Last week I celebrated my 30th birthday!
Friends and family kept asking me if I was nervous about crossing such an important milestone. To be honest, I wasn’t at all. For me, it’s just another year and a reminder that I’m going to continue on the same path I’ve been on because it works well for me and I’ve been really happy with the results. It got me thinking about why people freak out at these ages. I think that people tend to panic a bit when they realize that they’ve passed another milestone in their lives and haven’t accomplished some of the things they had originally set out to do. It’s helpful to self-evaluate regularly (not just on milestone birthdays) to see if you’re on the right path, and if not, what does a different path look like.
With that, I’ve tried to distill 30 lessons learned in the first 30 years of my life (in no particular order):
1) Adventure doesn’t have to be as extreme as jumping out of a plane or climbing a mountain (although it certainly can be).
2) Make conscious decisions about who you spend your time with and if they are adding value to your life.
3) Meet new people as often as possible. This may seem strange following the previous statement, but you always want to continue growing your network and meeting interesting people.
4) Move to somewhere other than where you grew up.
5) Travel and explore as often as possible. This doesn’t have to be across the world. It could be right in your own backyard. Here are a few ideas to help save for your travel fund.
6) Life is too short to do things you don’t enjoy. We all have to do things we don’t love from time to time, but make sure that these things aren’t sustained for an extended period of time.
7) Work hard, but play harder.
8) You don’t have to have everything in life all figured out. In fact, it’s better if you don’t because it makes each day new and exciting.
9) Eat healthy most of the time (but also splurge for ice cream). You’ll feel better.
10) Be direct with your feelings in relationships (personal as well as business). Be upfront and tell people what you want. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and energy. Don’t play the passive-aggressive game because that isn’t productive for anyone.
11) Don’t be an asshole. If you have any objection to this, you are probably an asshole.
12) Treat everyone you come across with respect, no matter the situation. If you’re having a bad day, don’t take that out on someone else. This goes back to the previous statement as well.
13) Be social, but also enjoy your alone time.
14) Travel solo. You’ll meet so many more people and have experiences that you likely wouldn’t have had otherwise. Trust me on this.
15) Smile at everyone you walk by. Whether or not they smile back, you may have just brightened someone’s day a bit.
16) Always try to lend a helping hand to people less fortunate than yourself. Volunteer your time and skills whenever possible.
17) When you meet someone, don’t ask them what they do for a living; ask them what they’re excited about in life. I guarantee you’ll have a lot more interesting conversations that way.
18) Life is simple. Are you happy?
- Yes –> Keep going
- No –> Change something
19) Things always take longer than you expect. Unless you stop procrastinating. Then they’re quick.
20) Don’t be afraid to reach out and connect with someone you respect and admire. Walk up to a speaker at a conference and tell them how much enjoyed their talk and what resonated with you the most. 0% of people will be offended by this and you might just make a new friend. I do this ALL the time.
21) Attend conferences. They are the best combination of meeting awesome people and learning new things. Always attend the after-parties, dinners, events, etc. This is where you really get the chance to connect with your new friends.
22) Read books and articles, watch TED talks, and learn about things that you have no knowledge about. You never know what will pique your curiosity.
23) Always be curious and question things. Don’t always accept the status quo just because that’s how others think it should be done. More often than not, there is a better/more efficient way to do things.
24) Talk to that cute girl (or boy) across the room. You never know what you’ll have in common.
25) Do some kind of physical activity every day. Ride a bike, have sex, play frisbee, lift weights. There are countless benefits to this.
26) Determine what the most important priorities are in your life and then make everything else revolve around them. Don’t be afraid to go after what you really want. Life always has a way of working out.
27) Surround yourself with good people. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
28) If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re probably in the wrong room. Challenge yourself and spend time with people who challenge you. That’s the only way that you’re going to grow.
29) Try to save some money, but focus more on having experiences that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. You have plenty of time to make money.
30) Get out of your comfort zone as often as possible. You’ll be amazed at the results.
To sum up my lessons learned: be a good person, be nice to people, constantly be learning, and get out of your comfort zone often.
Did any of these resonate with you? Let me know in the comments below.