Today is my birthday and this is my list of the 30 most important things I learned in 30 years.
Your college major doesn’t matter.
As a 17 year old athlete, I decided sport management would be the perfect major. 13 years later I’m an experienced young professional with a plethora of new skills and interests. Sure, Doctor/Lawyer kinda locks you in, but I’ve seen so many people flourish in new industries simply because of who they know and the hidden talents they brought to the Table.
You gotta show up.
So many opportunities have been afforded to me because I was THERE. 80% of my success has come from showing up. Work Hard, Be Good to people, and shoot your shot! You have to be there to create the magic. Seize your moments. The may not come again.
Self Education is VITAL.
We learn basic fundamentals in grade school: [survival + communication], but your leadership, expertise, and promotions will come from study and real life experience. I noticed all my closest friends have concentrated home libraries and usually a few books that I’ve read too. Books symbolize a desire for growth and self-improvement. Learning is a life long journey. School will make you a living. Self education will make you a fortune.
Getting people’s buy-in is super tough.
I’m learning this everyday with the #ShineHard project. People’s Attention is divided in a million directions. “How to be a Power Connector” taught me that adding value to other people is the only way to get their buy-in. The secret sauce is to add value FIRST.
Follow your passion.
When your purpose makes the hotline bling, your phone better be Charged Up. Ok I apologize for the corny Drake pun but seriously! Your job is not your mission. At Least it wasn’t for me. I thought working for Nike would define my career and fulfill me, and yes It did for a while until I explored my passions and saw the difference. There’s nothing wrong with working hard for a company as long as it doesn’t get in the way of life’s more important areas; Health, Relationships, Passion. 10 years from now just make sure you can say you chose your life, you didn’t settle for it.
Experiences are more valuable than stuff.
The temptation will always be there to buy the latest “this” and trendiest “that.” But honestly the memories of breath taking views, drunken nights with the squad, and festive moments with loved ones will always stay with you when your “cool” stuff is old and forgotten.
Time & Access are more valuable than money.
You can always make another $500 but you will never make another 5hrs. The worst thing people do is trade precious time for minimal dollars to make other people valuable. What I’ve observed is that the key is to become a valuable person yourself. Find a bona fide way to make your time expensive and your presence a highly regarded gift.
You can travel the world on 50K.
My #Lifestyle blog will attest that I’ve circled this country 10x with coins. It’s showed me that you can have anything you want, you just can’t have everything you want. We all make sacrifices. For me, I stayed single w/ no kids, 1 credit card, good saving habits, secret apps, and generous friends. I learned from “The Richest Man in Babylon” that 15% of everything you earn is yours to keep. Also, I’ll never forget when I graduated college, The president of my university(#HamptonU), Dr. Harvey stated loud and clear, “Pay Yourself First!”
There’s nothing free in this world.
We all know bad deeds come with consequences. But even with love and adoration comes a certain price. I learned its best not to solicit what you aren’t willing to compensate or reciprocate in good conscience. People will lure you in with candy and cake, but remember, doing the “Right Thing” for you is exclusively YOUR decision to make; no one else’s. Everything comes with a price, even kindness.
There’s no love like Family.
Family are the people who raised you and the people you grew up with. The ones that accept you for how annoyingly handsome you are, the ones that remember your finest moments and that one time you got arrested. Family are ones that will always love you regardless and you them.
2 is better than 1.
Having an equal companion makes life fun and helps you become a better person. You have a weekly accountability partner and you can build something real with someone you trust. Synergy expands your bubble of success and Joy is not as enjoyable until you have someone to divide it with.
Double Standards apply to both genders.
1. A woman will get curved for behavior that makes a brother popular. 2. “A good man will never be as attractive as an attractive women until he’s successful and its publicly noted.” – 50 Cent
Keep your relationship off social media.
There’s an underrated premium on privacy in 2015. Question: How many #InstaBaes shall thy haveth? I mean to each his own, but just because people don’t see photographs doesn’t mean there isn’t somebody in the picture. Or is that just me?
If you’ve been comparing; Cut it Out!
Comparing yourself to others is an act of violence against yourself. Your journey is yours and their journey is theirs. The person you thought was an overnight success has been preparing 10 years for that moment. Silly to compare your chapter 2 to somebody else’s chapter 20. If you see success, acknowledge it, admire, and study it. Learning not to envy someone else’s blessings is what grace looks like.
Networks get bigger and Circles get smaller.
