24 Lessons From 24 Years Of Life
What I've learned from 24 years of life.
When I turned 24 in January 2023, I wrote a long list of the lessons I had learned and applied in my life. I then distilled that list into the 24 lessons below.
Lesson #1: You don’t have time, you make it.
Lesson #2: Judging too quickly and not giving people the benefit of the doubt will make you look like a dick in 99% of situations.
Lesson #3: Unless someone is hurt or dying, there’s no rush. Slow down your pace of life.
Lesson #4: Insert humour into each day at any chance you get. Laughing makes everybody’s day better.
Lesson #5: To turn a bad day around, stop thinking/complaining, put on your shorts and start doing push-ups or go for a run. Then stand in a cold shower. Eat some almonds. Cram a few fist fulls of spinach into your mouth. OK. Now carry on with your day.
Lesson #6: It’s okay to break social norms as long as you’re not rude about it. Life is too short to let customs dictate how your time is spent. Wearing uncouth outfits in public and the Irish Exit are my favourite — the latter works great for big parties.
Lesson #7: The most important thing is always the people (in both your personal and professional life). Your happiest and most joyous times, fondest memories, and biggest successes will be the result of time spent with or invested in other people. Always prioritize the people.
Lesson #8: There is a reality where everyone you know and love is dead and you are left alone. Remember that next time your ego sets you off because of a silly argument or minor inconvenience.
Lesson #9: Never end an interaction with someone you love negatively. Apologize if you need to (even when it’s not your fault) and tell them you love them. If you’re not convinced, be selfish and do it anyway — it feels good to be the bigger person.
Lesson #10: Stop drinking immediately after your 4-year university vacation ends. It will not help you become the person you aspire to be or build the lifestyle you desire to live.
Lesson #11: Inspiration and motivation are great in the moment, but won’t get you very far. Dedication, discipline, and grit are much more important. They enable the execution of difficult actions when you’re cold, tired, and unmotivated, and would rather crawl into your warm bed. Those traits are muscles. You strengthen them each time you engage in a difficult action.
Lesson #12: Just start. All of your mental suffering (the little voice in your head that goes back and forth debating with itself, tries to avoid, and is always looking for a way out) lives outside of action itself. Once you’ve begun (started the warm-up, under the cold shower, two minutes into the demanding task at work, etc.) the suffering ceases to exist.
Lesson #13: Get really good at saying no to peer pressure. It helps to become the person that people don’t dare to pressure. In my experience, having a reputation for being disciplined with yourself does the trick.
Lesson #14: Don’t paint yourself into a box. You can be anyone you want to be at any moment. Don’t feel like you need to act a certain way around certain people. Change, iterate, grow, and show it. If someone doesn’t accept and encourage it, smile, shake hands, and gracefully cut ties.
Lesson #15: Turn goals into actions and put those actions into systems. With established systems, you can just boot up each morning and follow the operating protocol.
Lesson #16: Nothing benefits from your stress. Take action, make a plan, or stop worrying about it.
Lesson #17: Never learn something without immediately applying it or making a plan to apply it in the immediate future. Knowledge without action is worthless.
Lesson #18: You will only feel uncomfortable in social interactions when you stray from being yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not, regardless of the situation. Funny enough, people like you most when you’re being your true self.
Lesson #19: If you have them, consult your parents on every major decision you make. Make the final call for yourself, but evaluate their advice. They almost always offer extremely valuable insights that helps you see things in a new light.
Lesson #20: There is no final destination in life. There is no clear path at the end of the roadblocks and obstacles. Life is a journey, forever filled with challenges. So, don’t seek an outcome. Instead, choose the journey that looks like the most fun and fill life with problems you enjoy solving.
Lesson #21: You cannot delegate your health, fitness, and wellness to any doctor or medical professional. You are 100% responsible and accountable. Be proactive and preventative in your health via exercise, nutrition, and sleep. Do your own research and always seek second, third, and fourth opinions.
Lesson #22: Keep a journal each day. Write what’s on your mind, things you’re grateful for, or create a practice that makes sense to you. It’s cool to flip back to a random day and see what you were thinking or what you were up to at that stage of your life.
Lesson #23: Have weekly phone calls or get-togethers with your closest friend. They will be the person who is there for you in both tragedy and triumph (just as you will be for them). You may not feel like it on those busy weeks, but you will always leave smiling and happy that you made time for them.
Lesson #24: Savour more moments. Especially the small ones. Commit them to memory. They will be with you throughout your entire life, in good and bad. They will be playing in your mind when it’s your time to pass on.
Lessons From My Readers
I asked my readers to chip in their life lessons and here’s what they sent in…
Lesson #25: The importance of doing things alone — you can't let others prevent you from experiencing things.
Lesson #26: Just throw your hip over the bed as soon as the alarm goes off. Plan your work and work your plan. Every day. No matter what. Doing what you love. Keep at it. Grind. Commit. Be passionate. Keep your promises. Stay sharp. Stay fit. Give more than you take. Breathe.
Lesson #27: Find a way, whatever it takes, to be comfortable in your OWN skin (emotionally and physically)... and be honest with yourself and others about it!
Lesson #28: Invest and focus on healthy and positive relationships only and be honest with other individuals as to why you are moving on.
Lesson #29: Communicate clearly and consistently what you WANT AND NEED to those whom you love or those who are important to you.
Lesson #30: Try to ALWAYS avoid regrets, even if it means tough decisions and/or choosing the more uncertain or difficult options.
Lesson #31: Talk with your feet! In other words, save the lip service and take action!