February 1, 2023




31 Things I've Learned In 25 Years of Living

1. Ask for what you want in an assertive manner, just make sure you have the runs on the board. Know your worth. 

2. Be unreasonably interested in other people when you are meeting and getting to know them. Ask questions, be attentive and engaged. Just make sure it doesn’t become an interrogation. 

3. Don’t take things personally, unless of course someone has deliberately set out to get you. There are a myriad of reasons why people can act in a way that negatively affects you. It’s not always a personal attack. In most cases, what’s happening in someone else’s life is far more important to them and will determine their actions

4. Being in the same environment for too long leads to staleness and doesn’t allow you to form new ideas and insights. Break away, move house, meet new people, do different activities. 

5. No matter what you try or say, sometimes people will not see the world the same way you do, or think the same way as you do. In these situations, its best to realise this quickly and work towards a solution through another means. 

6. Relationships shouldn’t be transactional. If you decide to do something for others, don’t expect anything in return. 

7. High applied intelligence: energy, focus, will power and emotional control allow us to be the captain of our lives and are the foundation upon which other forms of intelligence; classical (logic, creativity, problem solving, strategy), social (persuasiveness, empathy, social skills) and dynamic (knowledge, ability to learn and memory) thrive. 

8. Don’t overestimate the world and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think. Most “superheroes” or “super successful” are just like you and nothing of the sort. They’re weird, neurotic creatures who do big things despite lots of self-defeating habits and self-talk. The difference is that they have coping mechanisms to put this aside and get on with it. 

10. Learn to be comfortable with your bad qualities. You are constantly evolving into the person you wish to become. You can’t have everyone’s good qualities but can constantly aim to improve. 

11. Let the honeymoon period of relationships settle before making internal or external commitments to that person. It’s very easy to be swept off your feet by the idea of someone before really getting to know them. Take your time to get to know someone. 

12. When there is a small subset of people doing something that seems irregular or out of the ordinary, take the time to investigate why it is they’re doing that before labelling or judging them.

13. Do all that's humanly possible before you end a relationship, that means trying to make it work. At the time it can be very hard to discern whether you've fallen out of love or you simply need a break. You may never get the chance again. Do it.

14. Deal with problems as they arise. That way you can be at peace with them. If you leave them, they will continue to drain mental energy and can only get worse. 

15. Move past low self-confidence in trying new things for it is precisely that which will prevent you from ever doing it and the fruit which may follow.  You learn by doing. Don’t be afraid to screw up. You are that much further by simply asking for what it is that you want. Good things come to those that take action.

16. It's not enough to simply take in information when you're attempting to learn. You must think deeply about the content i.e. How can I apply this to my own life at this very moment? What is a plan I can put into place to apply this new knowledge? Doing so will not only help you retain knowledge, but also improve your life beyond comprehension.

17. Perfectionism is linked to fear of failure is linked to not taking action. Give up your perfectionism and you will start taking action.

18. Guard your time like your life depends on it. Don't be scared to say no but learn how to say it politely.

19. If you ever feel like you're losing touch or that you're stuck in a rut, stop what you're doing and get away from where you are currently. A new environment can provide the exact stimulus you need to re-strategise and re-invigorate yourself. Go to your favourite holiday spot. Allow yourself to be completely alone with your thoughts and think about things deeply. 

20. The ability to make a person feel that, when you're with that person, he or she is the most important (and the only) person in the room is the skill that separates the great from the near-great. If you know something positive about someone else, let them know that you know it. Brag to them about them. How do we do this?

  • Listen
  • Don't interrupt
  • don't finish the other person's sentences
  • Don't say "I knew that"
  • Don't even agree with the other person (even if he praises you, just say, "Thank you"). 
  • Don't use the words "no", "but", and "however"
  • Don't be distracted. Don't let your eyes or attention wander elsewhere while the other person is talking 
  • Maintain your end of the dialogue by asking intelligent questions that a) show you're paying attention, b) move the conversation forward, and c) require the other person to talk (while you listen). 
  • Eliminate any striving to impress the other person with how smart or funny you are. Your only aim is to let the other person feel that he or she is accomplishing that. 

If you can do all this, you'll uncover a glaring paradox: The more you subsume your desire to shine, the more you will shine in the other person's eyes. 

21. For the super-successful among us, there's no on and off switch for caring and empathy and showing respect. It's always on. They don't rank personal encounters as A, B, or C in importance. They treat everyone equally, and everyone eventually notices.

22. Decisions don't always need to be completely binary or final. Give yourself room to change your mind frequently.

22. Learn to put up with aspects of people or things that you don't like for the benefits that they bring (should they outweigh the negatives).

23. It's never too late to go back on a bad decision, always be prepared to do so with the addition of new information.

24. "It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all in which case you fail by default" — J.K. Rowling. Try things without fear of failure for the potential upside far outweighs the consequences of failing. Succeed or learn (not succeed or fail).

25. No one owes you anything. The only person you can really depend on in life is you. If you want something, you work for it. You don’t expect it to be given. Be self-sufficient entirely. 

26. The size of our universe shrinks considerably when we place ourselves at the center. And the people who are most focused on themselves are the least satisfied in life. On the other hand, those who see their life as an opportunity to bring joy to others quickly find it themselves.

27. Relationships with others are good, but constant streams of distraction are bad. Learn when to power off the blackberry, log off Facebook, or not read a text. Focus on the important, not the urgent. A steady flow of distractions from other people may make us feel important, needed, or wanted, but feeling important and accomplishing importance are completely different things

28. Success is maintained by mastering the delicate mix of doing the right things for you as an individual on a daily basis. The fastest way to jeopardize this is by disregarding your own steps and caring too much about the actions of the rest

29. Increase your surface area of hits. Take more opportunities. Put more things out into the world and you're bound to hit a home run eventually.

30. The effort it takes to react to something wrong can drain you and at the same time prevent you from seeing the good things that happen in life. By not reacting you are the bigger person, you are choosing your peace of mind over saying something and being right. You know that you don't need people who make you feel worthless and you don't need drama. Over time you well learn that no matter how hard you try you won't be everyone's cup of tea and that's okay.

31. Wisdom is understanding the long-term consequences of your actions.

About the author

Alex Brogan writes about mental models, decision making, and personal development.

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