32 Things I've learned by 32
I turned 32 last week and one of my friends asked me for what I've learned so far in life. It's always a useful exercise to sit down and reflect. Here's my advice:
1. Don't Worry
Worrying, stressing, and feeling anxiety about things that may happen are not worth it. Most worrying is an internal dialouge we create to think about worst case scenarios that most likely won't happen. It's easy to say & tough to do, but if you work on the right things, be consistent, and stay positive good things will happen to you.
2. This is the most exciting time of your life
Two years ago, I was having lunch with my friend Richard in SF. Richard is in his 80's and is one of the wisest people I know. We were discussing the current challenges I was working on growing my business. Towards the end of our discussion, he said "These moments you are going through right now are the most exciting time of your life. You're young, you've found something that is working and growing, and sure there are challenges. But that's what makes it fun. When you're older you'll look back at this time as the most fun period of your life. So remember to really enjoy it right now."
3. Appreciate the people in your life
Do not take anyone for granted in your life. Life is extremely precious and within a moment these people could be gone. Show your love, appreciation, and gratitude for everyone that you are lucky enough to have in your life.
4. Don't be afraid
At the end of the day, we're just very tiny organisms on a small rock that's flying through space in a much larger galaxy. For all we know, we could be living in a simulation. So don't be afraid to go after what you want in life. Ask out that girl or guy, start that business, leave that job. Do what makes you happy.
5. Be kind
We need less jerks in the world.
6. Put in the work
There is no substitute for working hard and doing it consistently. There are some people that say "I like to work smart, not hard" -- Most of those people don't know what they're talking about. Work smart and hard.
7. Be Rational
So many of our decisions are made irrationally based on biases that we later justify to make ourselves feel like we made a rational decision. Take the time to learn about these biases & have a good decision making process so you can make rational decisions.
8. We are pretty much just computers
If our body is the hardware, our brain is the software. We can continue to upgrade our software everyday. Eating right, being smart with our "Information diet", lifting weights, etc. We're not just randomly making decisions - treat your body & mind like a computer.
9. Find Love
When I was in my 20's I said that I wouldn't get into a serious relationship until I was in my 40's. What a stupid thing to think. Falling in love with the right partner has led me to care about things beyond myself, increased by ambition and driven me to succeed not just for myself, but for my family.
10. Be worthy of a worthy partner
This one is from Charlie Munger. If you are attracting the wrong kind of partners in your life, the issue is most likely with you. If you want someone you believe you deserve, you must actually deserve them.
11. Change the world by changing yourself
It is too tough to change other people - imagine how tough it is to change our own habits. Many people want to make a lot of money but disguise it by building a company with the goal of "changing the world". Imagine if each of us just changed ourselves by becoming a little better, kinder, more rational. If we all did that, we'd change the world by changing ourselves.
12. Stay away from toxic people
Some people will come into your life but they will end up being toxic. You must stay away from these people. One heuristic I've used to assess if I can't trust someone or I believe they may be toxic is that after I get on a call with them, do I feel exhausted? I believe this is because your brain is actively trying to reconcile what the person is saying vs what their actual intentions are.
13. Get Screwed ... a little bit
The counter point to point 12 is that if you don't trust anyone then you may miss out on some amazing opportunities in life. So you have to trust people, but if they show they can't be trusted then immediately disengage.
14. Protect the downside
It's great to make asymmetric bets. You typically want to manage your downside by making sure that if you're making a bet it can't ruin you or wipe you out. Many people only focus on the upside when making decisions -- Ask yourself what's the downside or worst that could happen? And what's the probability of that occuring?
15. Be vulnerable
Everyone is overcoming their own challenges. If you let your guard down a bit and are vulnerable with people you make deeper connections and have better relationships.