People want you to do well, but never better than them. Fortunately you don’t need everyone to like you. Friends are not always forever. For me, 17-25 was an era of temporary relationships, only a few survived! Then my friendships past 25 seemed to be enjoyable business with people I trusted and liked. New Besties are hard to come by and all your old friends are on True Life. Tis true, “It is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered.” – Aeschylus #TheShadeIsReal #How #HowImaStopBeingShady #HowImaStop?
There’s Freedom in Forgiveness.
Sure we can find temporary pleasure in holding a grudge or dealing out guilt trips, but until you let it go you’ll always be a Prisoner to the actions of others. Kill your enemies with Kindness. Forgiving others shows that you’re able to forgive yourself. It also projects superior energy and a disinterest in the Petty Labelles of the world.
People are Selfish.
Everyone you know is motivated by self-interest. Not saying people aren’t kind or generous, I’m saying people do good things because it makes them feel good or it flat out benefits them. If other people can benefit and feel good too, then hey, that’s a win/win! Hard to swallow but it is what it is. Great leaders look for win/win and surround themselves with like-minded leaders.
Social Media makes people delusional.
Why does our culture place high emphasis on social status as a sign of prosperity? I don’t know. People treat followers like accomplishments. Yet we know many people with “status” that are miserable, and conversely we know people who aren’t even on social media that are flourishing in real life. Hey I love social media, but there are many things more defining. Success will always be in the eye of the beholder.
Own your story.
My mother died when I was 13. I didn’t talk about until when I was 28. I wasn’t sure if I should, but it was heavy on my heart. Some people were shocked and many people admired me for the courage to share. Your story is your identity. Whether heroic, sad, or embarrassing, OWN IT. You never know who’s lives you will touch by sharing your experiences.
Shut up sometimes or more.
My Opinion is not always needed. Or wanted. Biting my tongue isn’t all that bad. Shoot I don’t even like talking anymore lol. I’d rather just listen. I’m putting my words on supply and demand from here on out!
Consistency is a magic formula.
I read how habits dictate the future in “The Compound Effect.” Two years ago I launched this website and at the very least of it all I’ve been relentlessly consistent with producing valuable content. The momentum of my work has significantly enhanced my energy and bettered my life. The book was right; It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you don’t stop!
Fear is the root of everyone’s problem.
The only reason people don’t do the amazing things they could or should do is because they are afraid of something. Pain, Loss, Rejection, Failure, Embarrassment, The Unknown! Shoot I feel the fear of “What if this doesn’t work?” all the time. But any accomplished person will tell you that “anything is possible” if you have the courage and faith to move out of analysis paralysis.
Health is Wealth.
There’s no point in working hard to create a great life if you don’t live long enough to enjoy it. I’m 30 and I finally figured out Red Wine makes me sleepy. Coffee helps me focus. Water is liquid crack. Working out is smart maintenance. I’m not immune to Hangovers. Fast Food is poison. Organic foods are worth the money and you’re never too old for gummy bear vitamins.
There’s power in the Pen.
No not just scattered around in your brain. You need to write them ALL; In a special notebook, in your iPhone memos, or on your dry erase board. I do all 3. When you can see it everyday in your own handwriting. It will slowly start to become real.
Switch the approach.
Be willing to change your approach for what you want. A lot of people make the mistake of only doing things their own way, instead of simply doing something different that will work. Don’t be married to any one approach. Get engaged to what you want and tie the knot with flexibility.
Change is inevitable.
The world evolves so fast it’ll make your head spin. Weren’t we just using AOL dial up & shooting duck hunt on Nintendo? Change comes at you Pronto. Trust me I’m more nostalgic than ESPN’s 30 for 30 but it seems imperative that I stay in touch with culture & technology. I see it as variety. Change is growth. If for nothing else, stay current so your grandkids don’t meme you on Facebook *when the refrigerator is smarter than you* in 40 years.
Risk is better than Regret.
I learned at Hampton that you’ll always regret what you didn’t do much more than what you did. When I miss opportunities it haunts me. I started going for it more and got kinda good at it. You’ll be surprised how often you score when you just GO FOR IT.
Adults are just children, too.
Adults are children with responsibilies. On one hand, “a lotta people gettin’ older but they never grow up.” On the other hand, young people acting like they’re too old for every’ting. It’s a challenge to grow up and still maintain a sense of youth. Curiosity, passion, and gest have no age! Use your imagination! Crack Jokes, Pull pranks, and laugh until you cry. You’re only as “old” as you feel.
I learned the meaning of life.
The blessing of life is to find your gift. The meaning of life is to use your gift. The purpose of life is to give your gift to the world.
Your Greatness is not what you have. It’s what you give!
Major key to success: Help enough other people get what they want and you can have everything you want. #TheyDontWantYouToHaveEverythingYouWant #StayFocused #IPromiseYou