(Article originally posted on rsvlts.com)
Well, anyway, I’ve gotten over my squeamish fear of appealing to the mainstream, enough so that I wrote an article about all the nifty things I’ve learned this year. I’m sure I sound naive. And I am. All “twenty-somethings” that write “twenty-something” articles are naive. Because, they are “twenty-somethings”. Duh.
Being well aware of that fact, I still think some of these ideas can help you. They’ve helped me out over the last year. These ideas continue to help me still. I’m sure some of them will be replaced by better ideas, but so goes the nature of life and living.
Here we go:
1) Take advantage of free live music. Until I started marketing for a music venue, I never went to the free shows they put on. Why? I don’t know. But I go now, and I discover a lot of cool talent.
2) Drinking craft beer helps me appreciate the delicious experience of life. Craft beer is an adventure, and it’s one that has an incredible, and growing, community around it.
3) If I wake up a little bit early, say 2-3 hours before I have any obligations, and read, my brain feels twice as sharp throughout the day. Morning TV mitigates this benefit.
4) Late night exercise alleviates the day’s stress. Early morning exercise prevents it.
5) Cereal is a dessert. Eating dessert for breakfast is bad. Instead, I eat a heaping pile of bacon and eggs and grapefruit and coffee. Black coffee. I put some cinnamon in it sometimes.
7) “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”-Aristotle. The scary thing is that the same thing is true for failure.
8) When faced with a decision, it’s usually better to choose the more difficult path (I got this from Paul Graham’s fantastic essay).
9) Life is too short for matching socks. If you waste time worrying about the little things, like conforming to silly “rules”, not only do you waste time, but you also waste precious opportunities to dazzle, to innovate, and to be remembered.
10) You may think you have goals, but you really don’t until you write them down and look at them every night before you fall asleep. Goals need to be internalized to be realized. Most are held up at the phase of whimsical dreaming.
11) When someone is lying or making something up (creating a picture in their head), their eyes turn up and to the right.
12) Save at least 10% of your income (preferably more, like 15-20%), no matter how much you make. This is your capital. Don’t spend it; only invest.
13) Write a bucket list on 100 things you want to do (could be big things, could be small). Every weekend, make sure you check off at least 1 item. (If your bucket list is too unattainable, like, every item is on par with climbing Everest, try scaling it down. Write down 100 things you’d like to do IN YOUR CITY.)
14) Whatever made you unique in your childhood has the potential to come back in the form of a really badass job. Hence my work with ski racing company, Arctica Race. I have a friend that makes a lot of money teaching piano lessons. I have another that gets paid to ride horses. Nobody ever told me I could make money doing things like that.
15) Do yoga. I almost forgot to write this one down, as I do it so often that I forgot that I just picked up the practice this year. I go with my roommate every Thursday, the start of our weekend (no Friday classes!), and it’s the most relaxing activity in the world. Yoga de-stresses you, builds your abdominal muscles, and makes you more flexible (and makes you better at sex). Namaste.
16) Read a book every week (or more). You won’t expect the crazy fucking benefits this gives you. This was the first year I took reading seriously, and every facet of my life has improved. Thousands of years of history have proved that the most willfully educated people prosper. It’s simply foolish to buck that trend.
18) What you ask for is usually what you get.
20) Journalism classes taught me how to write better. That’s just the obvious benefit. More importantly, they taught me how to listen to people (interview). I’ve learned more from my friends and from strangers this year than I ever have because of this crazy awesome ability. Dan Pink suggests an exercise: try waiting 5 seconds before you respond to someone during your next conversation. Will it be awkward? Fuck yes. But you’ll definitely be aware of the fact that, previously, you were only waiting your turn to speak.
21) Read David & Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. Then, if you haven’t already, go back and read all of his other books.
22) Same thing goes for Mastery and Robert Greene’s books.
23) You can’t do it all alone. You need compatriots. You need mentors. You need to delegate. You need help, and you need to acknowledge the fact that you didn’t succeed on your own (Looking at you, hip hop).
24) Find ‘your spot’. That restaurant where all the staff knows you, that coffee shop, that whatever. A public home is a weird treasure to own.
25) Teaching is a good way to learn; writing is a good way to think.
26) Treat everyone like normal people, because they are normal people.
28) You can buy books incredibly cheap on Amazon by clicking on the title you want, then clicking to the ‘available used’ button. Sometimes, great books are sold for pennies. I’ll never buy a $200 textbook again (not that I usually bought those textbooks anyway.)
29) Find a mentor.
30) I’ll end with a saying that Ryan Holiday quoted in a recent article: “Be a good person, do what you love—those are the only rules for life”