September 29


40 Lessons by 40

To celebrate my 40th birthday last month, my wife and I took a trip to the Big Island in Hawaii. This was the first trip we had taken since the birth of our son and we were excited (and a bit anxious) to be able to enjoy a much-needed adults-only vacation. While we were on the island, I had a chance to reflect on the most significant lessons I have learned in my first 40 years on this planet.

As I was writing this list, it was interesting to see the variety of sources that these lessons came from. Some came from personal victories, others came from the mentors I've learned from, and a lot of them came as a result of personal mistakes, failures, and discouragements.

You may have learned (and shared) some of these same lessons, while others may be new to you.

Which lesson resonates the most with you?

Polulu Vally, Hawaii

  1. Time is your most valuable resource. You can always make more money, but you can never get more time.
  2. Sacrificing your health for money or your career is a terrible investment.
  3. Many of the things you take for granted in your life are the very things someone else is wishing for. Be grateful for what you have while you pursue what you want.
  4. What happens to you is less important than how you respond.
  5. Your friends are the extended family that you get to choose.
  6. Change is inevitable, but growing through change is your choice.
  7. The best legacy you can leave for your kids is the development of their character. What you leave for them is far less important than what you leave in them.
  8. First impressions and how you show up in the world matters. When you meet someone you don't know, be the first person to smile and greet them.
  9. Do more than you get paid for as an investment in your future.
  10. Never let the opinions of others determine your self-worth. Opinions are the cheapest commodities on earth.
  11. Be careful of who you allow into your inner circle. Whether you realize it or not, they are renting space in your head. Association breeds assimilation.
  12. There is always room for improvement, no matter how good you are. The master is forever a student.
  13. Be known for keeping your word. Your word is your worth.
  14. Forgiveness gives you peace and nourishes your soul. It's more about you than the person you are forgiving.
  15. Be willing to fail as part of your path to success. Failing is the price you pay for experience and experience is the prerequisite for success.
  16. Mentorship is the bridge from potential to achievement.
  17. Feedback is a cup that only the strong can drink from. Soliciting constructive feedback from people you trust and respect is a critical part of your development.
  18. Trust your intuition. It rarely steers you in the wrong direction.
  19. Show respect in your conversations by being present. Ignoring distractions (like your phone), maintaining eye contact, and listening actively builds rapport and trust.
  20. When you feel stuck, ask yourself what someone you admire would do if they were in your position.
  21. Stay grounded in your faith and spirituality. It will give you the peace of mind and confidence to persevere through life's biggest challenges.
  22. Don't take advice from people who don't have what you want. There will never be a shortage of unqualified people who are eager to give you unsolicited advice.
  23. Comparing yourself to others is a mental trap. It will distort your sense of reality and erode your self-image. You never know what someone else went through to get where they are or how truthful they are being. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday.
  24. You cannot change other people, no matter how badly you want to. The best you can do is live your life in a way that inspires others to change themselves.
  25. Don't try to live up to other people's expectations for who you should be. The only expectations that truly matter are the ones you place on yourself.
  26. Life experiences are more valuable than material items.
  27. Listen to your body, not your ego. Small medical concerns left untreated can quickly escalate into chronic lifelong pain.
  28. Living your life trying to impress others leads to losing touch with your true identity.
  29. Staying true to your moral compass is far more important than a bigger paycheck or a promotion. Ethics matter, especially in the long run.
  30. If someone tells you that you can't do something that is important to you, let that motivate you to prove them wrong. Turn your haters into motivation.
  31. Become known as a person of integrity. Live your life in such a way that the people who know you would defend you if your integrity was questioned.
  32. Don't get stuck in disappointments of the past. You are a product of your past, not a victim of it.
  33. Be careful of becoming complacent with past achievements. One of the biggest enemies of your future success is your past success.
  34. Leadership starts with you. You can't effectively lead others until you have learned how to lead yourself.
  35. Everyone makes mistakes. It takes maturity to be willing to admit it.
  36. Make time for yourself. There is tremendous value in solitude. Identify what practices will benefit you most (prayer, meditation, journaling, yoga, etc).
  37. Asking for help doesn't mean you are weak, it means you are wise.
  38. You can always do better. Commit to being a lifelong learner and practice constant and never-ending improvement.
  39. Surround yourself with quality people who believe in you and your goals. These will be the people in your corner supporting and encouraging you when you feel discouraged.
  40. Successful people constantly expand their comfort zone.


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