25 Lessons From 25 Trips Around The Sun

Today, I turn 25.

When I was 15, I figured I’d have a lot figured out by 25.

Here’s a shocker: I was wrong. Buuuut just because I have a lot to learn doesn’t mean I can’t share what I believe the truth to be at this present moment.

I’m sure my views will change. I’m sure I have some severe blind spots. I’m sure I will learn a lot more about this thing called life (we can only hope, right?). But for now, I will share some of the lessons I’ve learned. If they are useful in any way to you, feel free to email me and let me know what resonated at my name {at} this domain.

  1. Love. If there’s one lesson you get from this entire post, let it be to love. Love yourself. Love your enemy. Love your friend. Love your lover. Love everything. Not just the people, but the world we live in, the setbacks you endure, the massive wins, and the emotions you feel. I know it may sound too simple and I didn’t believe love could make a difference. But I was wrong. Love is the answer.
  2. Discipline = freedom. This is a basic principle that took me too long to figure out. If you have the discipline to learn, you have the freedom to use knowledge. If you have the discipline to save money, you have the freedom to spend it. If you have the discipline to work out, you have the freedom to move your body.
  3. You can change. There are two primary reasons why we do not change: (1) we believe the journey will be long and difficult and (2) we believe if we try, it won’t be worth it. But start as soon as possible. It is worth it… It is always worth it. You can be a new person at any moment. Your past “failures” do not mean you can succeed today. You can overcome whatever setbacks occurred as long as you are still breathing.
  4. Use your life as a vessel to promote the change you want to see. I went from someone who was depressed to someone who embodied love. I want to become the person that inspires you to change as well. I want you to be able to read through my site, go through these articles, and decide you are capable of doing whatever you want to do.
  5. Write. Accept life’s gifts. For too long, my parents/family/friends have told me, “You’re a great writer. You should really pursue that in some capacity.” I thought to myself, “They’re just being nice” and “There’s no money in writing.” But the truth is, I love writing. So why not do more of what you love, even if there’s no guarantee it will lead to future earnings?
  6. A peaceful mind is worth more than anything. It turns out there’s a pretty simple way to gain a peaceful mind: meditation. I started meditating approximately nine months ago. At first, twenty minutes was difficult. Then, 30 minutes was difficult. Then, 60 minutes was difficult. But then 60 minutes was easy. Kind of like anything else. It’s a practice. You need to be disciplined. But the rewards are next level.
  7. Do hard stuff. My life has been pretty easy all things considered. I grew up in the United States. I was put through a good education. I have A/C. Food. Et cetera. I don’t take these for granted. However, comfort should not be the goal. Because when we get too comfortable, our body and mind start to deteriorate. If you think it’s too easy, purposely make it more difficult. Go for a difficult run. Be consistent for an extended period of time. Challenge yourself daily.
  8. Lift weights. I put off lifting weights because I was (am) naturally weak. But when I stopped feeling sorry for myself and just did the damn thing, I was happy with the results. Because it’s not about the external. It’s about the way lifting weights makes me feel and what it allows me to accomplish. Like all things worth doing, I wish I started sooner. So get after it.
  9. Do yoga. I thought yoga was a feminine thing to do. This changed in the past year though. I went to one yoga class and immediately realized: “Wow, my mind and body feel so much better.” And, of course, that first class was difficult, but it was how my body was supposed to move. That was how my mind was supposed to relax. After one class, I was hooked. Releasing all that stress away from my body has been incredible. I have no idea how I existed in this world before doing yoga.
  10. It’s your job to be a clear thinker. This is one decision that has impacted a bunch of decisions. Prioritizing becoming a clear thinker means you are more likely to take care of your body, your sleep, and your educational diet. It means you’re going to prioritize writing. It means you must make good decisions often. If it’s your goal to be a clear thinker, there are a number of decisions that have been made for you: A clear thinker exercises. A clear thinker reads. A clear thinker writes. A clear thinker doesn’t rely on alcohol.
  11. Read. Some parts of my life I have read voraciously, others I have struggled to pick up a book over a period of years. Reading opens your mind to possibilities, widens your perspective, and lets travel through space and time to understand new wisdom. It is my preferred method of gaining knowledge and I recommend it for you as well.