16. Proactively manage your time
Each of us have 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week. Before the week gets started, I like to proactively set an intention for every 30 minutes to 1 hour of my time that I am awake. This allows me to manage my life and time in advance which allows me to accomplish the things I want. If you don't have a proactive plan then your days, weeks, months, and years will get taken up by other people's priorities. One day you will wake up and the years will have passed you by.
17. Be Intentional
What is your vision for life? It's amazing to me how most people haven't thought about this question. If you set a vision for life that is in alignment with how you want to live then you can begin working backwards and align your goals, priorities, time, and relationships to be in alignment with your vision for life. This vision may change every year and that's ok, but be intentional about it rather than just sleepwalking through life.
18. Lift weights & eat healthy
This changes your life. Remember Point 8, we are pretty much comptuers. Don't load your computer up with viruses (junk food).
19. Help others
I've found great joy in helping young people who are at an inflection point in their career and want to start a business. I was there and I can vividly remember the feeling. Going back to point 11, change yourself and then help 1 other person change who wants to change -- we can change the world that way. How can you help others based on your life experiences?
20. Publish your thoughts
I'm amazed by content creators. It takes time, effort, and thoughtfulness to publish your thoughts on the internet for the world to see. But the rewards are plentiful. You probably have some niche that you are interested in or you are definitely unique in some particular way that no one else in this world is. Lean into that and share your thoughts, you'll be amazed by how many people resonate with your thoughts.
21. Become a writer
Writing is a great way to clarify your thinking. Most of the time when I sit down to write I realize that I haven't fully thought through a topic I thought I knew very well. Writing is also a great way to attract like-minded people into your life.
22. The internet is still extremely under-appreciated
In the pre-internet days you were bound to making relationships and friends based on your location. Now, with the click of a button I can become friends with someone who lives in India, China, Africa, Dubai, and Russia all in the same day. The scale & reach of the internet is still not appreciated by most people.
23. Develop a strong mindset
Not many people would've thought we would have a global pandemic this year. The main reason that I was able to get through it was because I have actively worked over the years to develop a strong & positive mindset. This will help you in every single situation you experience in life.
24. Becoming a father is the best feeling in the world.
Giving someone a life is the most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed and the best feeling I have experienced. Don't listen to all the negative things some people say -- it's the best thing I have ever experienced.
25. Live well below your means.
If you can "afford" a $1M house, then buy a $200k house. Instead of determining how much you can save after all your expenses, invert that. Determine how you want to save & invest each month and then determine what you can spend. Banks need to lend you money, so they are incentivized to loan you as much as possible. Your future self will thank you for saving money and then investing that money intelligently.
26. And then Raise your income.
You can only cut expenses so far. There's this stupid meme about not buying Starbucks everyday. If I spent $5 on Starbucks everyday that would be $1,825 a year on Starbucks. Wouldn't it be more productive to start a business that can generate that money, rather than cutting out something I want? You probably have some skill that you can generate an additional $1.8k on from. Remember, your earning potential is uncapped but there's always a lower bound on how much you can cut expenses.
27. Find your tribe
We are social creatures and we need human interaction to survive. Deliberately choose people to hang out with that you admire and will help you become the best version of yourself.
28. Live with your siblings
Sameer, if you're reading this I still am up for buying a mansion and each of us living in the West / East wing of the house.
29. Pay Attention to detail
It's very evident when you can tell people care about what they are doing. They go above and beyond and surprise you by surpassing minimal expectations. In a world where so many people are just watching the clock and ready to dip by 5 pm, the people who put in 20% more effort show they actually care.
30. Do the things you know you should
This is mainly a reminder to myself. There are times where I have had something come back to me because I didn't do something I knew I should have done previously.
31. Act like an owner
If you act like an owner it will create a new way of thinking for you. You, your team, and your company will be more successful because of it.
32. Read Books
You don't need to stick your finger in the electrical outlet to know it's a bad idea. So much knowledge is packed in books that if you read deliberately you'll be smarter, avoid mistakes, and achieve better outcomes.