Our older selves are always wiser.
At 26 I had a closed mind, eating disorder, and thought I was smarter than Einstein. At 36 I’ve come a long way. Some of the best lessons we can share come from the advice we’d give our younger selves.
Here are my cheat codes for life at 36. Use them to upgrade your life.
1. When you get lots of rejections you stop fearing it. This makes you unstoppable.
Seek out rejection.
Measure your life based on how many recent rejections you got. Let the pain light you up, not descend you into darkness. Rejection means you’re having a crack and that’s better than what 99% of people do.
2. Busyness is a sign of poverty that will eventually lead to personal bankruptcy.
If you say I’m busy a lot it’s a red flag.
Stop being so freaking busy. Prioritize 2–3 goals and ditch the rest. Focus is what removes hocus pocus BS tasks from your life.
3. The world wants you to be normal. F*ck being normal. That’s when being extraordinary becomes impossible.
If we all blend in and do as we’re told we live in a society of sheep, where everyone drinks vanilla-flavored milk and says grace at dinner.
Being like everybody else is what makes you feel empty and as if something is missing. What’s missing is being who you want despite judgment. People will judge. Let them.
4. Most people don’t want to go to work. They just don’t know what else to do.
Sad but true.
A job is an escape for many people. They think if they show up every day their life will eventually make sense. Often it doesn’t.
Jobs don’t reveal answers. They hide them so you get hooked on the drug of a predictable salary followed by a deep attachment to debt.
5. Watch how people treat service workers. It tells you a lot about their character.
Rudeness is a sign of ego. It’s also a sign of an a-hole.
Stay away from people who disrespect service workers. Cooks, cleaners, waiters, etc, are doing the best they can and shouting at them as if they’re slaves makes you the lowest form of human on the planet.
If you want to test a person’s character, take them out to lunch and ensure there’s a mistake with their food. Their reaction will tell you everything you need to know about them.
6. Working for yourself means you can earn less income than a normal salary and still make more due to tax reasons.
A salary has the tax taken out first.
When you work for yourself there’s flexibility with how much tax you pay, and most importantly, when it must be paid.
That means you can earn half the salary from a job and still take home more money. Genius. Now you know why solopreneurship, side hustles, and one-person businesses are the new trend.
7. Finding out you’re going to be a parent is one of the greatest feelings in the world.
Individualism and selfishness are the norm.
Having kids forces you to think about someone else. For me, this has been a blessing.
I never thought at 26 that I’d ever have kids. And my sperm should have been fried because of the wild lifestyle I had. But here we are. Can’t wait to meet my baby girl.
8. Everything in life has a tax.
Example: attracting a few haters is the tax on being a writer.
Pay the tax and don’t complain.
9. Life is you versus who you were 12 months ago. All other competition is bullsh*t.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
You’re not them, and they’re definitely not you. Measure progress in life based on who you were 12 months ago versus now.
10. When tragedy strikes and you go quiet, the people who reach out are your true friends.
I can count on two hands the people that showed up when I walked away from my startup, or got fired, or lost loads of money, or faced dark mental illness.
See who picks up the phone to call on your darkest days.
Take a note. They’re your real friends. Invest in those relationships and quit almost all of the others.
11. Every email you send is likely to attract another email.
Send less emails to get less emails.
12. Personal growth only happens when we struggle. Adversity should be sought out, not avoided.
Take more risks to see what you’re capable of.
No risks equals no failure. And a lack of failure will teach you nothing and likely lead to a lifetime of regrets.
13. The best moments in my life were completely random. The overly scheduled life is a nightmare.
Use money to buy your time back.
14. Real relationships are built with small talk.
LinkedIn gurus are wrong.
Don’t network or seek to “do business.” Start conversations and embrace small talk. It’s the personal conversations that lead to business conversations. Not the other way around.
15. Not knowing what to do and taking action anyway is a superpower.
Some people need a college degree or a business plan.
In the new permissionless economy those people fail miserably and don’t know why. Act without all the facts. Back yourself.
16. Success makes many people go crazy. Your ego can make or break you.
Stay humble as you win.
Remember: this can all end overnight. So act as if you’ll fail, or still can, to keep your humility.
17. Know what you want in life or you’ll get plenty of what you don’t want.
Quit waiting for luck or serendipity.
