33 Lessons I Learned By The Age of 33
I’m thirty-three years old. That means, optimistically, that a third of my life has passed. And while I only have a few gray hairs, I feel I’ve gained some wisdom in my time. If you’re younger than me, take stock in the following lessons; and if you’re older, tell me if you agree.
1. Have phone dates with long-time friends who live in different places. There is nothing like sharing your life with someone who knew you in your formative years and having them share their life with you.
2. If you ever find yourself in a vortex of distraction – overworking, overexercising, or watching endless cycles of YouTube videos – try to pause for a moment and think. You’ve been avoiding a feeling. It’s time to deal with it.
3. Remember that you can handle pretty much anything that’s thrown at you. Likely, you’ve dealt with a similar situation before and got through it just fine.
4. You will never be as young as you are right now. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself.
5. Social media is your friends’ highlight reels; don’t confuse it with real life. If you were as exposed to their failures, regrets, and secrets as you are to your own you wouldn’t imagine their lives are so much more exciting than your own.
6. You can be better at something than another person. You can’t be better than another person.
7. To achieve financial success, figure out what you’re best at, put a business model around it, and do it for a long time.
8. People don’t earn money; they’re given it by other people. Learn how to successfully communicate value to others and you’ll do well for yourself.
9. Take care of your body. It doesn’t get any easier to reverse damage when you get older.
10. There’s a certain amount of salary, about $30k beyond subsistence, that is the point where wealth doesn’t correlate with happiness anymore. If you’re hung up on money and you’re already beyond that point, it’s time to look inward.
11. Everybody is doing the best they can all the time. That guy who flipped you off in a fit of road rage? He is too. Try to keep that in mind and life will be a bit easier.
12. We all need physical touch. Hug and be hugged often.
13. If you want to learn something, you can probably do it for free using Google. The world’s information is literally at our fingertips for the first time in human history.
14. If you really, really don’t want something to be public, don’t put it online.
15. When you take away societal norms, men and women are more similar than you’d think.
16. Problems are passed down through generations. If you don’t take time to learn about your parents’ issues, you won’t be fully aware of your own.
17. Being part of a community is one of the greatest contributors to happiness.
18. Reading the news is depressing. Get your information from someplace else if you don’t feel like being bummed out.
19. There is nothing more attractive than being yourself.
20. Do that Thanksgiving tradition where you go around the table and talk about what you’re thankful for more than once per year. It’s easy to forget all we have.
21. Smiling at people and getting a smile in return is one of life’s small pleasures.
22. Some people will like you, some won’t. When you get rejected, try to see it as a lack of chemistry, not a judgment on you personally.
23. As a human, sometimes you’ll feel like you’ve got everything in control and other times you’ll be a complete mess. When you’re a mess, admit it. It’s so much more satisfying to acknowledge your troubled states than to hold them inside. It’s no secret that we all fall apart sometimes.
24. Finding a true connection with another person is rare. You only get a few of those per lifetime.
25. When you’re feeling down, try to figure out why but don’t try to fix it. The fixing comes from the understanding; and it happens in its own time.
26. You can’t manage people if you don’t know how to do their work yourself.
27. Go to the movies. Movies are essentially world-class technological productions featuring talented, impossibly beautiful people that require years of effort and millions of dollars to make. But you get to enjoy them for ten bucks a pop.
28. Try not to solve things with pills. But if you really need a pill, take it. Life’s too short to be in pain all the time.
29. If there’s something you didn’t get in childhood, mourn its loss and let it go. Many people spend their lives seeking out something that belongs to a time and place that no longer exists.
30. Don’t eat more than you want to just for the sake of finishing your meal. Your stomach isn’t a garbage disposal.
31. Quitting can be courageous and “not being a quitter” can be cowardly. There’s no shame in giving up on something if it isn’t serving you anymore.
32. Experiences are better than things.
33. If we help one another, we all do better.
Evan Bailyn is a best-selling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership.