Today is my 29th birthday.
To celebrate my last year in my 20’s, here are 20 pieces of advice I learned over the last decade.
Advice #1: Naively follow your curiosity. Mind-blowing information, differing opinions, and going down rabbit holes make your world bigger. Embrace the identity of being a lifelong learner because fact is often stranger than fiction.
Advice #2: Everything tends to work itself out. It’s just the way the Universe works. Things will go wrong, but things will always eventually get better. Use this advice to stay level-headed in stressful situations.
Advice #3: Even when the odds are not in your favor, bet on yourself. Most people don’t embrace the fact that anything is possible. When you bet on yourself, you live in the essence of your true potential.
Advice #4: Love is the only thing that matters. It’s the most beautiful part of this human experience. In a world that can be dark and uncertain, love is the one constant that can bring hope and healing. Spread love with every breath in your body.
Advice #5: Your weaknesses can be strengths. A part of being well-rounded is understanding your strengths, but it’s also knowing ways to leverage your weaknesses. Example: Perfectionism can lead to stress and anxiety, but also high-quality work and greater success.
Advice #6: Write down everything. I have 4331 notes on my phone dating back to 2013. I only revisit about twenty of them regularly, but the benefits of writing are more than just reviewing your notes. Note-taking has transformed the way I think. When I write my thoughts down, I get a bird’s eye view of my ideas. I gain clarity, I retain it more, and I leave a digital footprint for future humans to get an understanding of my brain.
Advice #7: Novelty is the key to a fulfilling life. Time flies by when you’re operating on autopilot. Novelty jolts the brain into being present and soaking in the moment. So travel, meet new people, taste unique foods, learn new hobbies, take on passion projects, and document your journey.
Advice #8: If an opportunity evokes fear, say, “Yes.” Most people fall into a life of predictability. Saying “yes” unlocks life paths you could’ve never imagined.
Advice #9: The key to self-improvement is viewing everything as a learning opportunity. Viewing life as a series of successes and failures is a limited perspective that can kill your spirit. Everything is an opportunity to learn and adapt.
Advice #10: Creativity is king/queen. LinkedIn crunched their site’s data and released the number one soft skill employers seek in new hires: Creativity. But that’s thinking too small. The value of creativity touches every aspect of life. Example: Want to make someone feel special on their birthday? List all the ideas you have, then toss that list in the trash. Continue thinking. Push a little further, and eventually, you’ll think of an idea that will blow them away.
Advice #11: You spend most of your younger life learning things, but the most powerful way to grow is to unlearn things. Question everything. Where did you get your perspectives from? Why do you do the things you do? You may discover that your autonomy is rooted in trauma, misinformation, insecurities, or popular opinions.
Advice #12: Time is NOT money. Comparing time to money does time a disservice. Time is life. The way you allocate your time dictates who you become. The more you control your time, the more you control your life. Securing your freedom of time will unlock the gift of spending uninterrupted time thinking about what you want and experiencing what you want.
Advice #13: The more you understand someone, the deeper you can love them. Be patient with loved ones and use empathy to understand and accept them. Also, give yourself that same attention. You can only teach people how to understand you once you understand yourself.
Advice #14: Ideas are alive. Once you share an idea, it takes on a life of its own. One idea can influence people to change their core beliefs. One idea can save or harm countless lives. One idea can shift the trajectory of all humanity. Choose the ideas you pursue and share wisely. Think before you create.
Advice #15: Reinventing yourself is always an option. If you wake up every day unhappy about how your life is, you can always choose to change. You don’t have to finish that project, stick to that hobby, or stay on that career path. Life is a book where you dictate the theme, beginning, and end of each chapter.
Advice #16: You should enjoy the process, but if you want to enjoy the destination, pursue projects that challenge your intelligence, skills, and creativity. There’s nothing more rewarding than enduring the beauty of a grueling process to accomplish something that felt impossible. Go build the app, write the novel, or produce the film you always dreamed of.
Advice #17: Learn how to navigate the tough parts of life before they happen. Traditional schooling doesn’t teach you how to cope with loss, effectively argue in your relationships, or make money when your back is against the wall. Spend time preparing for life’s curve balls.
Advice #18: Every love language is equally important. My number one love language is quality time, but the secret to loving deeper is showering your loved one with every love language. Plan a date, write poems, check tasks off their to-do list without them knowing it, give overwhelmingly thoughtful gifts, and embrace them with a meaningful hug.
Advice #19: You unlock your potential when you embody the people you admire. At the end of the day, we’re all just humans. When you’re faced with challenges, ask yourself, “What would ___ do?”. Embody Steve Jobs when you’re giving a presentation, Leonardo da Vinci when you’re painting, or James Clear when you’re writing a book.
Advice #20: Happiness is not the goal in life; it’s contentment. Gratitude breeds a content life. When you appreciate the people around you, the way you spend your time, and the person you are, you’ll live in pure bliss.
Thank you for taking the time to read my reflection on this chapter of my life.
Who knows what’s next?!
Well, I know one thing for sure: I will keep learning, growing, and loving more and more each day.