“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin
Every time my birthday rolls around I feel like reflecting. I think about the year that has gone by. I plan for the future. I think about what I did right and what I did wrong. I try not to just hope for the best because hope isn’t a game plan. I also try to be harsh with myself because there’s no benefit in lying to yourself.
Where’s the time going? I remember dying to turn 19 so that I could be legal drinking age here. I’m no longer in my 20s. How did that happen?
What are my
24 lessons learned in 24 years 32 lessons from 32 years?
This was post was originally published on 12/26/2011. I’m going to update this post every year on my birthday with some new random life lessons.
1. You need to slowly build towards your goals.
It doesn’t matter if you have money related goals or fitness plans. It’s all about slowly building towards them. You’re not going to accomplish everything over night. If you do a little bit of work on a consistent basis, you’ll be amazed by what you get done by the end of the year.
I try to write 1,000 words every single day. I try to hit the weights at least three times a week. Consistency is key.
2. The best time to start is right now.
Right now is the best time to get started with anything. I wanted to vagabond for the longest time. Instead of making excuses I finally bought a ticket to Poland in 2011 and learned as I went. I showed up with no clue as to what was going to happen next. I ended up having a blast all by myself in a foreign country. My friends never thought that I would do it. I even thought that I would never do it. I did it.
Right now is the very best time to start anything. It doesn’t matter what you want to do. You can start an online business now. I even launched a podcast in 2015 with a friend and it was all on-the-job-training.
3. Debt will ALWAYS bring you down.
Debt puts a stranglehold on you. It limits what you can do with your time and your money. It totally limits your options in life. You can’t travel or start your own business if you need to be making consistent debt payments.
I’m thankful to have never been in any serious debt. I’ve forgotten to pay off my credit card balance in full or borrowed money for investments to use as leverage. I’ve never been in consumer debt or school debt (because I worked like an animal in school).
I’ve seen many of my friends get stuck in debt. It’s not fun. Avoid it at all costs if you can because it will bring you down.
4. You have to get into the habit of saving money.
It doesn’t matter if you’re earning $50,000 a year or $5,000, you need to get into the habit of saving money. Every little bit that you save today will help you out massively in the future.
Even saving $20 a week can go a long way. Think about.
$20 x 52= $1,040.
Not bad. That’s a vacation right there. A few dollars a day can add up to thousands over the years.
If you keep on putting off saving money, you’re never going to get into it. It’s challenging to build a habit out of thin air as you get older. When you get older you’re just going to make more money and want to spend more money. Lifestyle inflation is a common thing. I suggest that you get into the habit of saving right now.
In 2012 I wrote about how I saved $25,000 by 25. This is a must-read for anyone struggling to save money.
5. There’s so much to do in this world.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” — Helen Keller
If I wanted to actually do everything that I want to do, I would have to live at least three lifetimes.
I encourage everyone reading this to get out and see what this world has to offer. You don’t have to go all out right off the bat.
Pick a place that you really want to see and plan a trip. Start saving right now.
When will you start to travel the world? You can start small like me (a week to Cuba in 2006) or move to Japan to try to become a pro wrestler.
6. Money is an amazing tool.
Money is simply a tool that gives you options for what you want to do in life. Without money, you really limit your options. Money should be treated as a tool and nothing else.
7. You need a reason for chasing after money.
Do you really want a million dollars or do you want million dollar experiences?
Going after money for the sake of money is boring. You need a passion and reason to be chasing the dollars. You need to figure out why you want the money.
8. The people in your life make it worth living.
It really is true that your network is your net worth.
Material possessions are fun to have. It’s the people in your life that make it what it is. I believe that the quality of your life is determined by those that you surround yourself with. You are the average of your circle of close friends.
9. You need to do something that matters.
You don’t have to follow your passions or write social media posts about how passionate you are about life, but it definitely helps to do something that matters. I love to help others with their money. I want you to make more money, save more money, and owe less money. I feel great knowing that I try to do something that matters.
10. Working out will make you feel amazing.
I love working out. I always switch up my workouts. I go from kettle bell swings to grappling to heavy weights. I couldn’t imagine a life without training in it. Releasing endorphins and pushing yourself to the max are things that I wouldn’t want to miss out on. You don’t have to become a bodybuilder.
You can start by just busting out 50 pushups in the morning or a quick walk down the street.
11. You really do regret the things that you don’t do.
You don’t want to turn 50 and regret not giving it your all because you held yourself back.
