|Me and Ashika at my 29th birthday party last night.|
I turned 29 yesterday. (If you’re reading this and you’re way younger than me and you’re going, ‘God damn it that guy is old,’ trust me when I tell you that I’ve never felt more youthful in my entire life, and that aging really is a state of mind. Also, shut up dick!) I like to think that we glean a few pearls of wisdom as we get older, even if we don’t put them into practice on a day to day basis, so without further ado, here are the top 10 things I’ve learned over the past 29 years. Feel free to add yours in the comments below.
1. This too shall pass. Remember all those times in life that you’ve been devastated by a relationship breakup or ecstatically happy because of a promotion or terrified by a glass elevator going up an 85 storey building or mortified by a public argument with your best friend? In short, anytime that you’ve been in a severely heightened state of emotion? Try to keep in mind that you’re probably not going to feel this way forever, and that reacting impulsively to your emotions is never a good call, regardless of whether those extreme emotions are positive or negative. I should know, I come from the school of flip out first, ask questions later. It gets me in all kinds of trouble. This too shall pass. Keep it in mind (I will if you do).
2. Dress for the job you want. We have an enormous amount of control over our personal appearance, but we don’t always take advantage of what we’ve got. It’s not about size or shape or height or money or any of those other things (most of the best dressed guys I know are not 6’2″ and toned with perfect skin, a full head of hair and amazing teeth), it’s about developing a look that really works and sticking with it. Fight it as much as you like, but it’s a fact of life: People will take you more seriously if you look the part. My mate Austin Wong is the perfect example. You never know what he’s going to turn up in, but you always know that it’s going to be spectacular and he never disappoints. The respect that guy gets is akin to an A-list celebrity. I am currently working on following my own advice, which means more trips to the tailor and less instances of wearing the same outfit five days in a row.
3. Don’t hurt people’s feelings. It will come back around and bite you in the butt, and karma is a cruel mistress.
4. Treat everyone with the same amount of respect. It goes without saying that we should make an effort to be more polite to the elderly and our mothers than our mates, but don’t treat your waiter with less respect than you’d give your boss. Also, try not to get so starstruck around celebrities/good looking people/dignitaries that you lose all consciousness of what you’re saying. I’ve most definitely been there, and it is never a good look.
5. Stay in close contact with your family, but most of all with your siblings – you’ll know them longer than anyone else in your entire life. My Mum said that to me one time about 15 years ago and it’s stuck with me ever since. Don’t get me wrong, my sister and I can have a fierce battle, but I’ll know her longer than I know anyone, I’m the Uncle to her kids and she’ll eventually be the Aunty to mine. Kids need cousins! Don’t deny yours!
6. Nobody is going to come up to you out of the blue and offer you your dream job. And that right there is the difference between successful people and the rest of the population. Everyone I know who’s ever done something huge has worked tirelessly to achieve whatever it is that they desire. It’s much easier to sit back and wait and hope, but the reality is that we make our own opportunities.
7. 10% of everything you earn is yours to keep. When I was a teenager my uncle gave me a book named The Richest Man in Babylon, which is a dummy’s guide to growing your wealth. The key message is that we should save 10% of our income every month, then use that money to make more money. It’s a simple read and a failsafe formula, and every time I’ve ever done it in my life, I’ve come out so far on top it’s ridiculous that I don’t do it on a daily basis. Try it out.
8. Honesty is not necessarily the best policy, but trustworthiness always is. At some stage in our lives we’re all faced with situations that could go one of two ways and we have the opportunity to do the right thing or the wrong thing. I’m not just talking about staying faithful in our relationships, but smaller things like the guy at the convenience store giving you too much change, or telling a friend a secret about another friend that they asked you to keep. Do the right thing!
9. Get rid of the vampires. Just because you’ve known someone for a long time and they’re part of your life, doesn’t mean they’re good for you. If a friend/boyfriend/workmate takes more than they give or sucks the happiness from your life then they’re probably not the kind of person you should be keeping around. Get rid of them.
10. Patience is a virtue. I had dinner with a married friend the other night who told me that when he first got together with his wife, they had a conversation about children. He said that he’d be quite happy to have them straight away, she said she eventually wanted them, but she wasn’t ready yet. Five years later, they haven’t had children, and he has never once brought it up or pressed the issue. Why? Because he knows that when she is ready, she’ll tell him. I have this constant fear that if I don’t bring up whatever it is that’s concerning me, it won’t be solved. Often it exacerbates the problem instead of hastening the solution. If I was more patient, I’d probably get what I wanted quicker. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to adopt an approach quite so patient as my friend, but it’s inspirational nonetheless.
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