up to this date and wanted to write down all of the things that I have learned and know to be true. Maybe you will take some of these life lessons and apply them to your life. I tried to make this list as least cliché and cheesy as possible so here it goes.
1. Depth > Width
Having deeper relationships far better than having a lot of superficial relationships. With social media it definitely exacerbates this, everyone has hundreds of friends on Facebook but how many of them can you actually go to for advice when you really need someone to talk to? Investing in those relationships is the best investment you can make and will pay dividends for many years to come.
2. Know when to be quiet and listen
If you don’t know a subject just be quiet and listen or else you will just look stupid talking about stuff you don’t know. You were given 2 ears for a reason so use them.
3. Stop and think once in a while
“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.” — Henry Ford
We are always on-the-go and grinding through life. Sometimes you need to take some timeout to think and reflect on life to see what you are doing right now is going to help you get to where you want to go.
4. Gratitude is a skill so practice it from time to time
I believe that gratitude is a skill because if you don’t practice it you lose it. It’s so easy to just go through your day to day and not think about what is good in your life that you take for granted. Try to take a minute out of your day and think about something that you are thankful for, could be as something simple as your parents.
5. Health is the foundation
Health is the foundation of everything because if you don’t take care of your health first there really is not point in how much you have. You could be the richest person in the world but if you are bed ridden then you can’t even enjoy it. Steve Jobs said he doesn’t want to be the richest man in the cemetery.
6. You can’t every stop learning
I had the mindset after university and 18 years of studies that I was done studying and learning. I have definitely learned that you cannot stop and you have to always be gaining more knowledge. The more you learn the more you earn. The superpower that Bill Gates and Warren Buffet wished that they had was to have super human reading ability.
7. Provide more value than you receive
In every relationship try to provide 51% of the value. Nobody likes a leech that is always asking for stuff and provide nothing in return. Even in a job interview try to give the company value instead of just answering their questions so that you seem like the linchpin the interviewee is looking for. A Linchpin by definition by Seth Godin is someone who is vital to an organization that adds so much to the company that they become indispensable.
8. Work smart and hard
Working smart is just as important as working hard. One way to work smart is using Pareto’s principle and figuring out what produces the most output with the least input. This is one of the main principles in the book 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, which is a book I highly recommend. However, no matter how smart you work it doesn’t overcome the need for hard work.
9. Don’t become too much of a consumer
We are all brought up to become consumers whether it’s buying nice clothes, watching TV or playing games. We just consume, consume and consume some more. We need to find a balance in consuming with creating, investing and doing.
10. Ask for what you want
I have spent a lot of my life being passive and not going for what I really wanted. Always hoping and dreaming is not enough, you have to go for what you want, ask for help if you can’t do it yourself and put yourself out there. I screwed up a phone interview really badly but followed up anyways and eventually got an in-person interview and the job. Persistence does pay off.
11. Be open to trying new things
The only way to grow as a person is to put yourself outside your comfort zone.
“Do one thing everyday that scares you.” — Eleanor Roosevelt.
12. Explore and get lost
I did a semester abroad and was a real eye opening experience for me as it was my first time living outside of my parent’s home. I met a lot of amazing people from all walks of life, visited several countries and really expanded my view on the world. One of the main goals I had in each place I visited was to get lost and explore, which ironically led to me finding more about myself and what I was capable of.
Try to have everything in moderation. Too much of a good thing can be bad, just as simple as that. That’s why I try not to binge watch shows because I literally turn into the “Walking Dead” after.
14. Invest in yourself
The best way to get ahead in life is to invest in yourself whether it’s reading books, taking courses online/offline or working out. Any time that is used to make yourself a better human being is never a waste.
15. Be nice to your family
Not much too add here just never take your family for granted even if they really piss you off because you only have one.
16. Be humble
Nobody likes a cocky person especially if they can’t back it up. Try to “Dominate Humbly”, if you do an amazing job people will take notice. This is how I try to live my life.
17. Always be curious
Don’t take things at face value all the time. We lose our sense of curiosity and stop asking why. Question things that you don’t agree with that are being said or done, especially at work. If there is a better way to do things find that out and then take the initiative in implementing that. Also, being curious is helpful in learning about what interests you.
18. If you are the smartest person in the room. You are in the wrong room.
Try your best to surround yourself with smart people that you can learn from and that make you feel uncomfortable. It’s the best way to accelerate your learning and growth.
“You are the average of the 5 people that you spend time with the most.” — Jim Rohn
19. Following your passion?
“Don’t follow your passion, follow your effort.” — Mark Cuban
There is this cliché that you have to follow your passion and your dreams but some people don’t have that innate ability of self awareness. The next best thing you can do if you don’t know exactly what you were put on this earth for is to pursue what you put effort in and what interests you. Here is a great short read by Mark Cuban.
20. Relationships are like plants
If you don’t take care of your relationships whether romantic or not they will wither and die like a plant that doesn’t get watered.
21. Move fast with good intentions
“Ask for forgiveness, not for permission.” — James Altichur
If you really feel like you want to try something new that will push yourself or the business forward than just do it. Taking that initiative within a company or against gatekeepers will be forgiven if your heart is in the right place. *If you get fired don’t blame me
22. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover
Everyone knows this but sometimes we forget and I have gotten bit in the ass by making assumptions of people by their appearance and underestimated them. People can surprise you with their background and knowledge. Never think that you are better than anyone because that’s how you lose in life. Always give people the benefit of the doubt.
23. Chill out
I pride myself on being really chill and don’t get why people get worked up on things that don’t really matter. 99% of things in your day-to-day life don’t matter in the long run like if someone cut you off, if your co-worker did something you didn’t like or whatever nonsense that happens. Just focus on what you can control and don’t pay attention to those things that you can’t.
There is no such thing as overnight success despite all of these apps that make people billionaires seemingly overnight. What people don’t see is the hard work behind these apps and the long hours of coding, reiterating and deploying. Life is pretty long if you think about it. I think I am about a quarter done my life and I just feel like I am hitting my stride. With medicine we will probably live to a hundred easily, so don’t worry if you aren’t where you want to be today, just keep working at it and it will eventually come.
25. Chase your definition of success
Everyone has their own definition of success. For some it’s all about money, for others it’s the accomplishments or accolades and for others it is a great work life balance. I think success is just being happy in all aspects in your life, while having no complaints about it. I am in no way saying I am successful but I am confident I will reach there one day.