Today is the 30th anniversary of my 18th birthday. Meaning, I turned 48 today.
That’s thirty years of being a legal adult.
Over these 10,957 days of adulthood, I’ve gathered countless lessons. I’m eager to share 30 of those lessons with you. Consider this a preview of the wisdom I’ll impart to my grandchildren.
In a couple of years, I’ll share 50 lessons to commemorate becoming a half-centenarian.
1. Don’t be a jerk. It’s possible to be straightforward and genuine without being rude. Remember, karma never loses.
2. Nice guys don’t necessarily finish last. Pushovers might. I was quite the pushover early on, oblivious to those taking advantage. Innocence can be a double-edged sword.
3. Emotions are real and valid. However, strive to respond rather than being emotionally reactive.
4. Trust is invaluable. It’s the foundation of lasting relationships and will influence your success in life.
5. Master the art of storytelling. If you do this, you will always have a captivated audience.
6. Complain once. After that, you become a whiner.
7. Take ownership of your life. Don’t be a perpetual victim. While not everything is your fault, taking ownership allows you to effect change.
8. We’re all emotional beings, men included. It’s a revelation for some!
9. Learn to ask deep and inviting questions. Most people are eager to share if asked the right question.
10. Take care of your body. You only get one. Eat right, work out regularly, and, for goodness sake, listen to your doctor’s advice.
11. Don’t lie to your kids. Children notice more than you think. Consistent deceit is a slippery slope. Refer back to #3.
12. Involve your children in your thought processes. Help them understand how you process and make decisions.
13. Learn to apologize. You will make mistakes and be wrong often. That’s okay if you didn’t violate rule #1. Being able to apologize sincerely will help you maintain high integrity and respect.
14. People keep scores (even though they say they don’t). So, if you’re not true to your word, your integrity score drops, and you may never recover. Remember #3.
15. Take out the trash. Clean the dishes. Sweep. Doing them cheerfully sets a positive example for your children.
16. Have the tough conversations. It’s easier to be a coward and get mad at people for not reading your mind correctly. Be better.
17. In that vein, learn to argue and disagree, especially with your loved ones. Maintain love and respect and find out what expectations weren’t met.
18. Avoid name brands for the sake of just having name brands. Don’t be someone’s free billboard. Save your money or spend it on things that deliver a positive ROI.
19. Learn to say no. People will ask, and NO is always an option if it doesn’t work for you.
20. Value your time highly. This will prevent you from wasting your time on things with little value.
21. Learn to host parties and events to bring people together. A party where people can genuinely connect.
22. Learn how money, debt, and credit function. This should be #1.
23. Be coachable. It’s impossible to know everything about everything. If needed, hire a professional.
24. Play as much as possible. You are never too old to play and have fun and it will keep you young and spry.
25. Learn to dance and be alive in your own body. Dancing has been one of my most vital discoveries.
26. Maintain a daily journal. It’s a window to your past. You will forget a lot. Let these sentences spark your memory.
27. Leadership is essential, but so is followership. Know when to lead and when to follow.
28. Learn to make people laugh. Take improv and/or a standup comedy class. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
29. Think and strategize in decades. The best things in life compound exponentially over extended periods.
30. Learn different skills in those decades. Have a unique skill stack that makes you stand out and valuable.
This was a fun exercise. I actually wrote 54 before I realized I had gotten carried away.
Some points might overlap, but that’s the beauty of it. It’s uniquely mine and written in a pure flow of consciousness. I encourage you to craft your own.
See you at 50.