Over the past few years, around my birthday, I’ve set a tradition of reflecting on the previous year and writing helpful lessons from life/work.
This year, just before I made another lap around the sun, I added a new constraint by setting a timer and not editing or touching the content once the timer finished.
So here are thirty-one lessons written in thirty-one minutes from my last hours of being thirty-one:
31) Friends are more important than money.
30) Money is just a resource. It is renewable.
29) Time is not renewable.
28) If something temporal is stressing you out, cut it. Life is too short.
27) You can skimp on space only for so long. Make your home and office as comfortable and inspiring as possible.
26) Inspiration is like food. You need it to be full. Consume it in all its forms. And often.
25) A few nice things are more valuable than a lot of not-so-well-made things.
24) No one cares about you and your work as much as you do. This is liberating.
23) People do care about how much care you show. Listen. Respond. And show up.
22) Life is going to take shots at you. From all angles. Keep a thick skin and a soft heart.
21) The way to keep your skin thick is to only have a few close friends who know all aspects of your life. Just a few.
20) The way you keep a soft heart is by spending time with a lot of different people and placing yourself in their shoes as you listen to and work with them.
19) Try to make important functions of life automatic. Auto-withdraw money into your savings accounts. Go to sleep at the same time every night. Wear as simple of clothing as possible – consistently. Routines make space for the important things.
18) Spend a lot of time with your family. Especially your parents. They won’t be around forever.
17) Buy the nicer versions of the things between you and the ground (ie: shoes, mattresses, and tires).
16) Don’t be afraid of saying, “I don’t know.” But try to follow it with a helpful question or a possible solution.
15) Even if you don’t think you’re a writer, write. Getting things on paper is how you learn how to decipher between the shitty thoughts and the truth.
14) If you think something won’t work, test it in the quickest way possible. If it’s not working, don’t force it. Let it go. If it’s still on your mind months later, revisit it. Time away from things creates fresh perspective.
13) Take at least one day a week away from screens. If you don’t know why, you should probably take several days away from a screen. Because chances are, you’re losing touch with what matters.
12) Find one or two things you enjoy doing that has nothing to do with productivity. Get lost in them.
11) The world is messy and kinda scary. But you don’t have to be that way. You can control the way you engage it.
10) Move forward despite your fears and you’ll inspire others to do the same.
9) The best form of revenge is to continue.
8) The best way to honor those who’ve gone before you, is to continue with integrity.
7) You can’t do everything well. Ask for help. The sooner you ask, the less desperate you’ll be and the more others can truly be there for you.
6) When you travel, use packing cubes. They make traveling a cinch.
5) Plants are the best roommates.
4) Just because a leader is loud and brash does not mean they are good and right. Learn to lead with soul and conviction. You’ll know you’re doing this well when those whom you lead begin to hold you to your word and even add their own soul and conviction.
3) Keep good friends close for a long time. They get better with age.
2) There is no perfect formula for dealing with loss. But nature is part of every version of that formula.
1) If you’re unsure of what to write, set a timer and a theme. Then write until that timer goes off.