38 Things I’ve Learned in 38 Years

So today is my 38th birthday. Inspired by the best blog post I have ever read:

Leo Babauta 38 Things I’ve Learned | Zenhabits Blog

(This was updated following his very successful ’36’ version 2 years ealier.)

Thought that I would share some of my learnings:

  1. Honour Yourself
  2. Always do the right thing, especially when no-one is looking. Being true to yourself, however that is vocalised, is the key to having a clear life compass.

  3. Be Nice to People, No Matter What They Do to You
  4. A very wise old lady said this on an episode of “24 Hours in A&E” (such is the height of my viewing culture!). It struck me as deeply profound. Always rise above negative.

  5. Have Clear Life Goals and Review Them Daily
  6. As the great Zig Ziglar said “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re probably going to end up somewhere else”.

  7. Forgive Regularly
  8. Forgive others, forgive yourself – it only ends up eating you up otherwise. That doesn’t mean be a doormat – you should always stand up for principle, just avoid harboring personal grudges.

  9. Be a Duck’s Back
  10. If someone gives you something that you don’t want, don’t accept it.

  11. Practise Stoicism
  12. A long word for a simple concept. See Tim Ferris’ TED Talk for a proper explanation.

  13. Give Regularly
  14. Give good feedback, a smile, a compliment, a donation… There are countless ways to give, it’s the most rewarding habit there is.

  15. Exercise More
  16. Richard Branson’s #1 tip for business success.

  17. Eat Your Frogs
  18. Warren Buffet, when asked what the secret to his success was, replied that when he had a choice of activities, he would always to the one he least wanted to do. It’s a powerful philosophy to use.

  19. Swim Against the Fishes, they don’t know where they’re going anyway
  20. The only one that I have overtly nicked from Leo Babuata.

  21. Work Smarter
  22. When car’s first came out, they were ridiculed. Everyone thought they needed faster horses. Read The 4 Hour Workweek to truly appreciate how deep that rabbit hole can go.

  23. Read “Frogs into Princes” by Banler & Grinder
  24. It may not make a lot of sense but read it anyway – it will help you to massively improve your communication & habits without you realising.

  25. Dream Big
  26. You only have one life & that’s all you need if you get it right (credit to Laura Hurren for that line).

  27. Leverage Compound Interest
  28. It’s the greatest force in the universe.

  29. Take Advantage of Incremental Gains
  30. The first car went at less than 5mph and a person with a red flag walked in front. We are now on the cusp of breaking 1000mph as a land speed record – that is the power of incremental gains. Use that principle in your daily activities and habits.

  31. Be Open Minded & Learn From Others
  32. Meditate Regularly
  33. I’ve always loved the concept of this but was worried that I might not do it right etc. Last year I bought a Muse from Amazon and it is the most fantastic bit of kit that tells you through instant feedback on your smartphone how well you are doing.

  34. Listen to Music You Love Regularly
  35. Music does super good things to your physiology, it can change your mood on a dime. Listen to music you love more.

  36. Look for Results
  37. When making a decision, look at the proven results of what you are considering. Always look for results first, take all emotion out & consider the facts. Sounds obvious but most people form an emotion based on opinion and then pick & choose facts to back up their choice.

  38. Ask questions
  39. Most people love talking about themselves and it’s worth listening.

  40. Make people feel important
  41. This will break down barriers and to form super-strong relationships fast. The old adage of “imagine everyone you meet has a huge sign above their head saying “make me feel important” is very true.

  42. Challenge everything
  43. Avoid rolling over and accepting the status-quo. If something feels off, it probably is – challenge everything.

  44. Teach your children life skills
  45. All children should know how to ride a bike, go camping, go boating, play sports etc. A little skill will go a very long way & help shape their life.

  46. Be grateful
  47. A regular habit of gratitude will make you into a happier person inside. Try a gratitude journal for a year – get in the habit of writing 3 things – regardless of what they are, daily that your are grateful for. It will positively affect your outlook on life.

  48. Remain Relentlessly Positive
  49. This does sound over-optimistic and yes, we all have challenging days from time to time. That said, a relentless attitude of always seeing the upside will stand you in very good stead. There is strong evidence to support this – read The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor.

  50. Write / Scribe daily
  51. Lose Yourself in Movies & (fiction) Books
  52. The more you daydream, the richer your night dreams will be. Movies & Books are like a massage for the mind.

  53. Be True to Your Word
  54. If you say you’re going to do somthing, do it. If you say ‘definitely’, make 100% sure you do it. Better to say that you are not going to do very much and deliver than over-promise & damage your reputation.

  55. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
  56. Lack of ego and a little self-deprecation are demonstrators of humility, a hugely important quality. Much better if everyone discovers how great you are rather than you telling them.

  57. Have a Daily Routine
  58. The number one common habit of successful people according to Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans (A written synopsis of his incredible podcast where he interviews 100’s of successful people).

  59. Systemise Everything You Can, Build Habits
  60. If you can do something without thinking, it’s a lot easier than thinking through each action. Build strong habits, simplify.

  61. Understand The Difference Between Correlation & Causation
  62. Correlation is when there looks like there is a pattern / link between an action & a result. Eg. When I press this button, that happens…

    Causation is when there is evidence that there is a link between the action & the result. I can see that the button is connected to the result because of x, y & z

    It’s a bit like Derren Brown. He is a great showman – that is all. Not a magician, that’s impossible. Think when you see him next – what did you actually see.

  63. Always Get Your Banana in The Right Way Up
  64. A good smile goes a long way.

  65. See The Person
  66. When you are next served in a coffee shop, a supermarket, a petrol station – see the person. They have goals, successes, struggles the same as all of us. Be nice, ask questions and see the person.

  67. Be Persistent
  68. When it really matters, be absolutely persistent. Ruthless & relentless to achieve the right result.

  69. A Stitch in Time Saves Nine
  70. Heard this when I was at University. Obviously already knew it but, when you know something but don’t put it into practise, you don’t really know it.

    For some reason, the penny dropped for me that day at university and that phrase has saved my bacon many, many times. Predict that you’re probably going to forget to take your lunch to work & leave yourself a note. Look at what is likely to happen & compensate.

  71. Be Careful on The Roads
  72. I am a keen biker. I saw a official police video which was headcam footage of a biker who was well loved and was killed instantly when he took an unnecessary risk and another road user was driving dangerously – it really made me think. The commentary was by his mother and was deeply emotive.

    Be super-respectful of the roads and compensate for likely mistakes of other drivers. When you get upset or others at you, remember, we’re all just trying to get somewhere & there’s definitely worse happens at sea.

  73. Expand your Network Deep & Wide
  74. The old adage of “It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know” is very, very true. Build a strong, deep & wide network and help people – that will stand you in very good stead. Quality is king – it is not a pure numbers game.

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