Five days from now marks my 25th trip around the sun. As Joe Walsh said, “Life’s been good to me so far.” I’ve been blessed to wake up every day and do stuff that I mostly enjoy doing, with people I enjoy being around, in a place I enjoy living. I am truly grateful.
A few months ago, I had the idea to post 25 things I’ve learned about life in (nearly) 25 years on this earth. I started this on Facebook 20 days ago, posting 1 thing per day for 25 days. With t-minus 5 days and counting, I figured now would be a good time to start posting them on my website.
These “learnings” are in no particular order. Some might call them “rules” or “laws” (like 12 Rules for Life or The 48 Laws of Power), but I’m not sure either term is correct. So for now, I’m simply calling this series of posts “25 at 25”.
You may agree or disagree with these observations, and that’s fine. I am happy to hear other thoughts and perspectives. (If you do have one, please write me and let me know!)
Without further ado, here we go…
25 at 25 #1: What you wear influences how you feel.
Despite working from home during coronavirus, I’ve continued to wear a polo shirt like I’d wear to work. I wear my elegant Seiko watch instead of my G-Shock. And, during springtime, I still wore chinos. (Now it’s summer in Texas and I’m wearing shorts—obviously.)
I’ve seen this play out throughout my life. Dressing sharp brings confidence and poise. It also attracts the right kind of attention, which in turn boosts your confidence… and creates a sort of virtuous cycle. (That’s one reason you should dress up for job interviews, hot dates, big events….)
Dressing haphazardly or sloppily can have the opposite effect. Logo t-shirts and cargo shorts might be easy to throw on, but it’s not what you want to wear if you’re looking to elevate your spirits—at least in my experience.
I figure as long as I have to wear clothes, I’d might as well clothes that are comfortable and make me feel good about myself. (But don’t expect to see me wearing a suit and tie if I’m working in the yard.)
25 at 25 #2: Life is good.
I don’t mean this as a cliché saying.
I mean that life, the state of being alive, is a good, beautiful, and valuable thing and should be cherished.
If you ever think that life is rotten, remember that there is no one else like you on this planet. The world needs you. The world needs your uniqueness.
And if you ever feel down, remember that the low points of life will just make the high points feel even higher.
Life is good.
25 at 25 #3: Everyone acts in their own self-interest all the time.
This sounds very Machiavellian on the surface, but think about it for a minute.
Even when you act selfless or give to someone else in some way, you’re doing it because you feel rewarded for the good feeling you get for being selfless (as opposed to the pain you’d feel for being selfish).
That’s one reason it’s important to give some of what you have to those who have not; the act of giving places you in a position of abundance, makes you feel wealthy (even if you’re not, in relative terms), and (I believe) invites greater success in life.
So, act in your own self-interest and help yourself by helping others.
25 at 25 #4: Journal something every day.
Yes, I’m a writer and I’m very introspective. Therefore, I’m probably more likely than most to keep a journal.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t journal if you don’t like to write or aren’t “in tune” with your thoughts and feelings.
A couple years ago, I read a blog post about a man whose life was in a rut. He hated his job, his relationship with his wife was on the rocks, his wallet was empty, etc. He started journaling as a way to express himself.
But instead of just writing about how awful everything was, he started writing about things he was thankful every day. Just a few bits of gratitude he had towards God, towards other people, towards how his day went.
Two years and over 730 journal entries later, he had considerably turned his life around. He had moved into a better job that he enjoyed, his marriage was stronger than ever, and he no longer had more month at the end of his money.
He credited journaling every day for turning his life around. Specifically, he believes it was his “gratitude journaling”.
Now, that’s not to say that your life will improve so dramatically by journaling and being thankful. But I can tell you firsthand that it’s improved my outlook on life, and I am a much better person for it.
So give journaling a try and get your thoughts and feelings out on paper. Be thankful for anything that went right today and show gratitude to those who make your life even just a little bit better.
25 at 25 #5: Always carry something for storing ideas.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been doing something mundane and had a lightbulb moment.
“This is the perfect solution for my client!” while taking a shower.
“That would be a great idea for a novel!” while driving around.
“I need to write that riff down!” while I’m listening to a street band in Prague and my guitar is an ocean away.
And so on.
Those are all real situations I’ve found myself in. Lots of times I have a notebook on hand for jotting things down. Sometimes I just use OneNote on my phone. (OneNote is the best, by the way.)
Ideas are fleeting, so capture them when they come to you. Entertain them, even if you don’t pursue them, by writing them down. You’ll open yourself up to having more and more good ideas—and you should keep writing them down.
And when you have a really, really great idea… you’ll be ready to grab hold of it, explore it, and maybe… just maybe… bring it into reality.
I hope you enjoyed these first 5 observations. If you’d like to continue reading, here are the next 5.
Thanks for reading!