Today I turn 32 years old. :-)
As weird as it may sound, I’ve been looking forward to this age for the longest of times. I’m not really sure what excites me about being 32 but I’ve been looking forward to the stability and calm it would bring to my life.
The irony of it all is that even though my plan was for stability, I’ve recently moved to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the process of immigrating and settling in has been nothing short of chaotic. Fortunately enough, regardless of this big move, I am still able to feel the sense of equanimity that I’ve been looking forward to.
While sipping on some Arabic cardamom tea at the Grand Plaza Gulf hotel in Riyadh, I thought it would be a great idea to celebrate this special day by sharing, in no particular order, 32 lessons I’ve learned in my 32 years on this planet.
These lessons are based on my lived experience with limited data points. As I grow older, new experiences will continue to shape my view of my world. I’m looking forward to seeing how they evolve over time
32 has this cool property where it can be written as 1 to the power 1 plus 2 to the power 2 plus three to the power three, or: 1¹ + 2² + 3³ = 32. That’s pretty cool, right? I mean the next time this happens I will be 288 years old.
Before we get into it, unclench your jaw, relax your shoulders, sit up straight, wiggle your toes, stretch and take a couple of deep breaths.
Now you’re good to go!
- Always schedule time to do nothing. Don’t fall into the trap of continuous productivity.
- Enthusiasm is half the work. The rest is discipline.
- Be a reliable person.
- It’s okay to not be passionate about anything. Knowing this will allow you to actively figure out what you’re actually passionate about.
- People say things like “the world does not revolve around you” but this is a difficult thing to grasp because every single thing that has happened in your life has been interpreted from your point of view. You’ve literally been the centre of your life till now. Regardless, you need to realise that you are actually a tiny blip in the universe. A mere data point. It’s humbling but it is liberating.
- Cherish your friendships. However, don’t hesitate to cut those that become toxic. If they work on themselves and return as better individuals, welcome them with open arms. As people, we’re always evolving and learning.
- Read a lot and read widely. Inspiration comes from the most unexpected sources.
- Look in the mirror once in a while and realise how blessed you are to see your reflection.
- It’s not about being consistently on the wagon. It’s about having the ability to get back on whenever you fall off.
- Perception is reality. Life is about managing perceptions.
- Your hobbies should be fun.
- Most of the decisions we make are emotional, which we then dress up with a logical rationale in order to justify them. Accepting that you’re making an emotional decision will save you from continuously explaining yourself when it is unnecessary.
- The most valuable outcomes from formal education are the friendships and connections you make.
- Play the long game. Life is long. Really long. We say life is short because we experience certain people for a short period of time. But for you as an individual, life is the longest experience you’ll ever have. So don’t let short-term decisions undermine your long-term success.
- The paradox of money is that to make a lot of it, you need to take it seriously. But to make the most out of it you shouldn’t take it too seriously.
- “Respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticise. Assume good faith.” - Hacker News Community Guideline
- Put pineapple on pizza. Put anything on pizza if it makes you happy. Don't let the world dictate what you should enjoy.
- Never hire someone you’ll have a hard time firing.
- Sleep deprivation is not a badge of honour. Get enough sleep. It’s the easiest life hack to apply.
- Everyone has habits. It’s either you’re not deliberate about them or you gravitate towards habits that need the least amount of effort and could possibly be unhealthy. So be deliberate about your habits. Atomic Habits by James Clear is a great book to read if you want to master your habits.
- Never let anyone make you feel stupid for having big audacious goals. However, approach them with a dash of reality. Always aim for the best but prepare for the worst.
- One day, someone you care about and love will pass on. When this happens what you’ll quickly realise is that all the time and effort you have put into your career over the years will be irrelevant. The titles, the fame, the education, the money, the followers. None of it will matter. So spend as much time as you can with the people you love and show them how much you love them.
- Don't take generic relationship advice from social media. Particularly from people who are talking from a point of hurt.
- You can learn something from anyone if you’re patient and open-minded enough. Ask the right questions and you’ll realise that everyone is interesting.
- Being a great storyteller is the most powerful thing you can do for your career.
- Take calculated career risks. When they pay off, you’ll never stop feeling proud of yourself. When they don’t pay off, you’ll have an interesting story to tell.
- Your health is the most critical aspect of your life. Don’t feel ashamed about pouring time and resources into improving it.
- In business, always ask for more than you think you deserve. That’s the only way you’ll level up.
- If you have the financial means, invest it by getting the best equipment for the work that pays your bills. That super-fast laptop? Get it. That smartphone? Buy it. That super sleek headset? Do it. You spend a significant amount of time using these tools and they deserve to be upgraded. You’ll never regret buying high-quality equipment. However, don’t let the lack of expensive tooling be an excuse to not get started.
- Surround yourself with kind and generous people because these traits are contagious. So even if they aren’t kind and generous towards you, you will still benefit from being around them either way.
- Life is made up of a cycle of winging it, going through stuff, healing from the stuff you went through while winging it and then making amends with the people you hurt while going through stuff. Your goal is to continuously run through this cycle as quickly as possible.
- Laugh! Laugh a lot. Laugh at yourself. Laugh at others. Laugh at life. Laugh at everything. Not only does laughing trigger the release of powerful endorphins but it is also extremely effective at creating social bonds.
- Break the rules and think outside of the self-imposed boxes. 32 lessons? Nah fam. I’ll keep going.
- There is no shortage of excuses in this world. People rarely remember the excuse over time but they do remember the results. You can sit there and come up with many excuses as to why you can’t do certain things or you can just go ahead and do it and learn from the experience. Do your future self a favour and ignore your excuses.
- There will come a time when you will need to ignore everyone around you and figure out what really makes you happy. This process, although isolating, is liberating.
- Following your passion doesn’t necessarily mean doing it full-time. If you’re really that passionate, you can find time for it daily.
- When it comes to learning a skill, an hour daily is better than 7 hours over the weekend.
- Don't “overlearn” from your mistakes. Just because you had a bad experience doing something, doesn’t mean you should completely avoid it going forward.
- When you think you’re way in over your head, keep going. You have a lot more capacity to do things than you think you can.
- Know when to quit.
Happy Birthday to me :-)
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