34 Things I Have Learned In 34 Years

Last Friday was my birthday. 34 feels pretty nice to me. I had some great life experiences. I met amazing people. I laughed a lot. I met my soul mate and I married her. I moved to another country. I left my 9-to-5 job and started working for myself.  I got desperate and then back on my feet more times than I can count. Sometimes life feels like a roller-coster. I hope it continues like that…

Here are 34 life lessons, opinions and observations I have learned on the way. They all work for me. Will they work for you?

1) You learn more by experimenting than by studying.

2) Listening is an art.

3) You can laugh at everything, particularly at yourself.

4) Be persistant, not stubborn.

5) If you want to get flexible, stretch all the time. I still have to work A LOT on this one. (It’s also valid as a metaphor).

6) Sleep at least 7-8 hours every night and get a power nap of 10-20 minutes everyday. I tried to sleep 6 hours or less to have more “work” time. In the end, yes I got more awake time but I wasn’t productive at all.

7) Don’t trust your brain, get a to-do list app with reminders to get stuff done. Follow it religiously.

8) Sweat (a lot) everyday.

9) Life is like doing the dishes. If you wait too long, it takes forever to scrub the pan.

10) Your gut is always right (even if it’s not always the easiest path). Trust your intuition.

11) Meditate 5 minutes or more everyday. You don’t need to make this complicated. Just sit, close your eyes and observe what happens like a scientist observes their experiment. Don’t judge. (Alternately, use my meditation app 😉 )

12) Try the shittiest job you can do. Once upon a time I worked throwing bags of mail in trucks from midnight to 6 in the morning. It sucked. Every time I think of it I’m grateful for all the other jobs I had after that. (Actually, a good friend of mine worked as a janitor in a liposuction surgery clinic. I just wanted to throw up when he was telling me about his work day. He should get a shitty job award).

13) Question everything. Most of what you think is probably wrong or will be proved wrong sooner than you think. Read books you don’t agree with, try to understand political ideas that you are against, etc…

14) If you get criticized or if people judge you, you’re doing something that matters.

15) Connect with nature. This one goes along with meditation.

16) You don’t have too much to do, you just need to make a decision.

17) Make mistakes, this is how you get wise.

18) I learned the most from projects I thought I would never be able to accomplish.

19) All religions are beautiful and have the same teaching: LOVE. Don’t listen to those who try to manipulate them.

20) When someone says TGIF, I hear “I spend 5 days out of 7 doing something I hate”. (I used to know the feeling)

21) Karma works. Everything is connected and what happens to you is 100% a consequence of your actions. Nothing is random.

22) Learn how to code. Start with html, then learn a bit of PHP, some javascript and even some C if you feel like it. It’s really not that complicated once you know one language. Of course it’s easy for me to say since I studied to be a software engineer (actually I learned to code before that). But think of it this way: technology is shaping the world we live in. You might not like or you might deny it but it’s happening. You can choose to be part of it or be passive.

23) Everybody has a bullshit detector and most of them work perfectly.

24) There is no diet that fits all. Paleo, vegan, raw… They all have pros and cons. Find what makes you feel good, learn what the food you eat is made of and observe how it makes you feel. Also you will be more aware of what you’re eating if you learn to cook (not just pasta).

25) Breathing correctly is essential. Yogis believe your life is determined by the number of breaths you take. Basically, breathe deeper and slower, live longer. Plus breathing has a direct impact on your digestive, circulatory and nervous systems. Breathing correctly helps regulating all of them.

26) If you can’t find the product that you need, it means you have a business idea. Build it.

27) Try to understand art. Especially when you think it sucks. You’re probably missing the point.

28) Discipline creates freedom.

29) If you can, put “freedom money” on the side, (I’m sure you can, just a little). Use it as an investment in yourself. I put a little more than one year of salary when I was working at my previous 9-to-5 job (it took a while). Thanks to this freedom money I was able to quit my job and start working for myself. My freedom money went down during the first year, now it’s going up again. If I’m fed up with doing what I do and want to start over again, I know I can.

30) Surround yourself with people who inspire you. (Bonus point if they are weird.)

31) If you are scared, you’re on the right path.

32) It’s not about what you get, it’s about what you give.

33) The biggest quest of your life is discovering who you are.

34) We live in an amazing world. There are so many reasons to be thankful. Learn to say thank you and mean it. Like this: thank you for taking time to read this, it really matters to me! 🙂