It’s amazing how things change over the course of your life. Sometimes change seems to come at you like a freight train, while other times it’s a slow process that you don’t realize until you look in the mirror one day and notice it. It’s like noticing those grey hairs that seem to have appeared out of nowhere! One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people make drastic changes in five years time. We find that we’re usually quite a bit different at 18 than we were at 13. Then we’re MUCH different at 23 then we were at 18, and so on. Just think what kind of a difference 10 years makes. For me, the change in my life lately has all of a sudden come at me like that freight train that I was talking about. The more I read, the more I learn, and the more I find myself embracing life and the exciting journey that lies ahead, the more I think about the advice that I would give to that 23-year-old guy that just finished college. I’ve had my ups and downs, fair shares of struggles, good times, great times, and times in between where I wandered and drifted emotionally and mentally like a child lost in the desert. I was lost, but now I am found. My journey is just beginning, but I’d like to think that I’m just a little bit wiser and a little more excited about what the future holds. I took a little time to look back, and think about some of the things that I’ve learned in the past 10 years. I hope you enjoy it. Please read through everything and let me know what you think. If you enjoy this, please share with your friends.
The 10 Things I Have Learned
1. It’s important to chase your passion, not just the money. This is something that I have just recently discovered, and I’m still in the process of chasing my passion. It’s so easy to get out of college and accept the first job that gets thrown your way. It feels like even the smallest amount of money seems like a lot, because you’ve become so accustomed to living off of ramen noodles and Jack in the Box for the majority of the previous four years. The problem with taking the first job that comes at you once you get out of school is that it’s easy to immediately find yourself in a rut. I started working a job that I knew I didn’t like, but I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to do. I knew I enjoyed traveling, and I knew I wasn’t crazy about working a corporate job, but I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to do. In fact, it took me years and years to get my mind straight and force myself out of the situation. A lot of successful people have given the advice of going out there and learning from people who have already succeeded. The key is to find a mentor or someone in the position that you one day would like to be in, and go learn from them. Who cares if you’re making peanuts? Your time will come; especially if you’re learning from others.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
2. Trust your gut. If you’re not happy with the situation you’re in, then get out. Prolonging a bad situation and continuously telling yourself that you will ‘soon make a change, is just a way of lying to yourself. It may sound crazy, but our gut is one of the most powerful feelings and natural gifts that we have. Have you ever wondered how animals in the wild know exactly what to do with they have their offspring? It’s natural instinct, and by nature they automatically know what to do. Our gut is the same way. It’s a way for our natural instincts to tell us if we’re in a good or bad situation. So often we are presented with a good opportunity and our gut is telling us, “I can do this,” but then our mind begins to get in the way and tells us differently. I have learned to trust my gut, and say, GO FOR IT!
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
3. It’s better to have a few great friends, than lots of mediocre friends. If your friends consist mostly of people on Facebook and online ‘friends,’ or you have a lot of friends that don’t motivate you and help to make you a better person, then it’s time to get rid of them. That may sound calloused and cruel, but it’s the truth. Jim Rohn once said that you become the average of the five people you hang out with the most. If you’re looking to set the bar higher than mediocre, and the friends you have aren’t inspirational and encouraging, then they’re doing you no good. It’s not important that you have dozens and hundreds of friends. What’s important is that you have your core group of friends that you consider more family than friends. Learn to inspire each other, and continue to help each other improve in their daily lives.
“If you have a family that loves you, a few good friends, food on your table and a roof over your head, you are richer than you think.” –Unknown
4. Not everybody is going to be rooting for you. If you think that other people take more than half of a second throughout their day to give you any of their thoughts, you’re wrong. The reality of it all is that it is up to you to carve out the life that you want to live. Looking for advice from others? Then the advice better be coming from someone with greater wisdom, knowledge, experience, or success in the part of your life that you’re looking to improve upon. Your biggest fan is mostly likely the person that stares back at you in the mirror each morning. If you’re out there looking for approval from others, don’t be disappointed if you do not get it. So often people try to pull you down as a coping mechanism for their shortcomings. Looking to get healthier and get into shape? Don’t be surprised if jealousy from others kicks in. Be sure to run your own race and do what makes you feel good. If you spend your entire life trying to satisfy others, then that’s exactly what will happen…you’ll spend your life trying.
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
5. Fear disguises itself in the form of procrastination. John Fogerty from the band Creedence Clearwater Revival once sang, “Someday Never Comes.” If you keep telling yourself that someday you will take that dream vacation, or someday I will leave my job, or someday I will get the courage to ask that special person out, then someday will never come. By putting off for tomorrow what you can accomplish today, you are just giving into your fears. There’s no guarantees in life, so if you don’t take a chance, there’s a bigger chance that you’ll miss out on some great things. I decided to move from Tucson to San Diego back in 2007 without knowing anyone, and it’s been a decision that I’ve never regretted. I had the courage to set out into the unknown but I never took it a step further. Professionally, I did not take any major gambles. I played it safe and told myself year after year that ‘someday I’ll find a new job.’ Fear will get you nowhere, and most likely, there’s a good chance that the pot of gold at the end of that rainbow is waiting for you just beyond your wall of fear.
