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Life

Eight Truths About Life Most People Learn the Hard Way

Self Improvement matters

Photo by Mauro Lima on Unsplash


I’m a dumbo.

You can’t tell me anything. I have to learn the hard way. Only through experience do life lessons truly sink in and become evidence we can reference when a similar situation comes up.

Honestly, I’ve had to learn these truths multiple times. My hope is that you’re not like me. Maybe reading these truths through simple words will help you see their wisdom.

Bad luck can be incredible motivation

I used to curse bad luck. I was superstitious in many ways, stupid in other ways. In my first real job, during the first year, I got made redundant. Talk about bad timing. I should have started in the mortgage team, instead they put me in the insurance team.

I thought I’d been given a gift from the high-priests of finance. On the first day it became clear: everybody in my team whinged and complained … about everything.

“Whyyyy is my coffee so cold? Wahhhh.”

“Why won’t someone buy us new office chairs? Wahhhh.”

All they did was complain. Every new idea the business gave us, they shot it down. “We don’t want to change. What’s wrong with the way things are?” That question right there has killed more dreams than the pandemic.

Pretty soon the business saw my team as a group of lifeless bodies to ship off to retirement. We all got made redundant. As someone who had barely in solid work history, this wasn’t good for me.

But I didn’t get fired. It was done for show. They appreciated my optimism and I was spared. I got to transfer to a new team, although I had to start from scratch. The bad luck of getting a redundancy made me hungrier. That hunger led to many career opportunities and my salary doubled. I progressed through the ranks faster than any other 20-something.

Bad luck can make you think you’re lucky. It can also cause you to give up. You get to decide.

Money is a measurement of time

A millionaire doesn’t have money. A millionaire has time.

We’re taught as we grow up to think of money in terms of what physical things it can buy us: house, car, trip around the world. Then you speak to the dying and everything changes. I had a conversation with a multi-millionaire who is on his deathbed. He doesn’t dream of another Bentley. Nope.

All he wants is more time. His life’s to-do list is still incomplete. There are people he wants to say goodbye to. There are people he wants to forgive. There are people he wants to have lunch with. There are people he wants to reach out to like Warren Buffet.

But he’s run out of time. It’s not realistic for him to jump on a plane in his condition and make any of it happen. So he dies with a garage full of luxury cars and a mind full of regrets.

Start to think of money in terms of time. $100,000 is a luxury car, or it’s two years off work. Get it?

Switching off social media heals the mind

Weird experiment: set up screen recording on your computer or on your phone. Let it run for a few hours. Then play it back.

What happens when you do is you see real-life monkey-mind in action. You should see me on an iMac. Too many tabs open. Alternating between emails and writing. Quick to respond to DMs. Constantly posting content on every single social media platform.

The result? Dopamine levels plummet. Tiredness sets in. If you do it for multiple days or even weeks in a row you will feel exhausted. You may even face burnout.

Switching off social media and your devices gives your mind a chance to rest. I’ve started walking more recently and I don’t take my headphones. It’s called no input time … time to decompress the mind, so it can expand again afterwards.

If you hang out with your devices too much you’ll feel tired, research suggests. You may think it’s a lack of sleep, or too much coffee, or not enough water. Or it could simply be the energy drain of your devices. Think about that.

Tech algorithms run our brains. They speed our minds up to their limit. But if you walk on a treadmill too fast, for too long, and keep increasing the speed, you eventually fall off and slam into a brick wall.

Those who are easily offended should be offended more often

We’re all content creators when we switch on our computers. Congrats.

There are people who wander around with ticking time bombs in their hands, ready to throw them at whoever they see while scrolling. They then blow up in the comments section for no reason. Onlookers duck for cover.

The brutal truth is, there’s no point having everybody agree with you. Some people will agree. Some people will disagree. The point is to make people think. When you do that, you change the world in a positive way.

Web 3.0 isn’t a scam

Haters of Web 3.0 are going to seem unintelligent looking back.

By this point you sound ridiculous if you say blockchain, Web 3.0 or crypto is a scam. It’s more than a $2.1 trillion industry now. The US government is regulating it to bring more trust and confidence. Pretty sure America doesn’t legislate ponzi-schemes.

A woman I spoke to the other day started dissing Web 3.0. At the end of the conversation she asked a few people to stay in touch. Have a guess how? She told them to add her on the Signal messaging app. Signal is Web 3.0. OMG.

My ex’s dad learned the hard way when he refused to understand that email would replace photocopiers and fax machines, and got fired, never to return to work again. At this point in history, it’s not worth being wrong about the innovation Web 3.0 brings, given you’ll be using it in everyday life and at work — and probably already do.

A day full of back-to-back meetings is a nightmare

Meetings fill up your diary. When there’s no time left, you get behind on the real work. Meetings are to discuss work, they’re not actual work.

I spent too many years stuck in back-to-back meetings. This resulted in zero time to talk to customers and execute business decisions. So I had to stay back late and work weekends to “find the time.”

My old boss ended up divorced because of this time trap.

Husband: “I never see you.”

Boss: “I know, I have to work.”

Years after their wedding day: “I’m leaving you. Surprise.”

Weekends and after hours time is meant for family and to relax. If you spend your free time catching up with the days you lost stuck in meetings, you’ll eventually burn out. Say no to more meetings. You can get away with it.

“Doing the right thing is always the right thing”

This quote comes from Gary Vee, love him or hate him (don’t care). I don’t use this sentence as a happy-go-lucky, tree-hugging inspirational quote for Instagram. Nope. It’s a quote to make decisions.

Should I say sorry? Doing the right thing is always the right thing. Should I issue a refund? Doing the right thing is always the right thing. Should I answer that question? Doing the right thing is always the right thing.

When you do the right thing it can look like you lose in the short term. But behind closed doors, when you do the right thing, it builds a reputation in the long term. A reputation builds trust. And trust can unlock your wildest dreams.

The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear — Socrates

Those who complain the most accomplish the least

Social media is flooded with complainers. They stand on their Twitter soapboxes and add to the noise. They get drowned out and often feel like it’s hopeless.

Then I look at someone like Greta Thunberg. Some idolize her and some hate her — who cares.

As a kid she gave up school time to protest about climate change. Her decision led to an enormous movement. (Notice how she didn’t go on Twitter and simply scream?) Now she has achieved more than most of us will achieve in a lifetime. She’s no smarter than you and I. She simply takes action over complaining. A lot can be learned from Greta.

Most of all, nobody is coming to save you. May as well roll up your sleeves and take action.


Takeaways

  • Appreciate when life goes bad. Use it as motivation.
  • Look at every price tag in time, not money.
  • Slow down your brain with less time spent under the influence of tech algorithms.
  • Reject all the meeting requests so you can get your free time back. Use that free time to build your own tiny empire.
  • Use this quote to make decisions faster: “Doing the right thing is always the right thing.”
  • Resist the temptation to complain all the time. Take action on the things that upset you. There’s always something you can do.
Tim Denning
I am an Aussie Blogger with 500M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship. You may have seen my work on Medium, LinkedIn, Bitclout, or Twitter.

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