Lottery thinking holds so many people back. Don’t hope. Do the work so you don’t have to pray to a fake god to get what you want.
Execution tells you what you do and don’t want. Not a $0 mentor or another permission slip MBA degree.
18. The power of focusing on one thing will change your life.
Find it. Become obsessed. Do it daily. Make it a habit. Build a system around it. Join a paid community of people who have the same obsession.
19. People buy into you based on emotion. Show it, or attract zero opportunities.
Showing emotion doesn’t make you weak.
It makes you different, that makes you memorable, and memorable people are top of mind for new opportunities.
20. The best life experiences make you nostalgic later on.
21. Taking things for granted is a slow demise into madness. Be grateful.
If you’re grateful for nothing you have nothing in life.
Nine times out of ten you have more than you realize. Once that reality hits, then you can share what you’re grateful for with others. That’s where next-level growth is found.
22. A person who thinks too much about themselves accidentally destroys their life.
Me, me, me is a red flag. I didn’t get enough of …(thing) is a sign of a selfish mofo. If I could describe my former mental illness in five words it would be this: thinking too much about myself.
23. Every conversation in a DM is a potential opportunity that’s not obvious.
Don’t send “hi” messages like you’re in high school.
Direct messages on platforms such as LinkedIn & Twitter can change the trajectory of your life.
Talk to people like you’ll get nothing out of it, and eventually, a few of those conversations will produce opportunities you can’t apply for via a job ad.
24. The person we lie to the most is ourselves.
Good lies remove imposter syndrome. Bad lies make us take dumb risks.
25. Your idols have made terrible mistakes you may one day discover. Assume everyone is imperfect to not be disappointed.
Stop getting outraged by celebrities.
People in high places are no better than the rest of us. They face the same temptations as us and they’re guaranteed to screw up. It’s what a person does when they screw up and how they bounce back that counts.
26. Stop attending ceremonies of people you don’t give a sh*t about. Less friends, more deep relationships.
Weddings, Friday drinks, pointless work functions, farewells, welcome-home-from-Europe-ya-privileged-bastard parties, etc.
27. Living life is more important than a career. Reverse the order.
Your boss and employer lie to you.
They want you to think work is the most important thing so they can profit from it. But you can always get another job. And one day when your funeral is held ain’t nobody going to be talking about your work.
People remember you based on who you were and the shared experiences you had with them. Hard to have life experiences when you’re chained to a desk working long hours every night.
28. Those who accept suffering achieve greatness. Those who avoid it go nowhere.
Suffering is the way. It’s what makes the eventual achievement feel sweet.
29. Your life can completely change in a year.
30. You should be embarrassed by who you were 1 year ago. Otherwise you haven’t grown enough.
I occasionally read the library of writing I have online. The stuff from more than a year ago makes me vomit. That’s a sign of research and learning.
What you know now will look stupid in a year if you self-educate.
31. True wealth is having no one tell you what to do.
I’d argue the American Dream encourages one of the greatest lies in history. The pursuit of enormous amounts of money is actually the thing that keeps you trapped and stuck in modern slavery.
Having people place unwanted crap in your calendar all day should be illegal — or at least seen on the same level as serial killer behavior.
Want less, take on less debt, set yourself free.
32. Experiment in life so you take a few risks. A risk that can’t bankrupt you is a good one.
Make your life a series of small bets. One might work. But no one bet can ruin you. Make enough bets and a handful of investments will pay off.
33. Success in life comes down to what you’re willing to give up.
34. Most people move too slowly. Shorten how long it takes to achieve your big goals. An urgent agenda is one that gets done.
5-year plans are stupid. What’s stopping you from doing it in a year?
35. Turn a habit into a lifestyle
The 21/90 Rule — Dan Go
It takes 21 days to start a habit.
It takes 90 days to start a lifestyle.
36. When you stop having big dreams that’s when you’ve died, despite not being buried yet.
There are alive people and dead people that walk this earth.
Alive people have active imaginations, dream big, and regularly use their creativity. Dead people walk around with a negative mindset, seek to make things “fair,” and think there’s no hope for America or the world.
Don’t go to zombie land. Don’t let anyone silence your imagination or make you think you can’t do some wild, crazy sh*t people say is impossible.
Truth: Anything is possible. Possibility is created by the mind.