In the last 31 years of my life, I’ve been lucky enough to experience:
- Working from anywhere in world. I’m literally sitting in Barcelona right now as I am writing this. My apartment is in San Francisco.
- Falling in love. For the last year I’ve been flying across the world for the person I love. And by flying I don’t mean a quick 2 hour flight. I’m talking about 15-hour one-way flights.
- Creating work I’m passionate about. I’ve written an Amazon Resumes Bestseller called “The Resume is Dead” that has over 40,000 downloads, created 4 top 100 iPhone apps and started CEO Lifestyle, a motivational blog that hit over 8,000 subscribers in a few months.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned 10 key lessons in life that I wanted to share with you. I hope this helps you live the best life possible.
Here are the top 10:
- Find your spark – A few times in life you will find your spark. It could be that art class you took in Italy. It could be the love interest you meet at a conference party. It could be the startup that you work late into the night for. It could be that best friend of yours that inspires you to start a motivational website. When you find that spark, hold on to it. Nurture it. It will propel you to new heights and help you grow in ways you can’t even imagine.
- It’s either an absolute “Yes” or “No” – This is especially true in relationships. If you have one foot out the door half the time, it will never work. Real love is born out of commitment and selflessness. So ask yourself – is it an absolute “Yes” or “No?” Don’t settle. When things get rocky, you’ll need someone by your side who is an “absolute yes.” Life’s too short to live in a grey area.
- People tell half-truths often – A half truth is a statement that conveys only part of the truth, especially one used deliberately in order to deceive someone. People do this to protect themselves. To portray themselves in a certain light. To protect you. To protect their friends and family. Instead of letting yourself be a victim of these half truths, learn to detect them. It will save you a lot of time and energy. Which leads to my next point…
- To find the truth, observe actions, not words – It’s easy to say what you’re going to do. It’s easy to say what you feel. But more times than not, words can be very empty. For example, it’s easy to talk about a business idea that you have – but can you execute on it? It’s easy to tell people that you love them – but can you actually step up when times get rough? Let’s take this a step further. If you can discover the actions of others when you’re not present, that’ll definitely give you insight into someone’s character. Remember: actions, not words.
- Time heals – In a moment of stress, it can feel like the world is coming to an end. Our brains and bodies have been conditioned to be in “fight or flight” mode. So when we encounter tough situations, a lot of times we’ll have a physiological reaction to a perceived threat. That’s why humans are so quick to react in bad situations. We stress. We worry. We panic. The evolutionary purpose of this is really evident during prehistoric times. Often times a person would be in a position where they would have to make a choice quickly. If they didn’t react quickly, they might end up being dinner for a predator like a lion. Thus, the fight of flight response effectively removes “thinking” from this equation so that we could respond quickly to survive. However, times have changed and this type of reaction can often be a detriment. Nowadays, if you run into a moment of stress, anger or extreme sadness, don’t react immediately. Let yourself feel the emotions and give yourself some time to calm down and to think before reacting. Oftentimes what I find is that by the time the next day has come, a lot of those heightened emotions have passed. Time heals. Embrace it.
- Buy experiences to maximize happiness – Those new shoes you just got? Sure, they look nice on you. When you’re laying on your death bed many years from now, do you think you’ll think about those shoes? No way. You’ll think about all the amazing life experiences you had. Whether it’s a trip to Spain, a biking trip across the Golden Gate Bridge, a last minute trip to Las Vegas, a moment of cuddling on the rooftop with a view of the city or a night of laughter with old friends over a bottle of wine. These experiences have the power to change and shape your life.
- You’re responsible for your own life – It’s easy to blame others. And yes, sometimes people will do things to you that suck. So what? Control what you can. Stop spending time with those people. Choose people that actually inspire you and make you a better person. You’re responsible for your own life. Make the hard decisions – you’ll have a better life for it. Even if you’re wrong, you’ll quickly learn from it and become a better person. You’re the CEO of your own life. Take control.
- Being authentic is important – Life’s too short to pretend you’re someone you’re not. It takes a tremendous amount of energy and effort to put up a facade. Be true to who you are. Own it. People appreciate authenticity. The best part about being authentic? You’ll know exactly who really enjoys being around you. Those that do not won’t stick around.
- Add value to people’s lives first, and the money will follow – When you start a business, don’t just think about how it makes money. Yes, that’s important, but a better foundation for a business is based on one simple question: “How does this make people’s lives better?” Having a user centric approach is critical to your success. If you’re driving a huge amount of value for people, they’ll pay for it. Want examples? Robinhood (the finance app) makes it incredibly easy for people to trade stocks and removes the worry around trading fees. According to CNN, they had a waitlist of over 340,000 people. It became viral because the value they provided to the user was so incredible. Want another example? Companies are constantly struggling to find great development and design talent. So what did Toptal (the company I work at) do? They screened over 100,000 people to bring the top 3% of freelance developers and designers to these companies. Now they have over 2,500 customers like AirBnB and JPMorgan Chase. Ask yourself – how are you driving value for people?
- Sometimes the hardest part is simply starting – Run.
If you can’t run, do 100 pushups.
If you can’t do 100 pushups, do 100 sit-ups.
If you can’t do 100 sit-ups, do 100 squats.
If you can’t do 100 squats, do 100 lunges.
If you can’t do 100 lunges, do 100 bicep curls.
If you can’t do 100 bicep curls…
Write 100 words.
If you can’t write 100 words, brainstorm 100 writing ideas.
If you can’t brainstorm 100 writing ideas, read 100 posts from writers on Quora.
If you can’t read 100 posts from writers on Quora, listen to 100 minutes of an audiobook.
If You can’t listen to 100 minutes on an audiobook…
Cook a healthy breakfast like a 2 egg omelette.
If you can’t cook a healthy breakfast like a 2 egg omeltte, make a green smoothie.
If you can’t make a green smoothie, eat a piece of fruit.
This list could go on and on…
Want to know the secret?
Step 1: Substitute “run,” “write” or “cook” with any action.
Step 2: Substitute “100″ with any number that works for you. 50, 15, 5…it doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that you take action.
The inertia will get you going.
Make the choice to get up every day, to look at life with a full and open heart and to take massive action.
Our lives begin the moment we decide to start.