“Fear stops a lot of people. Fear of failure, of the unknown, of risk. And it masks itself as procrastination.”
6. Don’t neglect your health. If your body is your temple, then why would you neglect it? We’re only given one body for our entire life, and if we don’t take care of it, there’s a much better chance that we will live a shorter and less fulfilling life. When I was younger I actually had a difficult time gaining weight. I used to be too concerned that I was too thin, so when I began to gain weight it felt good to put on a few pounds. The problem was that I started putting on too much weight, and it began to pile on. It didn’t help that I was drinking too many fattening beers, eating Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, and In ‘N’ Out way too often, spending the majority of my days in a cubicle, my evenings on the couch, and getting zero exercise. Before long I put on about 40 pounds and was sick for nearly four months straight with an irritating cough. It was then that I started taking the stairs (down, but not up) from the 10th story of the office building. I also began to research nutrition, and started working out a few times per week. I ended up losing the 40 pounds and before long, my physical transformation soon began to bleed over into a mental transformation. Trust me, I feel a million times better than I once did. If you stay healthy, you’ll be more energetic, more confident, happier, and overall you’ll just feel better about yourself. It’s so incredibly to take care of your health, and learn to live a healthier life.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” –Jim Rohn
7. Don’t stop learning. To quote Jim Rohn again, “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” It’s difficult to get out of school and want to keep learning because your mind has become so accustomed to learning what others tell you is important to learn. If you have no passion for what you’re learning, then it’s most likely that you will not retain the information anyway. Most people, even very good students become expert test-takers, but lack the true knowledge when they get out of school. The key is to learn how to learn and then use all of the resources available to you to go out and master some skills. With the internet, audio books, podcasts, and other easily accessible sources of great information, there’s really no excuse. You can learn everything from a new language to how to build a masterful chicken coop if you ever feel like moving to the boonies and living off the land. Seriously. You can learn anything and everything.
“Once you stop learning, you start dying.” –Albert Einstein
8. Be positive. Negativity will get you nowhere. Negativity breeds negativity and for some reason we are living in a world that seems to focus on mostly negative events. Just turn on the news and you’ll see a world that seems to be falling to pieces. How are we supposed to go through life with a positive outlook if all we see are the bad things happening around us? Learn to live in your own bubble and focus on the positive things in life. Positivity is a very powerful thing that will change the way you live your life and it will change the type of people that you attract. There’s no need to be the kind of person that comes across as being one of those phony positive people. Learn to be honest about who you really are, and learn to be positive and excited about life.
“Truly, thoughts are things, and powerful things at that when mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and a burning desire for their translation into riches.”
9. Don’t sweat the small things. This is a long life we’re living and if we spend our time worrying about the insignificant moments in life that we will most likely never remember in a few years, then we’re just wasting our time. Learn to let things roll off of your back and don’t pay too much attention to the things that really don’t matter. You can’t change the way you’re treated or what people may say about you, but you can control your reaction. Be strong in your convictions, but also don’t be afraid to walk away. Remember, ‘blessed are the peacemakers.’ Some of the things that we think are important today end up being just a blip on the radar of our lives. Spend your time getting better and thinking about how you are going to make your life better. Don’t spend it worrying about what others think of you.
“Ask yourself this question: Will this matter a year from now?”
10. It’s important to add value to other people’s lives. Albert Einstein once said, “Try to become a man of value rather than a man of success.” It’s along the lines of “If you build it, they will come.” Learn to create value for people, and whatever it is you are seeking will follow. By going out and saying ‘I want to be rich and wealthy,’ we’re not digging deep enough to find our true purpose in life. I’ve spent so many years and so much of my twenties working for a paycheck, only to come home at the end of the day without any sense of satisfaction because I didn’t believe that I was making a difference in people’s lives. My life’s purpose, I believe, is to make a positive impact on the lives of other people. If I can impact the lives of other people in a positive way, I know that great things will happen. It took me a long time to get to this point and come to this realization, but it’s been a process that I have been going through. By adding value, it’s a win-win situation because you are doing something great to help your fellow man, but it’s also a great sense of self-fulfillment that keeps you motivated and driven to keep succeeding.
“The purpose of our lives is to add value to the people of this generation and those that follow.”
–T. Harv Eker
One common theme in a lot of these things that I have learned is that life is all about choices. We have the option in life to make the most of it, and it’s up to us to go out there and accomplish what we dream about. We can’t blame others if we’re not in the position that we want to be. If we want love, then go out and seek love. If we want friendship, seek friendship. If we want success, seek success. Just be active and take action. Choose to live your life. Choose to be happy, and choose to be your best.