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The 23 Most Important Lessons I Learned in 2023 (That’ll Set Your Mind Free)

by | Dec 27, 2023 | Life Hacks

<Insert rah rah “I’m so blessed” intro here>

1. You never know what you have until it’s gone

I had the time of my life in banking.

I made some great friends but didn’t appreciate the experience when I lived it. Now I’m out of the corporate world, I miss my former life sometimes. I miss the people I used to work with.

When I reach out to them they still take my call but it’s not the same. They’ve moved on. They’re different people.

I learned in 2023 that the life you’re living right now forms the nostalgic moments you’ll miss in the future. So enjoy the good times and appreciate them. And take more photos than feels necessary.

2. Focus is power. Diversification is distraction.

Investing teaches you to own a range of different investments.

“Never put all your money into one basket” they say. The other common advice is to have multiple streams of income. Earn your living from many sources in case one goes bust.

I’ve always followed this basic strategy and never questioned it. In 2023, though, everything changed.

I decided to put 90% of my attention into my online academy and de-prioritize everything else. The result is my academy grew faster than ever, and I finally found the right suite of products and services that I’ve been searching for since 2013.

Sometimes diversification can distract you from the one thing that can change your life. One opportunity is risky, but it also means your attention is completely focused on one thing and that creates enormous power.

3. Your body is hard to repair if you don’t look after it

Being a gym bro didn’t help me this year.

In April, I damaged my achilles tendon from doing heavy calf raises. It hurt like hell. It’s cost me 1000s of dollars in physio to fix it.

The antidote, oddly, was to do more calf raises and strengthen the tendon. After 9 months my ankle is nearly fully healed. But it’s taken twice as long and cost twice as much as I expected.

My hearing hasn’t been good either. I developed a condition called tinnitus during the 2020 bat virus. Now I hear a loud pitched noise when I try to sleep and when I’m playing quietly with my daughter in the backyard.

Wearing headphones every day is what brought on the issue real fast.

I can’t go back and NOT wear headphones. The damage is done, and I have to live with my decision. Some days I’m so angry at myself for making this big mistake.

The health lesson 2023 taught me is to take care of my body because I only get one. I either invest in my body now to keep it healthy, or I’ll have to invest at a higher price later through hospital and medical bills.

4. The bull market always comes back

The global economy runs on psychology.

In some ways our wealth is controlled by the same psychology. In 2021–2022 everything crashed.

2023 was mostly a down year for major investments. Now the bull market is coming back. Tech stocks are up. Crypto is booming. Interest rates will likely begin to get cut in 2024.

I’ve learned in 2023 that if you want to get wealthy, you have to be an investor and hold onto your assets through the down markets. That means you have to survive bear markets and not go broke when asset prices crash.

If you can, like I’ve managed to do, then you enter the next up-cycle in a good position, ready to make enough wealth to retire your family. It’s not all about money, but damn money can solve some problems better than any other resource.

Money equals peace of mind too.

5. Take the painful situation and get over it fast

My wife drives faster than Speedy Gonzales.

On our first date she rally-turned into the car spot in front of mine and nearly took off my bumper. In 2023 she got some big traffic fines. The one that came in the mail today was for $3800.

Normally I’d dwell on the bad news. I’ve learned in 2023 to move on from pain and frustration, fast. The speeding fine has already happened. It can’t be reversed. So sitting there and looking at it isn’t going to fix it.

The fine only becomes more painful the more you focus on it.

The ability to move on fast is a habit worth cultivating. If you can get good at it, you can protect your optimism and positivity from being hijacked.

6. The biggest thing that screws us up is our mindset

We don’t place enough focus on mindset.

How you think is responsible for everything. Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right. People love to waste money on MBAs, training, life coach certificates, etc.

But the one skill that’ll drastically increase your success in life is your mindset. Change how you think, and you change how you see the world.

Some see scams, others see opportunities. Some see bad people, others focus on the good people.

I spent more of my time in 2023 fixing my mindset. I stopped trying to do everything and be everything to everyone. Instead, I focused on working with people who had mental liquidity (the ability to change their minds).

The people who are stuck in their way of thinking and refuse to accept new ideas are the people to run from.

Success comes from how you think. Protect your mental space at all costs.

7. A kid will blow up your life

My daughter turned one year old in 2023.