With that being said…
12. Failure is needed.
“The answers don’t matter. At all. The choice of tools doesn’t matter ; the method doesn’t matter. You don’t need a guru ; you need experience, the best kind of experience, the experience of repeated failure.” – Seth Godin
You need to fail. Fail often. Fail hard. Don’t be afraid of failing. Be afraid of not trying. I failed many times in the past year. Remember my eBook? That was a failure. If you’re not failing then you’re not trying hard enough.
In 2012, I finally self-published my own book because I stopped worrying about failure. In 2015, I self-published four books because I stopped worrying about how the world would react.
Check out my Amazon Author page.
13. Risk should be mandatory in your 20s.
Why are young people so afraid of taking chances?
It should be mandatory in your 20s to take risks. You have absolutely nothing to lose. Throw yourself out there. Take risks in relationships. Take risks with your career. Take risks with your appearance. There are so many risks worth taking that we miss out on because we’re trying to fit in.
14. The best investment is in yourself.
Whenever I hear friends debating investments, I chime in by saying that the best investment is in yourself. Stocks and real estate are great investments (I do both). However, at the end of the day, stocks are imaginary numbers and real estate is four walls.
When you invest in yourself, you’re investing into the rest of your life.
You can invest in yourself through courses, upgrades, health, and anything else that can improve your current situation. All of these investments will pay massive dividends in the future.
15. Chasing fads is harmful.
When you’re chasing the next big thing you can get yourself into deep trouble. This can be the next hot investment, new workout strategy, or even clothing. You’re never going to be satisfied. You’re always going to be chasing something. Don’t forget that fads always fade.
16. It’s okay to blow money.
It’s totally cool to blow money once in a while. If you work hard and save your money most of the time, you deserve to spend some of it.
17. Not everyone is going to understand what you’re all about.
I would like to think that my philosophy is pretty simple: work hard and play harder. If you invite me to a party you should expect me to own the night. You should also expect me to the be first one up working away on my laptop. It really is a simple way of life. I don’t believe in excuses or feeling sorry for yourself. That’s not what my life is about.
18. There’s a difference between greed and drive.
You can be driven. On the dark side, you can be greedy. I’ve crossed that line many times and I feel stupid about it.
Being driven is what keeps you up late at night and gets you up early in the morning when you’re sleep deprived and feel like complaining.
Greed is what you gets you to miss your friend’s birthday party because you would rather make some money.
19. You’ll never stop learning.
You have two ears and one mouth so that you can listen twice as much.
With that being said, you’re likely to do nothing about it. If you get anything out of this article, I hope that you try to listen more and let others talk. The world doesn’t care about your problems. Maybe one day when you’re famous you can write an autobiography where you list all of your problems.
There’s so much to learn out there. I still need to learn another language on top of the six billion other things I don’t know. The amazing part is that you can learn a little every single day. The Internet is the only resource that you need. Everything is out there. All of the information in the world is easily accessible.
20. Life will always go on.
You think that you have major problems? Imagine you had to throw your problems into a pile. Then other people in less-fortunate situations would be allowed to throw their problems into this same pile. You know what would happen? You would take your problems back in a heart beat.
No matter how big you think your problems are right now, the good news is that life will go on. The world will never stop for your problems, nor should you ever let it. Keep on living and pushing forward!
21. There’s no point in fearing death.
Confession: I’m afraid of death. Like it freaks me out. Since I was a little kid I’ve always been afraid of death. I just hate the unknown. I hate not knowing what’s next.
Many of us worry about death. We should really be concerned with not living at all. Death is inevitable. We all die. Not all of us can say that we truly lived. I need to focus more on living.
22. People can be amazing.
You never know when your friends will come through big time. There will also be times where complete strangers come through for you.
My favorite example is the one time that a stranger rang on my doorbell while I was having drinks with friends. I go to the door wondering who this random dude was. Then I noticed that he had my wallet in his hands. I was so excited earlier that I left my wallet behind while eating lunch down the street. This guy found the wallet, saw that it was a local address and brought it to my door. That saved me some serious time and money.
People can be truly amazing if you let them be.
Look no further than those that take the time to send you a birthday text message or a message on your wall. I now go out of my way to contact my friends on their birthday.
23. Money comes and goes, but time goes forever.
Time is so precious. Money will always come and go. Time goes and never comes back. Once time is gone you have no chance of getting it back. This is why I respect your time and my time. I don’t like to waste time nor do I like to spend my time on things that don’t matter. Once that time is gone I’m never going to get it back. I want to spend my time with the people that matter, living on my own terms.
24. It’s all good.
Seriously. It’s all good. Everything’s going to be alright. There’s no point in stressing out or carrying grudges. It’s all good my friends. Everything is going to be the way it’s meant to be. You don’t have to spend your days ranting and raving on social media over every issue that you read about.
