Forgive this indulgence as I turn a year older and level up (Level 45 for those keeping score). I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned along the way. Some appear more serious, and some less so, but it took my life to accumulate this wisdom, so what’s the point if I don’t share it?
1) Smile. You don’t own the world’s problems. Just do what you can do and dream big. Help great people do great things.
2) It’s okay to say no and speak your mind. You’re never going to be universally popular, so just be the best “you” you can be. People respect a person with the courage of their convictions and its okay to say no or disagree—be true to yourself. Know what you stand for and speak up for it.
3) Also related to the last point: don’t be a jerk if you can avoid it. But if you can’t—win hard.
4) We’re terrible at understanding risk. Our brains are specifically wired against us on this—its recognizing that that frees us up to assess real risk. What most people think is truly risky is not. Their fear of failure or change holds them back. Recognize the way we’ve always done it is what’s truly risky. Not change. Change is necessary. Failure happens. Get over it and get on with it.
5) Everyone dies, not everyone really lives. The more I see, the more I see this to be true. I see people chained up by their own self-limiting beliefs and their fear of doing something is so strong, it keeps them immobile for their whole lives. They wait for retirement to start living. Some don’t make it. Don’t wait for tomorrow—experience life today.
6) Also, there is a last day for everything. We don’t know when that is, but every single thing we do has a last day. Which makes today a great day to be grateful for all that you can do. Every silly, stupid, thankless task—and every wonderfully irreplaceable micromoment. Every sore muscle, tired heart
7) Don’t judge others, you have no idea what their journey has been about. And by virtue of that, don’t compare yourself to others. Both are wasted effort and generally make you suck more as a human. Some people will always have it better than you and some people will always have it worse. Our job is to lift others up, not to embitter our souls.
8) If you want to change your job, think about your currency—what truly pays you—and find jobs you can do in that field. For me, it’s seeing the light go on in someone’s eyes as they find their passion or purpose again. Then figure out what jobs you can do that pay you in that currency. Figure out what skills you need to move into that field and find a transition role that helps you get there. Move towards the right job, not just away from the wrong one.
9) Making things happen is about figuring out where you want to go and finding the first three things you need to do—then doing that. Don’t worry about the rest. Just do the first three things. You’ll be much more productive.
10) Don’t brag to the universe. The universe hates that. You’ll miss the field goal. Be grateful instead.
I’m lucky and grateful to have had the journey I’ve had and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m 10 years into Life 2.0 and I hope the same for all of us.
A life better lived and more fulfilled. A life that accepts the pain as part of the experience with an eye always on hope and possibility. A life full of accomplishment, failure, risk, love and adventure. In short, a life worth living.
Thanks for indulging this introspection. Level up. Team Us.