5 Lessons Learned at 25
1. Life is a marathon, not a sprint
Growing up, it was so easy to get lost doing the things I knew other people would approve of. This is human nature. I’ve realized that the hardest things to do in life are the ones that are best for me in the long run rather than the ones that are easily accepted in the short run. It’s too easy to get caught up in doing what society wants from me — it’s a lot harder to overcome this and accomplish what I want for me. If I can truly accept this and put it fully into practice, I know that I can accomplish anything I want. And so can you.
2. Success = sacrifice
There are so many things I want to do in life — but there’s such a short amount of time to do them. This is sad and beautiful at the same time because it makes me prioritize the things in life that really matter to me. If you really want to accomplish something big, you have to sacrifice a lot of the things you want just a little. This is a reality of life. The quicker we’re able to accept the realities of life, the quicker we’re able to navigate around them and begin to use them to our advantage. It’s not easy to put aside things like entertainment, sports, leisure. I work hard to sacrifice these things because I know they won’t help me achieve my goals. Sometimes the smallest sacrifices have the biggest impact.
3. Never chase the money
I’ve learned over the last few years that chasing the money always leads me away from happiness. I always thought that money would make me happy because that’s what society led me to believe. As you get closer to having the money you want, you realize that you’re often farther away from accomplishing your real goals (which for me is impacting a lot of people). Accomplishing our real goals is what leads us to true happiness. The most financially successful people I know have one consistent thing in common — none of them ever chased the money. They chased what they loved and the money they earned was the side effect of being great at that one thing. I think everyone begins to understand this more as they age. I’m working to understand this as best as I can now so I have more time to be happy and enjoy my life.
4. You are who you hang out with
I heard this quote years ago and it stuck:
“If you’re the smartest one in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”
I never thought I was the smartest one in the room but this made me realize I had to make an effort to surround myself with people who were much smarter than me. I slowly started gravitating towards the people and situations I knew I can learn from. It was really hard to accept that I was mostly powerless in these situations, acting as a sponge rather than a firehose. But slowly I realized how much this helped me grow. To this day I strive to surround myself only with people who I can learn from — even if it’s just one thing. This is the only way I know how to grow.
5. Focus less on accomplishments, focus more on you
After lots of resistance and hesitation I had a revelation. The only constant through all of life’s situations will be me — myself. I am the one thing that every event in my life will have in common. Therefore, in order to make those future events better, I need to work on bettering myself if I want to better the outcome of those events. I’ve always been goal oriented and accomplishments focused, but the realization here is that by working on myself and making myself a better person each day, I will accomplish much more in the end.
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I just didn’t know
At 22 I joined a startup to get as much exposure to different functions as possible. The idea was to work along side many different teams - and by along side I mean literally next to - so I can hear the conversations, understand the day to day, and really learn what it was that I had an affinity towards. This allowed me to rule out 90% of what I thought I might be interested in and focus on moving toward the 10% that I actually was interested in. If you have no idea what you want to do then I highly recommend optimizing your strategy for exposure: the goal should be to expose yourself to as many people with different backgrounds and focus areas as you can. I was able to realize the things I was both good at and interested in, and ultimately find the functions of business that allowed me to express both.
If there’s a road that leads to perfect, the road that travels in the opposite direction leads to launching. Nothing will ever be perfect—not your product, service, messaging, etc. But the only real way to test it is by getting your work in front of people. Flaws can be adjusted, but the only way to find them is to get your work out there.
The internet is seeing a shift. We’re information-saturated, but knowledge-deficient.
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Sky Deutschland, the German wing of TV provider Sky, is testing a marketing concept that may be pure evil genius, or possibly just pure evil. The BBC and others report that Sky Deutschland and advertising company BBDO have tested a concept that would pipe messages directly into the heads of people who try to rest or sleep against train windows. The idea, which was first unveiled at the advertising-focused Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in late June, is known as the Talking Window. It uses bone conduction like that found in headphones, hearing aids, and Google Glass to send vibrations through a window.