25. You must meet your obligations.
The key to success in your 20s is to always meet your obligations — financial and personal.
This means that you must pay off your student credit cards and show up when you say you’re going to show up.
I don’t believe in calling in sick or flopping on anyone, EVER! I believe in being a classy person in this regard. No matter how stupid I get in other areas of life, I’ll always meet my obligations.
If you ever can’t make a payment or a meeting, you must notify the person. If you borrow money from someone, keep them updated. If you make plans, keep them! If an emergency comes up, then take the time to contact that person. Do NOT ever just disappear. Your friends deserve to be updated. I promise you guys that I’ll never bail on this blog or on any commitment that I make. If I can’t make a commitment, then I simply state this.
26. You’ll never be totally ready. Just do it now.
The theme for 2013 was all about doing things that I wasn’t ready for.
The examples include:
- Running a half-marathon with no training.
- Going to Argentina by myself.
- Having my first pro wrestling match.
I wasn’t ready for any of these. I just went. It’s easy to create excuses. Sometimes you just have to test yourself to see what you’re really made of.
27. Always shoot for the stars.
“In my experience, successful people shoot for the stars, put their hearts on the line in every battle…In the long run, painful losses may prove much more valuable than wins…Of course, the real challenge is to stay in range of this long-term perspective when you are under fire and hurting in the middle of the war. This, maybe our biggest hurdle, is at the core of the art of learning.” — Joshua Waitzkin
“What the hell did I get myself into?”
I asked myself this question many times in 2014. Some of the times I asked myself this include:
- Before every single pro wrestling show. How could I possibly go out half-naked in front of all of those people?
- Before my salsa classes. What would they say about me?
- Before entering a grappling tournament. What if I got injured?
Long story short: shoot for the stars and don’t let anyone or anything get in your way.
28. The timing will never be perfect. You just have to show up.
I really learned about this in 2015 by forcing myself to become more accountable. I had to launch when I wasn’t ready (books, podcasts, articles, etc.) and show up even when I didn’t want to.
When there’s a meme made after you, then you really have to deliver. I’ve come to accept that everything will be on-the-job-training for me. I thank you all for supporting my ventures. It’s easy to bet on the sure thing and very few will put money on the long shot.
29. Take any excuse to have fun with friends.
These are usually positive, but in 2016 had to deal with the sudden passing of a good friend (Pete The Greek). It opened my eyes to something I’ve already believed in. You should always take every opportunity to have fun with your friends. We’re living in the best time period in history and it would be a shame to not take advantage of it. Get your work done first and then go have fun with your friends. This doesn’t mean that you have to party every weekend. You can save up for new experiences (UFC event, hockey game, mini-golfing, kayaking, axe throwing, etc.). Don’t be one of those people who always brags about being “too busy” for everything. That’s just lame. You can find time for everything.
30. Don’t let negative people bring you down.
“You can die from someone else’s misery — emotional states are as infectious as diseases. You may feel you are helping the drowning man but you are precipitating your own disaster. The unfortunate sometimes draw misfortune on themselves; they will also draw it on you. Associate with the happy and fortunate instead.” — Robert Greene
Do you have friends that are always pessimistic and negative about everything? Do you have people in your life bringing you down?
Avoid them at all costs. You don’t have to surround yourself with anyone. It’s okay to avoid anyone who’s going to bring you down.
Find new friends. Don’t let anyone bring you down. Don’t hang around toxic people. Life’s too short to associate with anyone that’s going to get in your way.
31. Test everything out.
One thing that I’ll never understand is when someone isn’t willing to try something new when what they’re currently doing is clearly not working. I want you to test everything out. Try out new ideas. Experiment with different aspects of your life.
Here are some easy things to test out:
- Try a new workout plan.
- Work on that business idea.
- Change your eating habits. Eating once a day has changed my life.
- Join a club.
- Try dance lessons.
- Look up random activities for the weekend.
32. Become the face of something.
Usually when you follow a new friend on social media, you find out that they’re all over the place. They share motivational quotes and they have no clear message. I’ve been guilty of this. I can be all over the map.
I firmly believe that you should be the face of something if you want to grow a business these days. Too may of us (myself included) are all over the place.
This year I started promoting my coffee tours on the Airbnb Experiences app. I’ve been promoting the intermittent fasting lately. You want to be known for something.
Where am I going with this? Don’t be a dabbler. I’ve dabbled into random projects for far too long. Try to be known for something. Go all the way on a topic that interests you. Don’t spend your life testing the waters. Jump in.
Those are my 32 completely random life lessons that I’ve picked up. Share some of your lessons.
“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” — David Bowie