29 years: 29 Life Lessons

Today I turn 29. I've learnt some incredibly valuable lessons in that time. Here are 29 of the best. 

  1. Slow down. Seriously. Slow down. 

  2. Food is the best medicine. There is so much confusion on the subject of food. New diets, Super foods, Low Carb-High Fat, High Fat-Low Carb, High Protein, Low Protein, Low Sugar, No sugar, More meat, Less meat. You're right. It's overwhelming. Let me simplify it for you. If it's in a packet and has more than four ingredients, you don't need it. 

  3. You don't need more money, you need less stuff. Our culture is obsessed with the idea of making more money. We are under the illusion that money is the key that unlocks the door to our freedom. This mindset has made us slaves to our jobs, and stolen the freedom we crave. Rather than trying to earn more money, maybe you just need to buy less stuff. 

  4. Practice Meditation. Our mind is like the surface of a rough ocean. Turbulent. Meditation is diving deep down below the surface of that ocean and realising that despite how rough the surface is, there is a calm and peace beneath it.

  5. Keep it simple.

  6. Exercise. "But we're too busy". No, your health is your most important asset. Without it, you can't perform at your best in any other area. Remove something from your schedule, and invest in your body. Don't overcomplicate it. An easy method to remember is 222. That is 2 strength, 2 cardio and 2 stretching sessions each week. 20 minutes for each is ample. Starting is the hardest part, but momentum begins just after you do.  

  7. Lose the distraction. Television, iPhone's, Computers, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope, Snapchat. The list goes on forever. We love to fill the gaps of our day with something. We love the feeling of being busy. But how much of our busyness has become a form of laziness that stops us from focusing on what is truly important? Set boundaries on how you use these tools, and find out how you can invest all your new free time on the things you value most.

  8. Anxiety does nothing. "But it helps me get my work done". No it doesn't. Passion and a list does that. If anxiety is driving you, you need a new driver. If anxiety is always hovering over you, the following thought may help you; If you're anxious about something that has already happened, you can't change it. If you're anxious about something to come, you can change it. Either way, anxiety is unnecessary. 

  9. Doing less makes you more organised. We love trying to fit the absolute maximum amount of stuff into our day. It's considered productive. To manage our intense schedules, we create apps, tools and strategies to better organise it all. Rather than trying to maintain an amazing diary so you can squeeze as much as you can into your day, do less. But do it with more focus. You'll feel better and be more efficient. 

  10. Create a blueprint for your life.  The building of a house doesn't begin until a blueprint is complete. However, so many of us go through our lives with no idea of what it is we're trying to create. What we value is not found in what we say, but how we use our time. The best way to uncover what we value most, and how to prioritise our blueprint is to consider how we'd like our loved ones to speak about us at our funeral. What would they say about you? "He just loved the office" isn't that sexy.

  11. Write down your goals. Writing down our goals is taking the first step towards making them a reality. Goals are clarity on what you're moving towards. Nothing that has been created has just appeared; it was first just a thought. A goal is capturing that thought, and keeping yourself accountable as you work towards it. 

  12. Fail massively at something. This is when you know the goals you're setting for yourself are big enough. Anyway, what you'll achieve with this approach is far greater than setting the bar for yourself at 'average'.

  13. Action beats knowledge. Ever met someone with so much talent yet lacked the motivation to begin? Ever met someone with so much knowledge, who hasn't let it change them? Me too. Sometimes that person is me. Sometimes it's you. Don't settle for just knowing what the best thing to do is, actually do it. 

  14. Disappointment is a temporary lack of perspective. Don't worry that your world is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you're on is better than the side to come? Rumi

  15. Not everyone will like you. Whether you're being yourself, or trying to be more like someone else, not everyone will like you. Why not be the best version of yourself, rather than an okay imitation of someone you like. 

  16. There's comfort in numbers. If you're aiming to keep people happy, follow the majority. This is the easiest option. As you do, remember that the majority is not always right. Sometimes the right move will upset the most people.    

  17. When a wise person offers you harsh advice, it will probably help you. 

  18. You are more powerful than you think. Whether you're aware of it or not, there are gifts within you that others can only dream of having. Stop focusing on how you wish you were a little bit more like him or her and discover the absolute genius within you. If you don't know what it is, it's the thing that you can do with your eyes closed. It's the thing that is hard for everyone else, but when you do it you glide. 

  19. Your focus dictates your feelings. Have you ever met someone who seems to have everything and they're pissed off? What about someone who appears to have nothing, but a smile that tells you they have everything they need. We've all met these kinds of people. It's not an issue of what we have, but what we focus on. Look for the good in where you are, you'll find it. 

  20. God (energy, spirit, greater power, love, insert any description you prefer) is bigger than our words. He whispers through a preacher, is not shackled by religion and he is so clear in nature. 

  21. Your past doesn't equal your future. Don't let a failure from your past limit your dreams for your future. 

  22. That which goes hot easily goes cold easily. Have you got an awesome idea? Good! Write it down, and decide whether it's in line with your values and your blueprint. If its not, don't commit to it. Your time and talent is too precious to commit to every idea you have. Choose wisely. 

  23. Learn from everyone. Every person you ever meet is your teacher. 

  24. Forgive. Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die. 

  25. You are in control of your emotion. No one can upset you without your permission. Ever.

  26. Listen more than you speak. You already know what you know. What can you learn from someone else?

  27. Love is a choice. "But when I'm with her I feel like a butterfly". Give it time and that feeling will fade. When it fades, this is where love starts. Love is choosing to do the right thing, even when you don't feel like doing it. 

  28. Learn from your weaknesses before you let them go. Our greatest weakness can become our greatest strength. It becomes a platform for us to share hope with those we encounter who are struggling with the same problem. 

  29.  If your inner life isn't healthy, nothing will satisfy you. A few years ago, a wall at my Mum's house kept getting really damp. She kept fixing the wall, and a few months later, it would be damp again. Turns out that a pipe inside the wall needed to be fixed. Once she had that fixed, the wall never got wet again. Fix the internal problems first.