Another Birthday.

Kungfu panda


I turned a year older. I collect quotes, advice, learnings and jot down notes frequently. Every birthday I pull them out of my book to see what I have collected.

Here are 33 things this year.

  1. Purpose is what you make of it. It isn’t easy. It won’t be scripted. It can be influenced.  No one can tell you what you need to do. That is liberating, because it means you can do anything you choose to.
  2. There will always be negative people around you. They will try to embed themselves deep into disturbing your rhythm. Listen to them but don’t absorb them into your psyche. They need to feel important and they will feel that importance with your attention.
  3. Everything in this world has a person behind it that influences it. To get what you want, you need to know what drives that person. Everything can be negotiated. Learn psychology.
  4. Don’t seek attention. It will come when you do something of worth. It will come in droves of negativity and optimism. I have tried hard to not court it. It isn’t easy but I’m trying.
  5. Be so good that they can’t ignore you. Choose what you want to be good at. Become the best at it. You know something only when your life is consumed by it.
  6. Don’t let Facebook and Twitter consume your life. Meet the people behind the screens.
  7. Failures are necessary to keep you humble. Failures are necessary to show you that the way you thought you’d achieve something isn’t the best way to make it work. Try another. Try again.
  8. The masks are off when you anger someone or betray someone. You’ll see who they really are and how you really appear to them. It is the best time for all the seeped up cant-hurt-you-with-the-truth to flow out. Some exit at that stage. The ones that remain are your true friends. Treasure them.
  9. Work on your health. Do 1 % better than what you did yesterday. It’s hard to measure. It’s hard to keep up with it on a sustained basis. But it’s worth it. The feeling you get when you can do 10 pushups in a row where you couldn’t even complete 1 is indescribable.
  10. Work on your diet too. I sucked at it. I am a little better at understanding what is better and what works for my body. Everyone is different but portion control is universal.
  11. Reconnect with your friends. Pick any 3 that come to mind, then another 3, then another 3 more and so on till you have a number that’s your age. Talk to them. Call them up. Tell them one nice thing they have done you fondly remember. Some will respond and some won’t. That’s okay, you are doing this for you.
  12. Be Punctual. Respecting someones time is respecting that person. There will be times when you are delayed. Anticipate them and explain it to the other person. Don’t be late.
  13. Don’t work with someone you can’t see yourself working with for life. I learned this from Naval in this excellent episode.
  14. Better yourself. Pick something or some area you aren’t the best in and learn everything you can. Ryan holiday has the swarm strategy that I highly recommend.
  15. Help others seeking no return. Lend some money. Lend books, don’t expect them back. The secret is that returns come in droves from them or someone else because of what you did for someone else. In droves. It’s just not returned in cash.
  16. Your home can be comfier if you do a few things. Add lights, candles and get good furniture. I learned that setting up a home as comfortably as my close friend does is an art. It is worth investing in learning and appreciating that art.
  17. Everyone you know has some tragedy in their life. You don’t know their stories. You’ll never decipher their complexity. But you’ll be comfortable in who they are and what they mean to you. That’s all that matters. Be kind.
  18. Listen to podcasts. They help you learn. They teach you a lot and they are a great time filler that doesn’t make you put on weight.
  19. Listen to good music. Not heavy on either treble or bass. Listen to compositions. Play a song you like on loop throughout the day. Absorb the sound waves.
  20. Meet people from all walks of life. Everyone has done at least one thing you haven’t. It might not always be progressive but it’s always a teaching.
  21. Move out of the place you have been in if you have been there more than 3 years. Life’s too short to be in a cage. Explore, fail, discover, visit, love, lie, hurt, bleed and be liberated.
  22. Don’t let compliments get to your head. They seep in very quickly to your psyche. You are all those good things or exhibit those good things  that people say you do but you aren’t limited to those things. Don’t become a slave to an image of you.
  23. All advice is subject to experimentation. You decide how to take meaning. Be guided not ruled. All of these things I have learned might strike a chord with you or might be very wrong. That’s okay, pick what works.
  24. Don’t give in to Dogma. Don’t allow yourself to be brain washed by millions of years of regimented thinking (I’m looking at you religion) without thinking for yourself first.
  25. I’m a big fan of going to the movies. It shows creativity in the most engaging medium we know today. Virtual reality will come but for now I’ll take the theatre screens. Watch good movies. Read good stories.
  26. Read more. Few systems are fool proof as reading is. Enough can’t be said about the pleasures of diving into a book. If you have never read before, don’t be intimidated. Start with fiction in the night. Then expand your horizons.
  27. The lesser the chains that bind the further you can go. You should move only if you want to learn or feel uncomfortable. If you are happy where you are, that’s a good thing.
  28. Pick things to be passionate about. If you are attacked for that passion, it’s okay to get hurt, ridiculed and ignored.  Build a better story of selling your passion. Become better at it and you’ll keep the passion alive. It doesn’t always replace purpose, but it’s a darned good thing to have.
  29. Love and be loved. Love deeply. Hurt even deeper. Love again. Few things in this world can affect you as much love does. Embrace it. It is one of those most inexplicable things.
  30. People will move on. The best ones stay. The good ones reconnect. The trolls are on Facebook. Be amused by them.
  31. Take time off. Be comfortable with yourself. Quit your job if you don’t find meaning in it. But mostly quit if the people at work aren’t great. It’s probably the only thing that’s not subjective in my learning. Great people make great work. It’s okay if you don’t earn for a while. It’s okay if you don’t get societys approval. It’s okay if you leave a company where others are so invested they can’t leave.
  32. When people were asked what they regret the most before dying,  they said they wished they worked less, loved more and spent more time doing things they took to intuitively. Cancer isn’t beaten by the bank balance, it is by the love of people around you. Sound advice that.
  33. There are no guarantees in life. The only guarantee is that doing nothing will get you nowhere. Do something that scares you every year.

As a bonus tip. I watch this motivational video from Rocky almost every year. I can’t wait for Creed to be released.

What have you learned so far?

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