43 thoughts

for 43 years on earth


musings on life after 3 years in life coaching, 9 years as a parent, 13 years in business, 25 years in a relationship, and 43 years as a human
  1. Making money is easy. Making money that aligns with your values is hard. There are countless opportunities in our world to make money, be it a living wage or substantial wealth. At the extreme, would you brew methamphetamine or steal cars? Perhaps not. But even more innocuous roles like selling cars, working for big oil, or even photographing weddings may seem like easy money that doesn’t sit true with your values. Finding a truly honest way to make your money with something that is fully congruent with your values is hard, but when you find it, you’ll realise the money isn’t the most important part. (blatantly stolen this one from Khe Hy)

  2. Invest in the bigger picture. Short wins & quick gains are not worth it, very rarely pay off, and are terribly hard to replicate. Long term thinking almost always results in success.

  3. Never feel guilty spending time with your children. I was struggling during early parenthood (see also #10) and found the battle between work/family life one of the greatest causes of my depression. A very good friend remarked to never feel guilty spending time with your children, and I needed to hear this advice. My kids are not a hindrance, they’re a purpose. They’re not a distraction, they’re the focus. Nothing should be more important than time spent with them.

  4. Don’t open the newsfeed. Seriously, just don’t.

  5. Commuting is shit. Either avoid it, or use it wisely. The value of living close to your work, or working close to your home, could be worth much more than you think. One of life’s best hacks is to avoid commuting, or if that’s not possible, use your commute to enhance your life: read; meditate; listen; catch up; contemplate; run or cycle, but don’t waste those extra hours. (Some quick math: a 30min commute is ~1,000 hours / year, which at $100/hr equals $100,000/year in lost time. Add that up over ~40 years of ‘working’ and you really should have bought that slightly more expensive house in the closer suburb.)

  6. Many of life’s problems can be solved with exercise and movement. Exercise has been proven to make you stronger, fend off diseases and ailments, ward off depression, sharpen your brain, improves sleep, slow down ageing, and on & on. Lots of people hope for a little pill to cure their ills – it already exists: move.

  7. Want to receive less emails/messages/DMs? Send less.

  8. Weather is more important to your mental wellbeing than you may realise. Weather is more important to my mental well-being than I had realised and I’m disappointed I’ve spent so much of my life in shitsville. You might be the same.

  9. Everyone is going through something. Compassion, respect, and empathy go a long way.

  10. Freud was right – it’s all about your parents. They likely went through hell raising you. Parenting can be one of the biggest causes of unhappiness, stress, depression, weight gain, career downturn, lack of fulfilment, money problems, and yet… humans continue to have kids. This isn’t to say that kids aren’t worth it, only to say that your parents likely went through hell raising you. Call them. Tell them you love them.

  11. Small daily joys can transform your life. Instead of hoping for large, life-changing events to transform life (see also #30), consider the way you can inject small doses of daily joy into your life. Drink your coffee from a LEGO mug, start your morning with uplifting music, change your car to something fun to drive, wear those crazy pants or those comfy-but-ugly shoes.

  12. Throw. Stuff. Out. (Still trying to learn this one.)

  13. Being able to focus is such a superpower. The thing that holds most people back isn’t skills or talent, it’s the ability to focus on something until done, or keep their focus on THE ONE THING.

  14. Stop paying attention to the news, find other ways for your dose of what’s important. Not paying attention to the news makes you feel very naïve & ignorant, and yet is one of the simplest ways to avoid negativity and feel happy & content. It’s a curiously interesting balance. There are other ways to get your reality orientation, explore those.

  15. Time management is just time prioritisation. When you “don’t have time” for something what you really mean is “it’s not a priority”. Having too much to do, being too busy, doing everything at once, means we haven’t prioritised our time. I’ll give you a clue: you can’t get it all done, but thinking of time in terms of priorities also makes sure we focus on the things we love rather than just trying to “get it all done”.

  16. If you spend a good portion of your life on/in/using something, invest in a good one. Good examples include your bed, driving a car, staring at a monitor, a pair of shoes – then invest in a good one(s). Bad ones will literally destroy you, good ones will make this time much more pleasant.

  17. When in doubt, get outside. Most of the greatest thinkers, creators, and artists of all time are well known to have regular walks and spending time outdoors. Your body & brain love it.

  18. When buying things, always consider the time & money balance. If you’re low on money, take more time to find deals. If you’re low on time, stop looking for great deals and just buy things quickly. 

  19. One of the major causes of unhappiness is doing things out of alignment with your values and beliefs. If your actions are incongruent with things you believe in, this causes huge internal conflicts, resulting in unhappiness, anxiety, even depression (amongst other things). Re-evaluate what actions you’re taking – do they align with your values? (See also #1.)

  20. Discipline is superior to motivation. The former can be learned, planned, trained, but the latter is fleeting. You won’t be able to accomplish great things if you’re only relying on motivation. (See also #24, #34, & #37.)

  21. Everyone really is learning as they go.

  22. Learning to communicate effectively will get you further than most other soft skills. A lot gets spoken about intelligence, hard work, organisation, empathy, creativity, or most other soft traits, but communication skills might be the most important – if you’re not that smart but can communicate ideas clearly, you have a great advantage over everybody who can’t communicate.

