I learn everything the hard way. How do I know not to drink and drive? I got a DUI. When I was younger, I got a high-interest credit card and, later in life, filed for bankruptcy. There are lessons that you learn that will fundamentally change who you are as a person And as a man. I want to go over some of these lessons I learned the hard way, which I feel fortunate I discovered when I did because a lot of people go through their entire life blind.
You don’t know what you don’t know, but learning these things puts life into perspective. Perspective is a good thing. I hope you’re smarter than me and can learn from my experiences instead of going through the pain and suffering I did. Here are some lessons I wish I had known sooner.
Words of wisdom from my experiences
Health. Your health is your number one valuable asset because it doesn’t matter how rich or famous you are, if you’re not healthy, nothing else matters. This was brought into crystal-clear perspective and clarity when a few friends got sick recently. I also lost my mother-in-law to dementia last year. It was harrowing and traumatic. Currently, a good friend, Stephen, is dealing with cancer. He has lung cancer which he’s been dealing with for a long time, but it came back. He’s currently in the hospital dealing with it. When things like this happen, you feel incredibly helpless.
Time. Every day you choose how to invest your time. You choose whether you’re surfing the internet or working out to take care of yourself. Do the things that you need to make yourself progress forward.
“I love you.” Tell the people that you love them today, not tomorrow. Tell the person that you love today because nobody is guaranteed tomorrow. I learned this the hard way when my brother-in-law passed away at 44 years old and his sleep from an aneurysm. There’s no do-over.
Bad things happen to good people. Do not think that you’re alone. Sometimes we are collateral damage and other people’s shit. It’s not that these people meant to make you feel bad or hurt you; they’re just dealing with their own issues.
Family. You can’t choose your family. Yes, they are all crazy. Every single one of them has issues.
Friends. You can choose your friends. Choose wisely and surround yourself with higher-quality people.
Shitty people. You need to understand there are shitty people out in the world and accept it, but protect yourself. This was hard for me to wrap my brain around because I thought most people were good. But when something terrible happens to you, such as identity or account theft, you realize there are horrible people out there. People will literally steal from you and ruin your life rather than work for it. Aura is a company that I have been using for years. When my identity was stolen, I was terrified and emotionally devastated. I felt vulnerable and helpless. I first signed up with LifeLock, but then I found Aura, which is more affordable and has everything linked in one place.
Pretty people. Good people are better than pretty people. Our society has become whacked because we allow people to do and say horrible things just because they are hot, have a lot of money, or are famous. The good people are the ones that we should idolize and lift up. We should aspire to be like these good people.
Social media. I wish I had learned the lesson sooner that the less time you spend on social media, the better for your mind, productivity, happiness, and dopamine. Dopamine is supposed to be released when we do something challenging to help us sustain our life or procreate. It’s our reward system. But the problem is that social media makes dopamine release like crazy. Start feeling better and more motivated by not sitting on your ass playing video games or surfing the internet.
Money. Money won’t make you happy. Sure, it will make solving problems easier, but it won’t make you happier. If you’re a horrible or unhappy person, money will not improve that. You have to work on those things.
True friends. You won’t know who your true friends are until tragedy strikes. Everybody wants to be around you when things are great, but when the chips are down, who you call and how they respond is an accurate indicator of your true friends.
Success. Success sometimes looks different from the way you hoped it would or expected it would. The truth is that you’ll go through life, and in your journey, you will get punched in the face and fail. You’ll have to pick yourself up. Also, sometimes the things you initially thought mattered and would make you feel accomplished or successful are different. Be wise enough to understand that sometimes you must give up on a dream or goal and redefine what success looks like to grab the next idea. Even if life shuts the door, you must understand that there will always be options. Keep your eyes open and move forward.