25 Lessons I’ve Learned In My 25 Years of Life
Originally published January 29, 2021
No, I don’t have life figured out.
Not even remotely close.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn things along the way that help frame the next 50+ years of your life.
In my short 25 years of this planet, I’ve experienced a lot.
Not as much as some, but also more than others.
The reality is that your life is unique to you and your experiences help you define and refine who you are as a person going forward.
Here’s 25 lessons I’ve learned throughout life so far:
1. Keep an open mind
Growing up in small town Kansas, I wasn’t exposed to a lot of different scenarios and ways of life.
My high school graduating class consisted of 32 people and a majority of us went from kindergarten to graduation together.
It wasn’t until college that I was finally exposed to new people, new hobbies, and new ideas.
The college experience is something you can’t get anywhere else and while it doesn’t like the same in 2021 as it used to, it was honestly life changing.
College opened my mind and really made me think about what I valued, what kind of person I wanted to become, what career I wanted to go into, and opened a whole new world of possibilities that I didn’t know existed.
The summer between my junior and senior year I went to Miami to do door-to- door sales.
That was something I never would’ve experienced if I didn’t have an open mind and the willingness to take a risk.
If I wouldn’t have taken that job, I never would’ve experienced my passion for sales and having the ability to control your own income and I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in today.
2. Practice empathy
I believe empathy is one of the strongest traits that you can develop.
By having an understanding of where someone is coming from or how their perspective differs from yours, you can begin to see the world in a different light.
If someone’s rude to you or has a negative attitude, maybe they’re going through a divorce or just got fired from their job.
The point is, you never know what’s happening in someone’s life.
Be kind and understanding.
3. Patience pays
I never liked the old saying “good things come to those who wait” because to me, it felt like it was suggesting inaction.
However, I’ve came to realize that’s not necessarily true.
This quote from Gary Vaynerchuk resonates with me more . . .
Macro patience and micro speed.
Meaning to be patient with your overarching long term goals, but act relentlessly day by day to achieve those desired goals.
4. Everything is temporary
Pain, happiness, pleasure, sorrow.They’re all temporary.
Whatever you’re going through, just know that there’s always something new around the corner.
5. Unless you ask, the answer is always no
You’d be amazed at how many things people will say ‘yes’ to if you just ask.
Want a raise at work? Ask.
Want to take that guy/girl at the bar out on a date? Ask.
6. No one else has it figured out either
Imposter syndrome is something I really struggled with and still do to this day.
I’ve learned that it’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it’s a direct feeling from pushing yourself and doing things you haven’t done before.
Growth doesn’t come from complacency and everyone else had to start somewhere too.
7. Go with your gut feeling
One thing I’ve learned the hard way is that you intuition is usually right.After my sophomore year of college I wanted to quit baseball and transfer to a different school. I went through the whole process of enrollment, took a campus visit, and even signed a lease for a new apartment.
During the process, something just didn’t feel right. I was excited, but for some reason it didn’t feel like the right thing to do at the time.
So I unenrolled from the new school, got stuck paying rent on an apartment I never got the keys to, and ended up staying at the school I was currently at.
Looking back on it, I think it was the right decision because I’m here today and who knows where I would’ve ended up if I made different choices.
8. Learn from your mistakes
If you learn from your mistakes, you never fail - you can only get better.
The most important part is not making the same mistake twice.
9. Trust is everything
Without trust, we have nothing.
Trust is earned when actions meet words.
The tricky part about trust is that it can take years to build, and seconds to break.
10. Prioritize mental health
I don’t like the word “illness”, mental illness is a b*****.
It affects how we feel, how we act, and how we go about life.
Without a strong mental framework, it’s tough to succeed in other areas of life.
11. Don’t be so hard on yourself
You’re your own biggest critic.
Don’t set such high expectations for yourself that you crumble if you don’t fulfill them.
Push yourself to an extent, but don’t harm yourself over expectations that you set.
12. Life Isn’t Fair
Expecting life to be fair would be like getting adequate stimulus checks from the government.
Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen.
13. Prioritize physical health
Cliché, but we only have one life.
Take care of your body because you don’t get another one.
(With how fast technology is advancing, maybe we’ll have an opportunity to get another body when we’re older. I don’t know.)
14. Read more
Reading a good book is empowering.
The author took all of their best knowledge and experiences on a topic and condensed it down to a couple hundred pages to share with the world.
Where else can you get information and lessons like that for $15?
15. Negativity spreads more than positivity
We see this in the media constantly.
If you look closely, you can probably see this in your personal life too.
By projecting negative energy, you’re going to attract other people with that same energy.
However when you’re positive, it’s a lot harder to attract people because truth is - I don’t think most people are happy or positive.
16. Stop accumulating stuff
Minimalism is something I’ve become obsessed with in the past couple years.
Mostly because I didn’t have the money to afford anything, so you could consider it forced minimalism.
Contrary to popular belief, minimalism doesn’t mean that you sit on the floor and eat off a napkin because you don’t own anything.
To me it means that you take the time to think about what you value before purchasing things and removing things from your life that don’t bring value.
17. Set higher goals
You can accomplish more than you think.
Another cliché saying that I hate, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land amongst the stars.”
As corny as it is, there’s some truth behind it.
If you set a goal to save $20,000 this year and you worked hard and saved diligently but only ended up with $15,000 - that’s not too bad, right?
But if you only set a goal of $5,000 and you accomplished it fairly quick, you probably wouldn’t be as motivated to save another $10,000 to end up with the same amount.
18. Stop worrying about other people’s opinions
Everyone else is focused on themselves.
Nobody’s worried about what you look like or what you’re wearing.
If someone is judging someone else, you probably shouldn’t value their opinion anyways.
19. Have fun
Don’t take life too seriously.
Whatever happens, happens.
20. Never give up
If you don’t give up, you can never fail.
If you’re chasing a dream, there’s going to be a lot of obstacles along the way but the one thing you have control over is your effort and showing up every day.
21. Invest in yourself
Especially right now, investing in yourself can prove to be one of the biggest investments you make in your life.
With everything we experienced in 2020, many people are turning to different options for their career whether it be starting their own business, creating content through YouTube/Twitch, or whatever passion they have that has the ability to create income.
Also, the landscape of a regular 9–5 job looks vastly different than it did a year ago.Investing in yourself and learning a new skill such as copywriting, design work, digital marketing, writing code, etc will pay for itself over and over throughout the next decade.
22. Start saving earlier
I wish I listened to the adults that told me this when I was younger.
Instead of working summer jobs in college and immediately spending everything on food and alcohol, I should’ve saved some of it.
Saving an extra couple hundred dollars might not seem like a lot at the time, but compounding interest is the 8th Wonder of the World according to Einstein.via Seedly Reads
23. Feed your creativity
I think creativity brings out your inner “kid”.
Remember when you could sit down and draw or play with toys for hours on end?Creativity allows you to imagine new things and step outside of your normal day to day tasks and routines.
24. Chase fulfillment, not money
Chasing money is a zero sum game.
There’s never enough of it.
There’s always more money that you can get if that’s what your goals are set on.
But chasing fulfillment, that’s tough.
You can’t buy fulfillment which is why I think it feels so gratifying when it’s accomplished.
When was the last time you felt fulfilled?
25. Let it all work out
To quote my favorite Lil Wayne song of all time, “let it all work out”.
There’s only so much you can control in life.
You’re bound to end up in unfortunate situations or face problems that seem like you’ll never be able to resolve.
For better or for worse, everything always plays itself out.