Originally appeared on Thought Catalog

Recently a friend of mine told me that as human beings we spend the first half of our lives collecting, and the second half of our lives determining what to keep. Having just celebrated my 39th birthday these words hit home and it got me thinking about the lessons I have learned that I hope I never forget.

1. There are no words more powerful than, “I saw this and thought of you.”An unexpected gift at an unexpected time is the way into a persons heart.

2. The best way to write your own story is to ask people about theirs.

3. Most relationships that last are cemented in the moments when you are “uncool.” Be vulnerable.

4. No “Hall of Famer” has ever hit more home runs than singles. Aim to advance, not perfect.

5. The more interesting the life, the more sacred the routine. Freedom can only be created through discipline.

6. Guru´s will teach you what works for them, mentors will teach you what works for you. Choose mentors.

7. The best way to stop thinking about something that you do not want to do, is to do it and immediately move on. If you have to kiss a toad, it will not get any better looking the longer you wait.

8. The more people you are nice to, the more people are nice to you.

9. The possibility of helping someone doubles if you lead with your two ears and not with your one mouth. Listen to people when they speak, most people don´t.

10. Passion is not something you find, it is something you bring. Going through the motions never got anyone anywhere.

11. Most brave people are still cowards 99.9% of the time.

12. When your thoughts are in the gutter, focus on your body to get it out.Nothing looks worse after a run or after a good night sleep.

13. Speaking of running, the best time to make the decision to do it, is after you run the first mile. Just get started.

14. The answer to most peoples challenges is an introduction away. Connect people.

15. One person´s dream is always another persons reality, the difference is that one got moving while the other stood still.

16. If you keep score, you will never win. Good deeds will eventually get returned.

17. What gets communicated the best, gets done the best. Think like a philosopher, but speak and write like a truck driver.

18. A good partner is the best life hack you will never read about.

19. Speaking of partners, reach for them instead of your phone in the morning.

20. Human contact is the most important part of a morning routine that no one ever talks about.

21. Speaking of morning routines, practicing gratitude is a great way to start the day, but showing it is even better. Do not just write down or think about the people you are grateful for, tell them.

22. There is no better way to clarify your thoughts and better express them than by writing them down.

23. Instinct is everything. Surround yourself with people who challenge your way of thinking, but give your gut the last word.

24. Most negative feedback comes from the people who care about us the most. Embrace it and embrace them.

25. A financial success that ends in divorce is not a success. Balance matters.

26. How well you end up doing the things that are on your to-do list is often determined by how well you spend your time when you have nothing to do.

27. Figure out your own definition of meditation and do it everyday. Those that live in the present moment, win.

28. The best way to avoid a problem is to pick up a book.

29. Who we decide to spend our time with is the biggest decision we will ever make, so be ruthless in that decision. One toxic friend can undo the actions of loads of positive ones.

30. Not all great friends make a strong first impression. Give people time to show themselves.

31. Even if you do not have children, spend time with them. Curiosity is contagious.

32. Before setting out to change the opinions of others, think about how hard it is for you to change. Aim for understanding, not conversion.

33. Friends become old friends by keeping in contact. Check in on the people you care about from time and time, even if simply just to say, “hello.”

34. When walking into a room, even if alone, make a habit of standing up straight and smiling. The investment will pay off.

35. Sometimes the best memories are created by inviting yourself.

36. One new good friend in your late thirties is worth a dozen in your early twenties.

37. The best way for dots to connect is to never stop collecting them. Never stop learning, meeting new people and trying new things.

38. Never stop looking for the details that make other people smile. Life is more fun that way.

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2 thoughts to “38 Lessons That Took Me 38 Years To Learn

  • Bob

    Great Thoughts….. LOVE the attitude conveyed
    here’s mine ” you can ALLOW your environment to create your attitude or you can FORCE your attitude to create your environment”
    Have a WONDERFUL Wednesday

    • Michael Thompson

      Thank you Bob. Sorry for the late reply – Recently had another baby and took a bit of a break from the internet world. The older I get the more I do realise that everything is in our head and therefore controllable. Positivity is a choice and I hope I get better at choosing it. Have a great week and hope to catch you around here from time to time.


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