She can now open doors, exit the house through the front door, say “ball,” and climb into tight spaces. It’s been a hard year. She hasn’t slept most nights. She protests better than a 2020 lockdown protestor.

She’s pushed me beyond my limits and it’s forced me to find a new zone to operate from. I’ve had to learn to get by with little sleep. I’ve had to accept all-day screaming and crying when she’s sick.

Having a kid is playing life on hard mode.

The cool thing is she’s rebuilt my imagination. She’s shown me once more how powerful curiosity is. She’s reminded me how stupid being an adult is because we’re so boring and closed-minded.

Kids aren’t for everyone. But if you want to think differently, hang around a 1 year old (or someone else’s).

8. Enormous growth comes from being fed up

This year I bought my first house.

I played the real estate auction game for about a year. Finally in March I got fed up. I kept losing the winning bid to overseas investors looking to cash in on the Australian property boom.

When I worked in banking I disrupted regular industries. When I got fed up with buying a house I went back to the old days.

I started asking myself “How can I play a different game?”

And I found my answer by accident. I tried to buy houses before the auction. Real estate agents wouldn’t let me because they knew they could get more money at auction.

Then one agent let me place an early bid. I had to put $5000 into their firm’s trust bank account and sign a contract of sale for the property. So I did. My early offer went to the owner, and they nearly took it, although I lost. The house still went to auction.

But now I had a new strategy.

I went to every open for inspection and placed early offers. Within a few weeks an offer on a home was accepted. I bought the house for roughly $100K below market value with no auction.

2023 taught me to flip the rules of the game upside down when they’re against you.

9. The days when you don’t feel like it are when all the progress happens

It’s tempting on an off day to quit your habits.

In 2011, while training with a personal trainer, if I didn’t feel well I still had to hit the gym. There were no refunds on my personal training sessions.

So if I had the flu, I trained. If it was 104°F inside the gym, I trained. If I vomited while doing ab crunches, I kept training. On these off days I strangely made the most progress.

I learned it was me versus me in the gym.

So I took this way of life to other areas. I figured if I could master the bad days then I could do anything. I’ve done this with online writing too. Doesn’t matter how sh*t I feel, I always write no matter what.

2023 taught me 80% of success is just showing up when you don’t feel like it — because if you can show up then, you can push through any roadblock.

Shorter 2023 life lessons

10. Modern life is stupid. If you do what everyone else does you end up in a dark place. Be a contrarian in at least one area of life to get ahead.

11. Regrets hurt more than failure. Take the risks and know the outcome will still be better than failure.

12. Increase your personal rejection rate. The more you get told “no” the better you get at ethically persuading people to say yes.

13. If you sell anything online, get on 1–1 Zoom calls with ideal customers and get feedback on your offer. Otherwise, you end up in dreamland selling stuff people don’t want.

14. If you’re stuck on a big goal, partner with one other person. Combine their thoughts with yours. Often their strengths are your flaws.

15. Be a little bit kinder than you think you need to be. It’s common to be an angry a-hole and get triggered by everything. It’s uncommon to be at peace and treat people with kindness (even when they don’t deserve it).

16. Buy a proper stand-up desk. Your workspace is your sacred space. It’s where the flow states happen, books get written, and essays come to life.

17. Pivot as much of your life energy into opportunities where you’re an owner instead of a renter. Big tech wants us to become slaves to their platforms so they have all the control. Don’t do it. Sure, use and abuse what they offer, but build your own thing & use your own code wherever possible.

18. The more home renovations the more stress. Try to buy a house that needs minimal upgrades.

19. Electric cars are here to stay. Don’t invest any more money in gas-guzzlers. (My next car will be a Tesla.)

20. The beauty of life is hard to see when your face is looking at a phone screen all day. Go places without a phone.

21. The evening is sacred. You can waste it watching superhero movies on Netflix, or use it to build a life you don’t need to escape from. Choose wisely.

22. Put indoor pot plants in your house to clean the air. Open the windows more often to let out all the bad smells. Clean air, clean mind.

23. Everyone should almost die at least once

In the face of death the human experience looks totally different.

It sounds crazy…but I want everyone to almost die so they can be reborn.

Only when you’re faced with your mortality will you stop chasing bullsh*t shiny objects that lead to nothing more than mindless consumption and stupid human titles and accolades that mean nothing.

Use death as free motivation. When you’re dead you won’t know you’re dead. Let that free your mind. Think about it deeply as you enter 2024.

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