31 Things I’ve Learned in 31 Years – Part I


Not to date myself, but I recently celebrated my 31st birthday. There’s no real societal significance to the 31st birthday. I mean, it’s not like number 16, where you’re allowed to get your driver’s license here in the States. It’s not nearly as exciting as 18 where you sign up for Selective Service (if you’re a male) and immediately go to your nearest convenience store to purchase the Taboo Trifecta (a lottery ticket, a pack of smokes, and a Playboy). Number 31 is especially not as cool as Number 21, which is the legal drinking age in the U.S. and you go out with your buddies to abuse yourself with newly-legal-for-you-to-purchase alcohol.

***As a side note on Birthday Number 21, speaking as a long-time Door Man: Trust me, the bouncer at the door is not nearly as excited as you are for your birthday. Do not expect him to be. He might be a little more interested if you’re female and decided to celebrate by wearing a really low-cut shirt, but honestly even then he just wants you to shut up and go in the bar.***

Any way you wanna slice it Number 31 pretty much just marks off another year. However, the occasion of my birthday has given me some cause and time to reflect a little bit. In that reflection I sort of haphazardly started coming up with a list of observations, ideas, and things I’ve learned over the past 31 years. At first I thought I might be able to come up with a good “Top 10” list, but soon I found it swelling to the point where I’ve had to cut it down to get 31 things in 31 years.

Without further preamble and in not much of a particular order, here they are 31 things I’ve learned in my 31 years.

1. You will make mistakes. You will screw up. What matters is how you learn and move on. I’ve made a ton of mistakes in my life. Personally, professionally, socially, I’ve run the screw-up gamut. I’m willing to bet that I’ll make more before I’m done. The thing is, I don’t have any regrets. I’ve learned from my mistakes and applied that knowledge to make (hopefully) fewer of them in the future.

Are there some things that I’d do differently a second time around? Absolutely. That’s where the old saying about hindsight being 20/20 comes into play. Don’t beat yourself up for realizing that you’d do something differently if you had to do it all over again. Celebrate the fact that you learned something and now can see a better way to handle that situation. If it ever comes up again… handle it before you repeat the same mistakes.

It's so... beautiful.

2. I might trade my first-born for caffeine. I’d definitely trade yours.

3. Making a decision is always better than waffling. Fence-sitting is for pussies. I used to have a football coach who always told us “I don’t care if you make a mistake, just make it at 100 miles per hour!”. While I don’t know as though I’d consider this guy to be an ideal mentor for young males, he was right on that one. Tying into Lesson #1, mistakes are going to happen, but 99.9% of the time it’s better to be making a decision and doing something than sitting on the fence hemming and hawing.

Chances are if you wait you’ll miss both of the opportunities you were weighing and everyone will know you’re a pussy. Which brings me to…

4. Nobody likes pussies. By “pussies” I mean that nobody likes weak-willed fence-sitters. Lots of us like the other kind. *sigh* Well, you know what I mean.

5. Life’s too short to keep negative people in it.
I’ve talked about this before, but if something or someone isn’t working out and you know it can’t be fixed, then it’s time to cut it or them loose. All those negative people and situations are going to do is drag you down and keep you from reaching your life’s potential.

6. People will drift in and out of your life. It’s always surprising how we find friends in life and often feel like we’re going to be friends with them forever. Then upon looking back you realize that there are many close friends who you haven’t talked to in years. Remember that everyone has their own agenda in life. Sometimes you’re in another person’s agenda, and sometimes you’re not. That isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a fact of life. Don’t be surprised, though, when people who you haven’t interacted with in a long time suddenly pop back into your life. It’s funny how that happens.

7. Want to know the best way to get in shape and stay that way? Think about how man lived a few thousand years ago and how the body is designed to operate: Perform brief, hard workouts, do a lot of different things throughout the day and week, move around often, eat good, healthy, real food, and get sleep when you need it. Boom. I just fixed 95% of people’s fitness problems. Email me for an address to which to send a check.

8. There’s all kinds of fancy training methods out there, but the foundation is set in hard work and consistent progressive overload. I’m a strength and conditioning geek. I’m a science guy and I’m a gym guy. I like all sorts of cool, complicated shit in the gym. However, all that cool shit is just a bunch of tools, and the super-complex programming often serves as more of a distraction than anything else. A training effect, especially the foundation for development, is created through a pretty basic principle: Expose the organism (you) to a stimulus (training) that forces it to adapt and develop in order to survive further stimulus. In other words: Train hard, recover, and train hard(er) again.

9. Make sure everything is properly adjusted before you zip up. Honestly, this might be my most important piece of advice. Whether I’m speaking literally or metaphorically, you have to make sure that some basics are covered and protected before you go ripping on the zipper like you’re trying to start a lawnmower. Don’t ask how I know this. Just trust me on this one.

10. If you’ve got something to say, either positive or negative, about someone or something then be man enough to say it to their face. If you can’t, then shut the hell up. There’s nothing worse than the pussy (see Lesson #4) who has the need to talk a bunch of shit about someone behind their back. Part of being a man is standing up and owning your thoughts and convictions and if you can’t do that then you need to sit down. Conflict happens in life and if you’re a man you’re going to say things that other people don’t want to hear but sometimes need to be said. Own it.

11. Take care of the little stuff. It’s been my experience that when I focus on doing the little things right then they add up to doing the big things right. No matter whether it’s business, training, or relationships there’s lots of little, simple, easy to do things that people seem to gloss over. Those people don’t tend to be successful in the long run.

Those who care about doing the little stuff right, as long as they don’t let themselves get bogged down in it, are more likely to be standing on firmer ground when they make a push for something big.

That’s the first batch of things I’ve picked up on the bumpy road of life. I’ll be back with more life lessons tomorrow!

Agree with me? Think I’m full of shit? Comment below and let’s hear it!

For Part II, Click Here!!

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