  12. Your phone is out to get you. I’ve grown up with the iPhone. But in the last couple of years, I’ve really noticed a drastic change in the way it makes me think and feel. When I read Digital Minimalism, it changed the way I viewed the phone. The device is designed to be as addicting as possible (and it’s why I’ll be starting an experiment for 1 hour of screen time for 30 days in the next week).
  13. Cultivate present moment focus. This is hard. Especially when everything (and everyone) is vying for your attention. But it’s the most worthwhile skill you can have in the 21st century. How do you cultivate it? Meditation has been the path that has helped me – and continues to help me. To start to become aware of your thoughts is the single biggest helper to allowing yourself to become transfixed on the present moment.
  14. Just because someone else is making money that way doesn’t mean you should. For a long time, I would hop from one business idea to the next. Someone had a great idea, I thought I should do that. Someone else suggested a new idea the following week… let me do that instead. I didn’t have a strong vision for what I wanted, so my monkey mind hopped from one idea to the next. As a result, I got nowhere fast. Until I had enough.
  15. It’ll take twice as long as you think it will. Doesn’t matter if it’s a small errand or a big project. We have a bias toward thinking we can accomplish it quicker than we think it will take. But that’s okay. If it’s a worthwhile mission, the time it takes doesn’t matter. What will matter was that you started. So just do it.
  16. Focus on what you can control. There is so much stuff out there we can’t control. The weather. How a stranger looked at you as you passed them. The stock market. But that’s okay because you have control so much. Your effort. Your willingness to show up. Your consistency. When your spotlight is on the internal – that which you can control – you have a huge advantage.
  17. You are not your thoughts. We tend to get attached to the various opinions and thoughts we have. We tend to get attached to our own names and personalities. We tend to get attached to the various distractions as life floats by (shout out Mike Posner). The truth is: we’re not these thoughts. You are something much deeper, more beautiful. You are the awareness that you are these thoughts.
  18. Consistency is a skill. The ability to show up day after day, even when it doesn’t work out for you, even when you don’t feel like it, even when all the signs are telling you not to… is a skill. And it’s one we overlook and don’t typically attempt to get better at. But we all can be more consistent. We can be more consistent in showing up for our loved ones or with our loved ones. Yes, it won’t necessarily be easy, but we can cultivate the skill.
  19. Have a checklist for today (and put something “easy” on it). When you have a checklist or schedule, you are accountable to that list. If you don’t accomplish it, that’s okay. The list does not lie (as long as you don’t lie to yourself). But there is a power in checking off different items. It makes you feel accomplished and gives you a sense of empowerment over your day.
  20. Accountability is seriously underrated. We do not want to change. But we will change if someone is watching us, monitoring us, and pushing us. Especially if we respect that person. So, if we desire to improve, we should take advantage of this as best as we can by identifying the people in our own lives who can help us and reach out to them. Ask if they’ll hold us accountable. So we can grow.
  21. If you want to be something, just do it today. If you want to be a runner, run. If you want to be a writer, write. If you want to be an entrepreneur, sell. You’re only what you desire to be if you actually do it and the desire to do it is available for you at all times.
  22. The little things are the big things. I realized this lesson when I did 75 HARD. Snapping a progress photo takes no more than 5 seconds. It counts just as much in the program as doing two workouts. The little thing is the big thing. This is just as true whether you are cleaning your room or taking out the trash. The little things are the big things.
  23. The dots will only connect looking backward. We think we’ve got it all figured out, but so often we have no clue. It will all probably make sense, but at a later date. Don’t worry or try to make sense of it all right now, but it might make sense later.
  24. Do your best. In everything you do, try your hardest. It seems like an obvious point… and yet, we so often leave progress on the table because we fail to give it our best shot. Whatever you do, do it with everything you’ve got.
  25. Stay curious. You might have completed 25 trips around the sun, but you still know so little of what there is to know. The Dunning-Krueger Effect states that those who know a little often believe they know the most. Because I’ve experienced some life, it may lead me to believe I know it. I don’t. I really don’t know anything. But these are my experiences, my experiments, my notes on what I’m discovering. I hope they are of some use to you.

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