  23. Don’t ask, don’t get. It’s pretty simple: If you don’t ask for help or advice, you won’t receive it. Generally, people are not very good at reading your mind or your body language. If you need help or support — ask for it, 90% of the time you’ll receive it.

  24. You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. I strongly believe that the human being is capable of almost anything, and each of us could apply focus, learning, & dedication to almost anything and achieve it. However, certain achievements require insane levels of focus, and therefore discarding & ignoring so many other things. You really can’t do it all. Choose wisely.

  25. Being a sophisticated snob often means you struggle to enjoy things. Sometimes it pays to simply accept being a novice or noob, and you’ll enjoy things far more: specific examples include wine, food, movies, etc. (See also #42 about coffee).

  26. Eat with your family. Turn off the TV. No devices. Have conversations. Normalise eating with your family without distractions and watching something, you’ll have better conversations and grow better children.

  27. Zero days are the worst. Days where nothing gets done at all are the worst. Doesn’t have to be a huge accomplishment, the smallest thing can make you feel better and might even kickstart other tasks that snowball into a productive day.

  28. Do some things just because they’re cool. So many achievers are analytical, logical, programmed (at least that’s me). Some things should be done just because they’re dope. Don’t measure it or quantify it. You have one life. Just enjoy it. Do more cool.

  29. Fix your sleep. Much like daily activity and exercise, good sleep just keeps you going. Lack of sleep / bad sleep / late nights affect me physically and mentally more than anything. Yes, I’m a grandpa, yes, I’m proud of it.

  30. The journey is the reward. If I could explain one item to anyone willing to listen, it would be this one. Hedonic adaptation is real: lottery winners regress to previous happiness levels; weight loss targets are often achieved and then the weight is put back on; top sports people often struggle after their championship. Forget the goal. Focus on your journey.

  31. Everything from everyone all at once is too much. This is our modern life and – all the movies and all the music and all the news and all the chatter and all the events and all the… noise – really is too much. We created this but we have a chance to cut back.

  32. Learn to dance sober. There’s a societal crux that we must all drink when around others in social environments. Cue excess spending, drinking habits, and bad health. Photographing weddings forced me to spend time around other drunk people when I haven’t touched a drop – hundreds and hundreds of weddings and functions. You know what? It’s OK to not be drunk. Your wallet, liver, and tomorrow morning’s energy, will all benefit from it. Drink less. Dance more.

  33. Stop saying yes. Learn to respect your time and say No. Learn that “I don’t know” also means no. If you have any doubt, it’s a no. I’m not sure I believe this fully but I do know that saying No more often is critical.

  34. If you have an epiphany, use it. Epiphanies fade, or as Naval says: Inspiration is perishable. But if you act on it immediately, take the first step, make a plan, you can start changing your behavior. 

  35. Just get started. It’s true you can make a huge difference in your life by just starting something. You want a thriving business? Just build an MVP and find your first paying customers. You want to get fitter? Just start moving. 5 customers or 5 minutes of exercise can start the momentum that can snowball and grow into something great.

  36. Finish the job! Just starting is not always the answer. Sometimes the most value comes from finishing. What use is half a house, an unfinished haircut, or an under-cooked chicken? One of these could even kill you. I’m a master at starting, my office, garage, yard, life, are FULL of projects I’ve started, but you know what sort of projects need to be finished? That renovation. That presentation. That rebuild. Finish it.

  37. Pick your vision and dreams carefully, because you’re going to be doing it a lot. Succeeding at something means being good at it. Being good at something means doing it a LOT. Pick your vision carefully.

  38. Success comes from what you do constantly. 1. Do the basics. 2. Do them every day. 3. Do them for longer than 99% of are willing to. Progress is inevitable. (blatantly stolen this one from someone and I don’t know who…)

  39. Luck is encountered and stumbled upon, not handed out. If you’re waiting to receive something or arrive somewhere, its unlikely to happen, but if you’re constantly exploring, engaging, moving, then you’ll stumble upon many opportunities – you’ll get lucky. It’s hard to get lucky watching TV at home — it’s easy to get lucky when you’re engaging, connecting, and learning, physically or digitally.

  40. Functional music is life changing. Most music is designed to capture your attention, but if you haven’t discovered music that is designed to help you focus, you’re missing out. This isn’t a disguised advert for brain.fm, rather my absolute favourite subscription service. Use it every day.

  41. Don’t compare your behind the scenes to everyone else’s showreel. You’re in your life, living the day to day, riding the highs & lows, experiencing every single nitty gritty of your life, and some of it sucks. Some of it is hard. Some of it doesn’t feel good. But your dinner catch-ups with your friends, their social media posts, these are their highlights. Everyone is going through something, but most people aren’t sharing it. Have some empathy, but don’t compare your insides to everyone’s outsides. It’s not healthy. (Remember also #9.)

  42. One of life’s greatest pleasures is a good cup of coffee. One of life’s greatest disappointments is a bad cup of coffee. This juxtaposition between pleasure and disappointment can feel like a knife edge – when you’ve got it good, keep it going.

  43. Call your parents.